A British regulatory agency is using the holiday season to remind Internet users that–believe it or not–indoor Christmas lights can affect the performance of Wi-Fi routers. Ofcom, which recently released a Wi-Fi checker for millions of British Internet users, notes that Christmas lights can cause interference and poorer performance.
According to Ofcom, Christmas lights (along with a variety of other household lights and electronics) can cause diminished Wi-Fi performance due to unshielded wires causing interference. The same problem can also be caused by microwaves, baby monitors, poorly installed home wiring, or a number of other culprits.
Cisco adds that many home electronics can also potentially interfere with Wi-Fi receptivity if there are wiring issues.
“Because your wireless network is much less powerful than a big FM transmitter and its waves are weaker, where you place the router and what you have in your house will have an impact,” Andrew Smith, senior lecturer in networking at The Open University, wrote for The Conversation. “Home electrics, microwaves, steel girders, concrete cladding and foil insulation all can have an effect.”