Is your WiFi not working? Well, we live in a world that is almost entirely dependent on the internet. No matter where you are or what you do, if you have electronics in the house, you’re going to need WiFi. Back in the day, people would use Ethernet connections instead. Ever seen those long yellow cables that come with your router/modem? Back in the day, the only way people could connect to the internet was by plugging their computer into the modem physically. With WiFi, that need is eliminated.
If your WiFi happens to be experiencing a ton of lag, turning your online games, streaming and other internet activities into a real chore, you have to fix it. It is a hindrance to yourself as well as the people you meet on the internet. There are two probably sources of the issue: your own computer, router or WiFi network issues, OR it could be that your Internet provider is messing up on their end. Ensure that you know the source of the problem before you play the blame game.
So Why Isn’t My WiFi Working?
The first thing you need to do is see if it is a problem with your end of the router. You can do this by pinging a website. Ping is a way for your computer to send a signal to a website and wait for a response from that site. You can do this using any tool on the internet, but the chances are that your internet doesn’t work anyway. Simply go to the Start Menu on your PC, open up the command prompt (type “cmd” into the search bar and hit Enter), and then type “ping www.google.com” and press Enter again. If the result is that it failed, try three more times with different websites (anything you want). If your pings are failing, the problem lies with your modem or router, or even your internet company.
Check That Your Router has Power
The answer to the question, “Why isn’t my internet working?” might be as simple as this. Check that your WiFi network is visible on your computer’s list of available networks. Simply click on the network connections button. If it doesn’t show up at all, go to your router and take a look at the LED lights on it. Are they all switched on? If they aren’t at all, your router has no power coming to it. Ensure that it is plugged in and that the switch is in the On position on the wall outlet and the back of the router too. If there is still a problem with it turning on, the router might have reached the end of its tether. At this point, you can either send it in for repairs or get a new router/power adapter.
Check the Status of the Internet Connection
When you look at your router, if the power light is a steady green, check the other lights. Specifically, check that the “DSL” and “WiFi” lights are on and blinking. If they aren’t on, you will need to delve deeper into your modem or router settings. First, turn your router off. Wait for ten seconds and turn it on again. If the other lights still refuse to turn on, turn the router off again. Unplug all the cables and reconnect them. Try again. Still no juice? Keep reading!
Reset Your Router to Factory Settings
Every router has a little reset button on the side or back, marked “RESET”. Pressing it down for a few seconds while the router is on causes it to erase all settings and go back to default. You can then set it up again for your internet provider. If you don’t know how to do this, check the setup disc your provider gave you when you received the router. If there isn’t one, just call your internet provider’s customer service and say that my wifi isn’t working. They’ll guide you through the setup process one step at a time. You can also reset your router by connecting it to your laptop or PC using the yellow Ethernet cable and then logging into it. Open your browser and type either 192.168.1.1 or routerlogin.net (for NetGear devices). When prompted for a username and password, type in “admin” and “password” or “admin” and “admin”. The default username and password can be found on the rear panel of your router.
Reset, But WiFi is Spotty
This can be due to two major factors. One is the channel. A WiFi network is broadcast on one of many channels (14, to be precise). Each of these operates at the same frequency. If you live in a busy neighborhood, try logging into your router and changing your WiFi channel to a different one. Typically, 1, 6 and 11 are the most commonly used with the least interference. Simply log in to your router like we told you, then go into the Network Settings and change the channel to one of these. Save and reboot your router and see if the WiFi works.
The second common cause is the splitter. The splitter is a small box shaped device that takes your normal phone line and splits it into a phone line and an ADSL line. Find it (usually near your main home phone) and check that all the connectors and wires are properly in place and not worn out. A faulty wire might have led to a spotty or nonexistent internet connection. You can easily replace these wires for almost no cost.
Update Your Firmware
Is your Wifi not working? Well, it might be that the router’s firmware is out of date. Firmware is the software installed on your router that manages it and allows it to route the internet into your home and WiFi network. Check on your manufacturer’s website for an update to the firmware of the router. Some of these might fix common internet connection problems other users have been experiencing. Remember to only download these updates from the manufacturer website or through your router login page: log into your router and click on “Management > Firmware Update”.
Check Your Device Configuration
What if my WiFi isn’t working properly on one device? Well, if you can connect to the internet on your phone but not on your laptop, it isn’t the WiFi network that is at fault – it is your device. If you use a windows PC, click on the Start menu and type in Network Settings. You can also navigate to Computer > Control Panel > Network and Internet Settings. Here you can select “Troubleshoot Problems” to allow Windows to scan your network setup and fix things for you. If it doesn’t work, try looking up your wireless adapter online and downloading the latest firmware for it from your manufacturer’s website.
Scan Your System for Malware
The deadly virus could just be the root of all your problems. If you don’t have an antivirus program, install one and check for viruses on your computer. They may have been installed on a regular browsing session and could be blocking your outgoing data packets.
Upgrade Your Old Router
Have you been using your old router for years? Sometimes the problem is that you have too many devices in your home trying to get bandwidth, and your router isn’t equipped to meet these demands. In a case like this, you have to think about upgrading to a new model of router. Your ISP typically has deals on routers for customers, most of which are the newest variant in their line. The best part is that it comes preset to your network settings if you get it from your internet provider.
Wifi Isn’t Fast Enough
Sometimes the issue might be that your connection is fine but it simply isn’t fast enough. Here are some common problems and solutions to this type of issue:
Speeds are Down in Some Parts of the House
If the spottiness of the internet is only happening in certain parts of your home, it might be that the radio waves that form the WiFi network in your house are being blocked. This can be due to certain building problems such as dense concrete walls.
Typically, a router sends out a network in all directions at the same time. Move it to a more centralized part of your home. This way, every room receives the WiFi signal at the same strength, so your speeds will be more normalized.
Another way to fix this if your router is already in a good position is to change your channel like we have guided you to above. If you don’t know what channel to choose, there are free tools out there that detect nearby networks and their channels, so you know what to avoid.
The issue also could be that your house is too large for your network to reach all parts of it strongly. Buy yourself a stronger router, or get a wireless repeater. This is a device connected to your current router that extends the range of the network and boosts the signal.
Slow Speeds All Over the Place
If your internet is slow everywhere in your house, try to plug your laptop into your router using an Ethernet cable. Then, log into a website like SpeedTest and check that your connection speed is as fast as it is supposed to be. If this isn’t the case, call your ISP. The problem is not on your end but on theirs.
If your ISP says that it’s all fine for them, change your WiFi channel again. Failing this, reset your router to factory settings and reconfigure it. A worst case scenario is that your router is old and at the end of its functioning lifetime. Purchasing a new router may be your only remaining option.
Your Wireless Connection Might be Disabled
On a Windows PC, open up your network settings. You can do this by clicking on the Start button. In the search box, type “ncpa.cpl” and press Enter. A window with your current network connections will pop up. If the one labeled WiFi is grayed out, right click on it. In the popup menu that appears, click on Enable. Check that the login for your WiFi network is properly typed out (the name of your network and the password).
Change Your DNS Address
It is a known fact that internet companies can be pretty terrible when it comes to providing a good server to connect you to the internet. Even if your WiFi works and you can’t access the internet, and they say it’s not on their end, it still might be. One way to get rid of this is to use a different Domain Name Server or DNS. We highly recommend the Google Public DNS addresses, although if you have sensitive information you might not want to use these. They can be a fix until your ISP sorts out the issues with their services. This is one of the most common reasons why Wifi stopped working in your home. If you can connect outside your home to a different network but not to your own, change your DNS. Here are some detailed instructions on how to do this.
Warning: Write down all your current DNS names and settings in case you need to revert the changes you make!
- Open your start menu and navigate to the Control Panel.
- Click on Network and the Internet > Change adapter settings. You can also type ncpa.cpl into your search bar on the Start menu to get here.
- Right click on your Wireless Network Connection and select Properties.
- Type in your account password to enter the settings window,
- Click on the tab called Networking and select either IPv4 or IPv6 from the drop-down list that appears.
- Click on Properties > Advanced
- Select the DNS tab here and write down any addresses already on there.
- Remove these addresses from their boxes and click OK.
- Click on “Use the following DNS addresses”
- For IPv4, type in 188.8.131.52 and/or 184.108.40.206 in the boxes
- For IPv6, type 2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844 in the boxes.
- Select Apply and OK.
- Restart your Network Connection from the Settings window.
- Click on the Apple Logo
- Navigate to System Preferences > Network
- Check the lower left part of this window. If the padlock is in the Locked position, click it.
- Enter your password to open it up to changes.
- Select your network connection and click on Advanced.
- Click on DNS.
- Select the + sign to add new Google IPs to the list. Add 220.127.116.11 or 18.104.22.168 for IPv4 and 2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844 for IPv6.
- Click Apply > OK.
- On Ubuntu, click System – Preferences
- Click on Network Connections.
- Click on your WiFi network by selecting the Wireless tab and finding it on the list.
- Click on Edit and select either IPv4 or IPv6 in the new window that appears.
- Check the Selected Method. If it is set to Automatic (DHCP), click the arrow and select “Automatic addresses only”. Do not change this field if it is set to something else.
- In the DNS servers boxes, type in 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199 for IPv4 (separated by a comma) and 2001:4860:4860::8888, 2001:4860:4860::8844 for IPv6.
- Click on Apply and confirm the changes.
How to Log In To Your Router When WiFi Isn’t Working
If you can’t connect to the wifi network at all, find the Ethernet port on the back of your router. The process is the same for all computers and OS’s. The Ethernet port is a square shaped port marked “LAN” for Local Area Network. Connect an RJ45 (Ethernet) cable from this port to the on your computer.
If your WiFi does work, simply open up your browser and follow these instructions:
- On Windows – Press the Flag Key and R on your keyboard. A window will open. Type “cmd” and press Enter. A new command window opens. Type in “ipconfig /all” and press Enter. In the list that appears, search for the field called Default Gateway and write down the numbers here. It is usually either 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1.
On Mac – Press CMD and Space at the same time to open up the window and type “terminal”. Press Enter and type “ipconfig” into the new window. Find the Gateway and write it down.
On Linux – Open up the terminal and type in “nmcli dev status”. This will provide a list of your network devices. Remember the name of your wireless connection. Type “nmcli dev show xxxx” where xxxx is the name.
- Type the address of the Gateway you recorded into the address bar of your browser and press Enter. This will take you to a blank page. You will be prompted to enter a username and password.
- If you’re like most people, these are still the default username and password. Go to your router and take a look at the back of it or the bottom. You will see a username and password written down there by the manufacturer.
- Typically, the username – password combo is either admin and admin OR admin and password.
- After logging in, you will be taken to the router home page. Each home page varies based on the manufacturer of the router.
- Change your settings as needed!
The Nuclear Option
If all else has failed, you have two options ahead of you. The first is to call your ISP. Tell them that you tried everything and nothing has worked. You can then either take your router to them or have them send a technician your way. The con of this is that you may have to pay for the service, and it won’t come cheap either. The another option is to buy a new router and reconfigure it to the settings of your current ISP. Log into your router and record all the settings so you won’t have to be on hold for 6 days while you wait for your ISPs customer service to pick up.
If your WiFi isn’t working even after trying all this, or if you’re having some very specific issues regarding it, feel free to tell us in the comments below. The community is bound to help you out. So are we, in any way we can. If you solved some problem using a different method to what we have shown you, make sure you inform us so we can help the rest of the connected world. Remember: sharing is caring!