AUSTIN – Sometimes all you want for Christmas is to make a statement.
There are many Griswold hopefuls, but their attempts to light up the season may put more than just their neighbors at risk.
It may be slowing Wi-Fi.
There are a lot of articles out there that warn Christmas lights may interfere with connection.
Here’s why. Wi-Fi routers use radio waves to communicate with devices. And lights can interfere with these radio waves. But so do a lot of things in your home, such as your microwave.
For a string of lights to slow down your Wi-Fi they would have to transmit electromagnetic radiation at or around the same frequency.
So we decided to pay a visit to a man known for making the holidays brighter.
“I have close to 27,000 channels because each bulb is three channels,” said Mark Dillon.
Dillon and his family started an animatronic light display in Round Rock 10 years ago.
“Every year I would just add lights, add lights, add lights and I had tubs and tubs of old LED lights. They are sitting in tubs right now and I just replaced them with these controllable pixels which is a new technology where you’re able to control each single bulb of the entire string,” he said.
Too many lights to count and a snow machine to boot make this one of the most visited private Christmas light displays in Central Texas.
As for Dillon’s Wi-Fi connection?
“It has not affected my Wi-Fi. What affects my Wi-Fi is when all three kids and my wife and everybody is on their i-Pads, i-Phones and this and that and the X-Box is on — that’s what takes the Wi-Fi right out,” Dillon said.
Dillon checked his speeds using one of those speed tracking apps.
“Yeah see, it’s good,” he said. “I did notice there are other decorators that are having issues with that.”
Experts said the newer lights tend to cause fewer interruptions, but Dillon cautions it may have to do with your set up.
“A lot of people are going to this higher technology and in order for them to run in a certain way they put it on their Wi-Fi network,” Dillon said.
Dillon’s lights are an entirely different network.
“That’s a lot of information that has to be pushed through your network and if they have it on the same Wi-Fi connection that could be it,” he said.
We can verify that your Christmas lights may slow down your internet speeds, but it’s likely no more than your microwave.
So go ahead — channel your inner Griswold or your Elfvis.
“Everybody wants to have a great Christmas and what’s the best thing?” asked Dillon. “To go see some Christmas lights.”
After all, it’s Christmas and we really should be doing a little less surfing of the internet and spending more time making memories with our kids.
A good set of lights should not interfere but you can try avoiding lights that emit 2.4 gigahertz, which should be listed on the box.
If you find your Wi-Fi is too slow, try moving your router to a higher position or to a room where there are no Christmas lights.