Contractors’ fairy lights could be responsible for slow wi-fi
OfCom has surprised many people this week by revealing that slow broadband speeds this Christmas could have an unusual culprit: fairy lights. Those who might be trying to watch V or films online, or even just do some online shopping to avoid the crowds in the high street could find themselves frustrated by slower speeds which might be attributable to their Christmas decorations.
The regulator has also pointed the finger at baby monitors and microwaves as potential wi-fi blockers and noted that a number of home internet users don’t actually have their network set up properly, all of which can contribute to the slow speeds that some are plagued by. This is a particularly problematic situation for contractors and freelancers who work from home and might find that they are unable to maintain effective contact with their clients, but Ofcom has released a new app designed to help people test their wi-fi and identify potential causes for slow speeds.
The app means that users will be able to detect and troubleshoot problems with their wi-fi, although this will be of small comfort to the 2.4 million houses and 130,000 SMEs who are unable to get speeds of more than 10 mbit/s and for whom fairly lights are likely to be only part of the problem. Festive decorations and lack of coverage aren’t the only things that can have a negative impact on wi-fi though – the same scientific principles that make fairly lights a likely culprit also applies to a wide range of other household items which emit electromagnetic radiation, including fridges, toasters, cordless telephones and other people’s wi-fi networks. People themselves are also pretty effective at absorbing wi-fi, not to mention speakers and insulation, so although fairy lights could be responsible for a slight slowing in the speed of home broadband, the average house is jam-packed with things that could contribute to slower wi-fi. With any luck, the New Year will bring more efficient broadband for contractors throughout the country, whether they take down their fairy lights or not.
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