Can Wi-Fi Interfere With Mobile Phone Signal?

Can Wi-Fi Interfere With Mobile Phone Signal?

Using your Wi-Fi can be a great way to keep your mobile phone bill down and decrease your mobile data usage. When you are at home or in the office, you are probably using the Wi-Fi connection more than you do your mobile phone’s mobile data or even its own signal (such as when you are making calls). But, can using Wi-Fi hamper or interfere with your mobile phone’s signal?

Wi-Fi does not generally interfere with mobile phone signals. This assessment is because Wi-Fi and mobile signals operate on different radio frequencies and do not interfere with each other.

Some of you might think your Wi-Fi has been interfering with your phone’s signal, especially when you notice how your phone’s signal tends to strengthen whenever you turn your Wi-Fi off.

That could be a pure coincidence because, when you look at the technical aspects of Wi-Fi and mobile phone signals, they are entirely different frequencies that do not collide with one another. To make it easier for you to understand, we have come up with a piece that briefly explains this query’s technical part.

United States Wi-FI Wireless And Cellular Network Frequencies

United States Wi-FI Wireless And Cellular Network Frequencies

Wi-FI Wireless Network Frequencies

  • United States Wi-Fi wireless home networks transmit signals in a narrow radiofrequency range using 2.4, 5, and 6 GHz channels.

Cellular Network Frequencies

Although constantly changing the United States cellular networks work at the current and projected frequencies:

  • 2G and 3G networks use 2100 MHz
  • 4G networks use 700 MHz-2500 MHz
  • 4G LTE networks use 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 1.7/2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz, and 2.5 GHz
  • 5G networks use 450 MHz to 95 GHz
    • High-band:  24 GHz to 47 GHz bands
    • Mid-band:  2.5 GHz to 4.2 GHz bands
    • Low-band: 450 MHz to 900 MHz bands
    • Unlicensed: 6 GHz and above 95 GHz band

Can Wi-Fi Block Mobile Phone Signal?

Can Wi-Fi Block Mobile Phone Signal?
Can Wi-Fi Block Mobile Phone Signal?

You may be enjoying a nice day at home while looking at your social media accounts using your phone. After that, you might also be enjoying a few good movies and videos on Netflix or YouTube. But, suddenly, you notice that your mobile phone’s signal is starting to get weaker and weaker. And then when you suddenly tried calling your friend, you couldn’t get good reception inside your house, and you had to go outside to connect to your friend’s phone number.

After that, you begin to wonder why you couldn’t get any reception inside your house. Suddenly your cell phone signal starts to get better when you leave the safety of your own home. You look at the possible culprits that could contribute to the bad Smartphone signal in your house. Then you notice that there is one other type of connection you have in your home other than your phone’s signal—your Wi-Fi.

You have now concluded that, because your Wi-Fi is more robust inside your house, it also affects the strength of your mobile phone’s signal as the two different wireless connections begin to clash with one another.

A weak signal or no signal at all is something that usually happens to everyone occasionally. Many of us tend to blame mobile service providers, but the truth is that it is not their fault most of the time.

What causes you to have a weak signal for your mobile phone may be hills, heavy vegetation, bluffs, and weather changes. Being inside individual buildings determines the signal strength of your Smartphone. Certain areas of your house may also be causing your signal to weaken. Areas such as walls with heavy wiring could be causing the interferences.

Some Of The Things That Can Interfere With Cell Phone Signal

Some Of The Things That Can Interfere With Cell Phone Signal
Some Of The Things That Can Interfere With Cell Phone Signal
  • Distance From The Nearest Cell Tower – It is the first thing we think of when we experience a disconnection. The cellular phone is just utilizing a radio frequency of waves, and it reacts like any wire signal. When the receiver of a call is so far from the cell tower, then the signal is weak.
  • Man-Made Obstructions – These may include a nearby water tower, a subway tunnel, a highway overpass, or tall buildings that can interfere with your cell phone signal. Metals and concrete make it hard for cell signals to pass through them. In urban areas, large buildings are the leading cause of cell signal issues. When you are inside a building, you may experience a drop in cell phone signal instead of outside.
  • Terrain Features Of Your Location – Terrain features such as mountains, hills, ridges, or similar terrain types can block your Smartphone signal. Any time a higher ground comes between you and the cell tower, it causes cell phone signal issues. If you travel through rugged terrain areas or canyons, you may experience a loss of signal, returning once you get to a clear place.
  • Vegetation – Seasonal impact of vegetation and dense forests or trees with many leaves and any foliage can absorb your cellular signal.
  • Vehicles – Many people have problems with communicating from inside the vehicle. The metals and glass vehicles are manufactured from, and their moving affects the cell phone signal. According to research, it has been established that signal strength drops by a significant percentage inside a vehicle. Many vehicles today have onboard Wi-Fi as an option you can pay for through the vehicle manufacturer.

We have talked in other articles about cell phone reception “How To Get Reception On Your Cell Phone In Remote Areas?” and “Can A Phone Case Affect Wi-Fi Reception?”.

Not A Tech Expert

Not A Tech Expert
Not A Tech Expert

Of course, because you are not a tech expert, you are beginning to believe that Wi-Fi does indeed interfere with mobile phone signals and that you should turn your Wi-Fi off. Or it would help if you went outside where the Wi-Fi is weaker so that you can get better reception with your phone.

While it might be easy to believe that your Wi-Fi and your mobile phone signals are frequently incompatible because they are both wireless signals, no evidence suggests that your Wi-Fi interferes with your mobile phone reception.

Even though it might be true that your Wi-Fi and your mobile phone signals are both wireless, there are plenty of differences between the two signals, especially when you talk about their frequencies.

Radio Frequency

The Radio Frequency of a signal refers to the type of airwave it is broadcast in. A  signal is using that particular frequency to spread out over a specific space. Think of frequencies as the highways that wireless signals use. Similar to how a road system works, your wireless signals can move through the airwaves without conflicting with one another as long as they are in different frequencies.

In this case, your Wi-Fi and your mobile phone signals are always using different frequencies. Wi-Fi signals use 802.11a/REVmd Wi-Fi 6E, and eventually 802.11.1 and 802.11.2 (802.11n 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz) frequencies. On the other hand, the frequencies used by mobile phone signals are (450 MHz to 95 GHz). As you can see, their frequencies are different but intermingled on the radiofrequency wavelength. Theoretically, there should be no way for these signals to conflict. It’s like being on the same road but in entirely different lanes.

Governments Control Radio Frequency

Governments Control Radio Frequency
Governments Control Radio Frequency

Yes, that’s right, governments control Radio Frequency as the FCC does in the United States. Of course, you also have to consider the fact that no government in the world would allow Wi-Fi and mobile signals to interfere with one another, considering how necessary both of them are not only in the day-to-day livelihood of their citizens but also when it comes to emergency situations. After all, it would be difficult to call an emergency hotline if your Wi-Fi signal is impeding your mobile phone’s reception.

You also have to think about how you are always near Wi-Fi signals wherever you go and not just when you are at home. Whether you are in the mall, your office, or in any other public area, there will almost always be Wi-Fi signals broadcasting. But how come they never interfere with your mobile phone signal? It’s because they don’t.

Wi-Fi does not generally interfere with mobile phone signals because they are both broadcasted in entirely different frequencies. This physical law ensures that you can still make and receive calls wherever you may be, even if a Wi-Fi signal is being broadcast in your area.

Wireless Can Cause Interference With Wi-Fi And Bluetooth

As we said earlier, according to Apple, Wireless interference can cause Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices to disconnect or perform poorly. So obviously, there can be an interaction between devices.

How to reduce wireless interference

These general steps can help achieve a cleaner, stronger wireless signal:

Bring your Wi-Fi device closer to your Wi-Fi router. Bring the Bluetooth devices that are connecting to each other closer together.

Avoid using your wireless devices near common sources of interference, such as power cables, microwave ovens, fluorescent lights, wireless video cameras, and cordless phones.

Reduce the number of active devices that use the same wireless frequency band. Both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices use the 2.4 GHz band, but many Wi-Fi devices can use the 5 GHz band instead. If your Wi-Fi router supports both bands, it might help to connect more of your Wi-Fi devices to the 5GHz band. Some dual-band routers manage this for you automatically.

Configure your Wi-Fi router to use a different Wi-Fi channel, or have it scan for the channel with the least interference. Most routers perform this scan automatically on startup or when reset.”

Apple Support – Resolve Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Issues Caused by Wireless Interference

Additional Reasons Why You May Have Bad Mobile Service At Home?

Additional Reasons Why You May Have Bad Mobile Service At Home-Apps
Additional Reasons Why You May Have Bad Mobile Service At Home-Apps

If you are at home and notice that your mobile service is worse than it usually is, but then it suddenly gets better when you step a few feet out of your house, your Wi-Fi isn’t the culprit here. There are several reasons why your mobile service is bad at home.

1.    Your apps

If you have many apps opened simultaneously, they can eat up your phone’s bandwidth, thereby eating up the signal. This effect is why it is always essential for you to close your apps right after using them. Otherwise, they could end up taking up bandwidth and affecting your phone’s cellular signal. Not many people know this, but it is valid to some extent.

2.    Weather

The weather can seriously affect your phone signals. If you are at home and notice that your mobile phone reception is awful, check the weather first before blaming your Wi-Fi. A cloudy and rainy day can decrease your phone’s signal.

3.    Network Traffic

When we say traffic, we’re not talking about the traffic on the road. Instead, we are talking about network traffic as there might be many people who are using the same network as you are. This effect is not too common of a culprit because of how networks have improved. However, network traffic can still be a factor in decreasing your phone’s mobile signal, especially if plenty of people are on the same network at the same time in your area.

4.    Obstructions

This influence is the most common reason why your mobile phone signal is weak at home and needs to be emphasized. Obstructions can easily affect your reception because your signal has to go through or around something. While some walls, ceilings, and windows are easier for cellular phone signals to go through. Thick concrete, fiberglass insulation, and steel can be difficult for your reception. So, in a sense, blame your house or the building itself before you go and blame your Wi-Fi connection for the weak reception at home.

How To Improve Mobile Phone Reception?

How To Improve Mobile Phone Reception
How To Improve Mobile Phone Reception

Now that you know that your Wi-Fi isn’t the culprit for interfering with your mobile phone signal, it is now time for you to know how to improve your reception so that you no longer have to turn your Wi-Fi off, thinking that it affects your signal.

  • Move to higher ground because signals tend to be stronger on higher floors.
  • Keep yourself away from obstructions such as rooms with thick walls surrounding them.
  • Close any app or services that you are not using, such as Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC), because they might be taking up your phone’s bandwidth.
  • Ensure that your battery is at least 25% charged so that it has enough power to pick up a signal.
  • Reorganize your room or your working space so that there won’t be many obstructions that can affect your mobile phone signals.
  • Although we don’t recommend altering your Home’s landscape for Smartphone reception, you may fix reception because your backyard trees, bushes, and thick vegetation can actually affect your phone signals. Trim a tree or get rid of a thick bush near your room window, and you could see a significant difference in your mobile phone signal.
  • Simply go outside if you can’t do anything about the obstructions in your home. There are some cases where some houses just aren’t built to allow you to pick up mobile phone reception due to the architectural design and to the materials used.

In Conclusion

If you are getting better signals for your Smartphone while outside, you should consider getting a Cellular Repeater or Cell Phone Signal Boosters. Whether it is a booster antenna, a cellular repeater, or a Wi-Fi extender, they all have different attributes. Most of the time, the low signal you are receiving is caused by inadequate coverage within your location or the distance you are from the cell tower.

You can also communicate with your service provider as they have products that enhance mobile phone performance. Understanding what causes the low signal in your phone and area and the remedies to these interferences can help anyone.

Those interested in working on modern wireless signal integrity can research standards from the IEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is a crucial standards agency for electronics.

References:

https://www.fcc.gov/5G

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_frequencies

https://pages.uncc.edu/eric-delmelle/wp-content/uploads/sites/150/2012/12/TRC_Delmelle_Spatial-Model-of-Received-Signal-Strength.pdf

https://www.centurylink.com/home/help/internet/wireless/which-frequency-should-you-use.html

https://smallbusiness.chron.com/far-can-wireless-work-60665.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_frequencies

https://www.verizon.com/about/our-company/5g/what-frequency-5g

https://www.3gpp.org/specifications/specifications

John Mortensen

I was a project manager and am a technology and science enthusiast who loves to study the latest technology, such as AI, smartphones, headphones, and software.

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