Your router is the megabrain of all Internet activity in your house. Whether you want your devices communicating with each other across your local network or with the wider Internet, you want your router to be fully functioning when going about your daily life.
Here we’re going to show you how to troubleshoot your router and indeed find out whether your router is to blame for your problems.
The Obvious Stuff
Before getting into the nitty-gritty, there are a few basic troubleshooting tips you should check and try:
- Switch off your router, and switch it back on again. (Yes, you probably already figured that one out, but maybe not everyone is as smart as you).
- Go on the broadband status webpage for your internet service provider to see if there are known problems in your area.
- Test the Internet connection with another device. If just one device isn’t connecting, then the problem lies there, not with the router.
- If you can’t connect over Wi-Fi, plug a device into the router using an ethernet cable and see if you can connect to the Internet that way. Ideally try this with a couple of devices. Then you’ll know for sure if the issue lies with the Wi-Fi connectivity of the router or that individual device.
- Make sure the cable between the router and modem is firmly attached. These cables often involve a nut-and-bolt mechanism at each end, and these can loosen over time.
Change Router Wi-Fi Channel
If the home Wi-Fi beaming from your router has slowed to a crawl or has outright stopped working, then it’s possible that the Wi-Fi channel you’re on is busy with traffic from other Wi-Fi users in your local area.
You can manually change your Wi-Fi channel through your router’s settings. To get to your router’s settings, you’ll need the “Default Gateway” IP, which is the router’s address on your network. This is usually 192.168.1.1, 192.168.0.1, 192.168.1.254 or similar and needs to be entered into your browser. Here’s how to find your router’s IP address in Windows 10.
You’ll then be prompted for your router username and login, which varies by IP provider and may be written on the router itself.
Once you’re in your router’s Wi-Fi channel settings, how do you know which channel to pick? There’s quite a lot to it, so read our guide on how to find the best Wi-Fi channel for your network.
Reset Your Router
The more radical step up from simply restarting or rebooting your router is to reset it, which will restore it entirely to the default settings along with the SSID and password.
There are usually two ways to do this: one is via a physical button on the router itself (it might be one that requires a pin to press), and the other is through your router’s settings page which we’ve described how to access in the previous heading.
Upgrade Router Firmware
Another solution you can find right there in your router’s settings is a firmware upgrade. This can also be found through your router’s settings and will obviously require that your router is connected to the Internet to work (so it can solve router-to-device connection issues, but not Internet-to-router issues).
The above are some of the main ways to troubleshoot a misbehaving router. If the above fail, then consider contacting your ISP for a connection reset at their end. Beyond that, it may be worth looking at a new router (ideally provided free by your ISP!).