I have horrible wifi reception in one side of my house, even with an expensive wifi router. So I purchased a magnetic field meter and confirmed everywhere it peaked the wifi was non-existent. Walking around the house I believe I traced it back to the water line coming from the city.

Does anyone know how to reduce or eliminate this magnetic field? A friend suggested that it could possibly be a faulty connection from my main electric panel touching the water line. Before getting an expensive electrician take a look, I figured to ask you for any advise or other things to look out for.

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    Just a hypothesis: your main electrical panel is probably grounded (earthed) to the water line. Try disconnecting the ground wire momentarily and see if the readings change. Be careful though, you may have a ground fault. Don't touch the wire/clamp and the pipe at the same time when disconnected. – Jimmy Fix-it Aug 14 '14 at 4:56
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    I downloaded a WiFi meter app for my smart phone. It has been useful for debugging network issues. First when ATT installed a second network in my neighbor's house on channel 5. Then last week when he switched it to channel 1. both times he stomped my signal. – user23752 Aug 14 '14 at 17:22

An unchanging or slowly (< 10 MHz) changing magnetic field does not affect radio networking (WiFi, WiMax, Bluetooth, iBurst, etc.) in the > 1 GHz range. Even if that magnetic field is very strong, like near an MRI magnet.

You might try the same field meter set to measure radio/microwave energy. That is far more likely to desensitize a radio receiver which would kill a radio network. If a network router can't hear anything, it won't talk.

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  • I just tried it on the Radio/Microwave setting and its 0 (flat). I confirmed its working by turning on the microwave and noticed the needle spike. So, the wifi problem may be some shielding I'm not aware of. I doubt this 1950s house has any significant metal between walls/floors, but I guess the next step is to get an electrician to at least sort out that possible short. Thanks everyone! I wish I could accept both since you both stated it could not be the electricity field. – Jose Leon Aug 15 '14 at 1:54
  • @JoseLeon Even foil backed plasterboard (sheetrock) added in a later modernization can be a problem. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Mar 18 '19 at 14:58

I am not a physicist but I don't think a magnetic field can block a radio signal unless it is really powerful. The reading you are showing in the picture would be typical for small currents an inch or two away and is not unusual for a water line that is being used to ground electrical equipment. There is probably a short somewhere (which can be a fire hazard btw).

There is probably something causing radio interference in that part of the house. Likely culprits:

  • fluourescent lights
  • another router or hotspot (any radio emitter)
  • a motor or generator
  • anything with a spark gap, like an electric fence or an electrical short

Try turning everything off in the house except the radio hub, then turn things on one by one to try to isolate what is causing the interference.

Another possibility is that it is just the house. For example, if there is a lot of ducting or electrical wires it can create a screen. Any kind of large metal panel can be a problem. You can try moving the transceiver to a different location, or getting a second transceiver.

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