How does my microwave oven affect a wireless router?

  1. My daughter claims that when she runs our microwave oven, it disables her laptop computer connection to our wireless router. What might cause that? Will we be sterlizied?? (just joking...I think!!)

    One possibility is that when the microwave oven draws power sparking from a loose 120 wall plug might create noise...but the plug seems secure in the wall outlet.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    It is possible, microwave ovens operate across the 2.4Ghz band used by Wifi (and Bluetooth).
    Although the oven is shielded well enough to stop the microwaves damaging you, a wifi antenna is very sensitive and you only need a few millionths of the power from the oven leaking out to affect a wifi link.

    Try setting your wifi router to different channels.
     
  4. You could try lining the oven with foil :)

    Edit: On the outside, not the inside!
     
  5. Defennder

    Defennder 2,616
    Homework Helper

    Strange I never had my microwave affect my wireless internet connection.
     
  6. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,439
    Gold Member

    I am still running my wireless network at 2.4GHz because my stupid wireless phone is all over the 5.8GHz band.
     
  7. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Does anyone have any 802.11a kit that can run at 5GHz - I've never seen any.
    Sometimes there is enough difference between channel 1 and 11 on the 2.4GHz band to get away from some interference.
     
  8. Older microwave ovens can affect your wireless signal badly, the older the technology of your microwave the worse it can be, the magnetron in more modern microwaves are designed more in line with wireless technology. The worst microwaves are 1080watt and 1200watt. Most new microwave ovens will not make much difference.

    The RF frequencies from older microwaves affect the higher channels 802.11b/g worse than the lower, so if your wireless router picks itself a channel and choose 11 you may be in trouble, unless you plan on replacing your microwave oven for a newer model, then I suggest configuring your wireless rouhter to work on channel 1, or at least channel 6 or lower.

    I just finished trouble shooting a campus wireless problem involving someone who had a really old microwave oven in her office, it was ancient, as soon as somehting was cooked and the door was opened, it knocked everyone off completely and people could not authenticate again for up 15 minutes. The oven blanketed the air with interfering RF signals that just choked everything.

    See also this article

    http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/tutorials/article.php/3116531
     
  9. If it's leaking enough to damage the connection, wouldn't that be enough that it may be damaged and not containing it and a risk to you?

    Also this makes me worry, with WiFis using this microwave range. I sit right next to my WiFi for hours on end, am I cooking my brain?

    Using a guess of the WiFi wattage at 0.06 and my microwave oven at 600W, that means 2.8 hours by my router = a second of my oven's microwave wattage...

    I can easily spend 3h on the comp a day (yeah I know, sad) so.... I don't like the idea of exposing myself to 6 minutes in the microwave every year...

    Brain cancer scares me the most, would a tin foil hat help?
     
  10. I don't know if you are serious or just kidding, probably both.

    One thing to consider when comparing the 2, when you use a microwave, the food is enclosed in the microwave. But in case of the Antenna, your head receives only a part of the radiation.

    So a hat, partially covered with tin foil would suffice.

    Also, when you consider the wattage for comparison, you are assuming equal efficiency of both devices.
     
  11. 802.11a _is_ always at 5GHz...see the wiki entries. Here's a Dlink AP that does them all:
    http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=304
    b and g are at 2.4Ghz and subject to oven interactions.

    I wonder if the OP's oven is damaged and leaking. Some moving-around of components might enlighten the situation.
     
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