My network is also dropping and i suspect it is my home phone.
I bought a device which arrived yesterday so i can test my microwave for leakage. A microwave is not something you want leaking into your home.
Oh, microwaves can cause problems all right.
It's interesting to think why they cause problems with L1... We read about how electromagnetic waves pass through matter. When they come into contact with different types of matter they do different things. A flat smooth surface larger than the RF wave may cause the wave to reflect (think of a mirror), a less dense surface may cause the wave to bend through it (think a knife in water), while water actually absorbs the waves energy.
Absorption of an RF wave is defined as the conversion of the RF signal into heat. Microwave ovens actually use electromagnetic waves (at a much higher power level) to radiate RF waves at food inside the oven (which is made up mostly of water) to heat it up. Big difference is that microwave ovens operate at thousands of watts, whereas a WLAN can operate at 1/1000 of a watt.
It's easy to see at those power levels, radiating electromagnetic waves using the same frequency as you WLAN a microwave oven can obliterate the wireless medium.
Microwaves are essentially a wave at a specific frequency range. All waves have RF properties: refraction, reflection, defraction, and all objects will absorb or reflect RF differently.
Reason why microwave ovens and cordless base stations (2.4GHz) effect Wireless LANs is because the EIRP values are greater than APs EIRP value. Imagine a classroom and the teacher is lecturing (assume constant volume i.e. AP output power + passive gain of antenna) and someone else same distance decide to yell out "FIRE" much louder than the teacher. For that moment, everyone would have heard the FIRE but not the teacher. Essentially this a wireless environment. Because of the half-duplex nature of wireless, whoever shouts the loudest will always win!! Microwaves yell 10 sometimes 30 times louder than any wireless 802.11bgn radio.
Resolution: change to a non-overlapping channel in the same band OR (recommended) change radios and use 802.11an.
Impact of microwave ovens do vary. Much older microwave ovens tend to blitz the entire 2.4-2.5GHz band but more recent ones tend to show promise and blitz channels 10-14.
Hope this helps.
I hear what you are saying and i had some strange microwave links i designed years ago.
One link dropping out between 09.30 and 19.00 hours only
Reason in the end was a new Tesco car park filling up, the cars acted as a lake, the radio waves reflected off the surface and put the link out of phase
which destroyed it.
Another link got worse and worse everyday.
Reason in the end was the trees in the summer had sprouted leaves, some idiot had designed it during the winter to go between trees, once summer
came the leaves were blocking the link.
Another link also got worse but the LOS looked ok at first glance.
Reason in the end was the Fresnel zone was not clear, the trees had grown in height over the years.
One link dropped out almost over night.
Reason in the end was the windows in a building a few km's down the RF path had their windows changed which caused reflections and put the link out of phase.
Had some other strange links as well, the best part of this is finding out why it has happened and fixing it. This brings me back to the Microwave in your home:
The Microwave frequencies in your microwave oven in your home as i see it should not be letting out the frequency and as such should not interfere
with your WLAN.
If your WLAN is dropping out everytime you switch on the microwave oven i think you may have a problem with your microwave oven.
All the excitement with outdoor, long-distance links!
Noting back to the difference though... If someone has aimed a microwave antenna array at your house, yes, it may interfere with your wifi (although it SHOULD be in licensed frequencies) but if you are living THAT close to an antenna array to get simple EMI, I'd move! quickly.