Why Does Wi-Fi Use the Same Frequency as Microwaves?

When you start your microwave, do you lose Wi-Fi signal on a nearby device? Wi-Fi and Microwaves both operate on a similar frequency, which can lead to interference. But why? And if that’s the case why doesn’t Wi-Fi cook you?

Microwaves and Wi-Fi Use the Same Unlicensed Spectrum

In 1947 the International Telecommunication Union established the ISM bands, short for Industrial, Scientific, and Medical. The goal was to define what devices would be allowed to run at certain bands of radio frequency so that they wouldn’t cause interference with other radio communication services.

The ITM designated the 2.4 GHz band as an unlicensed spectrum specifically for microwave ovens. This band has three compelling properties: It doesn’t require much power to broadcast, it’s easy to contain, and at relatively lower power it can heat food. All this lowered the cost and barrier of entry for consumers.

As the ISM name suggests, the original intention was for use only in devices that didn’t provide communication. In the years since the prospect of an unlicensed spectrum has been used outside the original purpose, such as cordless phones,

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