A checklist for resolving your Wi-Fi internet connection

By Chris Lord|25th January 2016

checklist for wi-fi connection problems

I’m sure everyone out there has at least once experienced an issue with their Wi-Fi internet connection not working. So what could go wrong? Here are a few scenarios:

  • Out of range / weak signal: a common one. Are you close enough to the Wireless Access Point (WAP)? The range will be very different depending on your environment. Obstacles that can really hinder wireless signals include walls (particularly thicker walls in older buildings) and metal obstructions (metal can also act as a mirror with radio waves – making signals bounce around the room).
  • Faulty equipment: the Wireless Access Point (WAP) or your device could be faulty. Does your device works well on another wireless network? Have you tried restarting your device? Are others working OK on the same Wi-Fi?
  • You live in a densely populated area: in many businesses or homes, there will be a lot of wireless networks competing for airspace. This is often a recipe for a poor connection depending on what you’re trying to do. 
  • Free Wi-Fi: if an organisation offers Free WiFi, don’t expect to connect without filling in an on-line form first and / or creating a username and password. You may have to regularly re-connect to the Wi-Fi too.
Bear in mind that performance can be affected by what are you trying to do?

Twitter, BBC News, YouTube, e-mails are all types of traffic that are not time-sensitive and can react reasonably well with poor or sporadic Wi-Fi performance. Traffic that is time sensitive such as voice and video calling (Skype, FaceTime, VoIP enable PBX) really needs a quality Wi-Fi and internet connection if you need to rely upon it.

Bear in mind the types of traffic!

All Wi-Fi network providers allow the browsing of websites and picking up e-mails. However, some providers do not permit certain types of network traffic. For example, VPN (Virtual Private Network), remote desktop and CCTV traffic could all fall into this category. This could really hinder your working when out of the office.

Finally, it’s worth asking yourself a couple of questions to resolve your wi-fi problem

  • 1. If you have a smartphone or tablet capable of 4G, live and work in an area with good mobile signal and you have a generous data allowance, is there actually a benefit of turning your Wi-Fi on at all?
  • 2. Instead of connecting your laptop or tablet to the Wi-Fi of the hotel, plane, train, Starbucks, customer or supplier’s office, why not use the “Personal Hotspot” (aka Tethering) feature on your mobile phone. This means you have your very own wireless access point to carry around with you and the experience will be the same every time.