Basic Wi-Fi troubleshooting tips

Internet Routers
Hi, I�m Molly Wood from CNET, here with a BUNCH of ways to troubleshoot a flaky WiFi connection. 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 stuff. 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 choose from. 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.

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