Radio frequency interference is the presence of unwanted signals in the radio frequency spectrum used by WiFi networks (most commonly 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz). These unwanted signals are typically transmitted by other electronic devices that use the same radio waves as WiFi networks.
Because of RF interference, WiFi access points and users may become unable to transmit data, reducing their throughput and causing delays and performance degradation.
As such, it’s important to proactively eliminate RF interference by reducing its sources and designing WiFi networks to accommodate certain types of interference.
The most common causes of RF interference are:
Other, less common sources of RF interference include video cameras, baby monitors, power lines, electrical railroad tracks, and direct satellite providers.
Eliminating RF interference requires not only a good understanding of its causes but also a structured approach supported by RF planning software.
Most WiFi equipment vendors advise users who are experiencing problems with RF interference to simply switch to a different WiFi channel, one that’s less busy. While sound in theory, this advice often fails to deliver the desired results in practice because there are only three non-interfering WiFi channels in the 2.4 GHz band.
What’s more, switching to a different WiFi channel only solves continuous RF interference produced by other WiFi networks. To guarantee flawless performance, it’s also necessary to deal with intermitted RF interference by improving the so-called Signal-to-Noise (SNR) Ratio, a measure used in science and engineering that compares the level of a desired signal to the level of background noise.
There are two ways how SNR can be improved: either by decreasing interference or increasing signal gain. The former can be accomplished by eliminating as many sources of RF interference as possible or, in some cases, by using the 5 GHz band. The latter can be accomplished by increasing the power or density of WiFi access points.
Regardless of the chosen approach, an RF interference scanner should be used to gather supporting information and help determine the best possible course of action for minimizing or eliminating RF interference. This can be achieved with the help of the right RF interference WiFi tool.
It comes equipped with more than 15 heatmap visualizations for analysis and troubleshooting WiFi networks, and they include signal-to-noise ratio (macOS only), signal level, quality of access points, noise level (macOS only), signal-to-interference ratio, frequency band coverage, PHY mode coverage, wireless transmit rate, and more.
With NetSpot’s visualizations, it’s easy to discover sources of RF interference and areas of signal weakness, also called dead zones, and know exactly what type of equipment to get and where to install it in order to eliminate RF interference.
In addition to the assortment of heatmap visualizations, NetSpot offers many other features that make it one of the best RF interference detection software solutions on the market, such as a customizable enterprise-level report builder, cross-project survey data sharing, automatic predictive multi-floor AP positioning, basic graphic editor for quick area maps, and project auto-saving, just to name a few.
NetSpot works on any MacBook running macOS 10.10+ or Windows 7/8/10 laptop with a standard 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless network adapter. With NetSpot, RF interference becomes a simple problem to solve and getting started couldn’t be easier thanks to the risk-free full-featured trial of NetSpot PRO.