Common Router Issues and how to fix them
It has been two years since I last wrote about networks and routers. Actually it was around Christmas 2015 and I focused mostly on network security. This time I will cover router and network issues and how you can repair these on your own or contact me to repair them for you..
Is your WI FI not working and you need to get on the Internet? Actually that is quite a common task that I fix for my customers. You can take the first step by rebooting your router to see if that fixes the problem.
Routers, to many, are mysterious black boxes. To take some of the mystery out of it, think of your router as a small computer that has all of the problems that a computer might have. Maybe your router could have a memory leak or the CPU is overheating.
So, you have lost Internet!
The simple fix is to turn the router on and off, or what we call power cycling. For some, you may need to just unplug the router from its power source and then wait a few minutes and plug it back in. This could fix a short-term problem. I have several computers in my house and my wife will say, “I don’t have Internet.” If I have it and her computer doesn’t, I will tell her to reboot her computer and that generally fixes the problem.
Now if we both have lost the Internet, I will reboot the router. The trick is to wait at least ten seconds. Why? I will go back to my computer analogy. Routers, like computers, have capacitors that retain electricity for a while. Waiting ten seconds ensures that these capacitors are drained and that all the settings are reset.
Why do Routers crash?
There are many reasons that your router can crash, as there are many reasons why your computer can crash.
- IP address conflicts. Your router manages many IP addresses and identifies each device on the network by its IP address. Your interface with the world is your public IP address which your Internet Service Provider (ISP) has given you and identifies your network to all others. Now, your router will manage your private network and will keep track of all of the devices on your home network, beginning with your printer. Yes, your wireless printer will have an IP address. Occasionally your router creates a conflict and breaks the connection. Rebooting will reset these IP addresses.
- Firmware crashes. Occasionally firmware (software program or set of instructions programmed on a hardware device) can become outdated or bugs in the firmware will consume too much memory.
- Overheating. Your computer can overheat and so can your router. Your router will have vents that allow it to cool. If you keep it in an enclosed space you will nullify these vents causing it to crash.
Router Crashing Solutions
- If your router is continually crashing, then most likely your firmware is out of date. To fix this, you need to open your browser and put in your routers IP address. It is usually 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.2.1 or another variation. You can check this by looking at the label on your router. You will be prompted for a user name and a password that, if you didn’t change it when you installed it, might be admin and admin. You can check this on the Internet or call your ISP. Once on the web page, you can click on a button to upgrade your firmware.
- If your router is crashing and seems to be hot, consider a heat solution. Ensure that your router’s vents are not crowded or that it is not enclosed in a cabinet. Also check that the vents are not block by dust. You can use a can of compressed air to free them up.
- If your router is still crashing, buy a new one. Router technology is constantly changing and if your router is more than five years old get a new one.
Installation Principles to follow for best router signals
Routers need to be pampered, so when installing keep these principles in mind. When rebooting, Mediacom routers require 3 or 4 minutes to be operational. Verizon routers require less time, about minute or more.
- Install your router as high as possible for the best signal
- Keep your router out in the open to protect it from overheating
- Keep your router away from other electronic gadgets.
- Reboot your router on a schedule, once a week or once a month.
If you are dealing with a weak signal consider buying an extender especially if your computer is on one floor and the router is on another. This was my problem which was cured by purchasing a good extender.
Your network covering a large area because of a large house can cause weak signals. Thick walls, other physical structures or other electronic equipment can be other causes. The solution is to buy an extender or expander which can repeat the signal and rebroadcast it. Their cost can run 30 to 150 dollars. My recommendation is to get a good one like the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900. You can mix brands but you cannot mix types such as 802.11n extender if your router is on 802.11ac.
Internet speed can be affected by many factors. You can check your speed by typing into your browser “internet speed test” and use the Google speed test or one of the others. Your upload speed will be much lower than your download speed. Aside from your hardware which you may be reluctant to change, the following factors may be relevant:
- Your CPU and router can affect your speed, but we will assume that you will not want to buy a new computer or router.
- Malware and viruses on your computer. You should have good antivirus and malware protection and check it frequently to see if it is running and doing its job. This is an easy solution which many can do.
- Your bandwidth is crucial and is affected by the number of users you have on your network. So if you notice that your speed is slow, check to see if other family members are using the Internet.
- Your speed will be affected by streaming video like Netflix, which hogs a lot of bandwidth.
- Your speed will be affected by the number of your apps connecting to the Internet.
- A wired connection will be always faster than a wireless connection.
- Your browser will affect the speed depending upon the number of extensions and your caching level. You can limit your extensions and clean your cache. In Google Chrome go to settings and advanced and clear your browser data. Then go to more tools and extensions and eliminate some or all extensions. After each, check your Internet speed to see if it made any difference.
- If you are on the Internet during high volume, say right after work, high numbers of people using the Internet will definitely slow your speed. So compare with different times of day, say late at night, to see the difference.
- If you want a faster speed and money is not an object, contact your ISP to order a faster speed.
Rather have Perry do the fix?
For any of the above Internet speed, router issues, virus and malware issues, and other computer problems, contact Perry’s Computer Repair at 443-783-2269 for the best solution or repair.