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Electromagnetic interference in a home office environment

2021/01/04 > Back

For some businesses, the transition to remote work may be uncomfortable, but most of it will work successfully, but it comes with hidden risks: Insecure Home Networks. In general, computer network security of the business surrounds three categories: general users, IT experts and leaders; Before the outbreak, the general users was almost outside the scope of NIST (Cybersecurity Framework), and after the outbreak, a large number of remote workers had to rely on the businesses’ multiple solutions overnight, which poses a challenge to the enterprise; In other words, from NBs, servers, virtual machines to the cloud providers in remote workers' homes, and even their Wi-Fi routers have become part of networks security; Under the new normal, an interesting challenge teleworkers and enterprises may have faced: Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) or Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) in the home.

While our homes are not as complex as an aircraft carrier, we still have many more emitters than one might think. Some are obvious because they have antennae (like Wi-Fi routers).

Wi-Fi routers are both radio transmitters and receivers, they operate across a wide range of frequencies and use sophisticated signals, or waveforms, to ensure we have the reception we need in any place, any time. Electromagnetic interference (EMI) can occur when you're in the vicinity of any device that emits such signals. In a household environment, this might include microwaves, cordless telephones, sensors, blue tooth speakers and more.

Having all these devices close together can lead to many interference issues, especially if the user has a wired headset connected for teleconferences, this EMI is most commonly introduced into corded headsets when the cord lays across a cellphone or other cellular device, like a Wi-Fi hotspot. The buzz-click-click-buzz-click-click sound one might hear in a virtual meeting is likely caused by one of the cellular waveforms.

To reduce or eliminate it, by simply repositioning your cord or router to reduce this interference. By recognizing causes and practicing some simple electronic distancing, teleworkers is possible to minimize the likelihood of interference. Not only will devices function better, but colleagues won’t have to listen to that annoying buzz-click-click-buzz-click-click in teleconferences.

While we already discussed the Wi-Fi issues EMI can cause in residential environments, it can also impact electronics in buildings. And when it does, data can be lost and cause an electronic product to either work improperly or fail altogether. For product developer, it makes sense to safeguard potentially affected products in any way possible.

On the corporate side, their product is only as good as it performs once it reaches the end user. If a particular electronic continuously fails, that won’t reflect well on the company. Developers are increasingly challenged in fighting EMI due to smaller, faster operating electronics that make interference more difficult to manage overall. Failure for designers and engineers to account for EMI will almost certainly lead to a faulty product. By choosing power entry modules with filtered or IEC inlet filters (http://www.hal.com.tw/product/IECInletEMIFilters/IECC14) can effectively solve the problem of cellular device from EMI disturbance; and for household electric appliances like microwave, the most convenient and common way is adding with a cylinder-type home appliances EMI filter. (http://www.hal.com.tw/product/AppliancesEMIFilters/GeneralPurpose)

As you can see, both from the product development side and from the workplace environment side, EMI should be considered.

Data Source: CHIPS. signals defense.