Overblown Wi-Fi signal worry: Don't toss that baby monitor

Quick! Get rid of the baby monitor. It's killing the Wi-Fi.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Quick! Get rid of the baby monitor. It's killing the Wi-Fi.

That's what geeks could conclude following reports about a UK-based study on Wi-Fi interference. Can you picture your average guy looking at his router in one hand weighing it against the baby monitor? PC Pro goes with the baby monitor killing Wi-Fi hook. And other followed. Do we have to decide between Wi-Fi and monitoring our bambinos? Not quite. 

The study in question, funded by UK regulator group Ofcom, finds that Wi-Fi degradation is due to interference not congestion. That's the real headline (and a boring one). The report was cooked up by Mass Consulting and if you wade through it you wonder what all the hubbub is about. 

Wi-Fi interference isn't necessarily about baby monitors---it's about security cameras, remote controls, microwaves and even remote controls. 

Here are a few references in the report about baby monitors:

Mass Consultants talks about some densely populated areas where the Wi-Fi signal falls. The firm writes:

It is highly likely that such sites are being affected by sources of interference, such as audio video (AV) senders, wireless security cameras, baby monitors and microwave ovens. We have seen this type of effect in the vicinity of a number of restaurants which suggests that microwave ovens may be to blame in those cases.

I guess a baby monitor headline is sexier than a microwave oven one.

And then there's this money chart:



We see the co-existence issue as important enough to require a certification mechanism. A '2.4GHz friendly' logo attached to devices that adhere to co-existence standards would be an approach that manufacturers and consumers could understand and support. It would allow innovation by providing a target to achieve for new devices. The baby monitor market is one example where this approach has already arisen through market forces, with 'WiFi-friendly' appearing on the datasheets for the new generation of digital video monitors. A '2.4 GHz friendly' logo would tap into such market pressures and lead to improved co-existence of all types of radio in this band.

Some newer baby monitors claim to be WiFi-friendly. This suggests that the interference problem is being recognised and dealt with by some manufacturers. Six models of digital baby video monitor were found to be on sale in the UK.

That final one is the kicker. Just buy a Wi-Fi friendly baby monitor and you're set. And if you really want a good Wi-Fi signal throw out most of the gadgets in your house.

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