Dan here again and today I'm discussing wireless interference and what that means to our Angelcare Baby Monitors.
Comments, thoughts and criticisms about this topic can be posted below, but please remember that this is a situational subject depending upon condition within your own enviroments.
What we have to meet:
Angelcare products have been tested to meet the regulatory requirements within the UK/EU. Our monitors are designed and manufactured to comply with the limits for exposure to RF energy set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States, Industry Canada (IC) of Canada, and regulating entities of the European Union, and other countries.
These are some pretty strict testing procedures, but they are not in your home, your personal situation, you may still encounter interference but hopefully some of the below can help.
What is interference?
I think the best way to begin here is to say; all electronic devices are subject to interference.
Keeping electronic devices away from, or out of close contact with, other electronic products helps to reduce the chance of interference.
While that is an accurate thing to say, it's not exactly practical.
Expanding on it some more, wireless devices can be exposed to Radio Frequency (RF) interference and RF emissions, from other electronics and sources of Electromagnetic Waves (EM).
The biggest contributors to interference in the home are commonly microwaves, WIFI & wireless routers, wireless speakers, gaming systems, poorly shielded cables, LCD displays and mobile phones & DSS (Direct Satellite Service).
What we can do to work around this is operating devices on specific frequencies and channels within a select frequency. Most common at the moment are 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
With our range of Angelcare Baby Monitors we state what frequency they run on. This is to help you as a user decide which monitor is best suited to your home. Fill your home with 2.4GHz products and they will start to impact on each other. Mixing things up a little with 5GHz will improve connectivity.
What can you do to limit interference?
To improve performance you can try some or all of the following:
- Always keep the monitor away from other wireless devices
- Never operate your monitor in close proximity to a microwave
- Reorient or relocate your monitor to optimise reception, placing away from router and notorious materials
- Never place a mobile phone within proximity of the monitor
- Make sure the batteries used in the Parent Unit are "new" or fully charged
- Place devices in open spaces and within view of doorways/stairways
You should also consider the materials around your home, for example:
- Wood: Wood is one of the better materials to allow signals through. In the UK, wood can commonly be found in the flooring of houses. Meaning any signal may have a better reception from underneath or above
- Glass: Like wood, glass allows signals to pass through. The downside is they are often found surrounded by metal and/or plastic
- Bricks: Brick is the middle ground between wood/glass and plaster/concrete/metal. Unfortunately, often found with both plaster and concrete. Still it allows most signals to travel through with minimal interference
- Plaster: Likely the most common material found in a UK home, covering walls and ceilings. Unfortunately it's often combined with the other more interfering materials. It doesn't pull signal toward it like metal, but it's not the most passable of materials
- Concrete: Older buildings in the UK used concrete like it was going out of fashion, thankfully it's used more sparingly with modern builds (1990s onward) so is becoming less of an issue. Still keep in mind brickwork and cement when placing wireless devices
- Metal: The main offender. Keep all signal emitting devices away from metal. There is a reason your microwave is made with metal, it is such a strong material to use when wanting to block, direct and contain signals. A common mistake is to place the Parent, Camera/Nursery Unit in a window; some window frames and window panes use very thin metal strips for stability that run throughout the frame. These can act as aerials to signals and cause high interference
This is all advice I have had to use myself, there is no 100% certain way to reduce interference. I do recommend trying different things out around your home. Everyone's situation is unique so there isn't a universal fix or recommendation we can make.
Another handy tip to remember is power. Make sure what ever device you're using has access to power, be that mains or batteries. The more stable the power connection (ie fully charged battery) the clearer the device can transmit/receive the signals it needs.
Purchasing a new product not being able to use it due to interference is one of the most frustrating experiences you can have with electronic products. Hopefully some of the advice in this article helps and gives peace of mind to at least one person in our Angelcare family.