How Do I Block My Neighbour's Wifi?

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Like Michael Myers from those Halloween movies, some things in life are (seemingly) inescapable. Taxes. Politics. Your neighbour’s wifi networks that are strong enough to give you an unusable signal in your home or apartment, no matter where you are.

Sure! Face your neighbour and assess which walls are between you and them. Line these walls with concrete, and that should put a stop to your neighbour’s annoying wireless signals. Or maybe hang up a bunch of mirrors?

I kid, but there are plenty of materials that can hamper wifi signals, which might be worth keeping in mind if you ever plan to remodel your condo.

I suppose you could try wifi-blocking paint, which sounds more like a gimmick than anything else. You could also go crazy and enclose your condo in a Faraday cage, which will have the added effect of wrecking your cellular signal. (Here’s hoping you use wifi calling.)

What I’d really do, first of all, is to check the actual signal strength of your neighbour’s wifi network. It’s possible that you’re seeing it pop up on your devices as a connection option, but it’s a weak or otherwise inconsequential signal because you’re at the edges of the wifi network’s range.

+Grab a free app that lets you scan for wireless signals and see what it turns up.

I’m willing to bet that your network appears as a much stronger signal than your neighbour’s — unless they’ve set up some crazy-powered router or access point right near the closest wall to your condo.

If you and your neighbours are on good terms, you could always go over and ask them to look at their router’s advanced settings and turn down its transmit power — if the option even exists. (Not all routers allow you to do this).

That should pull back the wifi bubble a bit and not affect your neighbour’s performance to a noticeable degree. I’m assuming they’re getting a great connection in their condo if you’re seeing a pretty strong signal strength in yours.

You could politely ask them to move their router to a more centralised location in their condo. Depending on their setup, this may or may not be feasible. However, you can always let them know that this will ensure their entire living area gets a decent signal.

At the very least, you could ask them to stick the router or access point closest to you on a specific wireless channel, and you could just use a different channel for your own wireless setup.

You’ll still see their network (unless you politely ask them to “hide” it), but it shouldn’t interfere with your own speeds much, if at all. This is the solution I’d go for, since it guarantees the best possible coexistence—that is, you preserve neighborly relations and you still get a great connection for your own devices.

You could also get territorial: Set up a wireless mesh system around your condo that gives every inch of space an incredible wireless signal, and let your neighbours have to deal with your setup. That, or switch as many devices as you can to 5GHz (and make sure your network isn’t running on the same channel as theirs).

To test your tweaking, you can always hit up fast.com to check your speeds from same location when your neighbour’s wifi is on versus when it is off — if they’re amenable to the experiment — or any other crafty configurations you try.

Generally speaking, though, I’d advise to negotiate on channels and, barring that, just get another access point (or a stronger router) that gives you the connection you need from wherever you are. Don’t worry about the neighbours any more than that, and be thankful you don’t live in an apartment complex that’s full of a ton of competing, decently powered networks on all channels.


Comments

    If it's upsetting your own system, why not just ask them for their password and use their connection. Failing that, just hack into their system and use it anyway.

    NB: For those with the humour bypass, that last suggestion was a joke.

      As an extension to @magani's excellent suggestion, give your network the same name as theirs to see if you can either sniff their password(s) or make them think there's a problem with their own network.

      (also jokes)

      I think the only time that neighbouring wifi would be a problem is in an apartment block, where you could be surrounded by signals, however wouldn't the strongest signal always be yours given that there are brick / concrete walls in between. If the neighbours wifi is stronger than yours then maybe it's time to upgrade your hardware to something with a bit more oomph.

      It's no joke, I haven't paid for internet for seven years now and counting, and can get up to 15MB/sec by combining multiple adaptors/networks into a single connection. I make sure to never take too much from any one network, and avoid using them when their owners are, but I also maintain all my neighbours' networks, making sure their routers are up to date and have optimal settings, and occasionally restarting them when they get a bit flakey.

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