Soundbars are becoming an essential component in many people’s entertainment setups. It’s the device that gives you a surround sound experience without the need to place multiple external speakers around the room. Your soundbar does give you great audio but is it interfering with your Wi-Fi?
Soundbars with Wi-Fi capabilities typically won’t interfere with a Wi-Fi network but can slow it down slightly. Soundbars that have wireless surround speakers or a subwoofer typically use a dedicated wireless frequency to avoid interfering with the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies used in Wi-Fi networks.
Put simply, your soundbar can interfere with your Wi-Fi network, even if it doesn’t produce a signal. If you use a soundbar with Bluetooth capability, for instance, this can interfere with your connection. A disrupted signal could lead to crashes and the loss of your network signal, effectively putting a stop to any streamed content.
How Wireless Interference Happens
Bluetooth connectivity is a convenient function that allows you to transfer audio from a device to a soundbar. Even though you can get great audio this way, problems with interference can occur. Wi-Fi signal interference happens when the Bluetooth frequency overlaps your wireless system (more on other reasons in our guide). The signal overlap occurs when the Bluetooth enabled device, which includes speakers and soundbars, operate at 2.4 GHz.
It is the same as your Wi-Fi signal. Another reason for interference is the soundbar has one or more wireless satellite speakers. One example is the Nakamichi Shockwave Ultra (on Amazon). With multiple speakers that include both wireless subwoofers and rear surround effects speakers, there are several signals bouncing around the room.
Troubleshooting Wireless Interference
You don’t have to give up on your soundbar or its satellite speakers to avoid network interference. There are a few things you can try that might resolve the problem. The first one has to do with your satellite speakers. Before you start moving components around or disabling most of them, start with your satellite speakers.
Most satellite speakers that come with soundbars are only designed to give you the feeling you’re listening to surround sound. The speakers do improve overall audio quality but aren’t necessary. You’ll still hear music, shows, and movies without having to crank the volume up, and the speakers may be the reason for the interference with your internet signal.
Additional Troubleshooting Steps
Check where you have the Wi-Fi router placed. When it’s too close to the soundbar, the signals can bounce off of each other, resulting in interference. Sometimes, all it takes is moving your router further away from your soundbar to resolve the problem. You also want to check your router’s settings.
If you’re on the auto channel selection option, switch the preference off. Instead, use the 5 GHz wireless band setting, (if your router comes with that option). Moving as many components as possible to the 5 GHz channel will minimize the chances of the various signals interfering with each other and leading to a dropped connection.
Other Devices That May Be Affecting Wi-Fi Performance
While your soundbar can cause interference with your wireless signal, it’s not the only possible culprit. Other devices can cause the same problem. Thankfully, it’s usually an easy fix so look around the room and see what devices are next to your router. Cordless telephones, microwaves, and some baby monitors also use a signal similar to the router’s 2.4 GHz internet band.
These and other electronic devices might be the problem, instead of your soundbar. So try moving the components away from the router; you also want to ensure your router isn’t blocked by any other objects.
Your Neighbors Can Affect Wi-Fi Performance
Most people have neighbors living only a few feet away. It can build closer communities but your neighbor’s Wi-Fi devices can interrupt your network signal. Since you can’t ask your neighbors to turn off their Wi-Fi enabled devices, including their routers, you’ll need to find another option.
The problem with interference from a neighbor’s Wi-Fi signal usually occurs in townhouses and apartment complexes. Instead of sticking to one signal, the proximity of other routers can cause yours to constantly search for a better signal. If you have a wall free from neighbors in your home, try moving the router there. The distance may prevent it from constantly searching for a signal.
Distance, Height, and Wi-Fi Interference
You do want to be careful how far away you move your router because distance also causes interference due to a weaker Wi-Fi signal. You want to keep the router as close as possible to your connected devices. Since most people have Wi-Fi enabled devices throughout their home, many of which we’ve explored in our article on smart home devices, you want to find a central location to place the router.
Additionally, height is also something to look at. You don’t want your router on or close to the floor because the signal often bounces off the floor, weakening it before it reaches your devices. Optimally, you want to place the router up high because it will help maximize signal strength, reducing your risk for interference.
Wi-Fi Interference and Soundbars
Your soundbar can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal, especially when you’re also using satellite speakers, because the signals can bump into each other, disrupting the one from your router. When this happens, you can temporarily lose your internet connection, however, there are steps you can take to resolve the issue and it won’t take a lot of time. One of the easiest is to use your router’s 5 GHz channel for most of your connected devices.
You also want to check the router’s placement. Are there other non-connected devices nearby or objects placed in front? These can also interfere with the Wi-Fi signal. Whether you have to move devices to another channel or reposition the router, it’s worth the effort when you can use your soundbar without worrying about signal interference.