Struggling with poor internet connection at home? Ofcom says microwaves could have an impact

Is this household appliance causing you internet problems?
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  • If slow internet has been making working from home problematic, there could be an unlikely reason behind.

    Many of us are now working from the comfort of our own homes, sharing the space with partners and children – who also need to use the internet. In fact, BT Openreach says it has seen a 20 per cent surge in internet use over the past week.

    This undoubtedly has a knock-on effect on connection speed.

    But for those who are struggling to maintain a strong connection — Ofcom has revealed a certain household appliance could be having an impact on internet, without you even realising.

    Read our guide here: How to make the internet faster and boost your broadband speed

    Why is internet connection slow at home?

    Image credit: Richard Gadsby

    The pesky product in question? Your microwave. That’s right, turning on the microwave could slow internet connection down.

    Ofcom advises not to ‘use the microwave when making video calls, watching HD videos or doing something important online’ because it reduces WiFi signal strength.

    The advice was included in the seven tips the regulator posted on its website, for staying connected during the lockdown. Other methods for faster connection include only using landlines or WiFi to make phone calls. And keeping broadband routers away from other wireless devices, such as TVs, speakers and baby monitors.

    It also suggests reducing demand on the connection, by turning off wireless devices that are not in use — such as iPads and TVs. These still place demand on your connection, even when not being actively used.

    Related: The unexpected way homeowners can help NHS staff as they fight coronavirus

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    Ofcom also advises to use wired rather than wireless connections where possible. Such as plugging laptops into routers directly.

    On its blog it says, ‘You might also want to manage your family’s online activity. So that different people aren’t carrying out data-heavy tasks (like HD streaming, gaming or video calls) all at the same time.’

    Related: Our favourite home office set-ups on Instagram – for self-isolating inspo!

    For those still having problems, Ofcom says to contact your broadband provider who should be able to give specific advice.

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