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How do I pinpoint the cause of wireless Internet connection problems?

Even established technologies such as Wi-Fi have service interruptions. Fix them quickly by first discerning if the issue is widespread or not.

Even though Wi-Fi is one of the most common technologies today, it can still create major problems.

If some users experience wireless Internet connection problems and others don't, the first thing you need to do is gather some additional information. Specifically, you must know exactly who has problems and what they are. This might sound obvious, but answering these two questions is the key to solving the problem.

Determining who is having problems tells you whether the problem is localized or if it is widespread. If all the users with problems are concentrated in one area, there might be a coverage problem or an overloaded access point.

Still, Wi-Fi problems are not always access-point related. If you can't find a problem with your access point or coverage, then try to see if there is anything in common among all the users' problems. Perhaps those users need to update their device drivers or firmware.

Determining the exact nature of the problem can also be telling. If for example, the users with wireless Internet connection problems are never able to connect to the Internet, then the issue might be related to hardware, coverage or an incorrect access point password.

If the problems are intermittent, you can rule out password problems and any other issues that would lead to a permanent loss of connectivity. Maybe an access point is overloaded and only the first few dozen users to establish connectivity are able to use Wi-Fi.

If you still have trouble diagnosing the problem, you can go online and look for a diagnostic utility. Sites such as download.com offer dozens of tools to help you fix Wi-Fi problems.

Next Steps

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Explore Gigabit Wi-Fi

This was last published in December 2015

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What are some causes of Wi-Fi service interruptions you've encountered?
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Sometimes my devices at home cannot properly obtain the IPs and get stuck. It always affects the WiFi router.
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