Homeworking: Heatwave could stop phones signals

Jul 18, 2022
The heatwave could affect mobile phone signals according to the Met Office, which has just issued the UK’s first red extreme heat warning.
For those working from home, as well as keeping hydrated and protected from the sun, the national forecaster has warned that equipment could fail due to the extreme temperatures.
In their 'what to expect' breakdown, Met Office forecasters warned: "There is a high risk of failure of heat-sensitive systems and equipment, potentially leading to localised loss of power and other essential services, such as water or mobile phone services".
This is because higher temperatures can cause radio frequency (RF) waves to be disrupted. RF waves are sent between your device and a cell tower, which allows us to communicate, but those waves can be weakened in hot weather and high humidity.
There is a high risk of failure of heat-sensitive systems and equipment. This could potentially lead to localised loss of power and other essential services, such as water or mobile phone services.
As well as taking steps to keep ourselves cool and safe from extreme weather, it’s important to remember that not all tech can keep up in the heat according to Catherine Hiley, telecoms expert at Uswitch.com.
‘Most modern devices are built to withstand temperatures up to 35 degrees as long as they’re well ventilated – but unusually hot weather, or leaving a device in the sun, could mean those temperatures are quickly exceeded.’
Here are top tips from USwitch on how to stop your devices from failing in the heat:
Location — make sure routers are kept out of direct sunlight and off windowsills.
Air circulation —  opt for a ventilated area to allow the device to regulate its temperature. Don’t tuck it behind furniture or other large items, which could impact temperatures and potentially your broadband strength.
Disconnect unused devices — to lessen the pressure on your router and adding unnecessary strain to your bandwidth, turn off the Wi-Fi on gadgets you’re not using, even if they’re in a drawer.
Give them a clean — remove any dust build-up on your devices. Extra lint caught in the vents will stop the fans from working at full capacity and increase the chances of overheating.
Low level light — Turning your brightness down or switching your device into low power mode will ease the strain on your gadgets.
Unplug — Don’t charge your laptop up all the way if you can help it. Catherine said: ‘Once your laptop reaches 100% battery or a level you’re comfortable with, be sure to unplug the charger. Keeping the device plugged in and unnecessarily charging could generate additional heat.
Use it less — your phone can overheat too, make an effort to use it a bit less. When it’s too hot, the battery can’t store energy efficiently, so you’ll start to notice a drop in performance.
Lighten the load — background refresh being left on means that apps can be updated even when you’re not using them. This can apply extra pressure on your phone’s system during a scorching hot day, so turn this off temporarily if you can.
Take it off — you wouldn’t wear any more layers in this kind of heat, so why make your portable devices do the same? ‘Removing any extra layers from your devices, such as leather cases, silicone skins or other sleeves will allow your gadget room for ventilation,’ says Catherine.
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