The British internet regulator Ofcom has suggested not using a microwave while working or entertaining yourself at home in order to get a better Wi-Fi signal.
“Did you know that microwave ovens can also reduce Wi-Fi signals? So don’t use the microwave when you’re making video calls, watching HD videos or doing something important online” the authority wrote in a blog post. It’s worth pointing out, though, that the microwave interference only affects the 2.4GHz wireless band, so it can be avoided if your router supports the 5GHz band.
Ofcom’s advice comes at a time when many people are working from home during the coronavirus pandemic and placing increased pressure on the internet.
Other tips for improving your internet experience offered by the authority are move conventional. They include positioning your wireless router away from other devices that will interfere with signals (cordless phones, baby monitors, halogen lamps, dimmer switches, stereos, computer speakers, TVs, and monitors are listed), to turn off video during internet calls, and to make those calls at unconventional times rather than on the hour.
Using an Ethernet cable is also recommended rather than relying on a Wi-Fi connection, and avoiding using a telephone extension lead as they can “cause interference.” Tablets and smartphones, the regulator says, are often operating in the background so turning off wireless connections can help alleviate stress on home networks.
With so many people working from home, digital infrastructure is facing challenges keeping up with demand. When Europe started self-isolating, Microsoft’s workplace communication software Teams struggled and many users experienced problems sending messages and connecting to the server. COVID-19 isn’t crashing the internet (yet) at least, and companies such as Netflix, YouTube, and Disney have already agreed to reduce their video streaming quality in order to compensate.