Your Holiday Lights May Be Slowing Down Your Wi-Fi

iStock/SrdjanPav / iStock/SrdjanPav

You may want to consider your holiday streaming plans before hanging that eighth set of string lights around the living room this year. According to UK communications company Ofcom, Christmas lights and other electronic devices, including baby monitors and lamps, can cause interference that slows down wireless broadband Internet speeds.

Ofcom estimated that nearly 6 million homes around the UK could benefit from Wi-Fi optimization. "Mobile and broadband have become the fourth essential service, alongside gas, electricity and water," Ofcom CEO Sharon White told The Guardian. "There’s been a technological revolution over recent years, with 4G mobile and superfast continuing to extend across the country."

But just because it's possible that your Christmas lights could interfere with your Wi-Fi doesn't mean they necessarily will.

"It is possible that the wire in a string of lights could act as an antenna if not properly grounded and could, in principal, generate a radio signal if a sufficiently strong alternating current passes through the wire or if there is a strong radio signal that is retransmitted through this wire (antenna)," Tom Coughlin, president-elect of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, told WIRED. "However this signal would have to be at the right frequency to cause problems to Wi-Fi, so even this is unlikely."

See Also: 9 Ways to Boost Your Home Wi-Fi Network