"Wireless connection dead almost everywhere. Neighbours the same. And no-one owning up to the kit that's killing it. EXTREMELY grumpy. May weep."
I was demoing the issue to my brother-in-law yesterday - it's pretty clearly captured below:
This is by the front door - some degradation but I'd be very happy if I could always achieve this. It can be a lot worse here, but rarely drops to the levels I routinely see - at best - at the back of the house...
(If it turns out to be the phone-masts it would, of course, me more than a little ironic: There are four Apple devices here which get most of their usage in the worst-affected areas. They're sold by the mobile-phone companies on the basis that you can limit your 3G usage by connecting to Wi-Fi... but if the signal disappears, they'll use 3G. So the same companies that may well be responsible for knackering my wireless network also increase their revenues, as a result of doing so - at my expense.)
Back in April, I'd raised the issue on several web forums and usenet - and a number of people had opined that there was little else I could do: The regulatory bodies would have no interest in interference with unlicensed spectrum, so I was stuck with it. But, having thought through the issue again for the first time in months, I thought I'd give Ofcom a call and see what advice they could offer. Eventually talked to someone in 'spectrum' who asked me to lay out the issue in an email, although she didn't sound particularly interested. But, in for a penny... so I mailed them a copy of the letter I'd dropped in my neighbours' letterboxes with the following:
" I have a problem that has persisted since last April, with interference with my wireless broadband - the attached document is a letter I distributed to a number of my neighbours' houses at the time and will give you a detailed overview of the position as it was then. Since I conducted this 'survey' I have added a 5GHz Access Point to my house, but this seems to be impacted almost as badly. The interference seemed to become less frequent over December/January, but I have twice completely lost the connection to the laptop I am typing on today. So beginning to feel 'end of my tether' abut the whole affair again...I'd be grateful for any advice you can offer on where to go next - my efforts to locate someone with spectrum analysis equipment (and the expertise to use it) have so far drawn a blank... "
And on Thursday I got a phone call from a very nice chap, who advised 'We've decided to take on your case', then laughed heartily at the extended, manic outburst of gratitude that ensued.
So - this Friday, Ofcom engineer Les is turning up at my house with his spectrum analyser, some directional antennae and a stack of clever software. I'm trying not to be too optimistic about it: Sod's law says he'll turn up just as the interference drops. If he does detect it and it is the phone masts... well, I'm not sure whether that's actually going to help resolve it. But at least I might find out what the problem is.
Watch this space.