Did you know that over 5 billion people use the internet today?
There are over 500 million public WiFi hotspots in the world. That’s way more than the population of the United States!
We rely on our WiFi for our day-to-day lives, so the quality of the WiFi signal in our homes is crucial. Yet many of us still have WiFi issues.
You may not realize that there are things around your home that can interfere with your WiFi signal, but does this include LED lights?
While LED lighting does emit electromagnetic radiation, it’s not strong enough to impact WiFi and other appliances. However, it may have an indirect cause of radio interference, including unshielded wiring and ground faults.
In this guide, I’ll explain:
- How LED lighting might interfere with WiFi signals
- Whether LEDs interfere with radios and speakers
- If LED lighting can interfere with TVs
- If LEDs cause interference with cellphones
- The frequency range of LED lights
- How to fix radio interference from LED lighting
Table of Contents
LED Lights WiFi Interference
LED lights emit a very small amount of electromagnetic interference that can interrupt a WiFi signal. However, it’s usually only an issue when you’re using LEDs with an older halogen ballast, or if you use a lot of lights in a small space (e.g. Christmas lights).
There are two parts to your LED lighting that can cause radio interference. The light emitting diode itself, and the driver, which controls the current and steps it down to the level needed for the diode to work correctly.
A regular LED bulb, and a typical LED driver, won’t cause enough interference to interrupt your WiFi.
I ran a test to prove this – using a laptop next to an LED table lamp, switched on and off.
The Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) is the indicator where lower the number means stronger signal.
In this instance RSSI is only two points different with the lamp on – and that’s within normal fluctuation levels.
You can see, that the noise value is about four points higher, which shows that there is very minor interference in signal, but that also could be other factors in the house like cellphones or tablets.
You can’t blame the LED lamp for that. So my LEDs caused no WiFi interference.
But if you’re using an LED with an older halogen transformer, those tend to generate a little more interference and you might notice some signal issues when near the light fixture.
However LED lights can interfere with the WiFi if there are enough within a small space – and this tends to be most noticeable when people decorate their homes for Christmas.
More lights mean a stronger magnetic field, so a greater chance of interference.
Why Do LED Lights Interfere With Radio?
The amount of electromagnetic radiation given off by LEDs can, in rare cases, cause interference with radios and speakers. They can also cause problems if the wires aren’t shielded or there is a ground loop.
The odds of the electromagnetic field from your LED lights causing radio issues are very low. Ground loops – where the lights are plugged into the same circuit as a radio, and there’s a common ground – are much more common.
Unshielded wires cause issues when the wires for your lighting and your radio are close to each other.
I’ve a full guide on LEDs causing speakers to buzz – read that if you want to know more.
Can LED Lights Interfere With TV?
It’s possible for LED lights to interfere with TVs but it’s not common. If you’re still using a traditional TV antenna, you might only notice the interference on certain channels, since they have different frequencies.
LED strip light interference is becoming more common for TVs too, because people install strip lights on the back of a TV – having so many LEDs in close proximity can increase the likelihood of some signal issues.
It’s really rare. The weak electromagnetic field generated by an LED lamp or light strip is typically not enough to cause issues.
Do LED Lights Interfere With Cell Phones?
An LED electromagnetic field rarely interrupt your cellphone and cause signal problems, you’d likely have to be standing very close to it.
Normally you can fix the issue just by walking away from the light – that should be enough to stop any signal interference.
What Frequency Do LED Lights Operate At?
LED bulbs emit an electromagnetic field that works on the frequency between 400 and 600 THz. This is a much higher frequency than almost any household appliance.
Here is the comparison table of different appliances and their frequency.
|Cordless Phones||1.9 GHz or 2.4 GHz|
|WiFi||2.4 GHz or 5 GHz|
|LED Lights||400 THz to 600 THz|
There are occasions when the waves from WiFi and LED, or other household items can interact with each other, causing interference, mainly when they operate on the same frequency.
As you can see, with such a vast difference in frequencies for LED lights, that it’s very uncommon for the radio waves of your devices to be affected.
How To Change The Frequency Of LED Lights
You can’t change the frequency range of LED lighting – that’s simply the range that it operates in.
If you’re having problems with interference from LED lights impacting your WiFi frequency, you’ll need to look at alternative solutions – changing the frequency of the lights can’t be done.
How to Fix LED Light Interference
There are several ways you can help to reduce the interference from your lights:
Before you try these though, make sure it’s your lighting that’s causing the problem.
This is really easy:
- Wait until you notice interference – WiFi slowing down, radios buzzing etc.
- Turn off the LED lights, or move into a different room if you’re using a laptop/cellphone
When the lights are off, or you’ve moved away from them, has the interference stopped? If yes, try one of these fixes.
Get Quality LED Light Bulbs
Low-quality LED bulbs are more likely to cause radio or WiFi interference, because they’re manufactured to a lower standard and don’t try to reduce the electromagnetic radiation created.
Generally, FCC-certified LED bulbs should prevent WiFi connection issues, but there may be conditions in your home that will still allow for connection issues.
Still, if you’ve bought cheap bulbs online because you saw a great deal, consider upgrading as that will often fix the problem.
Transformer Might Be an Issue
There are two potential locations a transformer could be causing an issue – a ballast in a light fixture, or within the power supply, usually of LED strip lights.
If your interference is from bulbs and the fixtures have a ballast, you’ll need to remove the ballast. You can then use regular LED bulbs with their own self-contained driver.
If the problem is with strip lights, replace the power supply – again, buy better quality to reduce the risk of electromagnetic interference.
Reduce The Length Of Wiring
You can reduce the potential size of the electromagnetic field generated by shortening your electric cables, or using shielded cables.
Short cables will allow less electricity to pulse through and thereby reduce the size of the field.
Adding shielding to the cables can also help to block the field.
Of course, if the wiring is in the ceiling or walls, these are trickier steps – you’ll want to exhaust your other options first.
Add Ferrite Beads To Wires
Ferrite beads are noise supressors for wires. They’re really easy to clip onto a wire and they’ll help to block the radio interference coming from your lighting.
- What's included in the package: you will get 20 pieces of noise clips with 5 different sizes, 4...
- Detailed size information: these vhf radio noise filters come in 5 different inner diameters,...
Last update on 2023-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
All you need to do is clip them onto the wires as close to your lights as possible and they should help cut down on the EMI field.
If your LED lights are causing radio interference, this isn’t something you just need to put up with.
Whether your WiFi starts acting slow, or you’ve got problems with your radio, TV, or cellphone, some simple tests can help you work out whether it’s the lights causing it.
And now you know how to solve it, too.
Use these techniques to stop LED lights interfering with your electrical devices, without compromising on the energy saving benefits that LEDs provide.
Worried about outdoor LED lights interfering with garage door openers? I’ve a guide just for that scenario.