The holidays are fast approaching, and along with the Christmas carols that started far too early came those wonderfully bright and cheerful Christmas lights being strung up. There’s no doubt the lights are meant to bring joy and add a smile to the faces of those who see them, but those lights are also having the very unwanted side effect of causing some serious interference with your Wi-Fi signal.
According to a new study by British heavyweights in technology, if your Netflix is on the fritz or those pages are just not loading like they used to, it may not be the fault of your network provider. In fact, you may have no one to blame but yourself for that loss of Wi-Fi. If you have recently strung up a lot of Christmas lights, watched your neighbour show off with their annual light show, or had a Halloween light show, too you have been actively cutting down the strength of your Wi-Fi signal, and in today’s society, that is a horror that must be taken seriously.
Tuesday saw Ofcom, the British equivalent of the Federal Communications Commission, release the information that there are an estimated six million homes and offices in the UK alone that have trouble with poor broadband connection. Among the list of culprits causing the Wi-Fi interference issues – Christmas lights were a big surprise to many. Other things found to have a negative effect on Wi-Fi signal are microwave ovens, lamps, older Bluetooth devices, and even baby monitors. Ofcom also released an app that can be used to check Wi-FI strength and surrounding interference, but alas it is currently only available for download in the UK.
So exactly how do Christmas lights affect Wi-Fi signals? Apparently the signals from the routers to the receiving device can be distorted by radio frequency interference in the home, and the wiring in all the Christmas lights can add to that disturbance.
The Washington Post reported that many Internet providers tend to have a spike in complaints around the holidays that is usually chalked up to the fact that many persons have family visiting and the network can get a little congested, but now we know that those Christmas lights can be a factor. The link between Wi-Fi signal interruption and Christmas lights was actually reported from last year by the Irish Times, which stated that even the tinsel used in decorating could be reducing Wi-Fi speeds by as much as 25 percent.
Each time the Christmas lights flash on or off they throw off electrical impulses that can interfere with Broadband speed. Of course, by no means is this information meant to curb your having Christmas lights altogether, just to provide some insight into why it may not be all your Internet provider’s fault and that perhaps being a little less light happy could mean a better signal.
A few simple solutions to deal with the interference were offered by BGR, and they mostly involve being careful where you put all those Christmas decorations. Keeping Christmas lights, or the Christmas tree in fact, far away from the router in your home is a great start. Also, tinsel and certain other shiny decorations with metallic elements can sometimes reflect or block signals, so avoid placing them near the Wi-Fi router as well.
A previous Inquisitr article also gave a few options on how to boost your signal to help out with any interference issues. Moving the router out into the open and trying to place it at one of the highest vantage points in the house for maximum signal strength is one of the easiest options to follow. It is also suggested that since Wi-Fi is so easily interrupted by electrical devices such as microwaves or televisions putting the router nowhere near these is a great start. The article also gives some advise on using tin foil and a beer can to avoid buying a Wi-Fi booster.
Just like a radio, routers actually have different stations and most come on a default channel that may be overlapping with each other, especially in an area with multiple Wi-Fi signals and changing the channel may just be the solution needed. Changing the settings is relatively easy, just head to the router’s IP address and change the settings from any device that is connected to the network. If you are unsure of exactly what the router address is you can check out these links for PC or Mac users.
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