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In theory, all you need is a brilliant new router for seamless wireless connections in your home or small office. However, in practice, your wireless reception will often be plagued by interference problems.

Interference can cause slow delivery, higher latency than wired connections, frequent disconnections and reconnections, and sometimes a total inability to access a WiFi signal. These problems can be difficult to solve. Unless you are lucky, the solution is not as simple as changing the routers.

Your goal is twofold: 1) You want to avoid paying for wired Internet connections throughout your home or office to avoid slow or unstable wireless connectivity; 2) You want to avoid buying more expensive wireless routers that could still be subject to interference.

The WiFi network in your home or office distributes the Internet bandwidth using radio signals. It is the same technology that FM radio, smartphones, and television with rabbit ears use. It is susceptible to the same types of problems: interference, penetration blocks, and range limitations.

Typically, you can trace wireless connectivity issues to a restricted list of culprits: signal congestion, router location, firmware issues, hardware deficiencies, and the physical size of your home or office.

However, your WiFi problems could also be caused by your neighbors. One of the most common sources of WiFi interference is WiFi signals and static from nearby electrical supplies. That’s where your neighbors come on the scene.

Use the following suggestions to adjust your WiFi settings.

1. Examine the terrain

If you have wireless problems, first make sure that the wired connection from your service provider or ISP is not to blame. Some providers include WiFi service as a feature of the Internet cable modem.

You can verify that the wired Internet pipeline to your home is working properly by calling your ISP. The technician can remotely test the line, reestablish your connection, and have you perform speed tests with a laptop connected to the modem. Upon finding a problem, the technician can schedule a service call to your property to fix the problem.

If your wireless service comes strictly from a mobile WiFi device, skip ISP diagnostics, and focus on troubleshooting to resolve router issues. In this case, your goal is to protect your mobile WiFi device from penetration and interference factors.

Conduct a survey to eliminate potential culprits. Discard each of these items by trial and error:

Location counts. Is your router hidden in a distant corner of your workspace or office? Is it close to the floor or blocked by furniture? Move it to a higher place. The clearer the line of sight, the better the connectivity. Try to place your router as close to the center of your home as possible.


Unplug your computer from the modem or router. Then shut down the computer and turn off all other devices connected to the network, including media streaming devices. Restart your modem and allow it to turn on completely. Then power on the additional router, if you have one, and wait for the lights to stabilize. Finally, turn on your computer and connect it to the wireless signal.


Do an internet search for your ISP’s speed test website, or use a third-party speed test website. If you get poor results for the wired connection, contact your ISP. A bad wired connection generates terrible wireless power. WiFi connections, by nature, are slower. Download speeds will be faster than upload speeds.

2. Identify the competition

If you find that your wireless results are too slow or vary dramatically with each test you take, it’s time to expand your onsite survey. Start searching for nearby devices in your home or office that may be causing signal interference.

Routers often compete with commonly used devices like cordless phones, Bluetooth speakers, microwave ovens, and baby monitors. Temporarily turn off all those devices and check the WiFi connection. Turn on each device one by one to find the criminal. Moving the wireless router to another location can minimize or eliminate interference.

The reception may fall off in other parts of your home or office. That indicates a penetration or range problem, or both. In this case, expand your survey to areas where the signal strength is poor.

Download a WiFi analytics app for your smartphone. A good option is Farproc’s WiFi Analyzer for Android, which has a real-time signal strength meter. Other apps are also available. You can get the free Farproc app from the Google Play store.


Create a real WiFi heatmap of your area using a free tool like WiFi Heatmap, network analyzer and signal meter available on Google Play. Netspot works for Mac and Windows computers. You can also use an app like the free WiFi Analyzer for Android, which has a real-time signal strength meter.

Another good option is Network Analyzer, an all-in-one iPhone and Android app for network analysis, scanning, and troubleshooting.

3. Change channels

Commonly used connected home devices use a small wave 2.4 GHz frequency block, which has difficulty penetrating solid, mass-like walls. The 2.4 GHz frequencies, called “channels,” are commonly used by neighboring WiFi networks and can cause interference.

The WiFi standards divide the WiFi signals in the 2.4 GHz block into up to 14 overlapping channels that act as a frequency range. Channels are designed to work together, but when two or more adjacent networks use the same channel, they can interfere with each other, reducing bandwidth.

You can change the WiFi channel of your network to one that is not being used nearby.

Open the router settings panel from a PC browser connected to your router. See the router manual for instructions and passwords. Perform a web-based search based on the model number for a copy if you need it.

Then open the wireless tab on the router. Select an unused available channel. Save the configuration and check the connection results.

This can be useful if you live or work in a condo-style apartment or building. If a nearby WiFi network works on the same channel as your network, change yours.

Juggling channels
Appliances, including cordless phones, baby monitors, and microwave ovens, can cause wireless interference. When in use, your WiFi network may be cut. This situation is one of the main causes of the so-called “intermittent connectivity”. It may take a smart investigation to track the offending device or devices.

This can happen when a device uses the same channel. Co-channel interference can also occur when the access points are placed too close together or configured with an output power that is too high.

An easy way to reduce or eliminate interference from other WiFi equipment is to enable automatic channel if it is available on your devices. WiFi access points using the automatic channel periodically scan the WiFi spectrum and select the clearest channel based on what other WiFi signals are visible.

Another option is to buy and use cordless phones and headsets that don’t use the 2.4 or 5GHz frequencies. Newer cordless phone systems use DECT 6.0 technology and the 1.9GHz band, not the 2.4GHz or 5.8GHz bands.

The same solution can work with a baby monitor or other video monitoring devices. For example, many baby monitors operate at 900MHz and do not interfere with WiFi. However, some wireless monitors are 2.4 GHz, which can interfere with single-band 802.11g or 802.11n routers.

4. Juggling channels

Appliances, including cordless phones, baby monitors, and microwave ovens, can cause wireless interference. When in use, your WiFi network may be cut. This situation is one of the main causes of the so-called “intermittent connectivity”. It may take a smart investigation to track the offending device or devices.

This can happen when a device uses the same channel. Co-channel interference can also occur when the access points are placed too close together or configured with an output power that is too high.

An easy way to reduce or eliminate interference from other WiFi equipment is to enable automatic channel if it is available on your devices. WiFi access points using the automatic channel periodically scan the WiFi spectrum and select the clearest channel based on what other WiFi signals are visible.

Another option is to buy and use cordless phones and headsets that don’t use the 2.4 or 5GHz frequencies. Newer cordless phone systems use DECT 6.0 technology and the 1.9GHz band, not the 2.4GHz or 5.8GHz bands.

The same solution can work with a baby monitor or other video monitoring devices. For example, many baby monitors operate at 900MHz and do not interfere with WiFi. However, some wireless monitors are 2.4 GHz, which can interfere with single-band 802.11g or 802.11n routers.

5. Check the penetration

Penetration, or lack thereof, is a physical circumstance to consider as a cause when your WiFi signal does not reach devices in other rooms in your home. It’s similar to range issues, but even routers with the ability to travel distances can be hampered by physical barriers in your home or office.

For example, do not place the router near reflective surfaces such as glass, mirrors, and metal. WiFi signals tend to bounce off them. Walls, especially those made of concrete, can severely degrade your WiFi signal.

All metal surfaces reflect WiFi signals. Signals can bounce off windows, mirrors, metal filing cabinets, and stainless steel countertops, reducing network range and performance.

Water, think about fish tanks and water lines behind walls, can absorb WiFi signals and dramatically affect signal strength. Large interference can come from nearby televisions, halogen lamps, and dimmer switches. Stereo or computer speakers can cause interference. You can also place a router near power lines on a wall.

A useful option to mitigate these circumstances, apart from moving the router or mobile device, is to install a series of WiFi extenders. Plug these little devices into a power outlet, pair them with the router, and you have a better WiFi signal range.

6. Buy new equipment

There are two other options to constantly cure bad WiFi. Update the firmware of an old router or buy a new one.

Old firmware is usually the culprit. Keeping your firmware up to date can minimize or completely eliminate ongoing connectivity issues.

To update the firmware on older devices, you must access the administrative interface of the router through a web browser. Newer routers allow you to update by pressing a button on the device.

Sometimes the easiest cure is to just get a new router. The latest models offer improved WiFi speeds, as well as better penetration and range.

Look for a router with 802.11 N or AC technology with dual or triple band capabilities. AC routers have a maximum spectral bandwidth of around 8 x 160 MHz, compared to the standard 4 x 40 MHz of N routers. This increased bandwidth allows more data to be transmitted without slowing down.

Consider a multi-band router. This solution would allow you to keep older 2.4GHz devices in their own bands while assigning newer devices that support the latest WiFi standards to the higher bands. In essence, it allows you to function as if you had multiple routers.

One of the latest improvements to the WiFi network is a Mesh network. This technology is slightly more expensive than installing WiFi extenders, but you may need it in hard-core reception situations. Mesh routers are designed to extend the coverage of a WiFi network through multiple access points.