MDoS (Microwave Denial of Service)

I began experiencing intermittent internet problems the first week we moved into our new home (a little over a year ago). I’d be chugging along, reading Facebook or watching a movie online, and suddenly everything would stop. I tried all the easy things like changing wireless channels, moving my router, and resetting/rebooting everything, but nothing seemed to help. To make matters worse we were only experiencing the problem a couple of times a day, which made tracking down the issue even more difficult.

I figured out the problem one day while watching a movie in the living room on Netflix with the kids. While Susan was preparing dinner in the kitchen, the movie stopped playing. Just as I was getting ready to start my normal troubleshooting routine, the microwave “dinged” and the movie started. I didn’t put two and two together until she began microwaving something else. When the microwave turned back on the movie stopped again — and when the microwave dinged again, the movie started playing again. I have repeated this multiple times and have now positively confirmed that when the microwave is on, the wireless internet is off.

Unfortunately, I don’t know what to do about it.

I have a Linksys E2000. Without loading a custom firmware onto it, I can’t boost the signal. I can’t move it from the upstairs room it’s in, and I can’t really move the microwave. I guess the best solution right now is to find something else to do while Susan’s using the microwave.

I think the most disturbing part of this post is that our microwave is probably cooking our brains.

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6 comments to MDoS (Microwave Denial of Service)

  • Would powerline networking help? Either to give the living room a rock-solid signal, or to allow you to put the router somewhere else?

  • sueohara

    So we have two microwaves: one stops the internet and one allows it to live. When I want Rob’s attention, I go put some water in the naughty microwave and set it for 4 minutes. ; )

  • josh

    Try changing the HZ and the channel too. Under wireless, or wireless security…

  • Eduard

    Hi Rob, it turns out that microwave and WiFi use neighbouring frequencies which could cause this. I have heard that changing the channel will help. I suggest that, in addition to changing the channel, you try and find out that no other WiFi signal is available on that channel (eg check that no router from a neighbour whose signal you may receive at your home is on the same channel that you are going to use) because this will downgrade speed too. Regards, and keep it up!

  • Changing the channel won’t help much since microwaves put out a lot of power. If you want to have wifi with less interference from the microwave, look at dual-radio/dual-band (both 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz) access-points. And wired network is always better.

    Do consider the option that the microwave is getting old and leaking too much RF power.