Basic Wireless Network Troubleshooting

Longhurst Consulting > Our Blog > IT Solutions > Basic Wireless Network Troubleshooting
28Dec, 2018
Whether it is your personal home WiFi or a corporate office wireless network, different things can give your connection grief, or cause it to stop working altogether. Before contacting your…

Basic Wireless Network Troubleshooting

Whether it is your personal home WiFi or a corporate office wireless network, different things can give your connection grief, or cause it to stop working altogether. Before contacting your IT department or Internet provider, you can perform some simple troubleshooting, which can often resolve any WiFi issue you are having. We have compiled a list of some basic ways you can troubleshoot WiFi issues.



Troubleshooting WiFi



Connectivity Issues

There are a number of things that can cause wireless connectivity issues. Here are some of the most common things you can do to get back online.


Troubleshoot the device

When you are not sure why you cannot connect to your WiFi try examining your device (computer, laptop, iPad, mobile device). Many times, simply rebooting the device will solve connectivity issues. If you are still having trouble connecting to WiFi, determine if other wireless devices are having the same issues. This will let you know if it is an issue with just your device or if further investigation is needed.


Confirm you are on the correct network

Although this might seem like an obvious suggestion, it does bear mentioning. If your home (or office) has multiple networks, it is quite possible that you are on one with a weaker signal for your current location. It is also possible that your device may be trying to connect to a neighbor, neighboring business’ network, or even a free service from another provider.


Reboot Router, boosters, etc.

Many homes and businesses have several pieces to their wireless network. If troubleshooting your device and making sure you are on the correct network does not solve your issues, it would probably be a good idea to reboot all components of your wireless network. Note: if you are in a corporate environment this would be a great time to consult your IT person before unplugging anything!


Keep in mind that the internet will come into the building and be connected to a router. The router should be power cycled by being unplugged for 60 seconds and then plugged back in. Next, you should find the wireless device and power cycle it in the same way. In addition, you may also have a wireless extender, and that should be power cycled as well. After power cycling all applicable devices, give the system a few minutes to fully come back online. Once the system is fully back online, start testing your connection from multiple devices again.


Perform a router reset

Warning:  this procedure will erase all current settings!

This is a different procedure than a simple router reboot and can fix a myriad of issues. Resetting a router will return it to the factory default settings, just like resetting an iPhone/Android to factory defaults. You typically use a paperclip to hold the reset button down for about 30 seconds. This should return your router to its default settings. When in doubt, consult your router’s manual for full details on how to perform a router reset. Of course, if you are dealing with your workplace router, you should contact your IT department first.


Update your router’s firmware

If your issue is with your home network, you should try updating your router’s firmware. Just like computers and mobile devices, routers have system updates as well. These important updates can directly impact your ability to connect, your router’s security, and often include additional features that you may find useful. You can update your router’s firmware on the router’s administration page. See your user manual for full details.


Internet outage

If you have tried all the steps above, it is quite possible that there is an outage with your ISP (internet service provider). The best way to test for an internet outage is to plug your laptop directly into the router. If you can’t connect to the internet, then you need to call your ISP. If you can connect to the internet, then you are having other issues.


Speed Issues

Always troubleshoot speed issues with a computer direct plugged into the modem/router. Your speeds will always be faster than wireless, but it made shed light on the issue. If you have issues with your mobile device, there may be other mobile apps that perform better.


Location-based speed issues

If you are dealing with slow internet speeds in one area of your house or office, this may be related to where your hardware is located. If your router is located in the corner of your house or office, the signal might not be strong enough to reach everywhere you need it to. Again, plug your computer directly into the modem/router and run a speed test. If you have decent speeds while your device is plugged in, you might consider relocating the router to a central location or investing in a wireless extender.  Note, a lot of wireless, especially older systems, do not communicate as fast as some of today’s Internet is provided.  Performing a speed test over a wireless signal will likely not be as fast as your Internet service.


Slow speeds everywhere

If you are experiencing speed issues regardless of location, it could be an issue with your ISP (internet service provider). We suggest you locate the router, plug your laptop directly into the device, and then run a speed test. If your speed is still slow, then it is definitely an issue to take to your ISP. If you determine that your speeds are fine after performing a speed test, you should reset your router and see if that fixes your wireless speed issues. If not, it might be time to invest in a new router.


Lack of bandwidth

Another common issue that impacts WiFi speeds is lack bandwidth. If there are multiple users/devices that are streaming video, downloading large files, or gaming online, your internet speeds can be reduced dramatically. Other than disconnecting any devices that are not actively using the internet, the only thing you can do is try to plug at least one of the devices directly into the router with an Ethernet cable. If you still have speed issues, you just might not have enough bandwidth to suit your needs. Your ISP may be able to offer some suggestions.


When dealing with WiFi at home or the office, users are bound to experience slow speeds or connectivity issues at some point. By following these basic troubleshooting suggestions, chances are you will be back online in no time. However, if you are still unable to find the source of the issue, call Longhurst Consulting as they are more than happy to help you with any IT issues that you may be experiencing.


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