Until we start having trouble with our internet connectivity, we never realize just how online dependent we have become. For those of us who have grown accustomed to searching for troubleshooting videos for any problem of any kind, this can be especially frustrating. A definite Catch-22 where you can’t get online and you can’t fix the problem until you can get online. Here are some steps for troubleshooting a wireless router.
Yet there are some basic troubleshooting steps which most people can remember and execute. They can be done without a lot of involved directions especially when they have an incentive to do so. Naturally, anyone having trouble with their internet service can do very little if the difficulty is further upstream from them. There are simple steps while troubleshooting a wireless router to take to make sure that the problem isn’t on your side.
Down to Business
Every computer troubleshooter knows the first thing to try when you are having problems. That is to reboot your device. Particularly in a world with increasingly schizoid power supply issues, many devices have been known to develop various glitches due to fluctuating voltage. So shut your router down completely, the usual method these days being to pull out the power cable, and wait a few minutes before powering it back up again.
If this doesn’t do the trick, your next move is to check the physical condition of the router. Double check that all of your cables are firmly snapped into place. Feel the router to see if it is running hot. Heat is another thing that can produce glitchy effects in apparently stable systems. If it is hot, then try moving it over to a location that will allow it to cool better.
You might look at the device to see if it has any markings that would indicate it is getting older. As equipment ages, manufacturers stop publishing software patches. Updates allow it to work well with newer equipment than it was originally designed to use. Upgrading to new operating systems can often trigger this problem. If this is the case, a new router will probably both cure your current problems and produce better results than an old unit even if it is in tip-top operating condition.
Your router may simply be sitting in a dead zone that kills or greatly diminishes the signal it receives. You can try moving it to another spot. That might bring it back to life without any real fuss. You can also try clearing out any items that have accumulated around it. You’d be surprised at the things which can block a signal.
What Else Could Be Wrong
It is also possible that it is not your router that is at fault at all. In an increasingly digital world, almost everybody has two, three, or even more digital devices transmitting away in their home. If you live in an area with urban or even suburban densities, your signal might simply be getting drowned out by a lot of other traffic operating on the same channel.
The best way to check this is by hooking your device up to your router with a hard line such as a USB or ethernet connection. This eliminates the two-way wireless communication aspect and allows you to see if your connectivity improves by going off Wi-Fi.
If it does, you might just choose to leave it that way, although this is not always practical for many devices that get moved around a lot. It will, however, isolate your problem down to one of interference, so you know you need to look around for a less congested channel to be transmitting on.
Many smart phones have an app that will walk you through this process and do much of the work automatically. Failing that, you can go into the settings menu of your router and see about changing default channels that way.
If you do attempt any router modifications while troubleshooting a wireless router, be sure to write down your current settings before changing anything. Most routers run on industry standard settings. However, some systems, particularly small rural phone companies, have been known to use slight variations. Always write it down first and then change things. That way, if you make it worse, you know how to change it back.
As a final attempt troubleshooting a wireless router, you can always go back to the factory default settings. This is done by simply pushing a paperclip or pin into the little hole on the router that is generally marked “reset” or some variant thereof. You push and hold for five seconds, and this puts your router back to its factory default condition. You will need to re-enter your password and key phrases, so make sure you have these handy before you try this last resort.
Technician at Computer PRO Unltd, father of one, gamer.