Troubleshoot Intermittent Wireless/Dropped Wi-Fi Connections

Edited by estrella sacragon, Anonymous, Batkingnz, Lynn and 3 others

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Having an intermittent wireless connection can be a frustrating experience, especially if you are in the middle of an online game or video, or especially when you are trying to get some work done. With so many of today's devices and gadgets using WiFi connectivity, a stable WiFi connection is an important requirement in many people's homes. If you're experiencing connectivity issues, the article below will share some simple information that can go a long way in keeping you connected. The best news is that you can almost always improve your connection without the need for any additional equipment or expensive professional consultations.

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Avoiding Connection Issues

The main cause of WiFi connectivity problems is not the hardware itself, but placement and environmental factors.

  1. 1
    Distance from your router.
    Although theoretically, even the weakest radio transmitter in a wireless router could transmit signal for tens, if not hundreds of meters, the reality is that you will only get optimum signal within 20-"50 meters of the device. Try moving your router, or move your wireless devices closer to the router to boost your signal.
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  2. 2
    Router Placement.
    Think about all the places in your home that you might use your router, and place your router accordingly in a centralized spot. You should also be aware of objects that can block the signal of the router, like cement walls, metal objects such as refrigerators or large appliances and other objects or building materials that can weaken radio signals.
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  3. 3
    Other devices on your network.
    If you are having slow or intermittent responses from your wireless network, this could be caused by the number of devices that you have connected. Try disconnecting some wireless devices from the network and check if your connection has improved.
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  4. 4
    Interfering wireless devices.
    These aren't necessarily connected to your network, but are other devices using radio frequencies in your home or in other homes nearby. These could be anything from baby monitors and Bluetooth speakers to other wireless networks and cordless phones. You can try changing the channels on these devices if they are causing interference, or find a better location in your home for your router where it is not as affected by stray signal.
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  5. 5
    Non wireless devices.
    Even devices that don't have a radio transmitter can cause interference to you router. Always aim to have the router at least three feet from any other electronic equipment, especially if it's connected to an external modem. It is also a good idea to run the router from its own outlet or from a high quality, shielded, surge protected power board.
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  6. 6
    Change the channel of your wireless router.
    If you suspect other wireless devices to be causing interference on your router but changing the channel on them does not improve your connectivity, simply try changing the channel on your wireless router instead. All routers have a different method of accessing and changing the channel so you will need to consult your user manual initially. If you are using a router with the Genie interface you can find the channel settings under the "Wireless setup" option.  
    1. From the same settings screen in Genie (or using your router manual to locate the same setting) you can alter the connection speed. Doing so will make your connection more stable at the expense of maximum transfer rates.
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  7. 7
    Try using a range extender.
    If you have a large property where you need WiFi signal, you can install a range extender to increase the coverage of your WiFi network. A range extender could add up to 600 feet and is relatively simple to configure.  
    1. The downside of using a range extender is a loss in connection speed compared to connecting the network without an extender. There's also extra configuration required; for example, if you were to change some settings on your router, you would then need to reconfigure the range extender at the same time.
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  8. 8
    Try an Access Point.
    Instead of using a range extender there is also the option of adding a completely separate access point by connecting further hardware to your wireless router via Ethernet. This way you won't need to reconfigure anything when basic changes are made on your main router.  
    1. An access point also has its own downsides. You will need an Ethernet cable to cover the distance between the router and the access point and the configuration is more complicated than the range extender with the need for Static IP configurations to have the access point working correctly.
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Tips, Tricks & Warnings

  • Router placement, as mentioned before, is paramount to getting the best signal to your devices. Try to elevate the router above eye level as this will reduce the interference from objects and humans moving around the router. In addition to height, the router should be located in an open area, like a main hall or living area.
  • Don't place the router in a lower level if you have a multi storied home or office. Try placing it in the most central location on a middle floor, or near a stairwell where there will be unobstructed line of site to all floors.

Questions and Answers

How do I fix intermittent slow WiFi?

My wired download speed is 15-16 Mbps. Wireless on my phone is <1 Mbps at times. Distance from the router makes no difference.. I have tried: Checked router settings.. I think it was caused by: I have no idea.

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What should be the maximum speed that a user can get if they do have 1 gig as their subscription with their ISP especially connecting through phone wirelessly?

What should be the maximum speed that a user can get if they do have 1 gig as their subscription with their ISP especially connecting through phone wirelessly?. I have tried: Change channel. I think it was caused by: Nothing

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Categories : Networking | Hardware

Recent edits by: skier4evr9, Eng, Lynn

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