How to Fix Bluetooth & WiFi Interference

By Andrew Tennyson

Although wireless devices are handy, they become less so when they experience connectivity issues. Whether you've got a laptop, tablet or headset, its Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections can be negatively affected by environmental issues. Hardware and software issues on the devices themselves can also cause trouble. Fortunately, there are fixes available for whatever type of trouble is affecting your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices.

Causes of Interference

Materials in your environment are often the biggest culprits when it comes to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth interference. Common culprits include metal, bricks, concrete, water, marble and plaster wall sheathing. Because of the dense and reflective nature of these materials, wireless signals have a difficult time penetrating them. Devices such as CRT computer monitors, cordless telephones, microwaves and other Wi-Fi routers can also impact negatively on performance. Before proceeding with other troubleshooting, ensure as best you can that you are attempting to use your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices in an ideal wireless environment.

Bluetooth Troubleshooting

Adhering to a few simple best-practice rules can help to remedy Bluetooth interference issues. First, be aware of the natural range of the technology you're using. All Bluetooth devices have maximum ranges of roughly 33 feet. Attempting to use Bluetooth beyond this distance can result in interference and signal drop-outs. Using multiple Bluetooth devices within a confined area can also result in interference because the devices are competing for bandwidth. Minimize the number of active Bluetooth devices in your area to reduce interference. Remove the device from any covers or cases, as these can affect transmission. If interference problems persist, re-establish the pairing connection between the devices.

Wi-Fi Troubleshooting

Other wireless routers and Wi-Fi devices are often the biggest source of Wi-Fi interference. Because many older Wi-Fi routers use only the 2.4GHz band, that band can become crowded. Newer dual-band wireless routers are designed to address this problem by operating on two frequency bands. If you have a dual-band device, switch it to the 5GHz band, which is generally less crowded. Software issues can also result in Wi-Fi drop-outs. Rebooting your device will usually remedy this problem. If your Wi-Fi signal seems weak but doesn't drop completely, try relocating your router or the wireless device so that the two are in closer proximity to one another.

Battery Life

Because many Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices -- such as headsets, keyboards, tablet computers and multimedia devices -- are completely wireless, they rely on battery power to transmit their wireless signals. Low battery life can affect transmission, which results in drop-outs. Keep a close eye on your battery level to avoid interference.