It can be frustrating when a WiFi connection does not work. There are many things that could go wrong. Here are some common troubleshooting methods that may help. We recommend starting with the most basic.
To connect to Wi-Fi routers most commonly you will need a password . The router’s owner or access point will set the password. You won’t be allowed to connect if you make even one typo in your password.
Make sure you have the correct Wi-Fi password. Ask again if necessary or write it twice on paper. Next, enter it again in the Setup or Configuration application of your connecting device to see if it helps. If it doesn’t, proceed to the next step.
Some businesses (such as hotels, restaurants, airlines, and more) provide an “open” Wi-Fi network that restricts access using a Wi-Fi login page or portal in a web browser. These login pages allow you to sign in using a unique username and password that the business has provided.
If you have connected to Wi-Fi in your settings or configuration app but still are not seeing internet access, open your browser and visit any website. If the business has a login page, you will be automatically redirected there where you can enter your credentials.
If you are having trouble connecting to Wi-Fi access points, you can try a simple troubleshooting tip: Reboot or restart the device.
Restarting a gadget solves many problems caused by temporary bugs because it forces the device to reload its software and settings from scratch. Restart the device and try connecting via Wi-Fi once again. If this works, you are good to go. If that fails, you can try another suggestion.
We’ve mentioned previously double-checking and entering the Wi-Fi password again. Next, open the Configuration app (Settings for iPhone). Tap the name of the Wi Fi network to which you want to connect, then choose the option to delete the settings or “forget”. This will vary depending on the device that you are using. We have instructions about how to forget Wi-Fi networks on iPhone or iPad, Android, Mac, Windows, and Chromebook.
After that, you have two options: scan for Wi-Fi networks to try again or manually enter the information. This is especially useful if your router has changed Wi-Fi settings, but the device you are trying to connect to is still using older settings (such a different password or security settings).
If you’re still having trouble connecting to your Wi-Fi router–and you have control over the router or access point itself–you can try restarting it to see if that helps clear any temporary bugs or error states that might be making it malfunction. Restarting your router can be similar to restarting the connected device. This will force it to reload all its settings, which can resolve a number of issues.
Be aware that restarting your router could cause disruptions to other users (e.g., streaming TV, backups, gaming, etc.). So make sure you notify them first.
If you are connected to your Wi Fi access point and still have no internet access, it could be that your modem (cable or DSL) is causing the problem.
First, check with your ISP to see if there is an internet outage in your area. If there isn’t an outage, restart your modem (unplug it, wait 30 seconds, then plug back in), and make sure the Ethernet cable (if there is any) between your modem and your router isn’t damaged or unplugged.
RELATED: How to Reboot Your Router and Modem
Many older Wi-Fi devices don’t support the modern Wi-Fi security connections standards. If your router is set to a backward compatible security mode, older devices will not be able to connect.
For example, the Nintendo DS (released in 2004) only supports WEP security and not newer standards like WPA or WPA2. Also, older devices may not be able to access newer frequency bands by routers.
Most modern Wi-Fi routers support connections through at least two different frequency bands, with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz being the most common.
Some routers automatically connect compatible devices in the higher frequency band. Others require that you connect to a different SID for each frequency.
For troubleshooting, you should know that 5GHz connections offer faster speeds but less range than the 2.4GHz connection. So if you’re having trouble getting a reliable signal on your router’s 5 GHz band, try forcing a 2.4 GHz connection instead–or move closer to the router.
WiFi is useful, but not perfect. Wi-Fi’s radio signal follows the inverse square law, which means the strength of the signal decreases exponentially (dropping off rapidly) as you increase the distance between yourself and the router. If you do have a signal strength problem, you can move closer to the router or consider installing a larger antenna, more powerful router, or a Wi-Fi repeater or range-extender at some point in your network.
Also, you might consider investigating potential radio interference from devices such as microwaves or other gadgets that use similar frequencies (2.5 GHz or 5 GHz in particular). You can disable interfering devices, or route around them using a wired connection.
If you suspect interference, you can try to set your Wi-Fi to use a different channel, which might avoid certain types of interference–especially with other nearby Wi-Fi networks (run by neighbors or businesses).
At this point, you should check if another device can be used to connect to the Wi Fi network. If this happens, it is most likely that the router is the problem and not your connecting device. The problem could also be due to the unique combination of your router and your device, which is usually related to Wi-Fi settings. We’ll discuss this below.
Also, Wi-Fi adapters sometimes go bad or have buggy drivers. If your device supports plugging in other Wi-Fi adapters (such as internal PCe cards or USB adapters), then you can try to purchase a new Wi-Fi adapter and either replace the one currently in your device or disable the old one and activate the new one. If the adapter works, your original Wi-Fi adapter may be malfunctioning. If the adapter does not work, you may have a bigger problem. There are other solutions in this list.
If you have a Windows or Linux computer with a Wi Fi network adapter (whether it is built-in or not), you may be able to update the driver to fix the problem and connect to the Wi Fi access point.
To update a driver in Windows, you’ll need to find the latest driver for your adapter from the manufacturer’s website and follow the instructions in our guides for Windows 10 or Windows 11. To update a hardware driver in Linux, you’ll need to have more technical knowledge, but we’ve written about that as well. After you have completed the update, restart your computer and try to reconnect. You’re good to go if it works.
And finally, if all else fails, your router may be just plain bad. You can reach out to the manufacturer’s support team and request a repair or replacement option. If your router is an older model and you are ready to upgrade, it might be time to purchase a new one. We tested the
model from Asus.
If that router doesn’t suit you, we’ve written a review guide to other high-quality routers that you can consider. No matter which one you choose, it should solve your connectivity problems. Good luck!
RELATED: The Best Wi-Fi Routers of 2021
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