Wi-Fi networks bring the convenience of a connection anywhere your signal can reach and the ability for multiple computers to connect to the same network without the need for you to run Ethernet cabling for every computer.
The problem with Wi-Fi networks is that, while they bring so many perks, many perform poorly and others refuse to work at all. Let’s examine some of the steps you can take on how to troubleshoot a Wi-Fi connection in your home.
Unable to Connect to Your Router
There are a number of reasons that you might be unable to connect to your wireless router. Start with the most obvious ones first and then proceed accordingly.
Ensure that you’re connecting to the right wireless router with the correct WEP or WPA key. If your router uses additional layers of security, enable them on your computer.
If the connection process takes an exceedingly long time, then there may be a problem with the reception of the signal itself or your DHCP settings. The next section will cover signal strength issues. To resolve DHCP settings, ensure that your computer does not have a static IP address. This will allow the internal mechanisms of the router to distribute an intranet IP to your computer when it connects, if that option is enabled from within your router.
Signal Strength Issues
A poor signal can result in slow Internet speeds and a faulty connection. Sometimes, you may not be able to connect to your network at all.
There are two components that typically affect signal strength: the raw power of the signal itself and any interference that may occur between the router’s antenna and your computer.
The raw signal strength, which is measured in dB, will determine how far the Wi-Fi signal can propagate. This determines the maximum distance that you can travel from your router while still being able to stay connected to your wireless network.
Troubleshooting this is as easy as connecting to your router twice. The first time, try to connect to it with your computer located as near to the router as possible. The second time, connect to your router from as far away as possible. If you encounter connection problems, try moving closer.
You can always boost your signal using a different antenna or by opting to install another wireless access point somewhere in your home.
Interference can be investigated using the same method, except you will likely need to try connecting multiple times. Ensure that the space between your router and your computer is free of appliances that use the same frequency range as Wi-Fi networks, which includes microwaves and wireless telephones, and any large metal parts that may distort the signal or capture it, such as large television antennas, water coolers and metal pipes.
You can usually remedy interference by moving things out of the way or relocating your wireless router. If you choose the latter option, try putting your router as high up as your home will allow.
You Can Connect to the Router but Not the Internet
Ensure that you can connect to your wireless router before proceeding. Signs that you can will include having the ability to access your router’s configuration page and being able to use intranet functions like printer and file sharing.
If you’re sure you can connect to your wireless router, then it’s time to make a phone call to your ISP. Issues that affect your connection to the Internet generally require their help to solve.