Baby monitors, microwaves said to cause Wi-Fi interference

U.K. report calls for greater regulation, but problem not seen as serious in U.S.

A report from a regulatory authority in the U.K. has found that baby monitors, security cameras and microwave ovens are causing interference for Wi-Fi users, moreso than overlapping Wi-Fi signals.

The findings are mainly pertinent to crowded urban areas in Britain, but could also pertain to the U.S., especially in apartment buildings where radio waves pass through neighbors' walls, one U.S. analyst said.

The report, issued by independent authority Ofcan and prepared by Mass Consulting, calls for more regulation of devices in the 2.4GHz band to avoid interference.

Craig Mathias, an analyst at Farpoint Group, said such interference in the U.S. is "not a big problem," except possibly in high-density residential buildings.

Mathias has urged apartment developers to install Wi-Fi for use by all residents on a leased basis to avoid overlapping Wi-Fi networks between apartments and condominiums.

But he also said he has seen situations where baby monitors and wireless security cameras have caused Wi-Fi interference. Also, microwave ovens can cause interference.

Within business settings, Mathias said he urges IT managers to operate 802.11n wireless LANs in the 5GHz band, instead of the 2.4GHz band where most of the interference is experienced.

If that's not possible, Mathias said that an IT manager needs to "keep an eye on the problem" by frequently checking network management logs and using a Wi-Fi oriented spectrum analyzer to make spot-checks.

Baby monitors can be made to operate in 2.4GHz or 900MHz, so there is a possibility of interference in the 2.4GHz band, Mathias said.

Interference can result in a number of problems, including slow performance over a Wi-Fi channel.

An AT&T Inc. spokesman said the wireless carrier operates 20,000 hotspots and has engineered them to avoid overlapping and interference. He said interference is not significant.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags wirelessWi-Fi

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments



Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?