What Can Interfere With Wi-Fi Signal
Internet Tips and Tricks

Here’s What Can Interfere With Wi-Fi Signal (& How to Boost It)

Have you ever been in the middle of an important video call or streaming your favorite show, only to have your internet slow to a crawl or drop out entirely? If so, you’ve likely wondered what can interfere with Wi-Fi signal and why it happens at the worst possible moments. 

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This blog covers the various factors that can block or disrupt your Wi-Fi signal, offering practical suggestions to help you boost your signal and maintain a seamless connection. By understanding these factors and making a few adjustments, you can boost your slow internet speeds in no time!

1. Physical Obstacles

Walls and Floors 

Thick walls and multiple floors can seriously block your Wi-Fi signal. If you live in a multi-story house or an older home with dense walls, this could be why your signal is weak in certain spots. 

Suggestion: Place your router in a central location. Think of it as the heart of your Wi-Fi network. The closer your devices are to the router, the stronger the signal. Avoid corners and closets because they can trap your signal. Instead, aim for an open, elevated space. 

Furniture and Appliances 

Big, bulky furniture and home appliances can also mess with your Wi-Fi. Imagine your signal trying to weave its way through a maze of obstacles—it’s going to slow down. 

Suggestion: Keep your router away from large furniture and appliances like refrigerators and microwaves. These can absorb or deflect the signal. Place the router on a shelf or mounted on a wall to avoid interference.  

Ceramic Tiles and Drywall 

Ceramic tiles and drywall are common materials used in home construction that can also weaken your Wi-Fi signal. Tiles, often used for floors and walls, can increase interference when combined with other materials like plaster. Similarly, dense drywall can block signals, especially in older homes or buildings with thick walls.

2. Electronic Interference

Household Electronics 

Many household electronics can interfere with your WiFi signal. Common culprits include microwaves, baby monitors, cordless phones, and even some older Bluetooth devices. When these devices are in use, they can disrupt your signal, causing slow speeds or dropped connections. 

Suggestion: Place your router in a different room from your microwave or baby monitor. Also, try to use these devices at different times from when you’re doing heavy internet activities, like streaming or gaming. 

Other Wireless Networks 

Nearby wireless networks can also interfere with your Wi-Fi signal. This is especially true in apartment buildings or densely populated areas where many Wi-Fi networks overlap. Your neighbor’s Wi-Fi can crowd the same channels as yours, leading to signal interference. 

Suggestion: To reduce interference from nearby networks, you can switch your router to a less crowded channel. Most modern routers can do this automatically, but you can also do it manually through your router’s settings 

Bandwidth-Hungry Activities 

Sometimes, your Wi-Fi speed can be affected by other devices in your home using up the available bandwidth. This is particularly common in households with multiple people using the internet simultaneously for streaming videos, online gaming, large file downloads, and video conferencing.  

If someone in your household is engaged in these activities, it can slow down the internet speed for other devices, such as your laptop. 

Suggestion: Implement Quality of Service (QoS) settings on your router or home network management app. QoS allows you to prioritize certain types of traffic or specific devices.  

For example, if your partner is gaming and causing your internet to slow down, you can set the gaming device to a lower priority and your work laptop to a higher priority. 

3. Frequency Interference

2.4 GHz vs. 5 GHz Bands 

WiFi operates on two main frequency bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The 2.4 GHz band is more common and has a longer range, but it’s also more crowded. Many devices, including older ones, use this frequency. This can lead to congestion and slower speeds. 

The 5 GHz band, on the other hand, is less crowded. It offers faster speeds but covers a smaller area. It’s great for activities like streaming and gaming, especially in homes with many devices. Fewer devices use this frequency, so there’s less interference. So, if your router and devices support it, switch to the 5 GHz band for better performance. 

Bluetooth Devices 

Bluetooth devices can also interfere with your Wi-Fi. Both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi often use the 2.4 GHz band, leading to potential signal clashes. This can cause slow internet speeds or dropped connections, especially when using Bluetooth speakers, headphones, or other wireless gadgets. 

Suggestion: To mitigate Bluetooth interference, try the following solutions: 

  1. Switch to 5 GHz WiFi frequency. 
  1. Modern Bluetooth devices use technologies that minimize interference. Make sure your gadgets are up-to-date. 
  1. Keep Bluetooth devices away from your router to reduce interference. The further apart they are, the less likely they’ll interfere with each other. 

4. Environmental Factors

Reflective Surfaces 

Reflective surfaces, like mirrors, metal, and glass, can mess with your Wi-Fi signal. They bounce the signal around, causing it to weaken or scatter, leading to dead spots or slow connections in your home. 

Suggestion: Keep your router away from large mirrors, metal shelves, and glass cabinets. Place it in an open area, free from reflective surfaces. This helps your signal travel more smoothly, providing better coverage. 

Water 

Water can absorb WiFi signals, weakening them significantly. Fish tanks, water heaters, and even large vases of water can interfere with your connection. 

Suggestion: If you have a fish tank, ensure the router is placed at a higher level or in a different room. This simple adjustment can help maintain a strong WiFi signal throughout your home. 

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5. Outdated Equipment

Old Routers and Devices 

Using old routers and devices can severely impact your Wi-Fi performance. Older equipment may not support the latest Wi-Fi standards, leading to slower speeds and more frequent disconnects. 

Curious when’s the right time to buy a new router? Read our blog! 

Benefits of Upgrading to Modern Equipment 

Upgrading to modern equipment ensures you get the best performance. Newer routers offer better range, faster speeds, and more robust connections. They support the latest standards, like Wi-Fi 6, which can handle more devices and reduce interference. 

Firmware Updates 

Keeping your router’s firmware up-to-date is crucial. Firmware updates can fix bugs, improve performance, and enhance security. 

How to Check for and Install Updates 

To check for updates, log into your router’s settings through a web browser. Look for a firmware update section, usually found under maintenance or settings. Follow the instructions to download and install any available updates. Regularly updating your firmware ensures your router runs smoothly and efficiently. 

Benefits of Fiber Internet 

Fiber internet is a game-changer when it comes to reducing interference. Unlike traditional cable or DSL connections, fiber uses light signals transmitted through thin glass fibers.  

This makes it less susceptible to electrical interference from household electronics or nearby networks. With fiber, you get faster speeds, more reliable connections, and lower latency. 

Advantages of Fiber Internet by Race Communications 

Our fiber internet offers several advantages: 

  • Fast download and upload speeds, perfect for streaming, gaming, and video conferencing. 
  • Fiber is less prone to outages and interference, providing a stable connection. 
  • Easily upgrade your plan as your needs grow, so you always have the bandwidth you need. 
  • Our installation experts will assess your home, identify potential interference sources, and position your router for the best coverage using heat maps. 

Now You Know What Can Interfere with Wi-Fi Signal

Now you know what can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal, including physical obstacles, electronic interference, frequency issues, environmental factors, and outdated equipment. But don’t despair – moving your router to a central position in your home can do wonders. Otherwise, you can also contact your ISP and talk to them about Wi-Fi extenders or mesh units. 

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For more information on fiber internet, contact us today. Let us help you enjoy the best internet experience possible!