Why no Wi-Fi?
If you're having problems getting your Wi-Fi to work properly, there could be a number of problematic issues that need attention. Find your problem below and we'll have the answer.
Problem 1: I've installed my Wi-Fi adapter but I'm still not connecting to the web. What gives?
Is everything connected? Is your access point receiving power?
- If so, try rebooting. In many cases, once the setup process is complete, the system needs a good restart in order to conclude and establish all of the necessary connections.
- If that doesn't work, try disabling the Windows XP wireless configuration feature (that is, if this is your operating system).
- Open XP Networking in the system tray
- Once the Wireless Networking Connection prompt appears, enter "advanced"
- Click the Wireless Networks button
- Check off the "Use Windows to configure my wireless network settings" and then hit "ok".
- Restart the computer.
Problem 2: I've tried everything with the adapter. Could it be the router?
- Certainly could be. Consult your router manual and find the designated IP address (should be a series of numbers and dashes). Enter this into your browser, and don't fret, as you needn't be connected to access this.
- The router's setup guide, which should be viewable either on your computer after entering the IP address and username, etc, will show possible problems.
- Although unlikely, from time to time Wi-Fi networks fail because of an IP address conflict with the router. If you're trying to connect in location with a number of different networks (like an apartment building or library), it could lead to said IP address conflict and signal failure.
- Try rebooting your router and the computers connected to it.
- If this doesn't work, you can also attempt to "repair" the connection. This can be done by right-clicking on the "Wireless Network" icon in the lower right-hand side of your screen. If you decide to go ahead with the repair, Windows will attempt to find a new IP address for your router. Another reboot might be necessary afterwards, however.
Problem 3: My connection is so sloooooow.
- First off, how close to your access point are you? As you move away from your Wi-Fi router, the quality of service tends to drop. If you're trying to connect to the web while sitting in the backyard, that could be an issue. Didn't you know sunlight and/or exercise and technology doesn't mix?
- Second, are you downloading something? As with any connection in the past, processing performance depends on the number of tasks being, well, performed.
- How many jerks are sucking the router's teet? Think of your access point as a keg of beer. The more rowdy jocks you invite, the less likely you're going to get your fill (of alcohol or online goodness).
- Two minutes in the box for interference. That's right, it's not just a penalty in hockey anymore, but a good reason for Wi-Fi slowdowns [The Disadvantages of Wireless Internet]. Since most routers operate at 2.4 GHz, any other local technology using the same frequency will offer nothing but online drag. The solution may involve moving or turning off anything that operates on the 2.4 GHz level, such as cordless phones or microwave ovens. No eating popcorn while talking to Aunt Sue while surfing iTunes? A shame!
Problem 4: I think someone is stealing my Wi-Fi. Could that slow down the connection?
- Of course it could. As we mentioned above, the more people on your wireless network and the further likely it'll be more of a drag than RuPaul.
- Follow our steps to protecting yourself in the accompanying guide [Steps to Protect You and Your Wireless].
Problem 5: My connection keeps coming in and out. Don't laugh.
There are a few reasons for a connection that flip flops more than former presidential hopeful John Kerry. In most cases, the problem is the result of the following issues:
You're sharing the same wireless name as someone else.
- This is usually a problem for people living in tight spaces, such as apartment buildings or dormitories. If you share the same name as someone else (usually something generic, like "Linksys" or "Network"), the system might actually recognize both of your Wi-Fi connections as the same. That might mean your wireless client will connect to Joe Blow's similarly titled network, making your connection either very slow or completely useless. Try changing your network name to something different, but nothing that will identify it as yours .
- Although we touched on some of the reasons for slower and dropped connections, here's a complete list:
Possible Perpetrators of Interference
The following devices all operate at what is called the 2.4 or 2.5 GHz S-Band Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) frequency, and each can cause Wi-Fi networks to slow down drastically.
- Cordless phones
- Baby monitors
- Home security systems
- General monitoring devices
- Bluetooth enabled gadgets
- Wireless audio cameras
- It's well known that some computer viruses cause connections to drop on wireless networks. Buy, download, and run the latest software if you fear your computer is imitating the movie "28 Days Later". Scary.