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Wi-Fi woes – Are festive decorations killing your connection?
Has your office Wi-Fi got worse lately? Well, you're not alone – but while there are many culprits, could your festive decorations be making the situation worse?
Believe it or not, fairy lights will not only impact your business electricity bill, but it can also affect Wi-Fi - anything that generates an electromagnetic field can interfere with your signal. The impact is relatively small, but if you're already struggling to get the necessary bars for your browser, then it can be the difference between finding your Facebook page or an infuriating error message.
But getting a strong Wi-Fi signal will probably need more than just a tidying of the twinkly lights.
To save you endless calls to tech support, here's nine other things in your office that could be putting a dent in your bandwidth.
Microwaves operate on a frequency of around 2.4GHz when they're in use - the same frequency band as Wi-Fi, which can cause interference (especially in poorly shielded microwaves). If you find it's a recurring problem, then you can change the frequency band of your router++ to 5GHz.
Newer cordless phones shouldn't interfere with your Wi-Fi, as they use DECT 6.0 – a new standard that operates at 1.9GHz. If your Wi-Fi plays up when the phone rings, it's probably because it’s an old phones using 2.4GHz.
Cable-free accessories are a great way to make an office tidier– but they're also a potential source of trouble with your signal. Some people can also experience static noise through their speakers due to frequency interference.
Yes, these innocent metal boxes can disrupt a Wi-Fi signal. Anything made of metal that stands between your router and the computers it serves isn't good – this includes pipes and beams too.
Add this to your list of grievances with the business next door: Their Wi-Fi could be interfering with yours (though to be fair, maybe it's yours that's interfering with theirs?). Again, changing to the 5GHz band should be the end of your problems.
Mirrored walls might be dreadfully hip these days, but they're also dreadfully dreadful if they're standing between you and the router. Electromagnetic signals get reflected back just like light does, potentially reducing your signal.
If your office doors or outside gates open remotely, the signal that allows them to do that could be interfering. Once again, check the frequency band the opener operates on and consider switching your router to 5GHz.
Thick brick and concrete walls in a workplace mean the signal has to work harder to get through. This is more common in older buildings, like converted warehouses. In this instance you might want to install some new separate access points.
If all else fails, go to the source. If your Wi-Fi's bad for no obvious reason, your router could be in need of a firmware update, or it could just be old and clunky. Consider changing the position too – ideally, it should be central, high up and away from thick walls.