Resolving wireless interference

Wireless interference can cause Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices to disconnect or perform poorly, but you can take steps to reduce or overcome it!

The symptoms of wireless interference:

Any of these symptoms could be caused by interference affecting the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth signal:

  • Device doesn't connect or stay connected
  • Connection is slow and signal strength  is low
  • Bluetooth audio skips, stutters, cuts off, or has static or buzzing
  • Pointer movement is erratic or jumpy

So how can you 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.

If you're using USB 3 or Thunderbolt 3 devices with your computer, you can limit their potential to interfere with nearby wireless devices:

  • Use a high-quality, shielded USB or Thunderbolt 3 cable with each device.
  • Move your USB 3 or Thunderbolt 3 devices—including any USB hubs—farther away from your wireless devices.
  • Avoid placing USB 3 or Thunderbolt 3 devices on top of your Mac Pro, Mac notebook, or Mac mini. 
  • Turn off any USB 3 devices that aren't in use.

Avoid physical obstructions in the path of your wireless signal. For example, a metal surface between your Bluetooth mouse and computer could cause the mouse to perform poorly, and a metal-reinforced concrete floor between your Wi-Fi router and Wi-Fi device could cause poor Wi-Fi performance.

  • Low interference potential: wood, glass, and many synthetic materials
  • Medium interference potential: water, bricks, marble
  • High interference potential: plaster, concrete, bulletproof glass
  • Very high interference potential: metal

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