Why does microwave affect WiFi?


Microwave ovens are a common household appliance that most people use on a regular basis. Many people don’t know that microwaves can affect wifi signals. Microwaves produce electromagnetic radiation which can disrupt the wifi signal. If you have a lot of appliances in your home that use wifi, like smart TVs and gaming consoles, you may experience disruptions in your wifi signal when you’re using the microwave.

Wifi signals are radio waves that transmit data over short distances. They can be disrupted by high-frequency radio waves which is what microwaves produce. Microwaves also create electrical currents in metal objects so if you have metal objects near where you’re using your microwave oven, they could interfere with your wifi signal too. That’s why microwaves are not recommended for homes with sensitive electronics equipment like pacemakers or electronic implants that use metal components.

So what does all this mean?

Well, for one thing, if you have a microwave in your kitchen it might be worth moving your wifi router to the opposite side of the room. If that’s not an option then placing barriers between them can help minimize disruptions.

The best way to avoid problems with wireless signals is to minimize the number of things that interfere with them. That means unplugging appliances like microwaves and cordless phones when you’re using your wireless devices, and avoiding routers with antennas that point in the same direction as your microwave.

It’s also a good idea to place your wifi router in a central location in your home, rather than near a wall or window. If you have to put it near a metal object like a filing cabinet, try to keep it at least six inches away. And if you have to put it near a water source, make sure the water is not flowing.

Some people find that they get better reception by moving their wifi router off the ground and onto a shelf or table. You might also want to try changing the channel on your router if you’re experiencing interference. For more tips, check out our article on how to boost your wifi signal.


So why does microwave affect WiFi?

Microwaves and wifi routers both use radio waves to send and receive information. So it’s not surprising that they can interfere with each other if they’re placed too close together. In fact, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has specific regulations about how close microwaves and wifi routers can be to each other.

If you’re having trouble connecting to the internet or getting a weak signal, one possible explanation is that your microwave is interfering with your wifi router. To test this theory, try turning off your microwave and see if your wifi connection improves. If it does, then you know that the problem is caused by microwave.

One thing microwaves can do is emit “Microwave Pulses” which sounds more intimidating than it actually is. Microwave pulses are transmissions sent out by microwaves in short bursts (about a million times per second). The source of the microwave pulses doesn’t really matter because object being affected by the microwave pulse will respond to whatever part of the pulse hits them.

Pulses emitted from microwaves behave similarly to how sound waves work. When you clap your hands or slam a door, your hands or the door act as the “source” of the sound, and they emit it outward. The rest of the elements (in this case air) will vibrate based on how intense the initial sound was (louder sounds produce larger vibrations).

Microwave pulses react similarly to regular sound waves — if microwaves are closer to you, you’ll hear them at a higher volume. If microwaves are further away, then you’ll hear them at a lower volume. When one microwave pulse hits an object like your wifi router, that object responds by vibrating at whatever frequency the pulse hit it at. So it’s not so much what is being affected by the pulse, but more so where in relation to your wifi router you are standing when the pulse is emitted.

Since microwaves are constantly bombarding your wifi router with pulses, the router is constantly vibrating, which in turn affects the communication between your devices and the router. This is what causes poor connectivity and even dropped connections. It’s also why microwave ovens can interfere with wireless signals — when the oven is on, it emits waves of microwaves that can drown out or distort the regular waves coming from your wifi router.

So if you’re having trouble streaming a movie or keeping a consistent connection on your phone, it might be worth moving your microwave to another part of the kitchen (or turning it off completely). And if you’re ever experiencing low signal strength no connection at all, try moving your router away from any potential sources of electromagnetic interference, like microwaves, cordless phones, and TVs.

There’s no real way to completely eliminate the possibility of microwave-induced wifi interference, but taking these simple precautions can help ensure that your device’s signal is as strong as possible.

When a microwave works, it emits radio waves at a frequency of 2450 MHz. If you have a 2.4 GHz wireless network in your home or office, you may be experiencing interference when the microwave is on. This is most likely to happen when the microwave is running on its highest power settings and operating very close to your wireless router (less than 1 room away). Odds are that if the microwave is interfering with your Wi-Fi signal, turning off the microwave will fix it right up for you.

How to reduce interference?

If that doesn’t work or there’s no way for you to avoid using the microwave while using wireless networks then there are some things you can do to reduce interference:

  • Turn off automatic updates – this will prevent Windows from constantly trying to connect to wireless networks and looking for the best, fastest connection. If you have a good router and your internet is quick enough that it’s constantly trying to look online then just shutting this feature off will avoid unnecessary interference.
  • Disable UPnP – Universal Plug and Play enables devices on a network to communicate with one another easily without manual configuration. However, some routers don’t do a great job of filtering out which devices actually need/want UPNP enabled as opposed to those who should be using other methods instead. In short, if you see UPnP as an option in your Wi-Fi settings then disable it until the microwave issue has been dealt with.
  • Be aware of your environment – Microwaves emit radiation at frequencies very similar to those of 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi routers. Meanwhile, cordless phones operate at 900 MHz and Bluetooth devices on the standard bluetooth frequency of 2.45 GHz – all of which are essentially transmitting in the same exact bands that Wi-Fi runs on.
  • To avoid interference, try changing your router channel from 10 or ‘auto’ to channel 1 or 11 instead as they’re not being used by most other devices which could cause issues for your wireless connectivity
  • Keep it wired – Wired connections are usually more stable than their wireless counterparts so if constant connection problems appear while using a microwave oven then wired should be the first option you explore
  • Avoid dual-band – It’s worth noting that older routers only support 2.4GHz bands and not the 5GHz band. If you’re using a dual-band router, then try disabling the 5GHz band when the microwave is in use
  • Place your router higher up – Wi-Fi signals lose power the further they travel so if you can, try to place your router on a shelf or mantlepiece as high up as possible to get the best connection quality

These are just a few tips to help minimize any interference that may be caused by microwaves and improve your Wi-Fi signal quality. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that microwaves and Wi-Fi signals operate on completely different frequencies so there will always be some amount of interference no matter what you do. Just try these quick tips and see if it helps improve the connection quality in your home.

If you are still having issues connecting to WiFi, then you will need to get a network professional to have a look.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...