Troubleshooting interference

10 November 2017

Many wireless applications used in the home or office use the same set of frequency bands.

Manufacturers try to design their products to be resilient to interference from others sharing the same bands and from electromagnetic disturbance but there may be occasions when you experience interference.

Interference experienced by one person may well affect others in the area. For example, a faulty cordless doorbell can prevent others from unlocking their cars.

What you can do

In many cases, due to the low power and short range involved, the solution may be as simple as relocating the affected apparatus.

Individuals may be able to identify the problem themselves. Where possible and safe, this can be done by systematically switching devices off in or around the home or office, and then checking to see if this improves the situation. While there may be an element of trial and error, this process may enable the source of the problem to be identified.

How we can help

Ofcom will normally offer advice and assistance, either on the phone or by email. We may agree to investigate interference to domestic equipment where there are exceptional circumstances and we are satisfied that the interference is ‘harmful’, outside of your control and all reasonable steps have been taken to minimise the effect.

We may send out a spectrum engineering officer to investigate. However, you may be liable for the cost of the investigation if Ofcom considers that the source is within your control.

Ofcom will exercise discretion on whether to investigate a report of interference. The regulatory regime does not guarantee that interference will not arise or that enforcement action will be taken to prevent it occurring.

Before reporting interference to Ofcom, and to minimise the risk of incurring costs subject to our terms and conditions of undertaking an investigation, you should:

  • keep a log of all incidents including the time, the date and the station or apparatus affected (ideally for two weeks);
  • establish that the source of harmful interference is not within your control (e.g. within your own property);
  • ensure the affected station or apparatus is functioning correctly (e.g. installed, maintained and engineered).

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