Connecting home network devices via Wi-Fi is convenient but not always the fastest way. In addition to low speed, unstable connections have always been a problem that Wi-Fi users have to contend with. We will show you how to get your Wi-Fi up to speed.
Wi-Fi is convenient and straightforward when it works. But if the Wi-Fi connection is frequently interrupted or too slow, the wireless network is a pain.
With these 10 tips, you can quickly solve Wi-Fi problems.
- How to access the router menu
The problem: All basic settings for the WI-FI are made in the browser menu of the router. Proceed as follows if you often have problems accessing the user interface of your router.
The solution: First, use a ping command to determine whether the router and the home network device from which you are accessing the router can reach each other over the network. To rule out connection problems in the Wi-Fi, you can connect the computer to the router via LAN. Enter the web address of the router in the browser. You can find it in the manual or on a sticker on the device. For example, for a Fritzbox, it is http://fritz.box; routers from Netgear can be reached with http://www.routerlogin.net .
You can also enter the IP address of the router in the local LAN in the browser. You can see it on a connected Windows computer in the network connection status under Details -> IPv4 standard gateway. In the case of the Fritzbox, the emergency IP address always helps, which works independently of an existing connection to the router: It is 192.168.0.1, but often the IP address is also 192.168.1.1. No matter what your address is – with our tips you can quickly get into your router.
- How to remedy unstable WI-FI connections
The problem: The Wi-Fi connection between notebook and router often breaks down. This can even happen when you are sitting with your laptop very close to the router.
The solution: This often happens after the notebook has woken up from standby or sleep mode. Usually, the Wi-Fi driver is to blame, as it doesn’t realize that the laptop is active again. You can prevent the Wi-Fi module from going into an energy-saving mode from which it may not wake up properly. To do this, open the WI-FI hardware properties and go to Configure -> Power management. Deactivate the option “Computer can turn off the device to save energy”. However, to permanently solve the problem, you should look for an up-to-date driver for the Wi-Fi hardware.
- You have forgotten your Wi-Fi password?
The problem: Conveniently, Wi-Fi devices automatically connect to a known network. But if you want to connect a new device, you need the Wi-Fi password. But what do you do if you forget it?
The solution: Many current routers come encrypted from the factory. You can find the password there as a sticker on the router or in the manual. However, you should definitely change this password. If you have a Windows device that has already been connected to the Wi-Fi, you can find the password in the network settings under Manage wireless networks. Select the Wi-Fi and open the properties with a right-click. The password is in Security -> Security key. You can read it in plain text if you activate “Show characters”.
Starting with Windows 8, you get this information via the command prompt with the command:
netsh Wi-Fi show profile name=”Names of the WI-FI” key=clear.
The last option is to reset the router to factory settings. Then it will work with the default password again. You can perform the reset in the router menu or via certain buttons on the device. You will find the buttons you are to press and for how long in the manual.
- Your notebook does not connect to the Wi-Fi. This is how the Wi-Fi connection works anyway
The problem: With your smartphone, the connection to the Wi-Fi router always works without problems, but not with the notebook.
The solution: When troubleshooting, first make sure that the Wi-Fi connection between the router and the notebook is stable. To do this, the two devices should not be more than three to five meters apart. A poor Wi-Fi connection can prevent the password from being transmitted, for example. Then, check whether DHCP settings in the router and in the notebook are correct, as described above under “Network basics”.
To rule out the possibility that you once used an incorrect password for the Wi-Fi, switch off the automatic connection to the wireless network. Windows will then prompt you to enter it again the next time you try. You should also check whether you have set a MAC filter in the router menu; it only allows known devices into the WI-FI. Finally, the router’s log data can provide information about whether a connection to the router was established at all and why access failed. On the Fritzbox, for example, you can find the log files under System -> Events -> Wi-Fi.
- You need high speed on the Wi-Fi. This tip solves Wi-Fi breaks
The problem: You want to stream movies from the home network to your tablet but HD videos, in particular, are very jerky.
The solution: If you have a dual-band router that can set up a network over both 2.4 and 5 GHz, you should connect the tablet to the 5 GHz WI-FI. There is usually less interference on this frequency, and you can, therefore, use wider radio channels, which increases the data rate.
To make sure that the tablet always connects to the 5 GHz WI-FI, you should give this wireless network its own meaningful SSD, for example, “WI-FI_5GHz”. On a Windows tablet, call up the sidebar and tap the WI-FI icon. For the 5 GHz network, enable the “Connect automatically” option, and for all others, turn it off.
- You need a Wi-Fi with a high range to connect all devices in the home network via Wi-Fi
The problem: The Wi-Fi router is in the hallway. But the work PC is one floor up. And what’s more, you can’t surf with your tablet in the garden because the Wi-Fi connection there isn’t fast enough.
The solution: First, try to move the router to a different location. Place it as centrally as possible in the house or apartment, i.e., not in the farthest corner, just because that’s where the telephone connection is. Alternatively, relocate the router by connecting it to the splitter via a longer cable.
If your Wi-Fi router has rotatable antennas, try other angles and directions: A vertical position is optimal for neighboring rooms, while a horizontal position is suitable for serving other floors. You can rotate a model with integrated antennas a bit or place it in a slightly different location – only trial and error will help here!
The tool Heatmapper, which you install on a notebook, supports you in this. When you walk around your apartment or house with a portable PC, the program measures the Wi-Fi signal strength and creates a map. In this way, you can identify the areas with, particularly good and poor reception. Repeat the procedure with different antenna and router positions.
- The range is not enough. This is because the Wi-Fi is supposed to connect several floors.
The problem: Despite a new router position and changed antenna alignment, the Wi-Fi signal does not reach the upper floors. But you don’t want to move your things, including the PC, to the first floor just because the router is located there.
The solution: In this situation, even better antennas probably won’t help. This is because antennas with a more concentrated radio field or even directional antennas improve the range primarily in one direction. However, the Wi-Fi router should align the entire apartment evenly because you don’t use your notebook and smartphone only in one particular room, for example.
A Wi-Fi repeater or a powerline network can help here. You install a repeater halfway between the router and the device that is to be connected to the Wi-Fi. If your router supports both frequencies 2.4 and 5 GHz, invest in a dual-band repeater: The repeater connects to the client via one frequency and to the router via the second – and can use the maximum speed on each frequency. With single-band repeaters, the data rate between router and client is halved.
- If the Wi-Fi doesn’t get into the race, get out of the way of interfering WI-FIs
The problem: Suddenly you have speed problems with the Wi-Fi. Data rates plummet, video streams jerk, and the range of the wireless network seems to be less.
The solution: If you haven’t changed anything in your home and the router’s position hasn’t changed, the reason for the transmission problems is probably the interference of WI-FIs in the vicinity. The fact that the problem occurs so abruptly may be because several neighbors have set up new WI-FIs at the same time. Or that neighboring WI-FIs have switched to new radio channels that overlap with those of your WI-FI.
You can use the Wi-Fi analysis tool inSSIDer to examine the WI-FIs in the vicinity. To do this, highlight the wireless network you are connected to in the left-hand list, which contains all detected WI-FIs. In the box on the right, you will then see the number of WI-FIs transmitting on the same channel as yours (co-channel) or whose radio channels overlap with those of your WI-FI (overlapping).
WI-FI throughput decreases in both cases, either because Wi-Fi devices have to wait longer for the channel to be free for transmission or because the simultaneous transmission of another Wi-Fi interferes with your own Wi-Fi transfer.
Therefore, find the channel on which the least or no other WI-FIs transmit and set it in the router. In the Fritzbox, you can select the channel via WI-FI -> Radio channel -> Radio channel settings.
- Games or HD videos, in particular, should run fast on the WI-FI. Use this trick to speed them up
The problem: Wi-Fi does not seem to cause any problems when surfing the web, but online games cannot be played on the wireless network, and HD videos also often jerk.
The solution: The magic word is prioritization or Quality of Service. You can use it to instruct the router to transport the data packets of specific applications faster, for example, the data belonging to a video stream before a web page that the client has also called up.
With many routers, you can select certain games or even streaming services in the QoS menu, which are then supported more quickly. On the Fritzbox, this function is called “prioritization”. You can find it in the menu under Internet -> Filter -> Prioritization.
- Actually, it’s great when everyone in the home network is connected via WI-FI. But sometimes this is not desired. Here’s how to prevent it.
The problem: The devices in your WI-FI are connected via the router, but you want to prevent your child’s smartphone from accessing the family PC.
The solution: Many routers can prevent devices in a Wi-Fi from accessing each other. You can then access the Internet via the router, but not devices in the home network. With the Fritzbox, you can find this setting under WI-FI -> Security -> Additional security settings. There you deactivate the option “The active WI-FI devices displayed below are allowed to communicate with each other”. Other routers offer this function under the name Client Isolation or AP Isolation.
If only specific WI-FI devices are to be excluded from the home network, but the others can still access each other, you should set up a guest WI-FI. The isolated WI-FI devices then connect to the Internet via this wireless network and have no access to the home network WI-FI and the devices there. With the Fritzbox, you set up a guest WI-FI under WI-FI -> Guest access.