What can I do about local interference that wipes out both N wavebands?

Discussion in 'Home Networking' started by tim, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. I've got two different brands of home plug kit in my house, and it makes no
    difference to my wifi speed having them on or off. Nor does using my
    microwave or cordless phone. However, IIRC microwaves and cordless phones
    are well known for causing wifi interference, and wifi can have problems
    living with baby monitors and the like, as they all use the same bit of
    spectrum. You can only have three wifi networks in one area running at full
    speed before you start running out of channels and getting interference -
    everyone local to me uses the low channels for some reason so I pick a high
    channel and get full speed. But if my neighbours all wanted to use wifi and
    picked a good channel, then I'd clash with at least one of them. It's a
    basic "feature" of current wifi setups. So what do I do in that situation -
    give up on wifi and use mains networking, or given up on networking
    entirely? Network cables running all over the house aren't safe when used
    for laptops on the move round the house.

    In the example you give above about the bonfire - the person hanging out
    their washing is stopping the person with leaves/wood having a nice fire.
    Perhaps they want to get so,e friends round,sit round the fire, have a few
    beers and a laugh - something they are allowed to do. Yes they should try
    and reach an agreement with the owner of the washing so that they can both
    do what they want to do, but the poster moaning about mains networking
    wants it to not be used at all, full stop. Which seems selfish, given how
    useful the technology can be.
    Simon Finnigan, Jul 23, 2011
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  2. The problem is that there seems to be no attempt to reach a compromise -
    all I've ever seen is the general attitude that all mains networking is
    evil and should be banned forever. Wifi doesn't have the bandwidth, and
    running cables to every possible outlet is a massive job - mains networking
    gives me a fast connection exactly where I need it, with no measurable
    interference to any standard, common uses of the spectrum around my way.
    Simon Finnigan, Jul 23, 2011
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  3. tim

    Daniel James Guest

    I'm not sure what compromise there needs to be?

    I've seen a certain amount of evidence that suggests that mains
    networking can be unreliable and/or consistently fails to achieve the
    bandwidth claimed by the vendors ... but that was some time ago and I
    believe quality has improved.

    I have heard anecdotally that mains networking can interfere with other
    equipment ... but frankly I'm not personally aware of any specific case
    in which mains networking has been shown to be unquestionably the cause
    of problems.
    There *are* things that I think are evil and should be banned forever,
    but mains networking has never been one of them!

    I would (still) tend to avoid mains networking because of concerns over
    its reliability. I've also heard that the electricity distribution
    companies are unhappy that their cabling may be being used to transmit
    data between different premises without their collecting any revenue
    for the privilege, and that prompts a concern that some sort of
    charging scheme (or blocking of signals) may be dreamt up in the

    I've not heard that it's intrinsically evil.

    However, I can well believe that it would be possible for damaged or
    sub-standard mains networking kit (as is the case with other kinds of
    poor quality kit) might cause interference. I can sympathize with
    anyone who may suffer from such interference, and I should like to
    think that they might have some recourse against the user of the bad
    I must say that I will always prefer a wired connection when I can get
    it -- and if I were having my home rewired I would certainly put a 1GB
    ethernet port (or two) in every room -- and that WiFi generally has all
    the bandwidth I need when I haven't got a wired connection available.
    YMMV, of course, and if mains networking works for you and doesn't
    upset your neighbours (as I'm sure it needn't) then good for you!

    Daniel James, Jul 24, 2011
  4. tim

    Daniel James Guest

    No, I disagree.

    The fire is active, the washing is passive. The presence of the fire
    means that the other person can't hang out their washing, but the
    presence of the washing doesn't stop the first person from lighting
    their fire -- it just means that the washing will (probably) be dirtied
    and have to be washed again.

    Your argument (that the washing prevents the fire) only applies if the
    person wanting the fire actually cares about their neighbour and takes
    their wishes into account. The converse (that the fire prevents the
    washing) applies whether the washer cares about their neighbour or not.
    Are they? It's a question of degree ... if they and their drunken
    friends thought that it was "a laugh" to throw petrol bombs over the
    garden wall and set light to the neighbours washing the neighbour would
    have every right to call the police. Where do you draw the line between
    smoke and fire? I'd say that any activity that might *actively* impinge
    on someone else's use of their own home/garden should be forbidden (or,
    at least, permitted only with that neighbour's agreement) ... within
    reason, of course -- a line still has to be drawn somewhere.
    I'm not sure that's true ... there was a post that suggested that Ofcom
    don't seem to want to do anything about "homeplug Ethernet-over-
    powerline crappy networking gear" which he alleged was "a notorious
    cause of wideband interference" ... but think he was only suggesting
    that such gear be banned if it was actually causing interference.

    I'm all in favour of not causing interference, but it's far from clear
    that HomePlug-type gear will necessarily cause any.

    Daniel James, Jul 24, 2011
  5. But me listening to my music in my back garden stops my neighbour enjoying
    their garden in silence. Listening to music in my own house at a reasonable
    volume can still drown out the tussling of leaves, should I be banned from
    listening to music in my own house? How bout talking to my wife in the back
    garden, which would cause the same problem. How about mowing my lawn, that
    makes lots of noise that may disturb a neighbour. What if I want to garden
    naked in my own back garden surrounded by a high fence - my neighbour may
    still see me and be upset. What if a fat woman wants to sunbathe in their
    back garden wearing a bikini - if their neighbour finds it offensive then
    surely that means we must ban this from happening.

    Where do you draw the line, when you start proposing to ban things that may
    upset other people you need to define limits.
    Simon Finnigan, Jul 25, 2011
  6. I find that wifi is fine for browsing, but not for moving any decently
    sized files. I use mains networking to keep the floors of my house
    connected, but run cables between the two rooms with the main PC's in. The
    alternative is running a very long cable along a very tortuous route.
    Simon Finnigan, Jul 25, 2011
  7. tim

    Daniel James Guest

    As I said: a line has to be drawn somewhere ... I can't tell you where
    to draw it. One should use a degree of common sense, and should be
    sensitive to the feelings of one's neighbours ... there is no "one size
    fits all".
    You can't define limits, because there is no set of limits that is
    appropriate for every situation. What you can do is say "you can't do
    this if it causes a nuisance" ... and if you do that thing and nobody
    complains then it must be assumed not to be causing a nuisance.

    If someone does complain then the case needs to be considered
    carefully. Is it reasonable to do that thing (at all)? Was it
    reasonable to complain about it? Is there some other way to do it that
    would not have given rise to the complaint?

    There can be no hard-and-fast rule as to what constitutes unacceptable
    behaviour, but there needs to be legislation to prevent it,

    Daniel James, Jul 26, 2011
  8. This could be the basis of a good game - get from subject A (e.g. wifi
    interference) to subject B (e.g. fat lady in bikini) in less than 5
    posts and without going off topic. :)

    Andrew Chapman, Jul 28, 2011
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