You're taking your iPad or smartphone with you as you walk from your desk to the office break room for a bit of Internet browsing and a bite from the vending machine.
As you enter the room, your Wi-Fi signal drops. Welcome to the electronic war on Wi-Fi.
That scenario is commonplace in the workplace and in many Wi-Fi equipped homes. The last time it happened at my home office area. I phoned our digital guru, Patrick Junkroski, as though he were 911, which, in digital terms, he pretty much is. His hi-tech firm, My Technology Pros, has clients throughout Southwest Florida.
Patrick says one of his most asked questions is, "My most often asked questions include, 'Why doesn't Wi-Fi work in some places' and, 'What is Wi-Fi exactly?'"
"It's taking the wired Internet connection from your cable modem and, instead of plugging it directly into your computer, we plug it into a box called a wireless router. It converts that signal to radio waves. Wireless devices like laptops, iPhones and iPads send and receive those signals to the router and therefore to the Internet."
Patrick says Wi-Fi has a lot of electronic competition in most offices and many homes, especially in break rooms and kitchens.
"Ovens, stoves, refrigerators and other appliances create interference. They have big electromagnetic fields around them which can interfere with radio frequencies. Also they are generally thick, have motors or are made of metal, all things that can interfere with waves.
"We worked in an office once which was dropping the Wi-Fi signal around noon every day. Soon we realized people were using the microwave at that time, and that killed the Wi-Fi signal."
Patrick says walls also hinder reception and so does glass, "especially the thick glass windows that protect against severe weather."
"Even low voltage lighting or lights with dimmer switches and wireless phones can interfere with wireless waves."
Patrick's list of Wi-Fi enemies is an inventory of almost everything in our daily environments. So, are we doomed to Wi-Fi interrupts, weak Wi-Fi or worse? Is there some digital hormone treatment or noninvasive cyber surgery that can help?
As in real estate, location, location, location of the wireless router is all-important.
"The simplest tip I know of," Patrick says, "is to make sure your Wi-Fi router is clear and high. Don't pile stuff around it or on top of it. Let it 'breathe.' And just like most antennae, the higher it is, the more likely you are to maximize the range. On top of a bookshelf is great. Near the floor is not."
Contact information: Patrick Junkroski at www.mytechnologypros.com.
Don Farmer is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and CNN news anchor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.