If you’re having issues connecting to the Internet, your router may be to blame. Regardless of whether you’re trying to communicate with local devices or the wider web, your router is the center of all your Internet activity. If you’re struggling to get a fast, reliable connection, troubleshoot your router to discover the problem – we’ll show you how in this article!
By working your way through the suggestions in this list, you can test whether your router really is the cause of your connection-related woes, troubleshoot if it is the cause, and get back online as quickly as possible.
The Obvious Stuff
Before progressing to more complicated techniques, let’s try a few easy fixes. Sometimes the simplest techniques will be enough to resolve your issues, and restore your Internet connection:
- Switch off your router, and switch it back on again. Then wait a few minutes and see whether your Internet connection is back up and running.
- Check whether there are any issues with your service provider. Most providers have a status page where you can access this information. If you’re unsure, try googling the name of your service provider followed by a phrase such as “service status” or “outage map.”
- Try connecting with a different device. If you’re experiencing issues with a single device, there’s always the possibility the problem may lie with your device and not the Internet connection. Wherever possible, it’s a good idea to test your connection using at least one other Internet-enabled device. If this device manages to connect without any issues, then chances are the router isn’t at fault.
- Switch to an Ethernet cable. If you’re struggling to connect to Wi-Fi, you may get positive results by connecting your device to the router directly, using an Ethernet cable. There are many factors that can interfere with a Wi-Fi connection, including physical barriers, such as walls. By physically connecting your device to the router, you can check whether the issue lies with the router itself or the quality of your Wi-Fi signal.
- Try a different Ethernet cable. Alternatively, if you’re already physically connected to the router, then check that the cable is firmly attached. It may also help to remove and then reattach the Ethernet cable to see whether this kickstarts the connection. If you have access to a second Ethernet cable, you may want to try switching the cables.
Change Router Wi-Fi Channel
Perhaps you’re managing to connect to the network over Wi-Fi, but the network’s performance is slow or unreliable. In this scenario, it’s possible your Wi-Fi channel may be 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 to know the router’s IP address. 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 on any platform.
Once you’ve retrieved this information, enter your router’s IP address into your web browser. It should prompt you for your router username and login. This information varies by IP provider, but is typically printed on the router itself.
If you haven’t manually changed the default username and password, you can often retrieve this information by using your favorite search engine and entering your router’s model number, followed by a phrase such as “default username and password” or “default login.” Your router’s model number should be printed in the manual or 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 the router to its default settings.
These steps can vary depending on your router, but it usually involves either pressing a physical button on the router itself, or opening your router’s settings and searching for a reset option.
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 you have chosen to reset the router, you have to set it up again properly. If all else fails, consider contacting your ISP for a connection reset at their end. Beyond that, it may be worth looking at a new router (ideally provided for free by your ISP!) and learning how to put your old router to good use.