One of the great things about wireless Internet connectivity is that, with the right equipment, you can achieve stable, high-speed coverage from virtually any location in your home. Do you have a home office that you spend a lot of time in during the day? You won’t have to worry about dropouts or other connectivity issues. Do you want to be able to enjoy a good book on your patio as you relax one evening after work? You can easily do that, too.
Having said that, technology is inherently fragile and regardless of how expensive your equipment is, it’s still possible to run into issues with your Wi-Fi from time to time. This is especially true if you’ve already embraced the concept of the "smart home" or the Internet of Things, as you probably have dozens of devices that are all actively utilizing your network’s bandwidth. Thankfully, all hope is not lost. If you want to fix whatever issue you’re having with your router, there are a number of important things to keep in mind.
Troubleshooting Your Router: An Overview
If you’re having issues with the Wi-Fi in your home or office, the first step you should take always involves rebooting the router that is maintaining your connection. Although this may sound overly simplistic, it’s actually quite effective for a few reasons.
for starters, just like a computer, sometimes a router will need to be rebooted to clear any issues that are being stored in its internal memory. Secondly, doing this will disconnect all devices from your network temporarily and will allow them to essentially "start fresh" once the router comes back online. In a lot of situations, this can fix the lion’s share of issues that you’re dealing with.
Some routers have dedicated apps that can allow you to go through this reboot process. Netgear’s Orbi routers, for example, can allow you to reboot the hardware even if you’re away from the home. It will then automatically start back up again. But in most situations, all you have to do is unplug the router for about 30 seconds and plug it back in to achieve the same effect.
Likewise, you’ll want to carefully consider the placement of your router if you’re experiencing connectivity issues. That is to say, if your router is on one side of your house and most of the devices that are experiencing issues are on the opposite end, it may simply be a matter of the signal not being able to reach everything you’re trying to use. For the best results, your router should always be in a centralized location in your home. The farther you get away from the router, the more issues you’re likely to run into.
Finally, always make sure that your router’s firmware is up-to-date. If your router has a dedicated app (as was true in the Orbi example), go to the "Administrator" screen and select an option that will no doubt be labeled some variation of the phrase "Check for Updates." Otherwise, type your IP address into a web browser, log into your router’s configuration screen (your username and password will be listed on the router itself) and check for updates that way. This, too, can solve a significant amount of the problems you’re likely experiencing.