Sorting Your Wireless Connection Problems

screamOn the face of it, wireless technology should make your life easier. The number of leads trailing around your home are reduced and you can print from anywhere you like (within range). But what happens when you can’t get a connection?

When you can’t connect your wireless device to your personal computer in your home network, or connect to the internet, finding the source of the problem can be a real headache.

Before you know it, you’ve spend hours pulling your hair out, staring at screens and screaming at the instructions.

So, to prevent you from ageing prematurely, here are is a guide to help you identify your wireless connection problem.

Before we begin, you’ll need:

  • A computer running Windows XP or higher
  • Wireless router or wireless modem/router

Most problems arise when you’re setting up your wireless network so give some thought to where you’ll place your router. If you experience problems, they could be down to a weak wireless signal, intermittent signal or total disconnection.

So should you have a problem, the following guide should help you solve it. 

Step 1

Make sure your Operating System is up to date. If you use Windows XP, download SP2 (service pack 2) or higher before going wireless. This is because it will provide better support and troubleshooting tools for your wireless network.

Step 2

Be careful when buying your wireless router. Make sure it has plugs for Ethernet or network cables. This is your only backup should a wireless problem occur but your network is OK. Should this happen, you can use the wired connection to make sure your computer can connect to the network.

Step 3

This is the usual IT favourite – if a wireless connection problem occurs, turn off your wireless router and then turn it on again.

If your computer has a wireless care, built-in wireless adapter or a USB wireless adapter, re-boot the machine. This will reset all the settings back to normal.

Step 4

To be wireless, your device uses a radio signal (usually 2.4 GHz). The problem is that many household items (such as cordless phones, baby monitors, radio controlled cars etc.) use the same frequency and could interfere with your router’s signal. Therefore you may have to move your router around until you find a suitable location for it away from these devices.

Step 5

The radio waves from your router can be strong enough to reach every part of your house and even outside it. Through your wireless device you should be able to use a tool which lets you view all the wireless networks available by name. With a potential range of 300 feet, you easily pick up a neighbours signal.

Therefore it is essential you protect your wireless connection with a password so any you can access it.

If your computer does manages to pick up your neighbour’s network and tries to use it, use the same tool mentioned above to select your network from the available list.

Step 6

The radio waves emitted by your  router travel in all directions so your computers can be on different floors from your router. But you must ensure there is no metal near the router so the signal can travel unimpeded.

If you think your signal isn’t strong enough to reach your computer, but you don’t want to move it, buy a wireless repeater to go between your computer and the router. This will amplify the signal helping your computer pick up the radio waves.

Step 7

If you’ve tried everything and you still can’t connect to your wireless connection…

  • Click your Start button
  • Right click on ‘My Computer’
  • Select ‘Manage’ and in the Computer Management window, select ‘Device Manager’

If the green network adapter icon is missing, the driver for your wireless card or adapter needs to be installed. If it has a red ‘X’ or yellow triangle and exclamation mark, the driver needs to be removed and reinstalled.

Over to you

With a bit of luck, one of those tips will get you connected.

Of course, if all else fails you can always call your local IT support company who will be able to point you in the right direction.