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It is really annoying whenever my router acts up and the connection goes up and down all the time. Some of my daily activities in life and at work need an internet connection, which is why losing the internet is bad news for me. So I decided to share each and every reason this annoying occurrence is happening to our WiFi connection.
WiFi turns on and off because of a hardware or software issue on your router, connecting device, or the internet. To identify which one is the primary cause of the problem, troubleshooting is needed to be done.
Working before as a technical support specialist gave me the patience and drive to resolve device and network issues through troubleshooting. In this article, you will learn the root causes of WiFi disconnections, as well as the best tips to fix each of them.
WiFi intermittence is caused by different problems rooting from three sources: your router, your internet provider, and your device. I was able to observe this during the good old days where the internet is slow and disconnections happen way too much on a rainy day.
Below are the different reasons this happens, as well as tips to troubleshoot each of them.
The WiFi signal is the fan-shaped signal indicator located at the top part of your screen. You can distinguish a dropped signal on your indicator by checking if the signal bars are not full.
Dropped WiFi signal may cause disconnections, high latency in games, and slow speeds.
Compared to radiofrequency provided by towers, a router’s signal can penetrate easier through walls. Your WiFi connection can even reach your neighbor’s house, or at least an area of it nearest your home
. But thick obstructions and huge trees can potentially block the WiFi signal on the other side.
Oftentimes, the root cause of this issue is the distance between you and your router, added by signal obstructions. Electronics and other gadgets can also obstruct the WiFi signal from reaching your device.
Repositioning your device or router is the best solution to improve the signal strength of your device’s WiFi connection.
Move around the house or transfer the router to a better place, and then check your WiFi signal strength. Repositioning is also important to do if you want your WiFi to reach outdoors.e
Add another router to provide enough signal everywhere if you live in a large house. Several routers provide malls the capability to give adequate signal strength to everyone inside.
Imagine the internet as a huge road, and your WiFi router is a van. Even if it is a van that can fit 10 people, it cannot add more once it reaches its limit.
WiFi works the same because it cannot function properly once it reaches its capacity. As a result, everyone will experience sudden disconnections or slow speeds once the router reaches its limit.
Issues like this often happen when there are many guests at home. Public WiFi in restaurants, streets, and malls experience this issue. There are also times some devices are filling the capacity, but are not using the internet at all.
Remove those that are not using your router. The steps to kick someone out of your WiFi may depend on the router’s version. Here are the following:
- Access the router dashboard first by typing the IP address of the device on your browser. Enter the admin username and password once prompted.
- The name of the option may vary depending on the router’s make and model. It could be Wireless Card Access List, MAC Address Filtering, or Access Control Feature.
- You can see the MAC Address or IMEI number of the device connected to the network. The model of the device may sometimes show up on the list. The button to disconnect the user from the network is often found at the right part of the list.
Another neat trick that you can consider is by changing the WiFi password. This method prompts everyone to enter the new password before getting connected again. The first step is the same as the step mentioned above but look for the option that has the form to change your SSID (WiFi name) and Network Key (password).
You can also do a master reset on your router through the dashboard. You can also press the router’s reset button to achieve this (see your manual for further details). But if it cannot be helped, you can upgrade the router instead.
The issue might also root in the internet connection itself. The internet connection is provided from a signal tower to your internet device or modem, and then to your WiFi router.
There are several reasons why internet issues happen. Some are out of our control like tower outages or a hardware problem with the modem. Other issues include that can be in our control are network provisioning issues, and billing concerns.
Slow speeds are also caused by internet issues. Your speed might fluctuate until it goes down, then goes up, down again, and repeat.
Speed issues are either caused by an issue on your internet provider’s end, or due to very high amounts of downloaded data (to the point where the provider has throttled you).
The fixes for internet issues greatly vary as well, depending on the scenario. The very first troubleshooting step that you must do is to power cycle your internet device, not only the router.
Power cycle it for a minute or two before plugging it in but do it longer if the issue still happens.
After or during power cycling, you can also remove and reattach the ethernet cable that connects your modem and router. You can also try to swap both ends of the ethernet cable.
There is also a light indicator at the end of the cables that activate once you plug one end – replace the cable if one end does not light up.
If the issue still occurs, it’s best to contact your internet service provider if it is a provisioning issue. They can also identify any existing hardware issues and recommend the best choices to make for your device.
There are also instances where the issue is solely on your device. You can identify this issue by testing out the WiFi connection on all of the devices currently connected to the network.
Devices problems might be caused by a connection issue between the device and the router, or an issue in the device’s system.
This shows that there is a hardware issue in your device and not only the software. Gladly, device troubleshooting is way easier than troubleshooting your internet provider or router.
If the issue is with more than one device, but not all devices in the network, power cycle or master reset your router. If the issue is only with one device, then isolate the issue on your phone and not with other devices or your router.
You can power cycle the phone, turn the WiFi/Airplane mode on or off, or reset the network settings.
In phones, you can do it by going to Settings > General/System > Reset option > Reset Network Settings or Reset WiFi, Mobile, and Bluetooth. A master reset of the phone is rarely recommended but is regarded as a last resort.
For your computer, disable then re-enable the WiFi mode or the WiFi driver itself. Power cycling the device is also required.
You can also contact your device manufacturer or internet provider for advanced troubleshooting. The technical support team can also figure out if the issue is with the hardware.
Sometimes, a lack of update is the only reason why this is happening due to standards set by your router’s system. For your computer, search for Device Management and update the WiFi driver.
For phones, update the software version of your device especially if it is notifying you about it.
There are times where the internet service provider might not accommodate old router versions. If you are never changed your router for the past 5 to 7 years, it is time to get it replaced.
Standards set by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers are required to meet security needs and software upgrades that are vital for the improvement of our internet connectivity.
The system of your internet service provider can detect if your router does not meet the technical standards set by the newest internet protocols.
If that happens, they will never provide any bandwidth that you enjoy. The WiFi 6 version is required for a proper internet connection nowadays.
Take note that hardware issues on the router may happen. You can test this out if you have an extra router with you, or by checking the signal indicators.
You can either upgrade your router. If you haven’t updated it for a long time, update the firmware and test out your connection.
You should also check the light indicators of your router or ethernet cables. If the light on the cable does not turn on, try it with another device such as a computer.
If it still does not light up, replace the cable. Otherwise, replace the router because it might be broken already.
But if the router lights are not lighting up despite setting up the cables correctly, it’s best to either contact the router’s manufacturer or replace it. You can also consider performing a master reset on the router (see manual for further details).
You cannot just assume that your WiFi turns on or off because of a hardware issue. Troubleshooting exists because device issues, such as WiFi router problems, greatly vary depending on their root cause.
All you have to do is troubleshoot based on what you learned, test out the connection, and enjoy the internet if it gets fixed!
If it does not work, try another step until it reaches the point where you might need to escalate the issue, or ultimately replace your device.