Thursday, August 31, 2017

5 Things to Do to Get Back Online Wirelessly

With the release of new wireless standards, wireless throughput continues to increase to meet users's demands. Newer access points often have an increasing number of antennae, strength and channel management. As a result, using a wireless connection has become a more reliable option for devices to use to access the Internet and network resources. 

An unfortunate result of the high level of adoption of wireless is the lack of wired data ports to connect to, in addition to the absence of network ports in devices. This means if a device fails to connect to a wireless network and cannot get on the Internet, the odds of finding an available wired connection are low. Instead of looking for a wired connection, try the things below to get back online wirelessly.

*A typical network jack (RJ-45 jack) looks like a telephone jack but is larger. Many ultrabooks do not have them as they predetermine the width of the laptop.

5 Things to Do to Get Back Online Wirelessly

Verify the wireless network

It may sound silly, but before trying a bunch of other fixes, check to make sure you are connecting to the correct wireless network. Oftentimes our devices will connect to an unsecured network, or a network without a password, without our knowledge. 

Check to see what network the device is connected to by clicking on the wireless icon in the taskbar.

 Once clicked, both the current wireless network and those available are displayed.

Check to see if other devices can connect
Try connecting a secondary tablet, phone, or other device to the wireless network. If other devices also fail to connect, the issue is most likely with the network itself, rather than any specific device. 

Access points broadcast their wireless networks even if they are not able to pass traffic. This means a device can successfully connect to a wireless network even if that network is not passing traffic. Typically when this happens, the wireless icon in the taskbar will have a yellow caution symbol over it, but this is not always the case.

Disable and re-enable the network card
Sometimes the network card fails to operate properly. When this happens, a reboot can fix the issue. Disabling the device, then re-enabling the device, will also fix this issue yet does not require turning the device off. If you can keep from rebooting, then all programs can remain running which can be a big time saver.

To disable the network card:
  • Click the wireless icon in the taskbar and select "Network and Sharing Center".
  • In the left panel, select "Change adapter settings".

  • Right-click on the adapter and select "Disable".

  • Right-click on the adapter and select "Enable".
  • Check to see if the device is able to access the Internet.
Remove the device from the device manager
Sometimes removing the device from the computer and reinstalling it fixes the issue. Open the device manager to remove the device and then scan for hardware changes to reinstall it. 
  • Right-click on "Computer" and select "Manage". 
  • Click on "Device Manager" in the left panel.

  • In the right panel, expand the network adapters. 
  • Right-click on the name of the adapter and select "Uninstall".

  • In the upper menu, click "Action" and select "Scan for hardware changes". This finds the network card and reinstalls it.

  • Check to see if the device is able to access the Internet.
Reinstall the network driver

As a last resort, check to see if there is a newer or updated version of the network card driver. Drivers can be found online by going to the website of the manufacturer of the device, or at the website of the manufacturer of the network card. Download the new driver, install it, and then check to see if this fixes the issue.

Wireless networks are a quick and easy way to connect and are a common connection method. When wireless networks fail to provide the resources we need, it is frustrating and a time waster. Not being able to access email, the Internet or cloud based programs can derail anyone's day. Before you go to a different location hoping to fix the issue, check to be sure you are connecting to the correct network and see if other devices are able to get online. Also, try disabling and re-enabling the wireless card or try reinstalling the card or driver as necessary. 

As always, knowing how to troubleshoot issues when they arise is the key to efficiency!

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