My Wi-Fi network isn’t working properly
Networking problems are common, but often easy to fix
Having problems with wireless networking? The first step is to isolate the problem. It could be the device you’re using, the wireless network or your internet connection. Firstly, try and connect to the internet from another Mac, iPad or iPhone on the same network. If that works, go back to the original device, switch Wi-Fi off and then on again. You’d be surprised at how often that fixes the problem!
If the second device doesn’t work, it could be a problem with the router or the signal. Switch the router off, wait ten seconds, and then switch it on again. Wait until it’s finished starting up and then try again. If you still can’t connect, check to see if you can connect to other devices, such as a printer, AirPlay speaker, or NAS on the network. If that works, it’s the broadband connection that’s at fault. Check with your ISP to see if there’s a known fault in your area. If not, ask them for help.
If you’re struggling to connect to devices on your local network, it could be a Wi-Fi signal problem. If your device supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz and your router can display them as separate networks, try switching from one to the other. 2.4GHz can offer better range, but is more congested, so devices that can run on 5GHz should normally do so. If you’re on 5GHz, switching to 2.4GHz might solve the problem.
Next, launch Wireless Diagnostics (use Spotlight to find it). Select Monitor Performance by clicking the Window menu > Utilities > Performance. A graph displays the signal-to-noise ratio of your network. Maximise the difference between signal and noise by reducing the noise; high noise levels can lead to dropped packets, poor performance, odd behaviour and dropped connections. To do that, you’ll have to move the router (as far away from walls and ceilings as you can). The best place is in the centre of a room, but that’s not always practical. If it has external antennae, re-position those first, keeping an eye on the signal-tonoise graph.
Wireless signals tend to be stronger below the router, so put the router as high as you can. If you plan to use the same router upstairs and downstairs, consider placing the modem/router upstairs, broadband connection permitting.
If all else fails, buy a separate wireless router and connect it using Ethernet to your broadband router/ modem and then switch off the modem’s wireless radio.
It’s not obvious where to locate Wireless Diagnostics; find it through Spotlight ( ç+[ Spacebar].