Millions of us seem blissfully unaware that our refrigerators could wreak havoc with those all-important broadband speeds. With office workers having to stay home this week due to the nationwide train strike, ensuring Wi-Fi is fully up to date is essential, and moving the router away from the fridge is a great place to start.
According to a new study from Zen’s broadband team, 90% of internet users didn’t know their fridge could drown out their Wi-Fi and slow their speed to a snail’s pace.
These annoying digital dropouts are caused by radio signals, emitted by refrigerators, interfering with broadband as it travels around the house.
The users most likely to see problems are those who have their router in the kitchen and hidden near the fridge – if that’s you, it’s a good idea to find a new position for that flashing little black box. The best for the router is in the open, as high as possible and away from anything that might interrupt the signal, including baby monitors and cordless phones.
In addition to this kitchen appliance affecting the speed, there are many other things that can slow down the Internet, including the neighbor’s Wi-Fi.
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Those who live in apartments are most likely to experience Wi-Fi conflicts, especially if the routers are broadcasting on the same channel.
According to Zen’s findings, more than three-quarters of respondents in the UK with broadband are unaware that their neighbors’ broadband router may be impeding their own connection.
Another worrying statistic from the research is that some broadband users think turning off their router is a good idea, with nearly one in seven also believing that turning off their router at night can improve its efficiency the next day. Some are even flipping the switch for energy conservation reasons amid the current cost of living crisis.
Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) including BT, Sky and Virgin advise not to turn off the router as this can prevent vital upgrades from taking place. Constantly turning things off and on again can also trick the ISP into thinking there’s a problem with the line, which means they’ll then slow things down to make sure a customer stays connected.
Speaking of the latest broadband research, Paul Stobart, CEO of Zen Internet, said: “UK households continue to rely on broadband for work and leisure – it has become essential to our daily lives. This means that having a fast and reliable connection has become an even more important non-negotiable. But even with the best internet service, there are a host of hidden inferences within the home, the negative impact of which many of us are completely unaware of. We hope that by exposing some of these common myths and misconceptions, as well as providing practical solutions, we can help households improve their experience and get the most out of their Wi-Fi.”