How to Solve Problems With a Wireless Adapter or Access Point

This photo shows a laptop, router, and LAN cable

With almost everything about work and entertainment involving the Internet nowadays, it can be really frustrating to see a “Problem with wireless adapter or access point” error message on your computer. It usually makes an appearance in the Windows Network Diagnostics window. This guide addresses the multiple ways to solve this.

Good to know: dealing with an unidentified network issue on your Windows device? Find out how to deal with it.

Basic Troubleshooting

Before performing any in-depth checks on your computer, it’s best to try these preliminary solutions that may save you some time.

  • Restart your wireless connection: especially try this if you’re using an access point that requires you to log in before connecting. The sign-in page might not load properly, so restarting the connection could allow it to deliver the landing page.
  • Restart your router or access point: it's possible that your Windows system is working properly, yet the fault lies with a router or access point failure. In such a case, unplug your access point or router, wait for a few minutes, then turn it on again to re-establish a proper working configuration.
  • Install the latest Windows updates: there could be bugs in your current Windows installation, leading to the issue you're currently experiencing. Installing the latest updates for your system may fix this.
  • Update network adapter driver: an outdated network adapter driver is another possible cause. Make sure you've recently updated your drivers. If you suspect a recent update has led to a faulty wireless adapter, try rolling back the driver.

1. Check Whether Your Wireless Adapter Is On

Determine whether your wireless adapter is actually turned on. To do this, you have two options:

First, check to see whether Airplane mode is on. Press Win + A to open the Action Center.

Check the "Airplane mode" tile. If it's darkened, it means that the mode is enabled. Click to disable it, and turn on the wireless network card on your PC.

Clicking the "Airplane mode" in the Windows Action Center.

Next up, check the wireless adapter in the Device Manager. Access the utility by pressing Win + X on your keyboard and selecting the relevant option from the menu.

Clicking on "Device Manager" from WinX menu.

Open the “Network adapters” drop-down, and double-click your wireless adapter.

List of network adapters in the Device Manager.

Switch to the “Driver” tab, and click the “Enable Device” button.

Option to disable the Wireless Adapter driver in Windows indicates driver is active.

If you found “Disable Device” instead, don’t make any further changes, as your wireless adapter is already running.

Tip: learn how to control wireless networks from Command Prompt in Windows.

2. Delete Your Wireless Profile

A wireless profile refers to the set of details (SSID, passkey, etc.) that your PC needs to connect to the network. It could be corrupted if poorly configured, thereby causing problems for your adapter and access point. Removing it and reconnecting to the same network allows you to reset the wireless profile.

Click “Manage Wi-Fi connections" in the Action Center.

Option to manage Wi-Fi connections in the Windows Action Center.

Right-click a network in the list of networks, and select “Forget."

Selecting "Forget" option for select Wi-Fi connection.

3. Restart Network Adapter

Sometimes Wi-Fi connection issues lie with a malfunctioning network adapter. Restarting it may help solve the issue. Do this via the Control Panel.

Open the Control Panel, and go to “Network and Internet.”

Navigating to the "Network and Internet" option in the Control Panel.

Choose “Network and Sharing Center.”

Clicking the "Network and Sharing Center" in the Control Panel.

Select “Change adapter settings” in the left pane. (This will open the Network Connections window.)

Clicking on the "Change adapter settings" in Control Panel.

Right-click “Wi-Fi,” and select “Disable” in the context menu.

Disabling the Wi-Fi adapter in the Control Panel.

Wait a couple of minutes, then right-click “Wi-Fi” again, and select “Enable.”

Enabling the Wi-Fi adapter in the Control Panel.

4. Reset Network Configurations

If restarting your network adapter didn’t do the trick, try resetting your entire network configurations to their defaults. This will remove any adapters you have installed, as well as their settings. Do this easily via Command Prompt.

Open the Command Prompt as an administrator.

Enter the following commands, and run them one by one:

netsh winsock reset
netsh int ip reset
ipconfig /flushdns
ipconfig /release
ipconfig /renew
ipconfig /registerdns

Restart your PC, and try to reconnect to your network.

FYI: you may need to set a static IP address on your PC. Learn how to go about it.

5. Renew Your IP

It’s possible that your wireless connection issues have to do with your IP. Renew it by following these instructions to reset your computer’s IP connection.

Open the Command Prompt as administrator, then run the following commands in order.

ipconfig /release
ipconfig /renew

6. Turn Off IP Helper Service

IP Helper is a Windows service that is built into your operating system. It helps applications retrieve information related to the network configuration of the local computer, and modify that configuration.

If data is incorrectly changed, it may cause problems with your wireless adapter. As a result, turning off this service may be in order.

Press Win + R to open a Run dialog, and type services.msc in the box.

Typing command in Run utility.

Double-click “IP Helper" in the Services window.

Double-clicking IP Helper in Services window.

Set the “Startup type” to "Manual," then press the "Stop" button.

how to disable the IP Helper Service by clicking the Stop button.

7. Turn Off VPNs

VPNs help you securely connect to the Web by hiding your true IP address. This way, your personal information is less likely to leak.

A person using a VPN on a laptop.
Image source: Unsplash

A VPN switches IP addresses multiple times, which may, unfortunately, cause problems if you’re using an access point to wirelessly connect to a particular network. Turn it off, and see whether it solves the issue.

Tip: looking for a good VPN? Check out our list of the best VPN services that are the most secure.

8. Remove Your Antivirus Software

Antivirus software is set to scan and react to any form of threat that may pop up on your computer. Even when the issue is minor, your antivirus may completely stop a program or process it deems suspicious. This may be the case with your wireless adapter.

If you suspect that the culprit is an overzealous antivirus, disable it for a while. If your connection works fine now, you may want to consider downloading a new antivirus program. You can also uninstall your antivirus and rely on Windows Defender to protect your computer.

9. Switch to a Wired Connection

If nothing else works to fix your wireless connection, you may want to consider switching to a wired one. This doesn’t technically fix the root of the problem, but it does provide you with a temporary solution.

The back of a Wi-Fi router with connected Ethernet cables
Image source: Unsplash

10. Reach Out to Your Internet Service Provider

Consider contacting one of your ISP’s representatives. The support team should be able to share more details regarding the status of your network. They may even have a few tips on how to fix the problem from your end.

Tip: check out how to disable TCP/IPv6 on Windows.

Staying Connected Wirelessly

Moving forward, to ensure that your Internet connection is really stable, check out our guide on fixing Wi-Fi constantly disconnecting on Windows. Or, if you need more information on your network adapter, read our tutorial on how to view network adapter details in Windows.

Image credit: Freepik All screenshots by Princess Angolluan.

Princess Angolluan
Princess Angolluan

Princess is a freelance writer based in Croatia. She used to work as an English teacher in Hokkaido, Japan before she finally changed careers and focused on content writing & copywriting, while running their own digital marketing company in Europe. For 5 years, she has written many articles and web pages on various niches like technology, finance, digital marketing, etc. Princess loves playing FPS games, watching anime, and singing.

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