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Randy The Tech Professor

April 30, 2011 at 12:13 pm

How I Diagnose Wi-Fi Problems


Hello everyone,

One of the most common complaints that I hear from my clients is that of a poor Wi-Fi Internet connection. There are many possible factors that could be causing the problem, so all of these factors need to be checked one by one. Here is the diagnostic process that I use:

1) Is the ISP (Internet Service Provider) at fault? To check this, plug the computer into the router via an ethernet cable (wired connection). If the Internet connects without a problem then your ISP is not the culprit!

2) Do you have a bad router? The router (or combined modem/router) may be the problem. Do you have the latest model from your ISP? Is the router that you are using old? Try a different router or if possible ask your ISP to give you a new one!

3) Is the router properly set up? Is the router stuck in some corner of the house instead of in a middle open area (if so, try repositioning the router). Access the router through the computer browser and change the transmitting channel. Is the router near a wireless phone, baby monitor, or microwave? These can all cause radio frequency interference.

4) What wireless protocol is being used by router and computer? If your router is transmitting at 802.11n (the latest and greatest protocol), and your computer is receiving with a 802.11b/g card (receiver) then your connection will suffer. You will not receive the maximum benefits of 802.11n (faster speed and greater range) unless both transmitting router and receiving computer have all 802.11n protocol.

5) How many extra protocols are installed on your Network Adapter? Access your Network Adapter in Control Panel then right click it and select properties. See all those checked protocols? Disable them all except for Internet Protocol Version 4 (most users don’t need the other protocols but some may). Extra protocols are just wasting your network connection and will slow it down!

Professor Randy says: There is nothing like connecting without wires, but radio waves can be tricky! Solve any wi-fi connection problem by practicing the above diagnostic process.

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