Rights & Money

When Your Wi-Fi Goes Wonky

Losing your Internet connection is frustrating, but there might be an easy fix

By Jennifer Hughes


Most of us use the Internet so regularly—to stay in touch with friends and family and to shop, bank, and look up information—that we can come to take it for granted, so when our Wi-Fi disconnects or our router has a technical problem, we aren’t prepared. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take that usually work.

Make sure you’re connecting to the right network. This might sound obvious, but selecting the wrong network is common error. You also need to make make sure that you’re using the right password (with the right capitalized letters and numbers). To double check, you can select “view password” (or a similar option) below the space where you type in the password to double check that you’re spelling it correctly.

Make sure everything is up to date. Make sure that your Wi-Fi driver is up-to-date. On a PC, you’ll need to open Device Manager, go to Network Adapters, select your wireless adapter, and choose Update Driver Software. If you aren’t sure which wireless adapter is yours, you might need to get help from your service provider. You should also keep your device—whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer (Mac or PC)—up to date by downloading the most recent software update.

Check how many devices are connected. Your Wi-Fi might conk out if you have too many devices connected to it. If everyone in your household is trying to connect to the Internet at the same time, that will slow everything down. Downloading and online gaming will also slow down your connection significantly.

Turn it off and on. If you’re still unable to connect, you can try the timeless method of turning your device, network adapter, or router off and on to see whether you’re able to connect afterward.

Routers don’t last forever; so if your router is over seven years old, you might need to replace it. If your home has an ethernet cable port, you can connect your computer to an ethernet cable in the meantime while you’r e waiting to get your Wi-Fi fixed. (Some computers, such as MacBooks and PC Notebooks, don’t have ethernet ports, so you’ll need an adapter.)

If the problems persist, call your Internet provider or seek out a professional, such as an IT or computer specialist.


Photo: iStock/CASEZY.