WiFi uses radio waves to send information to and from your router and your devices. These waves fall into a family of radiant energy known as the electromagnetic spectrum. Microwaves, infrared beams, visible light, ultraviolet rays and gamma rays are all part of this family, and like relatives arguing at the holiday dinner table, sometimes these waves interfere with each other.
Most things, if placed between your device and your router, can cause interference, but some are a lot worse than others. These inconspicuous items in your home can create inference with your WiFi signal:
- Microwave ovens – When it’s off, it’s a metal box (which is bad), but when it’s on it uses high-powered microwaves at around 2.4GHz (the same frequency as Wi-Fi) creating a black hole around it for WiFi signals.
- Fridges, freezers, toasters, washing machines, tumble driers, dishwashers, ovens, steel baths, and computers themselves, are all metal objects, some having liquid-containing pipes in them.
- Water pipes – Water loves radio waves, absorbing the energy from them.
- Cordless telephones- DECT phones use the same frequencies as WiFi and are commonly placed next to the router.
- Other people’s WiFi networks – Overlapping of WiFi networks from surrounding homes can cause problems depending on your router’s placement in relation to other people’s routers.
- Walls – Who knew? Walls can significantly weaken your WiFi signal and strength.
Where should I place my router?
Place your router in a central location in your home for the best possible WiFi coverage. Always avoid putting your router within close proximity to other electrical goods (on top of a gaming console, behind a TV or stereo, etc). Doing this and limiting interference between your router and your devices will drastically improve your WiFi signal.