My wireless internet connection drops off for no reason at all!
Have you called your ISP(Internet Service Provider such as AT&T or Comcast) only to have them tell you there is nothing wrong with your internet connection? Chances are they are right and you just need to change your WiFi routers wireless channel. This is the best first step. I myself used to be DSL Tier II Technical Support Technician for the biggest provider there is. I have seen all sorts of problems and wireless signal strength connection drop offs are very common but the technicians can not help you fix it. But don’t worry, in this this article I will help you change your wireless channel. This might not be the solution for you though. Especially if you have an old weak wireless N router.
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I changed my wireless channel but the signal is still poor!
Well, this is pretty common. It is pretty much just your old janky wireless N router. Yes, N. Look on the bottom, get your model number and search for it here. If it comes back as Wireless N, then you just gotta upgrade. Bottom line.
What are the symptoms of poor wireless signal?
- You recently got a new router for your WiFi at home.
- Your wireless internet drops and reconnects for no reason but when you run a speed test it tends to come back with great results.
- Others in the house do not lose wireless connection.
- You only lose connection in some areas of the house.
- Your non wireless devices do not have slow internet issues.
How can we fix dropped wireless connections?
Change your SSID Wireless Channel. I find the most common issue is WiFi channel clutter which I will explain below. Unless of course you have wireless N, then it’s just time to upgrade. You can try to change the channel but with the old technology, don’t expect a lot when you’re fighting against all the other newer wireless AC routers in your area.
Why do I need to change my wireless channel?
When your ISP provides you with a new router, they are factory defaulted in most cases to channel 1, 6, or 11. That means so is everyone else in your building or all of your neighbors. The clutter of devices on the same wireless channel causes interference and the disturbances can cause intermittent disconnects. Changing the wireless channel can seem like a difficult task but if you follow these instructions you can easily change the default station on your own.
Find a clear wireless channel.
If you have an Android phone there is an amazing free app by the name of WiFi Analyzer that allows you to view all wireless channels within range currently broadcasting an SSID. From this data you can see where the clutter is and where you can move your WiFi channel to in order to get better signal strength. If you have an iPhone, you will need to just try other channels blindly and see if it helps. For instance, if you’re on channel 6, try channel 11. Vice versa. Unfortunately the Apple iPhone has banned this amazing application and you have no way of checking out your network signal strength.
This is what the WiFi Analyzer app looks like. Very easy to use. In this chart you can see 1 and 11 are over used and already have several wireless networks on them. In this case I simply moved my WiFi to channel 6 where only a few weaker wireless networks reside and have not had any problems.
How To Change Your Wireless Channel
The first step is logging into your wireless router. You will need your “default gateway” for this. Most routers come with this information on a sticker. You’re looking for something along the lines of http://192.168.1.1. But you will also need the username and password. For this you may have to call your ISP. If you’re having trouble accessing your firewall router, then I have more details including default username password combinations for routers here.
After you log into your router you are looking for a tab by the name of “Wireless”. The most common wireless router is the Linksys or Cisco router and the screen shot below shows the tab. Newer more advanced routers make this even easier so you should not have a problem finding the wireless settings.
In the wireless tab on your router you’ll see an option that says “Channel”. You can only pick a channel between 1 and 11. If you’re on an AT&T modem such as a 2Wire you’re going to need to look for “Home Network” and then “Wireless”. If you used the WiFi Analyzer app I mentioned above, you already have a new channel to test out. However if you are on an iPhone you’ll have to just guess what channel you’re going to use, see how it goes and change it later if it needs to be.
Once you change the wireless channel, save and continue, the router may need to reboot. Try this out for a few days and see if the problem goes away. In almost all cases, it will! Unless of course it’s Wireless N, just upgrade already. Welcome to the now.
Changing my Wireless Channel didn’t fix the problem
If when using the WiFi Analyzer app you noticed your signal strength was really weak in the first place in the area that you’re having disconnect problems then there are several possible ways to fix that.
1) You really want a strong home wifi router to begin with. If you have an older Wireless N Router, you may just flat our need to upgrade to an AC Class router with dual band. I actually highly recommend this before trying the wireless extender option if you do not have an AC router.
2) If you do already have an ac router and you just don’t have the range because your house is really big, the extender option is the way to go. With your ac router in the main room, you just boost the signal by using the wireless range signal boosting method. You put it in the area of the house with signal strength issues and it recast the signal.
I’ll also note that if you are using Time Warner, Comcast, Xfinity or any major cable provider here in the US, you can save money every single month on your internet bill by buying your own cable modem so that you no longer have to rent from them.
Good luck and feel free to ask any questions. Please share!
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