35 Things Every PC User Should Know
Solve Wireless Connection Problems
Wi-Fi is awfully convenient, but it's also awfully buggy for many users, particularly those in areas crowded by competing wireless signals. If you're dealing with a loss of signal, try the following to troubleshoot your wireless setup.
- Your PC might just need a little massaging. The best way to quickly disconnect and reconnect to your router is to right-click the wireless icon in the system tray and click Repair. If this doesn't solve the problem and you suspect it's still a PC issue, open a command prompt and type ipconfig /renew. This performs nearly the same operation as Repair but bypasses Windows, which could be causing the problem. If all else fails, reboot your PC.
- If you're still having trouble, power-cycle your router by unplugging it, waiting 10 seconds, and plugging it back in. Your PC will need to reconnect after the router has booted up. Most routers lock up occasionally, and power cycling is the most reliable way to fix them. (Unless you can't physically reach your router, don't restart it through its management utility; that approach takes just as long, and the utility may not respond anyway.)
- If you're still encountering frequent problems, you may be experiencing channel conflict, where multiple Wi-Fi routers are operating in the same narrow band of frequency. Download and run the evaluation version of WirelessMon; you can do all you need to with the demo. Look at the 'Channel Use' chart: Red and orange bars indicate channels under heavy use, while blue or no bars indicate relatively free channels. If your router is on a crowded channel, switch to a less busy one. (Visit your router's management system to do this; read "Safeguard Your Wi-Fi Network" for directions.) You may see better performance and fewer dropouts.