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DIY Fixes For These 5 Common Network Problems
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No one likes running into an network-related problem, not knowing how to fix it, having to call customer support and then trying to follow their instructions over the phone.

Believe it or not, many such issues can actually be fixed on your own through a series of simple steps. Doing some basic troubleshooting and remembering some quick fixes might be able to save you a lot of time and effort.

If you’re facing any of the problems below, try these solutions first and see if they help. You could avoid the frustration of call waiting, over-the-phone troubleshooting and long hours without the Internet!

1. forgetting the password to your wifi network 

This happens all the time. Fret not – if you’re using a Windows laptop or desktop, the WiFi network’s password is automatically saved into the computer as long as it has been or is currently connected to this particular network.

If your device is currently connected to the WiFi network:

Windows users

  1. In the taskbar, right-click on the Wireless Network icon.
  2. Click “Open Network and Sharing Center”.
  3. Click on the name of the WiFi network.
  4. Click on “Wireless Properties” in the “WiFi Status” window.
  5. Head to the “Security” tab.
  6. Check the “Show Characters” box to view your password.

Mac users

Note that you’ll need an administrator’s account for this fix.

  1. Press Command and the Spacebar at the same time to access the Spotlight Search.
  2. Type “Keychain Access” into the Spotlight Search and press Enter.
  3. Identify the WiFi connection’s name on the network list, click on it, then click on “Info” (it looks like an “i”) at the bottom of the window.
  4. Check the “Show Password” box in the window that appears.
  5. Enter the username and password of the account to display the WiFi network password.

2. devices can’t connect to the internet

There are many reasons why you might lose connectivity, so it’s a good idea to let your computer run the generic troubleshooting guide first as it can solve minor issues.

Windows 10 users

  1. Search for “WiFi Troubleshooting” and click on “Identify and Repair Network Issues”.
  2. The system will perform a series of diagnostics as it attempts to restore connectivity. Most times, this involves resetting the network adapter.

MacOS users

  1. Press and hold the “Options” key while you click on the AirPort (WiFi) icon on the menu bar.
  2. Click on “Open Wireless Diagnostics”.
  3. Comply with the guidelines given on the screen.

If the above fails to solve your problem, “have you tried turning it off and on again?” is actually a legitimate fix on occasion as doing so resets the device, which can eliminate the issue.

Try this on both ends: disable the WiFi on your device (usually found on the toolbar), then re-enable it after a few seconds. If that doesn’t work, remove the current network from the saved networks list on the device and try connecting again.

Alternatively, switch off and unplug your modem or router, then leave it unplugged for 30 seconds before reconnecting it and turning it back on.

As a last resort, try restarting your device. If that still doesn’t help, you may need to call in the experts.

3. wifi connection drops randomly

Another common but no less frustrating problem, there are multiple reasons why this might happen. Signal strength gets weaker the further away you are from the router, so it has a tendency to drop. Or maybe too many people are using the WiFi connection at the same time and overloading it.

Try moving closer to the router when you’re on your WiFi and seeing if your connection becomes more stable. If it’s an issue of having too many devices connected at the same time, then try limiting the number of devices or choosing your activities carefully (ie not downloading movies and streaming a show at the same time).

Check out our TIME Hacks page for some more suggestions on how you can make your WiFi more awesome.

4. can connect with one device but not the other

Are you able to connect to the Internet with your laptop, but not your phone? Or vice versa? That might be due to incorrect network settings on the affected device.

Check that your WiFi is on, you’re trying to connect to the right network, Airplane mode is off (it happens more often than you’d think) and the time and date is correct.

Restarting your device also usually solves the issue. If you’re on a PC, try running the diagnostics as mentioned above in point 2, or restarting the router as well.

5. slow internet connection

Is your Internet connection feeling more sluggish than usual? There are many reasons why this could be the case, so you might have to spend a little time troubleshooting.

The suggestions in point 2 (moving closer to your router, restarting it, stop background processes) are some of the most common fixes if you’re on WiFi.

You can also connect directly to your router or modem with a CAT5e cable or better to see if the speed improves as WiFi speed will always be slower than a direct connection.

Check out our troubleshooting guide to learn what might be affecting your speed and how you can boost it.

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