Wireless Interference

The Albion College wireless network transmits on the standard 2.4 ghz and 5 ghz radio frequencies. These radio waves are subject to interference from active and passive sources. Knowing about the sources of such radio interference can help you position your wireless devices to limit or avoid interference.

Active Sources of Wireless Interference:

An active source of wireless interference is usually a device that emits a radio signal on the same 2.4 ghz frequency as the wireless network.  Below is a list of common devices that can emit 2.4 ghz radio signals and can thus be potential sourches of wireless interference:

  • Cordless Phones (2.4 ghz) - Cordless phones that use the 2.4 ghz frequency can cause severe wireless signal interference
  • Bluetooth devices - Bluetooth devices transmit over a short range 2.4 ghz signal. Many cell phones, game controllers, cordless mice and other devices use Bluetooth.
  • Other wireless networks - Multiple wireless networks setup within close range can cause mutual interference.
  • Other wireless devices - Many other devices, such as wireless keyboards and mice, use the 2.4 ghz frequency
  • Microwave ovens - Improperly shielded microwave ovens can emit 2.4 ghz frequency radio waves
  • Video Players - Devices such as AppleTV, Chromecast, or Roku players frequently transmit on the same frequencies as wireless.

If you find that you have a poor or inconsistent wireless signal in your room, see if you have any of these devices nearby. In most cases, simply moving your wireless device farther away from the source of interference is enough to solve the problem.

Sometimes, however, it is necessary to remove the interfering device from the environment. This step can be problematic if the device is immovable or doesn't belong to you. Under such circumstances, testing your wireless device in various locations may be your only option.

Tips to improve wireless access:

  • Place a work request, or contact the Helpdesk. IT can resolve many connection issues, if we know you are having trouble.
  • Replace, or relocate, your microwave - The biggest cause of interference in residential wireless networks are old or poorly shielded microwave ovens. A microwave that causes such interference is likely faulty and needs to be replaced.
  • Moving your device closer to the hallway will improve signal strength. The access points in the hallways are generally easy to see – place your device so that there are the fewest possible number of obstructions between the device and the access point.
  • Turn around – the Human Body is a great absorber of radio frequencies. Make sure you do not place yourself between the device and the access point.
  • Turn off interfering wireless devices – Bluetooth devices, gamebox controllers, smart TV’s, and other wireless electronics cause interference on the wifi. Powering these down when not in use will reduce interference.
  • Update your drivers – make sure your laptop has the most current drivers for the wireless connection. Visit the Helpdesk if you need assistance.
  • Switch to 5 ghz – the 5 ghz channel is less susceptible to interference. Most newer laptops are able to choose between 2.4 ghz and 5 ghz. Visit the Helpdesk if you need assistance.