WWW (World Wide Web) meets WWWW (Why Won’t my Wireless Work)
“We’ve been getting a few requests for fridge magnets.” I told Geoff. I’d considered getting magnets before to promote our business but had never actually ordered them. I reminded Geoff that I love fridge magnets. “I love fridge magnets too,” Geoff replied, “but computers and magnets just don’t mix.” I looked at him and mentioned that most people don’t keep their computer in the refrigerator and that I didn’t really see a problem. He tilted his head to the side and raised one eyebrow at me. That means I should get ready to learn something so I raised one finger (not the one you’re thinking) and told him I wanted to get a fresh cup of coffee first.
Once I settled into my chair, Geoff started giving me some very interesting information. “Magnetic fields play havoc with digital data and signals.” He said. He also mentioned that it was important that our company keep the safety of our customers’ data in mind when coming up with ways to promote ourselves. “Most fridge magnets are too weak to do any harm,” He said, “but handing them out may not be the best choice of promotional reminders to call us.”
“It’s not that bad.” I said, to which Geoff replied, “Oh, no? A large number of homes now have multiple computers, and the best way for everyone to get online is by using a wireless router for one of more connections. This has led to a huge increase in calls from people experiencing a poor or non-existent wireless connection.” He went on to say that the top six culprits responsible for weak, intermittent or loss of the wireless signal involve magnets or magnetic fields. Here’s the list: Wireless router near a microwave; on top of the fridge; sitting on a stereo speaker; sitting on top of the computer tower; sitting on or too close to the TV and using a cordless phone while trying to work a computer connected wirelessly to the network or internet. “The location of the wireless router is also just as important in keeping a strong signal.” Geoff continued. He told me that if the wireless router is sitting on a wooden shelf but there is a microwave, cordless phone base, refrigerator, stereo speakers or an electrical box between the router and the computer trying to connect wirelessly, the chance of getting a strong, steady signal is reduced by 80 percent.
“Unfortunately, the router box is small and tends to get moved around for one reason or another.” He said and also mentioned that it’s a good idea to think about the direct path a signal will take when setting up the router. Most flooring materials, regular walls and glass won’t slow down a signal, but heavy cinder block walls, a cluster of electric circuits and even thick granite counter tops and backsplashes can reduce the signal. Since no one wants to pay a technician to come and move the wireless router a few feet, following the path of the signal is a good first troubleshooting step.