Here's our Hardware Tip for.. May 11, 2007
Click Here to see a complete list of all of our previously released Tips!
Having a wireless network in your home or office is great. You can check your e-mail in bed and work from the living room with the ball game on TV. You're also no longer chained to your desk. You can take your laptop to a meeting and stay connected to your network and the Internet. What happens, however, when your signal doesn't extend to the kitchen, or to the last few offices in your corridor?
We lost our wireless connection less than 50 linear feet from the access point in a wood-frame house. Many wireless users have similar complaints. Wi-Fi, officially known as the 802.11b standard, is supposed to be better than that. But vendors invoke very broad caveats because of the many causes of dead zones in a Wi-Fi network. Many buildings have structural elements that can block radio transmissions, including Wi-Fi. Even passing through wood and drywall may limit the power of your access point's signal.
In addition, Wi-Fi uses the same basic radio technology as 2.4-GHz cordless phones. Such phones, and especially their base stations, can cause interference. If you have a phone base and a wireless AP, keep them as far apart as you can.
Microwave ovens are another major source of Wi-Fi interference. These devices throw out enough radio waves in the Wi-Fi range to make communications unreliable within a few feet of a microwave. But interference occurs only when the microwave is in use, and it usually extends no farther than 10 feet from the oven.