Baby monitors blamed for slow Wi-Fi

Too many unlicensed devices use 2.4GHz band

Slow Wi-Fi connections in urban areas may be caused by baby monitors and other unlicensed devices that operate on the 2.4GHz band, says Ofcom.

A survey commissioned by the regulator, which was conducted by Mass Consulting, revealed that congestion has less to do with overlapping networks and more to do with the number of devices using the band.

"There is a view that some domestic users generate excessive amounts of Wi-Fi traffic, denying access to other users," says the report.

"Our research suggests that this is not the case, rather the affected parties are almost certainly seeing interference from non-Wi-Fi devices such as microwave ovens, Audio Video senders, security cameras or baby monitors.

"It only requires a single device, such as an analogue video sender, to severely affect Wi-Fi services within a short range, such that a single large building or cluster of houses can experience difficulties with using a single Wi-Fi channel," added the report.

The report suggests adding a '2.4GHz friendly' logo to any device that uses the band could go a long way to solving the issue.

"The baby monitor market is one example where this approach has already arisen through market forces, with 'Wi-Fi-friendly' appearing on the datasheets for the new generation of digital video monitors."

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Carrie-Ann Skinner

PC Advisor (UK)
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