Troubleshooting Wi-Fi Connection Issues

by Eric Geier [Published on 23 Nov. 2011 / Last Updated on 23 Nov. 2011]

Checklist for fixing Wi-Fi connectivity problems.

Here are some tasks and things to consider when having problems connecting to your wireless LAN (WLAN):

  • Restart Wireless Adapter, Windows, and AP: Sometimes there can be a fluke with your wireless adapter, Windows, or the wireless router or AP that causes problems. First try disabling and re-enabling the wireless adapter. Then restart the PC and the router/AP.
  • Poor Signal or Interference: Try moving closer to the wireless router or AP. Consider that it could be interference from other wireless devices, especially those in the 2.4GHz band.
  • WPA or WPA2 Compatibility of Adapter and Windows: If the router/AP is using WPA or WPA2 security, verify your adapter and Windows supports it. Bring up the wireless network properties and see if WPA or WPA2 is in the settings. If not, update the adapter driver and/or Windows updates.
  • Using Old 802.11b/g Wireless Adapters with 802.11n: Even though 802.11n is supposed to be interoperable with 802.11b/g, you might have some issues. Try putting the router/AP into 802.11b/g mode to see if it works. You can also try updating the driver for the wireless adapter and/or the firmware for the router/AP.
  • Not Getting Full 802.11n Speeds: First check that the wireless adapter also supports 802.11n. Then change the default channel-width on the router/AP from 20 to 40MHz or choose 20/40 auto. Also make sure you are using WPA2 security instead of WPA or WEP.

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