One of the most common and frustrating computer problems people have at home is a slow, spotty or nonexistent internet connection. Fortunately, there are some steps that even non-technical folks can follow to fix their own internet and WiFi issues.
I created an infographic along with this post to walk you through the troubleshooting process for resolving some of the most common causes of internet and WiFi problems at home.
This post may contain affiliate links; please read my disclosure here.
All Websites or Just One?
Check several websites to make sure the problem isn’t limited to just one website, which might be down. It could also be experiencing unusually heavy traffic that makes it temporarily inaccessible. If it’s just one website you can’t access, try it again later.
Problem With One Device or Many?
Are you having internet problems with one device (such as a computer or tablet) or all of your devices? If your Windows computer suddenly starts having internet problems, try restarting it.
If that doesn’t work, you might need to do a System Restore going back to a few days before you started having the problem (Windows 10 instructions and Windows 7 instructions).
If your computer or mobile gadget still has internet problems and it’s still under warranty, you may want to contact tech support for your device.
- Dell Customer Support – (800) 624-9897
- HP Tech Support – (800) 474-6836
- Toshiba Support – (800) 457-7777
If the computer isn’t under warranty and doesn’t have any other problems besides its internet connection, consider trying an external WiFi dongle before you replace the whole device. This can also improve your WiFi connection if your computer’s built-in WiFi uses an older technology that’s not as fast or reliable as what’s available now.
On the lower end, you can try the SeoJack AC600Mbps Dual Band WiFi dongle for less than $10. For better speed, check out the SeoJack AC1200 Dual Band or the NET-DYN 1200AC (867 Mbps/300 Mbps) 802.11ac Dual Band.
WiFi With No Internet?
Check to see if your devices have a WiFi connection but no internet. On a Windows computer, your WiFi icon in the lower right would have a yellow explanation point on it. Could your internet service be down?
Check for Lights
Make sure all cables are securely connected to your WiFi router and cable or DSL modem. Verify that nobody accidentally unplugged a modem or router or turned off the surge protector.
Reset Your Network Equipment
Unplug both the WiFi router and cable, fiber or DSL box power cables and wait one minute.
Plug in the cable, fiber or DSL and wait two minutes. Plug in the WiFi router and wait two minutes. Check to see if your internet connection works again.
Change the Channel
If you experience slow internet in the evenings and you have nearby neighbors, try changing the channel on your WiFi router.
WiFi routers use “channels” to transmit data, and most people use the default channel on their WiFi networks, which is generally 11. Therefore, your neighbors’ WiFi networks might be competing for space on the same channel as all of your home’s WiFi devices – computers, phones, tablets, Rokus and so forth.
The contention is most noticeable when you’re streaming TV or videos. Fortunately, changing the WiFi channel is no big deal. Start by downloading an app to your tablet or phone such as WiFi Analytics Tool. Use it to find a channel with low usage.
Then, check your WiFi router’s user guide to find out how to login to it using your computer’s web browser to change the channel. Make sure you save the settings, then wait 15 minutes for your devices to auto-connect using the new channel. Check to see if that makes a difference in your internet performance.
Changing the channel is a common resolution to Roku or other TV streaming WiFi problems. If you have repeated problems with WiFi on your Roku TV streaming device, try these steps.
If your internet performance suffers when a lot of family members are using devices at the same time, consider upgrading your cable modem and/or WiFi router. We use a TP-LINK AC1900 Wireless Dual Band AC WiFi Router (Archer C9). We recently added a WiFi extender upstairs to get better coverage in some of the upstairs rooms.
You might save around $10 a month by buying your own cable modem. If you use DSL or fiber, you probably can’t buy your own equipment.
This post is not affiliated with Roku in any way. Roku is a registered trademark of Roku Inc.
This post was originally written in August 2016 and updated in April 2020.
You may freely use this infographic in your own blog posts without permission, provided you do not edit it in any way, and you give full credit to LivingWithBeth.com and link back to this post.
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