WiFi Interference Explained
You may have heard about something about ‘WiFi Interference’ before, but what is it and how does it affect you?
- WiFi Interference is a very common problem and makes up the vast majority of technical support queries we get each day from users, primarily regarding speed issues, latency (ping) issues, and sometimes even what users believe are service 'dropouts'.
- WiFi Interference is essentially radio interference occurring between your router and your device over your router's WiFi signal, typically caused by neighbouring WiFi signals in your area.
- If you're experiencing performance issues over WiFi but not when testing with an Ethernet Network Cable to your router, you're more than likely experiencing WiFi Interference.
What is WiFi Interference, and What Can You Do?
WiFi isn’t your internet connection, but is simply just the method of connecting to your router without needing to use a physical cable. The way this works is by using some of the radio spectrum/frequencies in the 2.4GHz range, and also in the 5GHz range if you have a newer ‘dual-band’ WiFi router. However, one of the downsides of using radio to transmit data is that it’s sensitive to interference from other sources of radio broadcasting in the same frequency range. The most common source of WiFi/Radio interference are your neighbours WiFi routers broadcasting on the same WiFi channel that your router is using to transmit your data.
WiFi interference is the most common cause of speed and dropout issues. If you’re currently experiencing those issues, it’s more than likely WiFi interference. One way to test this is to connect a laptop or desktop PC to your router or modem router with an Ethernet Network cable and re-test your service speeds. If your speeds are nominal over a wired connection, but are fluctuating/slow over a wireless connection, it is likely interference.
But what can you do?
One thing you can try is changing the Channel Width and Channel of your router's WiFi bands. In order to do this, you will need to access your router's configuration settings. If you’re using a Superloop provided router, you can do this by typing 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 into your web browser’s address bar (if you’re using a BYO router, one of those numbers might work, otherwise you will need to contact your hardware user guide or manual). At the login screen, type admin for the username and the password (if admin doesn’t work for the password, try password or your mobile phone number. Sometimes the default admin login credentials are located on a sticker on the router itself).
Once you’re logged into your hardware’s configuration, you will need to locate your wireless settings and change to the following suggested settings:
- Channel Width = 20MHz (this will be set to Auto or 20/40MHz by default)
- Channel = 1 or 6 or 11 (you will need to save and test each of these channels to find the one that performs the best for your local area)
(will only be available if you have an AC or AX dual-band router)
- Channel Width = 20MHz or 40MHz (Will be on Auto or 20/40/80MHz by default. Pick 20MHz if you are surrounded by a lot of other WiFi networks in your local area)
- Channel = Auto (the channel doesn’t matter so much for 5GHz unless you’re surrounded by a lot of other WiFi networks in your local area. If so, try cycling through the available channels, saving and testing each one to see which performs the best)
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