Q
Problem solve Get help with specific problems with your technologies, process and projects.

# How radio frequency (RF) of microwaves alter wireless signal strength

## Microwaves are a part of the radio frequency (RF) spectrum. Our wireless networking expert explains the difference and how RF affects wireless signal strength in this expert response.

What is the difference between RF energy and microwave energy other than frequency and wave length?

Electromagnetic radiation refers to all electrical and magnetic energy that moves through the air at the speed of light. Radio frequency (RF) refers to a subset of electromagnetic energy, generally transmitted through an antenna, creating waves with a desired frequency and length. Frequency represents the number of waves passing by each second, while length is the distance traveled per second.

As illustrated below, the RF spectrum generally refers to frequencies between 3 kHz and 300 GHz. Microwave commonly refers to the subset of the RF spectrum with wavelengths shorter than 30 cm and frequencies above 1 GHz.

Click to enlarge image.

Microwave ovens, wireless access points, and TV broadcasters all generate RF energy. For example, Wi-Fi devices use frequencies within the ISM (Industrial Scientific and Medical) and/or UNII (Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure) band. The ISM band used by 802.11b/g/n starts at 2.4 GHz and is divided into 11 unique channels. Many other consumer electronic devices transmit within the ISM band, including cordless telephones, Bluetooth peripherals, baby monitors – and microwave ovens.

#### More on spectrum analyzers

To learn more about RF frequencies and devices that use them, see Lisa's tip on troubleshooting with spectrum analyzers.

Microwave ovens generate RF energy at a frequency of 2.45 GHz, using a magnetron to convert electrical energy into radio waves that bounce around inside the oven to heat food. Microwave ovens are designed to contain those radio waves, but it is possible for some leakage to occur, especially in older ovens. This is why microwave ovens can degrade nearby Wi-Fi performance -- any RF leakage that occurs competes for frequencies used by many 802.11b/g/n access points.

Note that "microwave" and "microwave oven" are not synonymous. Microwave ovens generate microwaves, but not all microwaves are generated by ovens.

This was last published in June 2009

## Content

Find more PRO+ content and other member only offers, here.

#### Have a question for an expert?

Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.

You will be able to add details on the next page.

#### Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

## SearchSDN

• ### Riverbed SD-WAN gets connections to Amazon, Microsoft clouds

Riverbed SD-WAN now includes support for private connections to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Other enhancements ...

• ### SD-WAN vs. MPLS: The quality-of-service comparison

Quality of service is often top of mind for IT leaders when debating SD-WAN vs. MPLS -- especially when it comes to using ...

• ### Enterprises choose managed SD-WAN over DIY SD-WAN deployment

Enterprises prefer purchasing managed SD-WAN services, rather than taking the DIY SD-WAN deployment approach, according to recent...

## SearchEnterpriseWAN

• ### How to calculate network bandwidth requirements

Figuring out how to calculate bandwidth requirements is vital to ensuring your network runs smoothly, and it's best to get the ...

• ### How types of noise in data communication systems affect the network

Learn about the different types of noise in data communication -- including thermal, intermodulation, cross-talk, impulse and ...

• ### The best VPNs for enterprise use

This slideshow highlights the best VPNs used in enterprise wide-area networks (WANs) and offers principles for designing and ...

## SearchUnifiedCommunications

• ### Orion Labs releases push-to-talk app for enterprises

Orion Labs has made its push-to-talk app generally available to enterprises. The voice-powered platform offers benefits beyond ...

• ### Slack competitor Atlassian Stride releases tools for developers

Atlassian Stride, a Slack competitor, has released an API platform. The ability to integrate with business apps and workflow ...

• ### Many enterprises need better conference room technology

Enterprises are taking action to ensure they have the conference room technology necessary to support the latest collaboration ...

## SearchMobileComputing

• ### Explore the pros and cons of identity federation management

Identity federation is a relatively new technology in mobile, but it comes with challenges. Understand how to make deployment ...

• ### Five rapid application development tools to consider for mobile

Rapid mobile application development vendors offer a variety of options, from low-code and no-code platforms to micro apps, ...

• ### Android Enterprise Recommended touts quick security updates

Google's new program certifies devices that meet minimum hardware requirements, provide regular Android security updates and ...

## SearchDataCenter

• ### IBM Power9 servers seek market inroads to AI, cloud

IBM follows up its first Power9 server with a raft of systems designed to appeal to a wider array of markets -- most notably, AI ...

• ### Evaluate read-intensive and write-intensive SSD use cases

Consider write wear, performance and other factors when choosing between read-intensive, write-intensive and mixed-use ...

• ### Some hyper-converged infrastructure use cases pose pitfalls

Hyper-converged infrastructure adoption is skyrocketing, but that doesn't mean that the technology is the best choice for every ...

## SearchITChannel

• ### ConvergeOne goes public, targets cloud skills

Cloud consulting services is one area IT service provider ConvergeOne would like to reinforce as it pursues business as a ...

• ### JASK channel partner program looks for regional allies

JASK will initially target regional reseller partners and plans to eventually work with managed security service provider firms; ...

• ### Cloud services offerings: Partner investments on the rise

Managed service providers and other channel firms are upping their investment in cloud services but must confront the challenges ...

Close