How to Fix Your Home Network
I’m not a genius, but I’m not dumb either. I can read a tech manual and follow some simple instructions. And maybe you are just like me: a normal guy who should be able to install a router without asking help from one of those bearded IT gurus.
Nevertheless, sometimes things just don’t work out as expected. Maybe the router manual is outdated, because a new firmware update has significantly changed the user interface. Or maybe everything worked fine in the beginning, but now the router refuses to cooperate.
No matter the cause, this article will go through the key settings that are responsible for the most frequent wireless networks issues. So, let’s dive right into it!
Some of the biggest Wi-Fi troubles are caused by mismatched security settings. Most devices provide support for the WEP, WPA and WPA2 security protocols. WEP is outdated and can be easily cracked, so be sure to use WPA2 for all the devices that are connected to your Wi-Fi network. If this isn’t possible, choose WPA, but use a very long password. It’s not the ideal solution, but it can keep most hackers at bay.
If some devices can connect, and others have troubles doing that, they may use outdated passwords. It’s easy to change the Wi-Fi password, update it on your frequently used computers, tablets, phones, and so on, and then forget to update the pass for a seldom used device.
The easiest way to fix this issue is to forget the network, and then connect to it again. Be sure to use the most recent version of the password, of course.
According to Data Alliance, many problems appear because routers don’t run in mixed mode. Your devices may be configured to use different Wi-Fi protocols. An older device may run using the 802.11b protocol, while a newer one may use the 802.11n protocol. If your router runs using the latter protocol (and not in “mixed mode”) it will not recognize the first device.
With mixed mode, your router will broadcast using all the available protocols. This will slow down the network a bit, but it will ensure compatibility with older devices as well. Of course, if all your Internet-connected gadgets are new, you can tell the router to use the newest protocol, and thus get a small Wi-Fi network speed boost.
Some people use MAC address filtering. It’s a feature that’s supposed to boost security, but it won’t stop an experienced hacker. Still, it can provide an additional layer of security. If you have enabled your router’s MAC filtering feature, some devices may not be able to join the network because their MAC addresses can’t be found in the list of gadgets that are allowed to connect.
Poorly connected cables and damaged cables are two of the most frequent causes of Wi-Fi network problems. People simply forget that their wireless connections include a wired connection as well. So, if things don’t work as expected, don’t forget to check the cables.
Sometimes your router misbehaves because it is overheated. If you stream movies for hours or download huge files, the heavy load will significantly increase the router temperature. And when this happens, some of your devices may be randomly disconnected from the router.
To fix the problem, allow the router to cool down. Then, move it in an area that’s better ventilated – close to the air conditioning system, for example.
Other routers tend to overheat because they have to work with too many clients at the same time. A typical home router can handle 10 clients without problems; nevertheless, if you’ve got 20 devices that need Internet access in your home, it’s best to add a new router or access point, thus spreading the load among them.
If your device is away from the router, and it refuses to connect to the Wi-Fi network, the problem is almost always a weak wireless signal. But before adding a new router, try changing the current Wi-Fi channel and repositioning the router, moving it closer to the area that needs a stronger signal.
I have worked with several routers, and I have noticed that some of them are much more reliable than others. Electrical power surges are known to be one of the main causes for router damage. And trust me, it’s very hard to repair a router these days! But maybe it’s just a firmware problem, so try to update the router firmware before throwing it away.
Also, consider investing your money into a cheaper router, which can be used to troubleshoot your network whenever the main router doesn’t behave as expected. This way, if something really bad happens, you won’t be disconnected from the Internet for good.