New survey warns neighbors that Wi-Fi could be slowing down your network

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A new Censuswide survey of 2,001 people in the UK (aged 16+) with a broadband connection, commissioned by UK ISP Zen Internet, found that 99% of respondents were not aware of all the factors that could slow down their Wi-Fi connection and 76% did not. don’t know that their neighbor’s broadband router may be interfering with their own connection.

In addition, some 90% did not know their “the fridge can also drown out WiFi connections due to stray radio signals if placed too close to the router“. But we’ve actually done some anecdotal testing of this with our Samsung fridge and found it hard to pinpoint any problem, other than the much more obvious disturbance caused by the large metal body of the fridge itself.

Almost a quarter (23%) of respondents alsothink devices should be placed next to a router to get the best connectionwhich sounds like something Zen passes off as a myth, but it’s not wrong. Zen counters that “modern routers are capable of providing sufficient connectivity for devices distributed throughout a home,” which is true. But it’s not the same as looking for the “better connection” (i.e. fastest speeds), where performance decreases as you move further away (i.e. low power signal weakens due to interference and collides to more walls, objects, etc.).

Summary of other survey results

➤ 14% ​​believe that turning off their router at night can improve its efficiency the next day, with some perhaps turning it off to save energy amid the current cost of living crisis.

➤ 29% believe “hotspot from mobile device” will give a better connection than connecting to WiFi while a reliable broadband connection should be a superior option.

➤ 54% don’t realize that raising your router can improve your connection. While positioning your router as centrally as possible in the house will help improve range throughout the house, where that isn’t possible, positioning your router in an elevated location will help the signal spread further.

➤ 30% were forced to connect to 4G or 5G networks when their WiFi network was not up to date.

➤ 23% have invested in a WiFi repeater, which generally improves the connection (we assume these are also Mesh repeaters).

➤ 16% avoided switching broadband ISPs for fear of an Internet outage caused by the switch.

When asked whether or not you should turn off your router at night, the answer would definitely be NO for those with a copper broadband line (ADSL, FTTC/VDSL2 or G.fast) – this could result in management line dynamics. (DLM) to assume your line is unstable and lower the speed (note: this is not a problem on “full fiber” FTTP lines).

However, we have found that some routers and their storage/log files can get a little clogged over time or the configuration files can get corrupted, meaning they can still benefit from a very heavy power cycle. rare (reset) to clear memory. . But this often only improves device performance and may not improve your broadband or wireless network speeds, etc.

On the question of “hotspot from mobile device“, we were a bit confused about this one because it’s expressed as a belief in getting a better connection than connecting to WiFi, except creating a hotspot on a smartphone also creates a WiFi network, even if powered by your mobile broadband (4G or 5G) connection instead of the landline.

Zen states that “broadband is the most reliable broadband connection available for households and the best option for supporting tasks such as streaming, gaming and video conferencing calls,” but that overlooks the fact that some people live in areas where the local mobile network is actually faster than landlines (myself included, until recently). In other words, context and place matter.

Finally, on the key question of whether your neighbor’s WiFi can interfere with your own signal, it’s true. Modern routers, especially those based on the WiFi 5 (802.11ac) and WiFi 6/6E (802.11ax) standards, are much better at handling crowded environments automatically, but there are limitations. If possible, it’s best to connect via the shorter-range 5 GHz or 6 GHz bands (most interference will be on 2.4 GHz as it travels farther).

We recommend our ‘Top Tips for Boosting the Speed ​​of Your Home Wi-Fi Wireless Network‘ article for more help.

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