If you're interested in WiFi, love Christmas decorations -- or both -- you probably noticed recent reports out of the United Kingdom that your active holiday decor may be disrupting the WiFi signals in your home or business. Whether the impact is the result of shoddy electrical design by the manufacturers of the fairy lights (as they say in the UK) or a more sinister collusion between wireless router makers and the Christmas light industry to sell more wireless hardware is certainly a question that hangs in the air.
Are ugly, light-up sweaters responsible for mobile denials of service? That one is still being investigated, but there is one clear truth that wireless experts already know regardless of the holiday light dust-up: Non WiFi products very much can make wireless life miserable.
Without diving too deep into the technology, we can boil the problems down to a couple of regulatory realities. WiFi works in the unlicensed 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz frequency ranges. There are many other devices that also leverage the fact that you can transmit in these spectrums without expensive and complicated licensing requirements.
In addition, all the wireless devices that tend to step on each other are required to tolerate interference, unless you can change their channel to a non-polluted one within their operational profiles. In other words, interference is a fact of life under the current rules. Now that you know about pretty lights with evil intentions, let's take a look at a number of other common interferers that you may not be aware of.
Lee is a Wireless Network Architect for a large private university. He has also tought classes on networking, wireless network administration, and wireless security. Lee's technical background includes 10 years in the US Air Force as an Electronic Warfare systems technician ... View Full Bio