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Do Christmas lights slow down mobile internet and WiFi?

Posted by on Dec 23, 2016

We tested to see whether Christmas lights really block your Wi-Fi signal. And if so, wouldn't that block your cell phone signal as well?

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Upon reading about some stories floating around Internet about Christmas lights blocking your Wi-Fi signal, we started thinking - Is this real? Can Christmas lights really block your Wi-Fi signal? And if so, wouldn't that block your cell phone signal as well? Therefore, could all the holiday Christmas lights be blocking our smart phones and our Wi-Fi connections?

Asked engineers to get the lowdown.

According to the claim, it seems that if your wires supposedly aren't shielded, then it could cause interference. For shielding to matter, you would assume that there's some kind of a radio frequency present on the wire. Furthermore, you would have to have some sort of faulty equipment that does not comply with FCC regulations. Emitting some frequency and injecting that into the power lines, which obviously gets extended around the house because power outlets are in all the rooms. Then, the wiring of the Christmas lights really becomes your extended means for radiating that energy.

If Christmas lights affect WiFi, would that affect your cell phone as well?

Yes, we would very much think so. You would most likely see complaints about cell phones being interfered with. Let us say for example you installed a lot of Christmas lights - You went like Chevy Chase, all decked out, and covered your whole home with lights. Then you go outside - Your Wi-Fi hotspot is in the house and you go out into the yard. But by then, you're really shielding. You're creating what is called a Faraday cage around your home. Therefore, our impression is that it would be very rare for something to happen. Potentially, one out of a million or less.

What is a Faraday cage?

For those of you who aren't engineers, a Faraday cage is basically a big metal box. It blocks all the signal from coming through. If you're wrapping your house in a ton of Christmas lights, they are made out of metal wire. Therefore, in essence, you're wrapping your house in wire. This could block the signal from coming through.

Tests Conducted.

Now keep in mind, this is the worst case scenario. You would never actually do this. But it will show you whether it is the Christmas lights affecting the Wi-Fi speeds or your cellular signal. You can watch this test in the video provided above.

Therefore, we're going to establish a baseline. We have got our signal in decibel mode or test mode. And then we have got our speed test so we're going to run several tests. We want to get an average of what their speeds are? If the Wi-Fi is pretty slow, you may get an average speed of around 1 megabit downlink and then 5 uplink with a signal strength of negative 82 (-82 dBm).

Let us wrap the Christmas lights around the phone. This will create basically the worst possible scenario. Wrapping it in the Christmas lights didn't affect the signal at all in this test.

Let us do a speed test. Looks like wrapping the wire around the phone may have affected the Wi-Fi strength a little. Plug it in and see if that has any effect.

Answer we got from testing is...

Based on this test we performed, we would say that the Christmas lights had no effect at all on mobile internet speed nor WiFi wireless transfer speed. Our signal strength is still negative 82. It looks like it didn't affect our Wi-Fi speed at all either. Therefore, have no fear, deck your house out with Christmas lights. Don't worry about it affecting your Wi-Fi or your smartphone.

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