Dueling with Microwave Ovens Part 3

Microwave Ovens, Microwave Ovens Protection

Dueling with Microwave Ovens Part 2

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What do you do about interference from microwave ovens?

Consider the following countermeasures:

• Change access point channels. The microwave in use with this testing didnt severely degrade channels 1 through 6. As a result, avoid the use of these channels in areas of the building where microwave ovens operate. In fact, web browsing was very fast with the microwave running and the access point set to channel 1 and channel 6. Keep in mind, however, that your microwave ovens may operate at different frequencies within the 2.4GHz band. Check the label on the back of the microwave, which should provide the center operating frequency.

• Avoid using the WLAN near microwave ovens. Keep at least ten feet away from operating microwaves while actively using WLAN applications. This eliminates working from most company break rooms when the microwave is in use. The actual impacts would only be intermittent, though, when someone runs the microwave for a few minutes while heating up a burrito or cup of soup.
As you can see, microwave ovens wont completely bring down your WLAN. Just be aware of the situation, and of the applicable countermeasures.

Jim Geier provides independent consulting services to companies developing and deploying wireless network solutions. He is the author of the book, Wireless LANs and offers training focusing on WLANs.

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Dueling with Microwave Ovens Part 1

Microwave Ovens, Microwave Ovens Protection

Dueling with Microwave Ovens Part 2

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There’s been a lot of talk about microwave ovens causing interference with wireless LANs. Take a look at what was found when testing Wi-Fi in their presence.

Radio frequency (RF) interference causes wireless clients and access points to hold off transmitting, which causes delay and lower throughput. This resulting decrease in performance can make browsing websites and downloading files sluggish. In cases where interfering signals are strong enough, the wireless clients may not be able to access the LAN at all for an indefinite period of time. This is rare, but possible.

As a result, you need to be aware of potential sources of RF interference, such as cordless phones, other WLANs — and microwave ovens. In this tutorial, well focus on interference that microwave ovens create. Most microwaves emit signals that fall within the same 2.4GHz frequency band that 802.11b WLANs utilize. It’s something to think about when deploying.

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