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Wi-Fi troubles? Here’s the most common problems, and simple solutions

Wireless internet is like electricity at this point — you only notice it exists when it stops working. Then you panic.

Don’t just panic! Fix it. There are many unique ways that your router can stop working, but you’d be surprised how many such issues can be easily fixed. Here is a list of things that commonly go wrong with Wi-Fi, and simple things you can try to solve those issues.

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Potential solutions

  • Move your router. Wi-Fi is radio waves, meaning your router broadcasts in all directions from a central location. If your router is in a far corner of your house, you’re covering a great deal of the outside world and not enough of your home. The closer you can put your router to the center of your coverage area, the better reception will be throughout your house.
  • Adjust your antennas, if possible, and see what helps. If your house is tall, alternating between fully vertical and fully horizontal positions can help reach in multiple directions.
  • Other routers might be interfering with yours. If you live in an apartment building, or any area with a lot of people nearby, changing your router’s channel can help. Free software like NetSpot on Mac and Windows and Wi-Fi Analyzer for Android can show you every wireless network nearby, and what channel they’re using. If your router overlaps with nearby networks in particular rooms, considering switching to a less-congested channel.
  • If none of this helps, your home might be too much for one router to handle. Consider purchasing a wireless repeater, or setting up an old router to serve as a repeater or second access point, to extend the range a little bit.
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