With the increasing number of wireless devices in our environment, wireless signal interference becomes a concern for connection stability and overall performance, it is important to understand what causes interference so that you can effectively reduce interface and enhance wireless performance.
Wi-Fi technologies can use both the 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz transmission bandwidths. Bluetooth only uses the 2.4 GHz transmission bandwidth.
Because these bandwidths are also shared by many household and office devices, relocation of some devices may be necessary to reduce competing device interference.
Some signs that you may be experiencing interference are:
- Intermittent wireless connections
- Unable to pair Bluetooth devices properly
- Slow performance on one device when another is being used
- Wireless signal strength decreases within normal ranges from the router
- Decreased download and upload speeds
- It is possible to reduce the interface in your environment if you are able to effectively isolate the cause(s) and take steps to reduce the interference.
To identify every device in your environment using the 2.4GHz and 5.0 GHz bandwidths, it will be necessary to check the specifications of every electronic device. Keep in mind that while they may not list the bandwidth, they are using these radio frequencies if they are noted to be "Bluetooth", "Wi-Fi" or "Wireless" devices. Here are some of the more common devices that can cause interference:
- Cordless Phones
- Direct Satellite Service
- Certain external electrical sources such as power lines, electrical railroad tracks, and power stations
- Wi-Fi Cameras
- Baby Monitors
- 2-Way Radios
- Unshielded power or video cables
It is also possible to have interference from construction materials used in the building you are in (Table 1). The following chart may assist with placement of the router and devices:
Table 1: Construction Materials
Besides competing signal interference, other hardware and even natural environmental elements can interfere with signal reception/transmission. Some common, and not-so-common environmental factors to consider are these:
- Electrical Load Centers (Fuse boxes or electrical conduits)
- Metal panels/sheeting in the roof or walls, including stucco lathe in exterior walls
- Pine Trees
- Sunspots/Solar activity
To reduce the interference on your wireless network, ensure that you are reducing the number of devices in the area. Additionally, you can attempt to use a different wireless channel that has less traffic. To increase wireless bandwidth, it will be necessary to keep interferences in mind while setting up your workspace.