Within the last decade, Wi-Fi networks have become integral to daily life. Whether you are connecting your laptop to access the internet, using the Wi-Fi network so you don’t use up your precious data, or connecting your smart devices together so Alexa can control your lights, Wi-Fi has become a key part of the modern home.
With that level of importance, it’s no wonder that one of the most common problems IT professionals deal with has to do with poor Wi-Fi performance. Since the majority of people aren’t going to hire an IT guy to come and fix their Wi-Fi, here is a list of several troubleshooting ideas that can help improve and fix your poor Wi-Fi performance.
For most people your internet service will consist of a modem and a router. The modem is a device that is plugged into a cable installed by your internet provider usually coming from the wall. The modem is then connected to the wireless router that is responsible for providing you with your Wi-Fi. If you still have a solid connection to your Wi-Fi then the problem is possibly your internet connection. In some cases you may have a combo modem/router which means that both of these devices are one. The solution would be the same for this kind of device. In the below picture the device on the right is the router, and the device on the left is the modem.
Try unplugging the modem and waiting for 10 seconds before plugging it back in. Give it some time to boot up and then check to see if your internet is working again. If your internet isn’t working then you may want to call your service provider and see if there is an outage in your area. They will be able to let you know if there’s an outage, or if there is an issue connecting to your modem.
If you are having a hard time staying connected to your Wi-Fi and you don’t believe you are out of range, then you are having issues with your router. The router is responsible for dispersing and maintaining the Wi-Fi network that your devices connect to. Restarting your router is a simple way to resolve a number of issues. All you need to do is unplug the router from the power outlet for 10 seconds and then plug it back in again.
Give the router a minute to restart and begin broadcasting your network again. Once the network is visible on your device you can try reconnecting and see if it fixed the problem.
If you are having trouble connecting to your wireless network, try checking your device’s wireless settings. On laptops there is a button that controls whether you can connect to Wi-Fi, so look around the edge of your laptop and make sure it is showing a green or blue light.
After checking if the wireless network button is on, confirm that your laptop wireless settings are enabled by looking to see if wireless networks are shown. If the networks are shown but you aren’t able to connect to any of them, try disabling the Wi-Fi and re-enabling it after a few seconds.
For mobile devices check to make sure Airplane Mode is not enabled. Airplane Mode disables all wireless communication until turned off.
Newer routers will broadcast two and sometimes even three wireless networks. These wireless networks will usually look something like this:
As you can see there are two similarly named Wi-Fi networks, MySpectrumWifi32-5G and MySpectrumWifi32-2G. This is because the wireless router is sending out two separate Wi-Fi networks at different bandwidths. Older devices may only see the “-2G” because the “-5G” network is a newer and faster bandwidth that was more recently released. The reason for the two separate networks is to allow you to spread out your devices across the two instead of overloading a single network. But don’t worry, both networks give you access to the exact same internet.
If one of the networks is not working, try switching to the other. If you have an overabundance of devices connected to one of the networks, you may want to try to spread those devices out and connect to the other option.
If your computer is using a USB network device such as a USB dongle (picture for reference), then it may be beneficial to remove the device from the computer for a few seconds before reinserting it. This will help reset and reinitialize the device after being plugged back in. Occasionally these devices can become overloaded or ‘stuck’, and temporarily removing them from your computer can allow them a chance to restart.
Hopefully this article was helpful and gave you some pointers on how to improve your Wi-Fi network. It can be extremely frustrating when your wireless network refuses to work properly causing lag, frozen movies, and stream buffering, so if you went through all of these steps and your computer refuses to connect to your network then it may be time to consult a professional. The experts at Dave’s Computers have years of experience troubleshooting and fixing a range of issues, and can help you if your computer is having network trouble. Reach out to them or visit them locally if you are in New Jersey and get your computer troubles solved quickly and efficiently.