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Read Me: Wi-Fi Basic Troubleshooting Guide

Staff Lon
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Posts: 1,305
Registered: ‎01-03-2012

Read Me: Wi-Fi Basic Troubleshooting Guide

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by Staff Lon Staff
Message 1 of 6 (31,365 Views)

Nothing is more frustrating than an internet connection that doesn’t work or remain stable. While we have other articles that help you troubleshoot issues with your internet connection, often the issue is actually Wi-Fi related.

 

Who is this for?

 

This article may help you resolve issues with Wi-Fi interference and connectivity. It is intended as a broad reference for most advanced users to help you troubleshoot things you may not have thought of. If you are having trouble with any of the terms or concepts discussed below or cannot find answers elsewhere, please create a new topic and ask your question. We are always happy to help.

 

For example

 

  • Ethernet cable connected computer connect fine but tablets and mobile devices cannot get an internet connection at all
  • Connecting computers to the modem via Ethernet achieves a great speed result but mobile devices connected via Wi-Fi get very slow throughput
  • Lag during gaming when connected via Wi-Fi which disappears when connecting via Ethernet

 

 

There are four common symptoms you may be experiencing with your Wireless network. These include:

 

  1. No Wireless networks or connections available to connect to
  2. Wireless signal appears to drop frequently for no apparent reason
  3. Your Wireless connection is active and connected but you cannot access the internet
  4. You are experiencing gaming lag or slow download speeds while connected via your Wireless network

 

Section 1: No Wireless networks or connections available to connect to

 

  1. Ensure that Wireless is actually enabled on your modem or router. It should be on by default but it pays to be sure.

 

  1. Make sure you are using the correct Wi-Fi SSID (Service Station Identifier). Sometimes, routers do not broadcast their SSID publicly, so you need to be sure you are entering it correctly. If you cannot see the wireless network publicly, ask the owner of the device for the SSID and security key. You will then need to configure the wireless network manually.

 

  1. Check if the Wireless network is turned on on the device you are using. This usually indicated by a lit-up icon that may look something like this:
wifi.png

 

  1. If you are using a phone, make sure Wi-Fi is enabled in the phone settings. If you are using a USB Wi-Fi dongle, make sure it is plugged in properly and that computer is recognizing the device and that all drivers are up to date.

 

  1. Try to get closer to the router or access point. They have a limited range and each wall or obstruction the signal has to pass through to get to your device weakens the signal output.

 

  1. Restart the router, modem or access point. Sometimes even though the internet connection is still functioning, the modem may need to be restarted to get your WIFI network working again.

 

  1. Check that your Wi-Fi adapter is set to obtain Default Gateway and DNS settings automatically. If you are using a device provided by your employer these settings may be configured statically to allow you to connect to an office network. You should check with your work IT team before making any changes here as it could cause issues when you are back at the office.

 

  1. Ensure you have all the latest drivers for your Wi-Fi adapter and computer or mobile device.

 

Section 2: Wireless signal appears to drop frequently for no apparent reason

 

Here's what to do when you often find yourself having to restart your computer or wireless router to "fix" the wireless connection:

 

  1. Try to get as close as possible to the Wi-Fi router or access point. Line-of-sight is always best but if that isn’t possible, try removing any obstructions around the device. If at all possible try to move your router to the most central part of your house – a meter off the ground at least. In my experience I find eye-level is best.

 

  1. Eliminate sources of interference. The most common cause of interference is cordless phones, sat right next to the router. They are notorious for interfering with your Wi-Fi signal so make absolutely sure the base unit for your cordless phone is as far away as possible from your router. Other appliances (such as microwaves) can also cause problems if they are very close to your router. Even having your modem near a plasma TV is a really bad idea.

 

  1. Change the Wireless channel. If you live in an apartment building, chances are there are loads of people around you broadcasting Wi-Fi networks, amongst other things. Your best bet is to find which channel will give you the best performance. If you have an Android phone you can download Wi-Fi Analyzer here. If you are an iOS user, you may have to search the App store for an equivalent, but Network Analyzer Lite might do the trick for you.

 

  1. Get a Wireless Access Point. These devices extend the range and signal output of your Wireless network considerably and will increase performance dramatically especially if you have a large house or cement/brick walls. There are many different brands out there and you can usually pick an entry level one up for under $100.

 

  1. Try resetting your router or access point to the factory default settings and set it up again from scratch. This can be an awful pain but is worth the effort as it can potentially save you from step 6.

 

  1. Try a different router to see if you experience the same issue. Sometimes there’s just nothing for it and replacing the router is the only answer.

 

Section 3: Your Wireless connection is active and connected but you cannot access the internet

 

  1. Annoyingly, your Wi-Fi connection may be looking good but you still can’t browse the internet. As above, check your router first to make sure it is actually connected to the Internet. There should be an indicator light, either WAN, PPP, Internet or even an icon that indicates your connection to the internet is active.

 

  1. Try 'Forgetting' and reconnect to your Wireless network on your device. Sometimes the settings bug and it is best to simply remove the network and reconnect again.

 

  1. Check your router or access point for MAC address filtering. The person configuring the router or access point may have set it up in such a way that only certain device MAC Addresses (Media Access Control numbers) can connect to the Internet. Some companies use this strategy to prevent unauthorised access to their network. Some parents use this feature as a form of parental control.

 

  1. If you are using a Wi-Fi hotspot at a Hotel, you might not be able to get your email etc until you have opened a browser to view the Hotel’s hotspot landing page and logged in. This is a bit of a caveat and worth checking for.

 

  1. Try using a different DNS server. You may need to set your DNS server settings manually. There are too many devices and operating systems out there for me to go into detail on how to do this here but Google is your friend. J

 

Section 4: You are experiencing gaming lag or slow download speeds while connected via your Wireless network

 

I’ll keep this one brief. From my signature you’ll see that I’m a gamer myself and I can tell you from personal experience that if you plan to game competitively Wi-Fi is never going to give you the best possible performance. I’m sorry, I wish I could break it to you gently but there really is no way around this. Wi-Fi by its very nature will always be laggier than an Ethernet connection. Of course the experience will be good enough to play most games but if you life’s purpose is to pwn n00bs (high five my brothers and sisters) then please, take my advice and run an Ethernet cable to your gaming rig. You will not regret it, I promise. Smiley Happy

 

I hope this article has helped you resolve the most common issues you may be experiencing with your Wi-Fi networks. If you require a router replacement or suspect a problem with your Internet connection, please be sure to contact us. You are also more than welcome to start a brand new topic in our Community Forums where a trusty Ninja or other knowledgeable contributor will be sure to offer some advice.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Please note that I am no longer a permanent moderator of this forum and only check messages during my free time.
New Poster
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎13-12-2014

Re: Read Me: Wi-Fi Basic Troubleshooting Guide

by Mario New Poster
Message 2 of 6 (30,815 Views)
Hi Lon
I signed up for a fibre Internet connection with 100Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload speed. I am using my iPad 4 Retina on wireless and stay about 2 metres from the router. I tested the speed using speedtest.net (Okla app for iPad) and the average speed averages to 55Mbps ans upload speed averages to 18.5Mbps. Can you recommend a solution to make my download speed because it is only about 55% of what I signed up for? I understand there will be a speed drop using wireless but this drop is too much ... and I am on fibre.
Posted from Apple iPad
New Poster
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎09-09-2016

Re: Read Me: Wi-Fi Basic Troubleshooting Guide

by jhm64892 New Poster
Message 3 of 6 (20,604 Views)
Hi Lon,
I've tried using all of your solutions for the third issue (which is the issue I'm having) and now I'm getting an authentication problem. Is there any way to fix this?
Posted from Vodafone 895n
Community Manager
Posts: 1,687
Registered: ‎02-02-2013

Re: Read Me: Wi-Fi Basic Troubleshooting Guide

by Community Manager Community Manager
Message 4 of 6 (20,602 Views)

@jhm64892

 

So you're connected but not accessing the internet? Sounds like it could be DNS - here's some DNS info from our FAQs. Let me know if that is the issue or not and will dig in to help.

m

Channel Manager, Help & Support
Vodafone New Zealand
New Poster
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎05-10-2016

Re: Read Me: Wi-Fi Basic Troubleshooting Guide

by Krisgibson29 New Poster
Message 5 of 6 (19,723 Views)
I don't see what difference there is when a single user has the (Telstra) cable, although fibre is available. The difference in speed is hardly noticeable, unless gaming or multiple users, so I stick to cable. Would you agree.
Posted from Vodafone 895n
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New Poster
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎15-01-2017

Re: Read Me: Wi-Fi Basic Troubleshooting Guide

by dmkatu New Poster
Message 6 of 6 (15,708 Views)
My wifi connection is strong and I do get a connection, but every since Chorus layed the fiber line down our street our connection keeps dropping out. This has never been an issue until they layed the line outside our house.

There are currently only 2 of us in our place and only 2 device or 3 if we are watching Netflix. This has also occurred when the TV has been hard wired to the router.

Your thoughts?
Posted from Samsung SM-G935F
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