Wi-Fi and the holidays don’t mix.
If you’ve been experiencing Wi-Fi problems as of late, you are not alone, though you might actually be the one to blame.
Have you put up any Christmas lights around your house as of late? Is your Christmas tree strung with several strands of lights? Is your neighbors’ house lit up like the Griswold’s? A new report states that all those Christmas lights are deteriorating your Wi-Fi capabilities.
Ofcom, a British communications independent regulator, recently released a report stating that the electricity used in Christmas lights — among other things — will negatively affect the usefulness of the Wi-Fi in your home or office. According to the report, other things such as microwave ovens, lamps, and baby monitors can all combine to slow down your Wi-Fi connection as well.
Wi-Fi is now everywhere. When customers eat in a restaurant, they largely expect that restaurant to offer free Wi-Fi. A hotel without free Wi-Fi in the second decade of the 21st Century is like a hotel without television in the second half of the 20th Century. Half of all networking devices used in the United States operate on Wi-Fi only, and according to the Pew Research Center, 90 percent of all Americans have a mobile device within reach at all times.
All these statistics speak to the importance of Wi-Fi, so how can we improve it in our own homes?
There are actually quite a few tips and tricks to make your Wi-Fi connection the best it can be, despite all those Wi-Fi interfering Christmas lights.
First and foremost, keep your hardware up to date. That Wi-Fi router you bought in 2012? Yeah. That’s now considered old-school and is downright sluggish compared to one you could buy today, (for little more than you spent on the old one). Wi-Fi speeds are categorized by letters. Wireless A, B, and G are considered “old and slow.” For the best Wi-Fi connections, your router should be categorized as at least Wireless N, or Wireless AC (better). As crucial as Wi-Fi has become to our daily lives, it might be a good idea to update your wireless router every year, or even a few times a year. Daylight Savings Time? Maybe change the batteries in your smoke detectors and buy a new router.
If your Wi-Fi router has antennae, you should try to place them perpendicular to one another. Point one antenna straight up, and one at a 90 degree angle out to the side.
The best position for your Wi-Fi might take some time to figure out. Taking the time to test it out in different spots to find the best Wi-Fi signal will be well worth it, considering all the time you might have to wait for things to load on your devices if it’s in a bad spot.
Considering the interference that can be caused by electronics like appliances, televisions, and even Christmas lights, when you’re positioning your Wi-Fi router, try to find a spot in your house where the router won’t be right next to one of these existing electrical users.
If your Wi-Fi router isn’t quite giving you the distance you need in your house and you don’t want to shell out the cash for a Wi-Fi extender, there’s a simple trick you can utilize using some tinfoil or a beer can. Yes. That’s right, a beer can. By simply forming a piece of tinfoil into the shape of a parabola, or cutting a beer can in half and positioning it on the antennae of your Wi-Fi router, you can boost the performance of your router throughout your house.
Using some of these simple tricks, you should be able to improve the Wi-Fi signal in your house, whether you celebrate Christmas or not. What have you found that helps out your signal most when it comes to Wi-Fi?
[Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images]