Is your microwave a Netflix killer?

MicrowaveThere’s nothing more frustrating than when the family is watching the last episode of House Of Cards Season 3 after binge-watching all day when your son decides to make microwave popcorn. And all of a sudden, the video gets choppy, Netflix starts buffering and rebuffering. It’s not a catastrophe as it eventually resets and comes back but still it can certainly kill the moment and the watching experience. It makes you wonder what does the microwave have to do with your TV?

Ruling out that Netflix had gone off-line, in this case, the problem is not your TV per se, but rather the Wi-Fi connection that sends the Netflix signal to your TV or more specifically, it’s being interrupted by interference caused by your microwave. If you have a standard router, chances are, it runs on the 2.4GHz frequency, which also happens to be the same frequency that your microwave runs on. Now not all microwaves are created equal; some will cause the issues and others not, although an older microwave is more likely the culprit. Maybe the time has come for a new one. I experienced that exact same problem. I recently retired a still-working  20-year old Panasonic for the new Breville Quick Touch and not only did my problem go away, this is one awesomely smart microwave.

If it’s not the microwave, check your router to make sure it’s working properly. Check all your cables. Sometimes disconnecting all the cables and powering it off for a minute might help. Review you router’s settings. Check to see if the channel setting is set to auto. If it is, try another channel. If it’s not set it to auto or another channel and see if that resolves the issue. Alternately it might be time for a new router. Consider a dual-band; one that runs on both 2.4GHZ and 5GHz like the Linksys WRT 1900AC, that may also solve your issue.

And it’s not only microwaves that can cause the issue. Bluetooth also runs on 2.4GHz, again, early Bluetooth devices might be the culprit. Some cordless phones and baby monitors that run on that same frequency may also be the source of the interference.

It’s also possible that your network is congested. Too many devices sharing the same connection, that’s where that dual-band router will come in handy to split the load. Or maybe, there’s simply too much uploading and downloading going on – you’re running a home-based business and perhaps use external online media storage for your files and your teenagers are on YouTube; all of these can contribute to reduced bandwidth and possible explain some of your connection woes.

Also, have you moved your TV or your router recently? Maybe by doing so you may now have a weaker signal that can cause the loss. Walls, especially those that have a lot of metal can cause potential issues. Have you added a new mirror lately? Signals reflecting off one can also cause interference. Routers should also be placed high and not on the floor.

There are also external reasons you can lose your Netflix connection or have a bad or choppy video steaming. It’s very possible you may not have a solid high speed internet connection. Streaming video from Netflix or any other online video sharing services requires good solid bandwidth.  Check with your service provider to see if there are any issues with your line. You can also test your speed for free by visiting Ookla’s to see if you are actually getting the upload and download speeds you are paying for.

Wi-Fi can certainly be a pain in the byte, but knowing what can cause your grief can certainly help you maintain a better on-line experience giving you more piece of mind to enjoy all the great iTunes Movies and seemingly endless new TV series that keep showing up on Netflix.

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  1. joseph l rosenberg says

    had not thought about dueling techs causing grief in the home. thanks for bringing this to my attention.

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