Sluggish internet? Your Christmas decorations could be ruining your Wi-Fi, here's how to fix it

a christmas tree with tinsel, baubles and lights

Christmas decorations bring some festive cheer to your home throughout December, but it can seriously hamper your Wi-Fi performance

Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 22/12/2023

- 18:16

Updated: 22/12/2023

- 18:16

Fairy lights, tinsel, and even the tree itself can all cause Wi-Fi speeds to suffer over the festive period

  • Fairy lights can impact Wi-Fi signals from your broadband router
  • Experts advise moving your Wi-Fi hub to a different location over Christmas
  • Broadband speeds are already under strain during the holidays

If you've decked the halls ready for Christmas, you could be ruining your home broadband connection. Yes, really.

A new report from Uswitch has revealed that festive decorations that could be scuppering your Wi-Fi network by slowing speeds or stalling your wireless connection.

Christmas is already a very busy time for your broadband connection, with festive favourites to watch on Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video, friends and relatives to video call on WhatsApp and FaceTime, and playlists packed with Wham! and Mariah to stream from Spotify.

With so many people off work, your broadband will already be under strain with peak-time demand almost all day — a stray decoration adding pressure to your internet woes is the last thing you need.

Traditional Christmas tree decorations, including fairy lights, tinsel, and even the tree itself, can all impact download speeds in your home, Uswitch has warned. Both artificial and real trees can have an impact on wireless speeds.

a person is pictured holding out a string of fairy lights that are glowing in multiple colours

Strings of fairy lights, like those pictured above, wrapped around your broadband router or Christmas tree can interfere with the Wi-Fi signals and impact those all-important download speeds


Broadband expert at Uswitch, Richard Dowden said: "It's surely not the festive season without streaming your favourite Christmas film. So it's good to be aware of the impact a piece of tinsel or fairy lights can have on your broadband."

"Pretty as they may be, the lights and tinsel could potentially slow down your connection speeds," Dowden added. "You should keep them and other electronics such as lamps, speakers, TVs and monitors as far away from the router as possible."

Imagine the Wi-Fi extending from your router like radiowaves. If a large piece of furniture — or a Christmas tree — is placed in front of your Wi-Fi router, you could find the maximum range of your wireless network suddenly contracts.

It's not just twinkling fairy lights and tree branches that can impede your Wi-Fi connection. Large electrical devices, like flatscreen TVs and surround sound systems, are also common culprits for Wi-Fi disruption, as well as large bodies of water like a home aquarium, the waves from a microwave oven, or even your boiler. You'll want to avoid as many of these as possible when positioning your Wi-Fi router.

Experts recommend placing this essential broadband kit as high as possible in the room, possibly on top of a bookcase or shelf, to eke as much range as possible from your wireless broadband connection.

Clearly, you might be restricted by the length of the cable that the engineer fitted to the router, which is why so many end up buried in the back of the cupboard under the stairs or gathering dust in the hallway.

If you're unable to move your Wi-Fi router, it might be worth looking into a mesh network. These replace a single Wi-Fi router with multiple nodes around your home to boost and extend the signal.

As you move around the house, your devices will be handed off to the node with the strongest connection. This is usually the closest to you, but other factors – like the number of devices connected to a single node – can change that decision.

As well as the decorations around your home, Uswitch warns against decorating your Wi-Fi router. While this plastic box with its blinking lights can be a bit of an eyesore, making it look as festive as possible can also hurt speeds.

"Don't cover your router in fairy lights and tinsel – try to blend it in amongst paper decorations or elf-sized cuteness," said Tara Slinger, an interior design expert working with Uswitch on the research around Christmas decorations. "Secondly, make sure the tree itself isn't blocking your router. It's easier to move a router than a tree – so no problem if you've already placed your tree in the way!

"Finally, no matter how you choose to decorate, remember to inject a bit of personality – whether that's going all out maximalist style like me, or a more minimalist approach. Enjoy your home this festive season AND don't miss out on good WiFi signal."

You may like