Knowledge Base

How to Identify and Reduce Wireless Signal Interference


This article contains information regarding possible sources of signal interference with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.


With the increasing number of wireless devices in our environment, wireless signal interference becomes a concern for connection stability and overall performance, it is important to understand what causes interference so that you can effectively reduce interface and enhance wireless performance.

Wi-Fi technologies can use both the 2.4 GHz or 5.0 GHz transmission bandwidths. Bluetooth only uses the 2.4 GHz transmission bandwidth.

Because these bandwidths are also shared by many household and office devices, relocation of some devices may be necessary to reduce competing device interference.

Some signs that you may be experiencing interference are:
  • Intermittent wireless connections
  • Unable to pair Bluetooth devices properly
  • Slow performance on one device when another is being used
  • Wireless signal strength decreases within normal ranges from the router
  • Decreased download and upload speeds
It is possible to reduce the interface in your environment, if you are able to effectively isolate the cause(s) and take steps to reduce the interference.

To identify every device in your environment using the 2.4GHz and 5.0 GHz bandwidths, it will be necessary to check the specifications on every electronic device. Keep in mind that while they may not list the bandwidth, they are using these radio frequencies if they are noted to be "Bluetooth", "Wi-Fi" or "Wireless" devices. Here are some of the more common devices that can cause interference:
  • Microwaves
  • Cordless Phones
  • Tablets
  • Direct Satellite Service
  • Certain external electrical sources such as power lines, electrical railroad tracks, and power stations
  • Wi-Fi Cameras
  • Baby Monitors
  • 2-Way Radios
It is also possible to have interference from construction materials used in the building you are in (Table 1). The following chart may assist with placement of the router and devices:
Material Interference Sample Use

Wood/wood paneling

Low

Inside a wall or hollow door

Drywall

Low

Inside walls (every wall between the router and the wireless device degrades the signal more)

Plaster

Low

Inside walls (Without wire mesh)

Furniture

Low

Couches or office partitions

Clear glass

Low

Windows

Tinted glass

Medium

Windows

People

Medium

High-volume traffic areas that have considerable pedestrian traffic

Ceramic tile

Medium

Walls

Concrete blocks

Medium/high

Outer wall construction

Bricks

Medium

Walls

Marble

Medium

Counter Tops

Mirrors

High

Mirror or reflective glass

Metals

High

Metal office partitions, doors, metal office furniture

Water

High

Aquariums, rain, fountains

Table 1: Construction Materials

Besides competing signal interference, other hardware and even natural environmental elements can interfere with signal reception/transmission. Some common, and not so common environmental factors to consider are these:
  • Electrical Load Centers (Fuse boxes or electrical conduits)
  • Metal panels/sheeting in the roof or walls, including stucco lathe in exterior walls
  • Pine Trees
  • Sunspots/Solar activity

To reduce the interference on your wireless network, ensure that you are reducing the number of devices in the area. Additionally, you can attempt to use a different wireless channel that has less traffic. To increase wireless bandwidth, it will be necessary to keep interferences in mind while setting up your work space.



Quick Tips content is self-published by the Dell Support Professionals who resolve issues daily. In order to achieve a speedy publication, Quick Tips may represent only partial solutions or work-arounds that are still in development or pending further proof of successfully resolving an issue. As such Quick Tips have not been reviewed, validated or approved by Dell and should be used with appropriate caution. Dell shall not be liable for any loss, including but not limited to loss of data, loss of profit or loss of revenue, which customers may incur by following any procedure or advice set out in the Quick Tips.

Article ID: SLN285294

Last Date Modified: 10/23/2017 10:59 AM


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