There are few things more frustrating than a wireless connection that keeps dropping or is painfully slow. In fact, slow internet is one of the biggest killers of workplace productivity. However, you probably don’t need to rush out to buy a new router or change your internet service provider.
Here are some of the most common Wi-Fi problems and some tips on how to address them.
Lack of adequate coverage
Manufacturers often claim impossibly high ranges for their wireless networking products, but the fact is that connections can drop right outside the door. There are various factors that have a dramatic effect on coverage, such as physical obstacles like walls and floors, or interference from other devices that transmit radio waves, such as Bluetooth connections and cellular phones.
If network coverage isn’t up to scratch, then buying a new router might be the obvious solution. However, unless the router is very old and uses an ancient protocol like 802.11g, replacing it is not likely to make any difference. Instead, consider installing a wireless range extender or additional access points.
Slow connections everywhere
Even if you’re within range of the router, connections slow down significantly before they fizzle out entirely. Speeds can drop by 50% within a few meters, so you’ll want to make sure your connection has at least four out of five signal bars (depending on the device). However, slow connections aren’t always caused by coverage issues.
It’s important that the device being used to access the internet supports the same protocol as that of your router. For example, if you’re using an old device that only supports the now long-deprecated wireless-G specification, then it will only be able to connect at a maximum of 54 Mbps, no matter how fast your actual internet provider and router are.
Inability to connect
Oftentimes, you’ll run into an issue that inexplicably affects only one device or a handful of devices. Aside from the obvious possible solution of disabling and re-enabling the connection on affected devices, there are a few other things you can try.
For example, the passkey or router might have changed, in which case you’ll need to delete the network saved on the device and start over. Those using Windows 10 can also run the wireless troubleshooting app, while macOS users can run the Wireless Diagnostics tool.
There’s nothing more frustrating than connections dropping at random and leaving unsaved work to disappear or downloads being cancelled midway. If connectivity is unreliable, look for patterns. For example, connections might drop near certain machines, with microwaves being one of the more common causes of interference.
If you suspect that interference from another device is causing connection instability, you can try changing the router’s channel by logging into the administrator page. Refer to your router’s online manual to find out how to do this. If all else fails, and you’re pretty sure that interference isn’t the issue, you should try resetting your router or calling your provider to see if there are any current problems with the service.
Network eavesdropping attacks
Although wireless internet is undeniably convenient, it does present an important new security challenge that you’ll need to address. Most importantly, you should protect your networks with WPA security, or RADIUS WiFi authentication. The latter is better since it offers more granular user management and security administration.
Passkeys aren’t just about stopping your neighbors from leaching off your internet connection. With open networks, an eavesdropper can easily “listen in” on traffic being sent between the device and the local router and get ahold of any unencrypted information.
Quicktech provides IT consulting, cloud services and on-site technology support to businesses in Burnaby, Richmond, Mission, and all other cities of Greater Vancouver. Call us today to let us handle your IT worries.
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