Network problems: Have I accidentally created a Faraday Cage?

Since about noon-ish thursday, I’ve been experiencing significant but occasional lag on my network. I’m on a 20/2 Mbps line which usually gets me about 1-2ms in jitter on server tests at (Actual response time is of course dictated by the distance to the server.) However, since thursday, I’ve been seeing lag spikes that last for up to 30 seconds and occur every 5-10 minutes. This renders most online games unplayable even if it doesn’t drop me outright.

Having sent an inquiry to my ISP, I got to thinking if there maybe was something I could do. I had of course tried to power cycle my modem, router and restart my computer to no avail. However, it wasn’t until today that I noticed that my girlfriend had turned the underfloor heating on.

This got me to thinking. We live in a basement underneath our landlord, who also has underfloor heating. The last time I experienced this situation was right after Christmas, which also had a bit of a temperature drop - as we’re at a nippy 10c below right now, turning on the heat is a bit of a no-brainer, so I probably did.

So we’ve got a situation where there’s underfloor heating both above and below. The network runs via CAT-5 cables (UTP) to the modem. (I get internet through the TV-lines, the modem is also a signal splitter with coax-to-ethernet, if that matters.)

In other words, have I accidentally created a Faraday Cage which traps the EMI in the room and messes with my signal? It’s a hideously long shot, I know, since I can’t think that we produce enough interference to so seriously disrupt wired communication. However, it’s the only thing I can think of that I can actually do something about - and I’d rather that than remain the mercy of my ISP. :stuck_out_tongue:

If the question is whether turning on the heating system somehow creates a “Faraday cage” or “traps the EMI” the answer is no, because that’s not how it works.

For the implied question, of whether turning the heater on might somehow cause problems for the wireless network, the answer is possibly.

Least likely is that the heating system is creating interference on the wireless frequencies.

Also somewhat unlikely is that changes in the atmosphere around it (specifically, humidity) are affecting it.

If the heater being on really is the cause, a good chance is that additional heat is affecting the router’s performance. Routers don’t like to be overheated. Is it located in a spot that gets especially warm when the heat is on? Try moving it somewhere else.

You’re not using a wireless connection to anything outside the alleged cage, so it wouldn’t matter.

Hmm, back from work now and I tried playing for an hour. Still the same problem. Tried turning off the underfloor heating - after two minutes it was completely smooth for two hours. Gonna try again some more times before I conclude anything, but playtime’s over for today. (And I need my heat, brrr.)

Yeah, the Faraday Cage thing was kind of something I just threw out there, but there’s something going on and according to my ISP, it seems to be a local problem. sigh

Well, I think you figured out the problem. If you’re not using a laptop I would swap out the network cable(s) for the shortest ones you can find and experiment with your router in slightly different places (an inch to the right, three inches forward etc) until you find the spot with the least interference.

What kind of underfloor heating do you have? Electric wires, or hot water moved by an electric pump? I’m wondering if the heater or pump is causing either RFI or voltage swings on the power line. Do you have a USP you could plug the router and modem into? That might provide cleaner power.

Another thought might be to try running an extension cord from a different outlet that’s on a different circuit. That could provide more isolation.