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Understanding RF Interference: Wi-Fi Enemy

by John Ciarlone on September 14, 2023

Understanding RF Interference Wi-Fi Enemy

Having a Wi-Fi network that's fast and reliable is crucial for any modern business. After all, most businesses rely on the Internet for everything from customer service to daily operations. Unfortunately, wireless networks are subject to interference that can slow down your Internet connection and impede your network's performance. One of the most common sources of interference is radio frequency.

What Is Radio Frequency (RF) Interference?

RF interference is a type of electromagnetic radiation that can interfere with the performance of wireless networks. RF signals are created by all sorts of electronic devices, including TVs, cell phones, cordless telephones, and wireless computer peripherals. When these devices come too close to a network's antenna or wireless access point, they can create interference that affects the network's performance. 

RF interference can cause various problems, such as slowing down your Internet connection or worse - preventing devices from connecting to the wireless network in the first place. In addition, RF signals can interfere with other wireless networks in the area and even disrupt wireless communication devices that use frequencies close to those used by Wi-Fi networks.

Causes Of RF Interference

Several factors can cause RF interference. The following are the most common causes:

Number Of Connected Devices

If too many devices are connected to the same wireless network, it can cause RF interference. This is because all these devices compete for a limited amount of airwave space. As more devices connect to the same network, less airwave space is available, leading to slower speeds and decreased performance.

Electromagnetic Radiation

Electromagnetic radiation is energy that is emitted from power lines, cell phone towers, and other high-powered radio transmitters. As these signals pass through the airwaves, they can create electromagnetic “noise” that interferes with the performance of wireless networks by causing signal loss and disruption. 

2.4 GHz Frequency Interference

The most common frequency for wireless networks is the 2.4 GHz band. It is widely used for wireless devices like phones, tablets, and laptops, due to its long-range capabilities. 

Unfortunately, this frequency is also shared by other devices that use Bluetooth, such as cordless phones and newer microwave ovens. If too many of these devices are operating in the same area, they can cause interference that affects the enactment of your wireless network. 

Can Radio Frequency Interfere With Wi-Fi?

Yes, RF can interfere with a Wi-Fi network and lead to unsatisfactory performance for users. RF signals disrupt the signal between the wireless access point and devices that are connected to it, resulting in slower/intermittent connection speeds, dropped connections, or even complete loss of connectivity. This can have a significant effect on user experience as it reduces productivity and slows down workflows.

How To Minimize RF Interference

Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to minimize RF interference and improve your wireless network's performance. The following tips can help reduce the amount of interference caused by RF signals:

Determine Interference With A Wireless Site Survey

The first thing you need to do if you suspect RF interference is to identify where it is coming from and what devices are causing it. You can do this by performing a wireless site survey, which involves using specialized software to map out your network's signal strength and identify possible sources of interference. 

Eliminate Sources Of RF Interference

Once you have identified any sources of RF interference, the next step is to eliminate them. This can be done by turning off devices that are causing interference or moving them away from the area where your wireless network is located. 

Use 5 GHz Band Or 6 GHz Band If Available

Unfortunately, it's not always possible to eliminate all sources of RF interference. In these cases, the best solution is to switch your wireless network to a different frequency band that isn't affected by the interference. For example, if you're using 2.4 GHz frequency, switch to the 5 GHz or 6 GHz band instead, as these are less prone to interference since they are used less frequently by other devices.

Increase Or Decrease Wi-Fi Transmission Power

Transmission power is a way of controlling how far your wireless signal reaches and the strength of the signal. By increasing or decreasing your Wi-Fi transmission power, you can fine-tune your network's performance and reduce any interference caused by RF signals. 

For example, if your signal is not reaching far enough, you can increase the transmission power to extend its range. On the other hand, if you find too much interference in a specific area, you can reduce the transmission power to limit the impact of RF signals. 

Ensure Efficient Wi-Fi Network Strength With No Interference

RF interference can be a significant problem for wireless networks, as it can reduce performance and cause disruptions. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize RF interference and ensure your network's performance remains optimal. 

At Hummingbird Networks, we offer various services that can help businesses prevent RF interference, as well as other networking issues such as Wi-Fi coverage gaps or Wi-Fi dead zones. Our experienced professionals can provide customized solutions for your organization's specific needs, ensuring you get the most out of your network. From wireless site surveys to system optimization, we can help you optimize your networks and maximize performance. 

Ensure that your network is running at peak performance. Conduct a site survey

Topics: Internet Service, Network Security, Wireless