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10 Wi-Fi Problems – And Solutions

Wireless internet is like electricity at this point — you only notice it exists when it stops working. Then you panic.

Don’t just panic! Fix it. There are many unique ways that your router can stop working, but you’d be surprised how many such issues can be easily fixed. Here is a list of things that commonly go wrong with -, and simple things you can try to solve those issues.

Slow Internet speeds in certain rooms

Potential

  • Move your router. - is radio waves, meaning your router broadcasts in all directions from a central location. If your router is in a far corner of your house, you’re covering a great deal of the outside world and not enough of your home. The closer you can put your router to the center of your coverage area, the better reception will be throughout your house.
  • Adjust your antennas, if possible, and see what helps. If your house is tall, alternating between fully vertical and fully horizontal positions can help reach in multiple directions.
  • Other routers might be interfering with yours. If you live in an apartment building, or any area with a lot of people nearby, changing your router’s channel can help. Free software like NetSpot on Mac and Windows and Wi-Fi Analyzer for Android can show you every wireless network nearby, and what channel they’re using. If your router overlaps with nearby networks in particular rooms, considering switching to a less-congested channel.
  • If none of this helps, your home might be too much for one router to handle. Consider purchasing a wireless repeater, or setting up an old router to serve as a repeater or second access point, to extend the range a little bit.

Slow Internet speeds everywhere

Potential

  • Try plugging your laptop into your modem directly, and see if the speeds are still slow, using a site like speedtest.net. If speeds are way down, the problem is likely with your Internet connection, not your router. Contact your ISP.
  • If that’s not the issue, consider changing the channel on your router. Free software like NetSpot on Mac and Windows and Wi-Fi Analyzer for Android can show you every wireless network nearby, and if yours overlaps with nearby networks that could really be slowing you down. Considering switching to a less-crowded channel.
  • If that doesn’t help, consider resetting your router and setting it up from scratch. On most routers, there’s a “Reset” button which you can hold down with a paperclip. Do so for 30 seconds and the router should default from factory settings. Use our guide to setting up a wireless router to get everything properly configured, and see if that helps.
  • If the problem persists, your router might be dying, which sadly does happen. Consider buying a new one; here are five of the best routers we know of. If the router seems fine, then it might instead be your modem, which could suffer connectivity issues if it’s on its way out.

Wi-Fi doesn’t reach certain rooms at all

Potential solutions

  • Move your router. Wi-Fi is radio waves, meaning your router broadcasts in all directions from a central location. If your router is in a far corner of your house, you’re covering a great deal of the outside world and not enough of your home. The closer you can put your router to the center of your coverage area, the better reception will be throughout your house.
  • Adjust your antennas, if possible, and see what helps. If your house is tall, alternating between fully vertical and fully horizontal positions can help reach in multiple directions. Check out our article about moving your router to improve Wi-Fi reception for more tips.
  • Other routers can interfere with yours. If you live in an apartment building, or any area with a lot of people nearby, changing your router’s channel might help. Free software like NetSpot on Mac and Windows and Wi-Fi Analyzer for Android can show you every wireless network nearby, and if yours overlaps with nearby networks in particular rooms you should considering switching to a less-congested channel.
  • Consider buying a powerful router, because whatever you’re using isn’t powerful enough for your home. Alternatively, consider purchasing a wireless repeater, or setting up an old router to serve as a repeater or second access point, to extend your network just a bit.

No devices can connect to the network wirelessly

Potential solutions

  • Plug your laptop into the router directly using an Ethernet cable, and see if you can connect that way. If this works, your Wi-Fi is the problem — but if it doesn’t, then your internet connectivity may be down. Contact your ISP.
  • Reset your router and set it up from scratch. On most routers, there’s a “Reset” button which you can hold down with a paperclip. Do so for 30 seconds and the router should default from factory settings. Use our guide to setting up a wireless router to get everything properly configured.
  • If setting up your router from scratch doesn’t help, your router might be dying, which sadly does happen. Consider buying a new one; here are five of the best routers we know of.

A particular device can’t connect to the network

Potential solutions

  • Maybe it’s just a momentary problem. Try turning off the Wi-Fi on your device, then re-enabling it. Alternatively, unplugging the modem and plugging it back in 30 seconds later.
  • If that doesn’t help, or the problem re-occurs, consider deleting your current network from the list of saved networks on your device, then re-connecting again.
  • If on Windows 10, search for “wifi troubleshooting” and open the result “Identify and repair network issues.” This will go through a series of diagnostics that may restore connectivity.
  • On MacOS, you can run Wireless Diagonstics. Hold the Options key and click the AirPort (Wi-Fi) icon on the menu bar. Find “Open Wireless Diagonistcs” and then follow the on-screen instructions.
  • Last, should this all fail, try rebooting your device.

Connections drop at random times

Potential solutions

  • Is there some sort of pattern? For example, do connections drop whenever you use the microwave? It may sound weird, but some routers have trouble with this, especially on the 2.5GHz frequency, and especially if you’re using an older microwave with shield problems.
  • Other routers can interfere with yours, and if your neighbors are heavy Wi-Fi users at a particular time each day, this could be slowing you down. Changing your router’s channel might help. Free software like NetSpot on Mac and Windows and Wi-Fi Analyzer for Android can show you every wireless network nearby, and if yours overlaps with nearby networks in particular rooms you should consider switching to a less-congested channel.
  • If none of this helps, consider resetting your router and setting it up from scratch. On most routers, there’s a “Reset” button which you can hold down with a paperclip. Do so for 30 seconds and the router should default from factory settings. Use our guide to setting up a wireless router to get everything properly configured.

Wi-Fi network disappears entirely

Potential solutions 

  • It’s possible that your router reset itself. Do you see an unprotected network named after your brand of router? That might be your router. Plug into your router with an Ethernet cable, then use our guide to setting up a wireless router to get everything properly configured again.
  • If you don’t see such a network, plug your laptop into the router with an Ethernet and see if you get a connection. Use our guide to finding your router’s IP address and login information

The network connects, but there’s no internet access

Potential solutions

  • Try resetting your modem but unplugging it and plugging it back in. If that doesn’t work, try also resetting your router the same way, assuming it’s a separate device.
  • Connect to your router with an Ethernet cord. If this works, then the router is having a problem, and may need to be reset. If there’s still no internet, though, your may have an outage. Contact your ISP.

Router crashes regularly, and only restarting it helps

Potential solutions

  • Reset your router and set it up from scratch. On most routers, there’s a “Reset” button which you can hold down with a paperclip. Do so for 30 seconds and the router should default from factory settings. Use our guide to setting up a wireless router to get everything properly configured.
  • If setting up your router from scratch doesn’t help, your router might be dying, which sadly does happen. Consider buying a new one; here are five of the best routers we know of.

Can’t remember the wireless password

Potential solutions

  • Did you check everywhere? Is there a sticky not behind the door? No?
  • If not, you probably need to reset your router and set it up from scratch. On most routers, there’s a “Reset” button which you can hold down with a paperclip. Do so for 30 seconds and the router should default from factory settings. Use our guide to setting up a wireless router to get everything properly configured.


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