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Nintendo Switch controllers won’t stay synced? Blame your microwave

by Eric Frederiksen | March 6, 2017March 6, 2017 6:30 am PDT

If you’re having trouble maintaining connectivity with your new Joy-Con controllers and the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo is offering up an explanation: It’s not our fault you have other stuff in your house.

Wireless signals interfere with each other. That’s not really Nintendo’s fault. But when they start to list off all the stuff that could interfere, it starts to get a bit silly.

Nintendo suggests that the Switch shouldn’t be behind your television, near an aquarium, placed under a metal object, or within three or four feet of another wireless device, including wireless access points and speakers.

VG247 notes that water absorbs radio waves, especially right around the frequency the Bluetooth powering the Switch controllers uses; that is, 2.4 GHz. The aquarium creates a sort of shadow in the wireless signal that can make consistent transmission more difficult. A metal object or a big television can similarly interfere.

Also, everything else in your house

That’s already tough to swallow, but here’s Nintendo’s official list of possible sources of interference:

  • Laptops, tablets, etc.
  • Wireless headsets
  • Wireless printers
  • Microwaves
  • Wireless Speakers
  • Cordless Phones
  • USB 3.0-compatible devices such as hard drives, thumb drives, and LAN adapters

Anything that sends wireless over the 2.4GHz frequency could potentially interfere. Microwaves and cordless phones operate exactly in that range. USB 3.0 operates in that same range, too. While it’s not wireless, poor engineering of some USB 3.0 devices or cables can allow the signal to escape. Many modern routers include USB 3.0 ports but also include the option to turn that port off in the firmware, so it’s definitely not just the Switch suffering from that issue.

It sounds, though, like Nintendo’s suggestion is that if the controllers won’t sync, you should turn off everything you own in the house.

Something else does seem to be going on, though, as reports are coming in from all directions of the left Joy-Con controller – specifically the left one – experiencing problems syncing.

If you’re having problems, though, turning off a bunch of stuff is an easy place to start. It just makes me wonder if Nintendo couldn’t have used some better shielding or a higher-power signal.

Nintendo

Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...

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