How to Fix Wireless Connection Issues on a Laptop (Windows or Mac)
One of the most common online technical support issues we see at Boxaid are customers having wireless connection issues with a laptop. The laptop can be running any operating system which includes Windows flavors or Mac flavors. Wireless Internet connection problems come in many forms. They are often related or caused by the distance from the nearest router. Wireless connection issues are typically because of the following reasons:
1. The laptop is too far away from the wireless router
2. There is a thick wall between the laptop and the router
3. There is a problem with the router and it needs to be rebooted
Fix Wireless Issue if Distance is the Problem
Let’s start with the most common of the three WiFi problems above. This assumes that you have already established a connection to the router and you are connected to it with a decent WiFi signal. We can confirm we are connected as shown below.
In this case we can see we are clearly connected with a strong signal to the router. Now we need to see the quality of the wireless signal. A simple way to do this is to bring up a command prompt. On a Mac you can do this by bringing up a terminal window. On a Windows computer you will bring up the equivalent Command prompt window as shown below.
Bring Up Terminal Window on Mac
1. Bring up your Finder window from your dock
2. Navigate to Applications, Utilities then double click Terminal App
Bring Up Command Prompt on Windows
1. Click the Start button in Windows
2. Start typing into the run prompt “cmd” and then hit Enter
Now that we have our command prompt and terminal prompt we are going to test the quality of our Internet connection.
Permanent Ping to google.com
- On the terminal window type ping google.com
- On the Windows prompt type ping google.com -t
As you can see below we can see a solid, good connection to google all the way to a spotty, intermittent connection. Now you can easily pick up your laptop and move around your location and watch the quality of the connection change. The smaller the ping time in milliseconds then the more stable the connection. This means you are getting closer to the router and if the number gets larger or their are dropped packets then you are getting further away from the router. So keep moving around until you find that perfect seat at the coffee shop or your hotel room.
Check Other Devices if Possible
If you are in your home or business office and you are still experiencing wireless connection issues then it’s time to check other devices to see if they are experiencing similar issues. If you have another laptop then put it next to the first laptop and see if shows a similar ping time. If the connectivity is similar we know that the problem lies at the router not the device such as the laptop. If the second device has a strong connection then we know that the first laptop may have a wireless adapter problem. Check to see if there is a wireless adapter driver that may be released and of course try rebooting the laptop as well.
If all Else Fails Reboot the Router
If you are getting poor WiFi connections or complete loss of packets then the router may be at fault. If you are at home or at your business and you are able to reboot the router then unplug it, wait a few seconds then plug it back in. Then test your ping time again as shown above. See if there is any improvement after the reboot. If there is not an improvement then the problem may lie with the ISP and you should consider calling your ISP to see if they are experiencing an outage or any problems. Alternatively, you can try to connect via hardwire Ethernet cable to see if there is any improvement in stability of the connection. Again, use the same technique above to see if you have a solid connection to google.com.