Troubleshooting Wireless Networks

We've all experienced wireless networking hell. Connections that come and go, passwords that don't work... what's a poor computer user to do? Here's how to troubleshoot your wireless connection.

If you're having trouble with signal strength, check for interference. Something as simple as a monitor, speaker, microwave oven or cordless phone (the 2.4Ghz ones, especially) can wreak havoc. Try moving your wireless access point around until you get a better signal, and make sure the antenna is perpendicular to gravity. Even the heating in your house can interfere if you have copper coils that provide heat through the floor. It's also important to note that older wireless access points are more susceptible to interference. Our old friend the little blue Linksys box (model WRT54G) is particularly known for this. You may want to consider upgrading to a newer access point with better resistance and a boosted antenna.

I always recommend that you set a passphrase to access your wireless network. There are several options for this, but the best is WPA (or WPA2 if your equipment supports it). But what if your passphrase doesn't work? Try disconnecting and reconnecting your access point or, if that doesn't work, resetting power. If all else fails or you've forgotten your passphrase, you'll need to reset your wireless access point to factory defaults. This will mean reconfiguring according to your manufacturer's instructions. I recommend that you change the default password afterward, because the first thing someone trying to sneak onto your wireless network will do is try the well-known default administrator password. Then you can set your passphrase and reconnect from your computer.

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Posted byTriona Guidry at 3:17 PM  


Neeraj's Software Discussion said... July 16, 2009 at 3:58 AM  

The article was quite informative and may help common people to be safe in the wireless world. It would have helped to provide some more information on wireless configuration. Thank you for mentioning the interference of other gadgets.

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