WiFi interference is one of the most frequently discussed topics in tech. But since the waves aren’t visible, it’s hard to locate and find sources of interference around you. Can some kitchen appliances interfere with WiFi?
Major electronic kitchen appliances, such as the refrigerator, microwave oven, and dishwasher, can cause WiFi interference. Wireless-enabled devices like radio phones and baby monitors also affect WiFi performance. Other culprits can include bulky furniture, stuffed closets, and mirrors.
This article will discuss various sources of WiFi interference and how they affect the signal. I’ll also offer you some tips on how to solve the problem.
What Kitchen Appliances Can Interfere With WiFi?
Kitchen appliances that can interfere with Wifi in a home are typically major appliances like the refrigerator, microwave oven, and dishwasher. Because these devices emit radio waves, they can interfere with WiFi signals, which travel in straight lines through the air.
WiFi signals have a power of 0.1 W, whereas the radio waves from a microwave oven can go up to 1000 W in power. As the two signals collide in the air, the weaker one gets squashed.
Let’s consider some of these appliances that can block your WiFi signal.
You may have experienced low speeds or trouble downloading and connecting to the WiFi while the microwave is on. This is especially so when the router and the microwave are close to each other. But why does that happen? What does a microwave have to do with the internet speed?
How Does the Microwave Interfere With WiFi?
First off, we need to know how WiFi signals and microwaves work. We’re all surrounded by electromagnetic waves in our daily lives. For example, the light that we see is an electromagnetic wave. Remote controls, ovens, microwaves, and WiFi routers all emit different frequencies of electromagnetic radiation.
Gamma waves and X-Ray waves have the highest frequencies and levels of energy. In contrast, radio waves and microwaves are on the other side of the spectrum, containing the lowest energy levels. Microwaves have a slightly higher energy level than radio waves.
The microwave interferes with WiFi by emitting microwaves at the same time as WiFi routers emit radio waves. Both devices typically operate at 2.4GHz. So, if you turn them on simultaneously, the emitted waves are likely to collide.
Although well-shielded microwave ovens should prevent microwaves from escaping their metallic boundary, this still happens.
Toaster ovens, electric blankets, and bug zappers can cause similar interference.
How To Fix
- Move your router at least 10 feet (3m) away from the microwave. By increasing the distance between your router and your device, the waves from your microwave oven won’t affect your WiFi signal.
- Switch your WiFi band from 2.4GHz to 5GHz. Most modern routers can operate on two frequency bands. You’re less likely to experience WiFi interference by switching to a higher frequency.
A refrigerator’s construction and operation can both adversely impact your WiFi signal. When it comes to fridges, the problem is similar to the one caused by lights, microwaves, and TVs .
How Does the Refrigerator Interfere With WiFi?
The refrigerator interferes with WiFi by producing powerful electronic magnetic fields. Also, the metal in the fridge blocks WiFi signals. So, there’ll be interference if you place a WiFi router close to the fridge.
Heating and cooling appliances consume a lot of electricity. They also generate powerful electronic magnetic fields. Small electronic devices like WiFi often malfunction around these electromagnetic sources.
How To Fix
Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix if your refrigerator is the one causing WiFi interference. Having said that, the best recommendation here would be to reposition your router. Doing so might help minimize the interference somewhat.
WiFi signals are generally not friendly to electrical appliances with pipes that circulate water. Water can absorb some of the energy from wireless waves, which can negatively impact the quality of an internet connection.
Fortunately, this has practically become a non-issue with routers manufactured in the last few years.
Wireless Camera (Baby Monitors)
Since the 2.4GHz range (2400-2500 MHz) is an unlicensed spectrum, it’s not subject to special permits or strict requirements from telecom regulatory bodies. Therefore, more and more devices and technologies utilize this frequency band to transmit data wirelessly.
Digital baby monitors use the same spectrum. So, you can expect them to interfere with your WiFi router if you have placed your baby monitor in the kitchen and the two devices are switched on simultaneously.
Unlike the other appliances cited in this article, detecting the interference is easy. You’ll hear a constant buzzing or clicking sound from the baby monitor. The picture can also get affected if you have a digital video baby monitor. Videos may be out of focus or fuzzy.
How To Fix
- Separate the devices. Moving the baby monitor away from the router is the first and easiest solution that comes to mind. Keep the two devices at least 10 feet apart (3m).
- Change the signal channel. You can also change the channel on your baby monitor or the router. Most wireless baby monitors transmit on different channels, and many of them use automatic channel selection.
How To Detect WiFi Interference
There are a few ways to establish whether your slow connection is the result of signal interference:
- Unplug all electronic devices temporarily. By doing so, you can see how unplugging your devices affects your internet speed.
- Reposition the router. Preferably, bring it closer to your computer and away from the kitchen appliances.
- If there is a specific wireless device you think is causing the problem, check if it gives you the option to switch WiFi channels. Switch to the 5GHz band and see if any changes occur.
- Get a WiFi analyzer app. You can install these apps on your phone, tablet, or computer. We recommend Fing, which is quite user friendly.
Tips To Improve Your WiFi Speed
Slow WiFi connections can be due to many causes, other than interference. Here are a few tips that may help you troubleshoot the problem:
- Optimize your router location. Put it near the center of the house, at least 10 feet (3 m) away from any electronics and where no concrete walls and metal objects get in its way.
- Put the router on a hard surface. Ideally, you should put it on a wooden desk and not the floor.
- Avoid overcrowding the connection. Too many devices connecting at the same time can cause congestion.
- Keep the WiFi password-protected. You don’t want people nearby to use all your bandwidth without permission.
- Keep the router’s firmware updated. Sometimes, outdated software can bring your connection to a halt.
- Connect an Ethernet cable to your router. Wired connections are typically more reliable and offer more
- Get a router with a more powerful antenna. Alternatively, you can position the antenna vertically to increase its range.
- Get a WiFi extender. These devices transmit signals far away from your router, thus providing a better connection to devices that are completely disconnected or receiving poor signals.
- Reconfigure your router. Software configurations sometimes change for no apparent reason thereby slowing down your connection.