Common Wifi Problems And How To Fix Them
So you're wifi network has been setup for a while now and everything is going great, so great in fact that you don't remember the last time you had to reset your wifi router or even logged into the admin console. Then something happens like you change internet carrier, or you bought a new computer, or phone, and all of a sudden it doesn't talk to your wifi router. If you're in this situation I'm glad you've landed on this page. I've worked on literally hundreds of home wifi networks and want to share with you the most common issues that I've found easy fixes for.
Is The Internet Down Or Is The Router Down?
When you loose your internet connection one of two things can be the root cause. The first is that your internet connection is down and the other is that you're router has gone on a vacation. To make sure your router is up open up a web browser and put in one of the following ip addresses depending on your model wifi router. Then click enter
- Linksys 192.168.1.1
- ATT Uverse 192.168.1.254
- Dlink 192.168.0.1
- Net Gear 192.168.0.1
From here log into your wifi router. Chances are if you've never logged in before the username is admin and so is the password. If you can log in into your wifi router then you know that your wifi router is working correctly and should be up. If you can't log on but get a user name logon screen, open up a command prompt by clicking start, run cmd and enter. Then in the command prompt type in ping and your router ip address. If you get replies your router is up if not the issue is with the router and you need to power cycle it or replace it.
To check the status of your Internet connection log into the wifi router and look for the external ip address. In this example we are going to use a Linksys wifi router.Under the status tab you should see and ip address that does not match the 192.168.1.x address. In this case we have a 24.83.150.x address. This is the address of your modem. Click on start, run then type in cmd and hit enter. From there type in ping and the address below 24.83.150.x (x denoting the last number) and if you get replies your modem is up. If not your internet connection is down and you need to either power cycle your modem or reset it.
Note: anything that has a 192.168.1.x is a private address. When I say private address what I mean is that the 192.168.1.x address will be assigned to your computers or printers in your home and the 24.83.150.x or what ever your external ip address is, will be routed on the internet until it reaches it's location.
Sometimes you'll get full bars with a message that states limited connectivity. This could be due to a few things, one of them is a bug that is related with Windows XP service pack 2. If you've just installed XP service pack 2 and run into this issue, Google Microsoft knowledge base article 892896 to resolve it.
Sometimes if you have wireless security set up some devices will not take the WPA encryption type. You have to log into the wifi router and change the encryption to WEP or something else. I ran into this issue because I run a windows and MAC environment at my home and WPA will not work on my Iphone or IMAC with a mixed network.
Another issue could be that you are too far from the Antenna. If you have a particularly big house you might want to invest in a wider range wifi router or move the router into an area off the ground and not as obstructed by walls.
Some laptops have a switch that turns off the wireless adapter, sometimes it's a swtich on the side of the laptop or it could be a function key that enables or disables the wifi adaptor. If you've tried the steps above and you still can't connect make sure you check this.
Xbox or Playstation Won't Recognize My Network
This is an easy one to fix. The solution? Buy a router that is compatable with your game console. I've had too many of my friends have this problem and trust me you don't want it. Log on to the Xbox live site or Playstation site and make sure your wifi router is on the approved list. If not buy a new one other wise you will have to resort to another method called port mapping and it requires a little more technical elbow grease, too much if you ask me, so save yourself a huge headache and invest in a new game console approved wifi router.
My Mac Devices Can't Connect But My Windows Devices Do.
Most of the time this has to do with the type of encryption that you are using with your network I've noticed that Macs do not like the WPA security protocol. So I stay with WEP enabled security. In addition some Macs require that UPnP (aka Universal Plug and Play) feature be enabled for the Mac devies to work .