December 8, 2020
Home Internet Troubleshooting: Solutions to Common Problems
Filed under: Tech Hacks
Range, Interference and Router/Modem Settings
Wi-Fi is excellent for portability, but it can be a problem in a large house or with other internet users nearby. Check the bars on your connection to see how strong it is.
You should always try to keep your router toward the center of your intended coverage area so that the Wi-Fi waves can reach their destination. Some routers come with external antennas, which can extend that reach.
If you live in an apartment building or similar setting where other routers and connections are nearby, that could be causing interference. Software exists to let you scan for other wireless networks and see what channels they are using. If you find that your neighbors share the same channel, try switching to one with less traffic.
You also can look for interference via someone else on your network using a lot of bandwidth. Opening up a network monitor will show you your network and what’s happening with it. If someone is downloading a large file, for example, this will impact your overall speeds. You can either wait for it to finish or cancel the process to get things going faster.
Ultimately, you may need to invest in a wireless signal repeater to stretch your signal as far as it will go. It may also be a problem that a faster router can solve if you’re using an older 802.11b or 802.11g router.
Sometimes all it takes is a quick reset of the modem and/or router to get things moving again. You also may need to update your firmware for either of these hardware items. Resetting to factory configuration can also yield positive results. If you do have to reset, make sure that you change your password to something secure.
Bonus: Physical Connection Issues and Service Provider Problems
Let’s say you’ve tested your device, looked at your promised speeds, and worked through both modem and router issues. If none of that solves the internet problem, you may have an issue with the line coming into your home. Head to the source and inspect the line, ensuring it is undamaged and still connected to the house.
Look for animal damage, loose connections and issues at any cable splitters. If you see a cable splitter that is unneeded, you may want to consider getting rid of it. Needlessly splitting a connection can cause problems.
If nothing works, a call to your internet provider is usually helpful. Your internet service provider may have an issue on their end that can’t be fixed by you, no matter how hard you try. They may need to install a new connection or upgrade their equipment. It may even be a user load issue, which could mean searching for a new internet service provider.
If you do call them, be aware that you will likely have to go through all of the previous troubleshooting steps on the phone.