Lots of Christmas Lights? Your WiFi Signal May Suffer

But plenty of other devices cause interference, too
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2015 7:13 AM CST
Lots of Christmas Lights? Your WiFi Signal May Suffer
Lots of lights, poor WiFi?   (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

All those Christmas lights strung about might make your holidays bright, but they might also hamper your ability to binge-watch Netflix vis-a-vis a weakened WiFi signal. So warns British telecom watchdog Ofcom, which describes a decent Internet connection as the fourth essential service, ranking right up there with gas, electricity, and water, reports Quartz. But is the hype about holiday lighting just a handy tie-in to the group's release of its new, albeit free, app that tests signal quality? After all, reports the Guardian, there are plenty of devices that emit electromagnetic waves and thus interfere with WiFi signals, and Christmas lights are not at the top of the list.

But yes, Christmas lights, as "a mass of wires carrying a current ... [create] a small electromagnetic field and thus a little interference," explains Quartz. The bigger offenders? Microwave ovens rank as "terrible" for WiFi signals, while water pipes, other nearby networks, and a whole host of household items, including radiators, fridges, freezers, toasters, kettles, washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers, ovens, and computers, round out the "very bad" category. Christmas lights rank as "bad," right there with humans (we absorb well), TV, and insulation. What to do? Get a better router and place it in a central location. (These WiFi light bulbs are awesome.)

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