Hi, I�m Molly Wood from CNET, here with a BUNCH of ways to troubleshoot a flaky WiFi
These tips might help you if your wireless connection was working fine, but all of a sudden you�re
having problems. Or maybe you�re adding a new computer to the network and it�s not behaving.
They apply to Windows XP or Windows Vista, and even though the menu options might vary a
little, they should work across most versions of XP and higher.
First, some very basic troubleshooting techniques. If you just started having problems and you
don�t know why, try unplugging the router for about 30 seconds and then plugging it back in.
Sometimes you just need a restart. Also, make sure the date and time are correct on your
computers. Sometimes that tweaks the wireless security. I don�t know why, but it does.
Next, make sure your security key is correctly entered. Maybe one of the kids changed it by
accident. Check your computer to find out if the drivers on your wireless adapter need to be
updated. That�s a common problem. Finally, check your router to see if it needs a firmware
upgrade. If you�ve done all that but you�re still having problems, let�s move on to some trickier
First, there might be too much traffic on your wireless channel. Download free software like
InSSIDer or NetStumbler to check for wireless networks in your area. The software will show
you how many wireless networks there are and what channels they�re using. So, if you see a lot
on Channel 6, log into your router using its assigned IP address � you can find this online or
sometimes with the router documentation. And just change the channel to something less
crowded. If you run into problems on other channels, just keep switching. You should have 11 to
While you�re in there, you may be able to boost the power settings. Every configuration page is
different, but look for a power dropdown and change it from say, 4 to 10.
If none of that works, look for sources of interference, especially if you live in a crowded
environment, like an apartment building. Cordless phones are a very common suspect, and so
are baby monitors. If you�ve got some, turn them off and try connecting to the wireless network.
If it works fine, you�ve got your culprit.
You may need to move the router far away from those sources, or if your phones are on the 2.4
gigaherz band, buy new ones that use 5 gigahertz band, or have DECT technology.
Hopefully one of these tips can help you get back to happy wireless surfing. If not, check out our
Advanced WiFi troubleshooting tips or, when all else fails, turn to Google.
For CNET How-To, I�m Molly Wood, and good luck to you.