Do your Christmas lights slow your Wi-Fi?

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– It’s that time of year – time to decorate for the holidays and put up those lights. But did you know that your Christmas lights could be affecting your Wi-Fi?

When you’re putting up your lights outside or on your tree you’re probably thinking about what colors you want and how you want to arrange them. But you’re probably not thinking about how they’ll affect your smartphones and other devices.

But experts say that’s something that can happen. That’s because of interference. Wi-Fi uses electromagnetic signals in the air to transmit information. And your wireless gadgets contend to use the frequency channels in the air. Interference happens if the frequencies are close.

So there could be no interference between your lights and the signals that your Wi-Fi is using. But light and other environmental factors can affect Wi-Fi signals and make them weaker. We often use Wi-Fi in conditions that could affect the signal – like on a hot summer day or in the rain. So experts say there’s no need to move your lights or turn them off.

“The signal could be affected or attenuated by the environmental factors but the effect will not be so much that it’ll be realized by human perception,” said Amir Esmailpour, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, University of New Haven.

The walls in your house or your heat could have about the same effect on your Wi-Fi. So unless you have a lot of lights at your house, you probably won’t see a big difference.

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