Wireless Network Administration: Basic Troubleshooting

Wireless networks are great until something goes haywire. When a regular network doesn’t work, you usually know about it right away because the network simply becomes unavailable.

But wireless networks can cause problems of their own. And to add to the frustration, wireless networks tend to degrade rather than completely fail. Performance gets slower. web pages that usually pop up in a second or two take 15 to 20 seconds to appear. Or sometimes they don’t appear at all, but then if you try again a few minutes later, they download fine.

Before you roll up your sleeves and take drastic corrective action, you should check for a few obvious things if you’re having wireless network trouble. The following list highlights some basic things you should check for:

  • Is everything turned on? Make sure you have lights on your wireless access point/router as well as on your cable or DSL modem.

  • Many access point/routers use a power supply transformer that plugs into the wall. Make sure that the transformer is plugged into the wall outlet and that the small cable that comes out of the transformer is plugged into the power connector on the access point/router.

  • Are the cables connected? Check the network cable that connects your access point/router to the cable or DSL modem.

  • Try restarting everything. Turn off the computer, the access point/router, and your cable or DSL modem. Leave everything off for at least two minutes. Then turn everything back on. Sometimes simply cycling the power off and back on clears up a connection problem.