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I'm taking steps toward setting up a home file and print server, and other toys and the first step is to have my Internet connection on 24/7. The most sensible place to put it is in the laundry room which is on the other side of the wall from my basement office. There is a nice shelving unit in there behind the door which is beside the clothes dryer.

My plan is to have the DSL modem and my wireless router set up on the top shelf there, plugged into my UPS. Being high up will improve wireless reach to the upper floor and the backyard. I would eventually put a PC acting as a server on the same shelving unit.

My concern is - will a dryer that is about 1.5 meters away from these devices cause interference at this distance? If so, is there a way to mitigate it or should I just avoid putting electronics in there altogether? The devices are currently on the other side of the wall from the dryer so it's not much of a move.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I don't think you should have any problems. But if yes, there are easy solutions.

I see 5 possible risks here.

  1. Interference with the WiFi signal. Washers and driers don't emit on WiFi frequencies (unless you have attained one of those mythical kitchen appliances with Internet connection visionaries have been promising since 1995, but even then it should be no more of a problem than having a WiFi enabled laptop in the room). Actually, I think that they only emit in the infrared part of the spectrum (because they have heaters), but that shouldn't interfere with the signal. Depending on their covering material, they could absorb and/or reflect some part of the WiFi signal, but you'd have to be very unlucky with their surface and the room configuration for this to cause significant problems. And the risk for that is just the same as in any other room full of furniture.

  2. Electromagnetic fields. They can harm electronics if not shielded properly. But first, the field generated by the motors turning the drums should not be nearly as strong as the field caused by a CRT monitor (remember the demagnetizing option in the menus?), and computer parts are designed to function properly around CRTs. Besides, the electronic parts in the modern washers and driers function just fine, so the risk for equipment outside the enclosure is practically non existent.

  3. Power fluctuations. If your power installation was done on the cheap, the sudden start of an AC motor can cause a very short brownout, which doesn't get filtered by computer PSUs (I have this happening, caused by the fridge's compressor). This is not very likely to happen, but it is possible. If it should happen, the best solution is to connect the router & co to another circuit. If such isn't available, you can get an on-line UPS (expensive, has other advantages too) or a voltage converter (50€ for a 1200W rated unit, a smaller one will be enough for you).

  4. Humidity. This is the most probable problem in the laundry room. Just install a hygrometer and if humidity gets too high, use a dehumidifier. Actually, do this even if you don't put the router there, because else you are risking mold on the walls.

  5. Flooding. This risk isn't negligible, especially if you have a front-loading washing machine. Mount your electronics on a wall, or put them on some kind of rack which keeps everything (including cables) at least 40 cm above floor level. Also use power strips rated for use in wet environments (they have self-sealing lids on the sockets not in use).

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After reading your answer I gave my first thought to humidity. That room is horridly humid so I scrapped my plan to put any equipment in there. Thanks for your detailed answer! – Sherri Mar 18 '11 at 20:28
Most environmental humidity specs I've seen for computer equipment are pretty high... My Mac mini can take 95% rel. humidity (non-condensing), for instance. It ought not to be a significant factor. However, the notion that locating the transmitter closer to the ceiling will increase reception on upper stories is quite incorrect: the angle that the signal passes through walls ought to be closer to perpendicular than parallel. Try to envision how long a drill bit you'd need to drill a direct path through a wall or floor from AP to host: a 1" wall can turn into several feet... – Nevin Williams Apr 28 '13 at 2:20
@Sherri - If the room is "horridly humid" then likely the dryer is not properly vented. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 4 '13 at 12:55
In terms of "flooding", it should only be necessary to keep equipment about 5cm off the floor to protect against that. If the water gets any higher than that the router is the least of your concerns. More of an issue is the likelihood of a hose leak or some such that sprays water within several meters of the connections -- kind of hard to protect from this, though, since water can spray in any direction. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 4 '13 at 12:58
@DanielRHicks - Very true. Though the humidity is also related to the sump-pump well and the furnace+humidifier for the house being nearby. On retrospect it is only slightly more humid than the rest of the house, and not oddly so. – Sherri Apr 28 '14 at 20:00

The nice thing about 240 is that it's very well shielded in the wall and most plugs have enough wrap to prevent interference. I would say it's a good choice. My only concern would be the heat but if it's in your basement I would say you are pretty well good to go.

There are cases where fluorescent lighting can adversely affect DSL modems and other wireless devices but it doesn't sound like that's applicable in your case.

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It should not make a difference, however, the motor that turns the drum could throw out lots of interference, especially if its an older model. I would say to just give it a shot, and see.

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Depending on your type of dryer: yes, there will be issues receiving the signal due to its location.

My wife and I currently live in an apartment and just purchased a new dual-band N/G/B/A router because we thought our old G router was dying. We suspected it was dying because we received signal everywhere in the house except our main bedroom. The thing I didn't get was why I could get signal just fine in our living room, which was farther away, while I couldn't get signal at all while in the bedroom next to our office. Turns out the electromagnetic interference (EMI) caused by our dryer is enough to block all signal (A/B/G/N) that is in an approximate 30 degree vector passing around the dryer. The dryer is located in a closet between the bedroom and office.

I'm sure placing a router so close to a dryer will have an effect on its signal, but especially so if the dryer is between the router and receiving line of sight.

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This seems quite odd. Was the dryer an old mechanical model or a newer one with fancy electronics? Did you get interference when the dryer was not being used? Aside from motor-generated RFI (which is possible with any motor-containing device) and any noise generated by electronic controls, there should be no RFI coming from a standard gas or electric dryer. And none of those should occur when the dryer is off. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 4 '13 at 12:53

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