The Ultimate Guide to Identifying Common Home Wi-Fi Problems and How to Fix Them

Don’t even dare deny it, the last time your home Wi-Fi developed a problem you almost ran mad.

You loathed the fact that you couldn’t Google the ‘how to fix’ your router. There was no ‘ultimate guide’ within reach.

You couldn’t stand being offline while the whole world rushed ahead of you; binging on Netflix, posting articles on Huffingpost and closing deals on emails!

So, can you really do without your home Wi-Fi if you had anything to say about it? Can you?

Before you hate yourself to oblivion, here are the facts. One, you can fix at least 98% of the problems your home Wi-Fi throws at you, all by yourself.

Two, 2% represents the problems that require you to contact the ISP or involve a computer technician.

Three, most of the tools needed to fix these problems are either lying around in your home unused or available elsewhere for free.

And finally, there’s nothing scary or genius about identifying Wi-Fi problems or fixing them. You can do it.

This guide will help you troubleshoot these problems, show you how to bring them to ultimate submission and allow you to enjoy your home Wi-Fi as you please. Here we go.

Lost Password for Your Home Wi-Fi 

This happens when all has been well for so long that you don’t remember the password.

Chances are you never wrote the password somewhere for the sake of including new gadgets into the home Wi-Fi network.

Should you find yourself trying to guess your home Wi-Fi password, don’t blame your age. There’s no sin against forgetting it; it’s one of the most common problems. 

While resetting the Wi-Fi router using the tiny reset button hidden behind may sound cool and daring, it shouldn’t come first.

Connect your computer to the router using an Ethernet cable and try accessing the router administration section. Your router has the information on how to access that printed on one side.

It contains the initial SSID and WPA2-PSK passphrase followed by Web management information; the URL for the webpage stored in the router, username and password.

Use the Web management information to log in to your router, access Wi-Fi configuration, and reveal the stored password.

In case you had changed the admin username and password earlier, resetting the router is your only way out.

Once reset, the router returns to its factory settings; you can now access the Wi-Fi configuration using the old username and password.

You weren’t locked out after all, were you?

No Wireless Device Can Access Home Wi-Fi Network

While this sounds strange especially when your router’s LED lights are on and in their right colors, the suspect still remains the router.

First, confirm from at least three devices the presence of the known SSID in the list of Wi-Fi connections available if you at one time changed the name of your router.

If the names available are unfamiliar, see if one of the names resembles the default name stated at the back of your wireless router. Select the default name and enter the password written on your router using one device.

It should connect at once. This means your router reset and your home network’s name returned to the default. Someone may have played with the reset button without knowing.

If your home network SSID is listed yet no device is able to access the Home Wi-Fi network, aim for the reset button and take the router back to factory settings. This solves a million and one problems.

See if the devices will detect the SSID written on your router, use the password to access the network and test for internet access.

Use the Web Management info to access Administration settings and change the name of the SSID to something cool.

Change the password also and have all devices use the new SSID.

Absence Of Or Slow Internet Connection In Particular Parts Of Your Home

Now that you can access the home Wi-Fi with your new gadget, your other problem could be the speed. It is easy to shun the problem and hope that it will clear itself.

You sit in your living room and upload your 2GB video to YouTube in less than a few minutes, but doing the same in your kitchen where you do all the recording takes forever. Loading websites and accessing your emails proves impossible. Why?

Look around, while you may not know this, the power of interference is at work against you.

Other electronic equipments; microwave, baby monitor, cordless phone, wireless speakers and security cameras use the same frequencies, 2.4GHz as your wireless router.

That means the air is crowded and if you insist on uploading your file from the kitchen, your Wi-Fi speed is going to remain pathetic.

The solution, unplug one gadget at a time and see how the internet behaves. This reduces congestion. But there’s more you can do to help your router serve you with better speeds.

Having your router in a far room can also slow your internet connection in other rooms.

To prevent this, ensure that your router, not the modem, is placed at a central location. It is the equipment in charge of your home Wi-Fi.

The modem talks to your Internet Service Provider and the router only. All the devices in the home network are supposed to communicate with the router. 

If your router has an external antenna, ensure they aren’t folded, too close to a wall or pointing at each other.

Play around with them by putting them up or perpendicular to the router to allow them to broadcast the signal further. 

If your neighbor also has a router, find out where exactly they place it. If it is too close to yours and the walls between your homes allow it, the signal from the two routers ends up in a fight.

And the weaker router will lose. Move the router to a more convenient spot, away from your neighbor’s. 

When all else fails, use your smartphone or tablet to observe the signal strength in the room.

Move from room to room and see if the number of bars on the signal status increases or decreases with your movement.

If the bars invisible in a particular room, it is obvious that the room is outside the coverage zone.

Trying to access the internet from that room will keep you waiting till forever. The same happens when there’s only one bar showing. Buy a Wi-Fi extender to help blanket the entire home with the Wi-Fi signal. 

Slow home Wi-Fi during certain hours of the day

Do you ever feel like your home Wi-Fi slows down just when you have something important like backing up your website?

That hurts.

But before you judge the router here, find out how many other devices are accessing that router at that particular time.

Even when your router boasts mega ability to host over 100 devices, it takes a few internet hogging tablets streaming or gaming to slow it down. Especially if they run on newer technology. 

So if you can’t tell their users to turn them off so you can carry on with your work, use an Ethernet cable to connect the gadget in question so you can complete your assignment. If not, wait for the happy hour and do your work. 

While in this neighborhood, you may need to find out if all the devices in your home network actually belong to your home.

Some naughty neighbors could be nibbling from your plate without paying for it.

Most routers today have an App that shows all devices in your home Wi-Fi, use it to find out the devices in your network and knock out any foreigners in the party.

Unfamiliar Devices In Your Home Wi-Fi Network

Speaking of Apps to identify the freeloader of a neighbor in your home network, use third party Apps such as Wi-Fi Thief Detector, Who Use My Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Scanner for Android and Fing for iOS.

You could also use an online tool such as F-Secure Router Checker which requires you to create an account to access the 30-days trial version, after which you pay.

Or download the Paessler PRTG network monitor and install it on your laptop. The idea here is to root out the unwelcome guests off your home Wi-Fi to allow the deserving devices to enjoy the services better.

While you could lock the intruders out, changing your Wi-Fi username and password often gives the thief a difficult time. Better still, if you find out who the thief is and send them an invoice so they learn that internet services come at a cost!

Besides the Apps, connect your laptop to the router, access the router’s Administration panel then Wireless Configuration or DHCP client list to read through the devices connected.

It shows the devices, their IP and MAC addresses. If the number of devices accessing your home network is more than the devices you know are allowed in, investigate the extra devices. 

Since the Apps show what kind of a device is accessing the router and their IP addresses, block the unknown devices by their MAC address and see who shows up to say they cannot access the internet.

To verify the device further, go to macvendors.com and key in the MAC address of the unfamiliar device. It will tell you what device uses it. No two devices in the world share a MAC address!

Slow Home Wi-Fi All Day Long

Sometimes you have a day or seven in a week when every device accessing your home Wi-Fi is too slow to even send an email or perform a simple Ping.

While the number of devices in your home network could be the problem, if the slowing down happens all week long, go beyond suspicion and test the internet speed. 

Start the test from the beginning, the modem. Connect a laptop to your modem with an Ethernet cable and perform a speed test from Speedtest.net, Speed.io, TestMy.net or SpeedOf.me.

That should help tell if your ISP or modem is the culprit. If any of them is, contact your ISP and explain in detail your findings. You may need to change your modem if it is underperforming.

If the two are free, your wireless router becomes the main suspect. Connect your laptop to the LAN port of your router and perform a speed test several times throughout the day.

Each time, turn off the router for 30 seconds then on before speed testing. If the slow speed persists even after turning off some of the devices on your network, upgrade your router’s firmware.

Chances are, your router’s old firmware doesn’t allow you to take advantage of features availed in the new.

The other choice you have is to buy a new and even better router. Make sure you understand the specifications of your current router before hunting for something better.

The good news is, there’s always a newer and tougher kid in the block. This is a good time to upgrade to the mesh network.

No Wi-Fi Connection For Your Home

It is one thing to have a slow Wi-Fi connection; it is another to have none at all. 

As silly as this may sound, see if your router is on. Without powering your wireless router, your wireless devices would never access the wireless network.

If it is off, turn it on and observe the signal. If the router doesn’t come on, plug it on a socket that works to see if it goes on. A dead router is no good. Replace it.

If the router is on but some LEDs refuse to assume their usual colors, the problem is with the outbound communication; the signal received from your modem and ISP.

In this case, the LEDs indicate that the router is initializing but doesn’t go past that. Call your ISP and explain how the problem.

No Internet Access Despite Showing Connection

Sometimes your router’s LED lights change to the right colors after initialization but your devices say, ‘Connected. No Internet’.

Before calling your ISP, find out if the problem is within your control. Disconnect the Ethernet cable between your router and modem then connect the modem to your laptop.

See if you can access the internet. If it does, load several websites and see if they are all accessible. If they do, it means your modem isn’t the problem.

If you can’t get a website open, confirm that the cable coming into your home to the modem is well attached before contacting the ISP.

If the modem isn’t the problem, connect the laptop to your wireless router using an Ethernet cable, ensure the router is connected to the modem and see if it accesses the internet.

If the wired connection works, your problem is within the wireless section. First, restart the router and see if the problem eliminates itself.

Otherwise, reset the router back to factory settings using the tiny reset button behind the router and set it up all over again.

Remember to access the router’s Administration section using the original Web Management setting placed on the router.

Single Device Refusing To Connect To The Wi-Fi

Sometimes all your home network devices access the internet well except one. This isn’t the time to dump your router or poke it about; deal with the culprit first. 

For a computer running Windows 10 but doesn’t access the home Wi-Fi, access Network and Internet settings so as to run the Troubleshooting tool.

Though the test may only focus on fixing the Ethernet connection, there’s no harm in trying it anyway.

If you are using Mac, open Wireless Diagnostics, hold down Options and select the Wi-Fi icon on the Menu bar.

It should allow you to follow the instructions on the screen once Open Wireless Diagnostics is active. 

You could also access the device’s Wi-Fi settings and confirm that Wi-Fi is turned on. If it is on but the device doesn’t connect to the home Wi-Fi, disconnect it and connect afresh.

If that doesn’t work, use the option to ‘Forget’ the particular network and let the device search for the home Wi-Fi network again.

Should the problem persist, delete all the saved networks and let the device try picking the home network as the first one. 

If the culprit decides to become stubborn, turn it off, restart the wireless router, then turn on the device.

If the device in question in a laptop with a NIC port, consider using an Ethernet cable for wired connection test, this allows you to update outdated drivers in case the device has been offline for a long time and has been left behind.

Consider also checking if the Wi-Fi settings on the device are set to Airplane mode and turn it on. 

Wi-Fi Connection Drops From Time To Time

Due to interference from other devices in your home, your home Wi-Fi may fail. This happens when such devices are turned on and are using the same frequency as your router.

Observe the exact time when the Wi-Fi connection fails and see what devices are on at the same time. Think old microwaves, other routers, and baby monitors. 

First, consider changing your router’s channel by accessing the router’s Administration settings using a laptop and Ethernet cable.

Wi-Fi analyzer can help identify other wireless networks around you if you are on Windows. 

If you can’t identify the problem, look for the Reset button at the back of your router; reset the router to factory setting. This is followed by setting it up all over again. 

If resetting routers isn’t your forte, call your ISP and ask them to reset the router from their side. It works.

Your Router Demands Frequent Restarting To Work

Under normal circumstances, this problem occurs when your router is too old or its firmware has not been updated in forever.

Begin with resetting using the tiny reset button behind the router then updating the router’s firmware with the help of your laptop while keeping it connected to the modem for internet access.

Remember to configure the wireless router all over again after the whole exercise. 

If the router continues with this problem, consider buying a new one. Again, this is a good time to upgrade to a better Wi-Fi router or moving to the Mesh Wi-Fi network.

Router fails after Firmware updates

While updating your router’s firmware could save your tail; adding new features by the manufacturer and improving security, it sometimes works against you.

Despite having the opportunity to review the updates before allowing installation, your router could refuse to work after the update.

Consider resetting it using the tiny reset button behind the router, sending it back to factory settings. 

But this isn’t the only update that can crash your connection. This is device-specific, the famous Windows update can stop your computer from accessing your home Wi-Fi.

This is bad especially if most of your devices do the update. It happened early this year after a Windows 10 update. The solution, either roll back to older drivers or wait for Microsoft to send fixes for their fault.

That doesn’t take long though since tests are conducted often and the developers create the patch with immediate effect.

If your router doesn’t allow you to update its firmware, check the manufacturer’s website if there’s a disclaimer on the issue.

Otherwise, ask your ISP if they can offer any help. Routers that do not allow firmware updates may have left the work to the ISP; in that case, a bad firmware update requires ISP’s intervention.

Find out who is responsible for updating your wireless router’s firmware. 

No matter how easy-to-ignore the problem on your home Wi-Fi is, don’t live with it. You invested in that network so all your devices can access the Internet and enjoy the related benefits uncompromised.

Take nothing for granted and get the best services. With this ultimate guide to identifying common home Wi-Fi problems and how to fix them, you can get all that and even fix your good neighbor’s home Wi-Fi at a small fee?

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