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Christmas lights might be slowing down your Wi-Fi

British telecoms watchdog Ofcom warns about electrical inteference

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The problems with your internet are, everyone knows, arcane and demanding. Do you have thick walls? Is your provider throttling your speeds? Maybe your router just doesn't look evil enough? These are all potential difficulties, but here's one you might not have heard of before: Christmas lights. According to advice from British telecoms watchdog Ofcom, electrical interference from your festive decorations could tangling be up your Wi-Fi. This is a seasonal issue, with ISPs receiving a spike in complaints during the holiday period, and blinking lights are apparently the worst offenders.

Microwaves and cordless phones can also interfere with Wi-Fi

This isn't new advice, as all sorts of electrical appliances can mess with your internet, but Ofcom has issued the warning as it launches a new Wi-Fi checker app for troubleshooting dodgy connections. According to a whitepaper published by Cisco, other appliances that can cause trouble include "microwave ovens, cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, wireless video cameras, outdoor microwave links, wireless game controllers, [...] and so on."

There are lots of solutions to this sort of Wi-Fi interference, but it depends on the individual's situation. You might want to try switching which channels your Wi-Fi is broadcasting on (you can usually do this using software from your ISP or your router's manufacturer); use equipment that operates on the less-congested 5GHz band; or simply move devices that could be causing problems. That might mean setting up your Christmas lights away from your router, but what good is festive cheer without decent Wi-Fi?