How to Prevent WiFi and Bluetooth Interference
Because Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices use the same radio frequencies to communicate, they often interfere with one another and are prone to interference from other devices operating on the same frequencies. This article looks at the effects of such interference, what causes it and how to reduce it in a home or office environment.
Effects of interference
Interference experienced by Bluetooth and WiFi devices can take a variety of forms. One result of interference can be that the wireless range between devices is significantly reduced.
Other effects include slower connection to the Internet, slower data transfer over WiFi, intermittent or even total loss of connection and connection problems when a Bluetooth device is attempting to pair with another device.
Sources of interference
As well as Bluetooth and WiFi devices interfering with each other, any device that emits a radio signal, particularly on the 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency, can cause interference.
Common sources of interference include microwave ovens, cables and connectors associated with satellite dishes, nearby power lines or power stations, cordless telephones, wireless speakers, some monitors and displays, cameras, baby monitors and more.
The structure of a building can also cause interference, as radio waves slow down when travelling through certain types of construction materials. While materials such as wood and glass have less interference potential, plaster, cement and metals all have a high dampening effect on radio signals.
There are several things you can do if you are experiencing interference on your Bluetooth or WiFi devices. These include:
- Moving your WiFi base station to an area in the building where there is less structural interference. There are now apps available online that will scan your wireless space for you, tell you the best place to set up your base station and even suggest the best frequency to operate on.
- Resetting your base station. When you do this, it will automatically look for and default to the channel with the least amount of traffic and interference.
- Reducing the number of wireless devices operating on the network. In an office, this could be done by relocating some employees to a separate WiFi network within the building, while at home it could be achieved by regulating family WiFi usage or plugging some devices directly into the router via cables.
Because 2.4GHz and 5GHz are industry standards, it is inevitable that the proliferation of WiFi and Bluetooth devices will lead to an increase in interference. Hopefully though, by using some of the suggestions offered here, you will be able to minimise the effects of other devices on your home or office wireless experience.