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Why do wi-fi signals fluctuate so much?

Posted on 2013-06-23
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Last Modified: 2013-07-08
Why do wi-fi signals fluctuate so much?

I can stand in one spot and check my wi-fi signal (and those of others) using wi-fi analyzer on my Nexus 4 and the wi-fi signals fluctuate constantly.

Why do they do this?
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Question by:asciiassasin
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6 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:SamGarner
ID: 39269164
If you click on your wifi connection it should tell you which channel you are on. Your probably be on 1, try changing the channel on your router to between 10 and 12 and it should improve matters.
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Author Comment

by:asciiassasin
ID: 39269181
I chose a channel that none of my neighbors are using, but that does not seem to be the issue.

The same fluctuations happen at my friends house and her wi-fi is the only one in range.
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Author Comment

by:asciiassasin
ID: 39269183
Could the spikes in the signals be when the routers are broadcasting their SSIDs?
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rindi earned 250 total points
ID: 39269188
Because the signals are subject to atmospheric and other influences. Apart from that the transmitters are low powered so the electrosmog is reduced, but this will also increase the impact of all those other influences.
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by:SamGarner
SamGarner earned 250 total points
ID: 39269193
Wi-fi by its very nature does fluctuates a bit, is it actually causing a problem.
What router are you using?
Also have you considered enviromental interferance? Many devices operate in the same 2.4ghz spectrum as wifi: 2.4ghz cordless phones, baby monitors, microwaves...
But first thing I would try is changing the channel, I know you said it's not on the same as any neighbours but id try it anyway. It's supprising the difference it can make. Then if possible try moving your router to a different possition.

Failing that, fill the house with wifi repeaters ;)
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Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 39269869
As rindi said, signals are subject to a variety of different issues which affect the strength and you'll never make this stop, no matter how much you change the channel.  It's just the way it behaves.

Filling the place with repeaters won't make anything better.  Sure, using a proper repeater will ensure you have plenty of signal, but every repeater hop halves the available bandwidth from the hop before it.  This will also make your signal fluctuate.

Unless it's a problem, don't worry about it.
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