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Wireless Router Problems

Wireless Router Problems

Slow Internet speed or zero signal strength can be attributed to a number of problems that a wireless router may encounter. This article talks about such issues and their troubleshooting.
Techspirited Staff
These days every commercial establishment, universities, malls, and even residential apartments are equipped with Wi-Fi zones. Here, anyone having a Wi-Fi compatible system and enough privileges, can access the Internet. However, quite frequently, users complain of various problems cropping up in the service being provided and most of the time the wireless router is the culprit. Problems with the router are very common and there are easy ways to detect them if enough knowledge is imparted.

As the name suggests, a wireless router is basically a routing device, i.e., it manages the forwarding and accepting of data packets. There is a radio transmitter and receiver which sends and receives modulated radio signals. A circuit converts electronic signals in to radio signals and a complementary circuit converts radio to electronic signals.

Wireless Router Issues

As the wireless router packs and uses several technologies, almost simultaneously, many issues and troubles are likely to crop up. Let us move on to see what are these problems and how to troubleshoot them.
  • The Adapter or Network is not Listed: This is one of the most common setup problems encountered when you've just set up a connection. This may be due to problems related to the card slot or the USB adapter in the PC. Removing and reconnecting the adapter should help on most occasions. If not, using a Device Manager, try to uninstall or reinstall the adapter. In case the adapter is being shown in the available networks list, but connection cannot be established, update or reinstall the driver using the Properties panel. Also, check some obvious negligence by verifying if the client's wireless adapter status is "Enabled."
  • Router Name does not Appear: If the router's name does not appear, enable "SSID broadcasts" in the device settings. Or else, manually enter the network's name to the client's Preferred Connections list. Be sure to exactly match the name, as it is case-sensitive.
  • Adapter Status shows "Not Connected": If the adapter status shows "Not Connected," go to View Available Networks and click Connect after selecting a wireless network. Some installation problems need reconfiguring. If the network's name does not appear in this list or you are unable to connect, try to re-configure the router to server connection using the configuration manual of your device.
  • Try to Ping: Pinging is a method of sending a message to another computer on the network, to see if it is reachable or not. Go to the command prompt and type 'ping' followed by the IP address of the machine you wish to check. This way you can ensure proper connectivity of a machine using another computer, which you know has reliable connectivity.
  • Pinging Failed: If pinging fails, it might be a problem specific to wireless devices. Using the admin utility, view Wireless LAN settings and match them with the wireless connection settings of the client. Both, router and client, must be 802.11 standard compatible. If the client machine is 802.11b, the router must be 11b, g, or n, and you must enable b+g protection on the 11g router. In case of a 802.11a client, it is a must to use 11a router. In case of a dual-band router, both ends may be configured to use 11b/g, a, or both.
  • Connection Speed is too Slow: Problems with speed are the most commonly reported complaints. The main reason can be interference, as routers work in the 2.5GHz band, which are also used by microwaves, wireless phones, garage door remote controllers, and some other wireless devices. Try turning these off and there would surely be an improvement.
  • Forgot Password: Uh oh! You're in trouble! Ha, just kidding. It's quite simple to get out of the mess. A reset button is provided in the back of the router case. It is just a small hole in which you can insert a pin tip and keep the reset button pressed for about 3 to 5 seconds. But now, all the settings are set back to their default factory settings. By resetting the configuration, you can do away with the security issues.
  • Cold Spots: There may be areas, sufficiently within the range of the device, with less or no signal strength. The main reason for such problems is the placement of the device. Many times, the signals get reflected from walls, floors, or other obstructing objects. The best way to nullify this problem is by using a 802.11n router and adapter, which uses a MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology. It will take all the reflected signals and compare them to fill the voids so as to join together and complete all possible signals.
The best way to minimize any problem is to verify the physical connectivity of the router and the adapter. Most connection problems crop up due to improper plugging of the Ethernet or WAN cables. Check the router's WAN connection with the cable/DSL modem and Ethernet links to the client. Swapping of cables will help single out damaged LAN cables, if any.

Although, routers with newer and improved technologies have been introduced, newer problems have kept on cropping up due to some characteristics associated with wireless communication, which cannot be done away with.