How Holiday Lights Could Mess With Your Wi-Fi

PHOTO: A Christmas display lights up a home in an undated file photo.Getty Images
A Christmas display lights up a home in an undated file photo.

It's possible your holiday lights and your Wi-Fi may not get along -- and no, the Grinch isn't to blame.

Ofcom, an independent communications watchdog based in the United Kingdom, released a report today detailing how many external items -- including holiday lights -- can affect Wi-Fi performance if they're hooked up to the same electrical system as your Wi-Fi.

The report was released as the group debuted a new app, the Ofcom Wi-Fi Checker, which promises to help homes and businesses in the U.K. ensure they're getting their best connection.

Radio frequency interference from electronic items is of course nothing new. Cisco, the U.S.-based global networking company, has previously reported even the most innocuous items, including microwave ovens, cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, wireless video cameras, outdoor microwave links, wireless game controllers, and other household items, can interfere with Wi-Fi since they all operate within the same area of the electromagnetic spectrum.

If you notice slower speeds this holiday season -- or perhaps have another possible saboteur in your home -- a quick way to figure out if the item is to blame is to run an Internet speed test (Google the term plus your service provider to find one.) Next, run the test with the item plugged in and then unplugged to account for any differences.

Once the problem is located, you can try changing your Wi-Fi router channel or separating the router and the item that is slowing it down.