Is Your Business Wi-Fi Acting Up? Check These 8 Places First

If your business wireless internet connectivity or WiFi connection isn’t working correctly, you may be able to troubleshoot the issue yourself. A slow connection or dropped signal can make it difficult to work on a computer, laptop or mobile device. However, many of the most common problems fit into eight categories of root causes, such as physical connections, the wireless adapter or software updates.

To guide you through step by step to understanding the source of business Wi-Fi connectivity issues, read on to discover whether problems in your wireless local area network (LAN) architecture are resulting in Wi-Fi issues.

1. Physical Connection Issues

Wi-Fi problems are commonly caused by physical connectivity issues, such as devices that are powered off or cable problems.

  1. Ensure both the modem and the router are powered on, and your ports are plugged into working power sources.
  2. Replace Ethernet cables, if needed, to check whether a damaged cable is at fault.
  3. Verify that you’re using the right type of cable for your router.
  4. Examine port configuration by connecting a laptop directly to the Ethernet cable. If it connects, you may be suffering from failing port configurations.


2. Troubleshoot the Wireless Adapter

If you’ve eliminated some basic problems with your router and physical connections, troubleshooting your adapter through a client (laptop or smartphone) may be the next logical step.

  1. Open the Network Connections Control Panel on a Windows device, and verify that the status of your wireless adapter is “Enabled.”
  2. If you are troubleshooting using an Apple iOS or Android client, use the settings app.
  3. If the adapter has been disabled, right-click or double-click to enable connectivity.


3. Check the AP and Router Settings

Use a client to check your wireless access point or the administrative graphical user interface (GUI) on your router to detect issues with the network service set identifier (SSID) settings.

  1. If your business has multiple wireless LANs for network segregation purposes, the first step will be identifying the SSID that you are trying to troubleshoot.
  2. Once you’ve identified the SSID, you’ll want to identify the SSID’s IP subnet and the virtual LAN.
  3. Use the router’s GUI or data from the access point to identify the unique internet protocol (IP) address associated with your access point.
  4. Using event logs, verify that the correct IP address is associated with your router.


4. Verify TCP/IP Settings

Transmission Control Protocol or IP setting issues can prevent your Wi-Fi from establishing and maintaining a virtual connection.

  1. If your adapter is listed in your client as “Not Connected,” select the correct SSID and attempt to reconnect by clicking “Connect.” If this is not possible, you may need to troubleshoot your wireless settings.
  2. If the Wi-Fi client’s IP address is not recognized, you may need to reconfigure the connection in order for your wireless access point to automatically recognize the correct IP.


5. Ping Your AP and Router

If you’ve verified that your wireless client has the valid IP address using steps 3 and 4, you can further troubleshoot using ping. This is a prompt in Windows that will ping your AP and router with an “Internet Control Message Protocol.”

  1. If this step fails, you may be dealing with complex issues related to incompatible standards between your AP, router and client.
  2. If you’re able to successfully ping your AP and router, but unable to ping any other LAN client, your wireless communications may be blocked by a firewall.
  3. If needed, reconfigure your firewall to permit communications and connectivity.


6. Check User Credentials

If you’re still not able to successfully troubleshoot connectivity problems, you may be dealing with user credential issues or an Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) issue.

  1. Understand which of the EAP types is required by your server. This may be EAP-TLS, PEAP, EAP-TTLS or EAP-FAST.
  2. Using the EAP type, select the associated certification through your network properties, such as a Smart Card or Protected EAP. If needed, install a Supplicant Program.
  3. Verify the match between the client and server EAP properties.
  4. If needed, examine the server’s and client’s certificates and use your EAP documentation for further troubleshooting.
  5. Avoid accepting expired or suspicious certificates.


7. Troubleshoot Security Settings

Working Wi-Fi connectivity requires a match between the security mode of your AP or router and your client. Within a secured network, all elements need to be using the same keys for dynamic encryption.

  1. If your network is open, you do not need to troubleshoot security settings. Otherwise, identify whether your AP or router is using WEP, WPA-Personal, WPA2-Personal or WPA2-Enterprise.
  2. Match the authentication type in the client, update encryption, and enter the same security passphrase on both devices.


8. Software or Hardware Updates

Beyond the physical connectivity issues discussed in step 1, software and hardware updates can cause Wi-Fi issues.

  1. Download the latest LAN adapter driver through Device Manager.
  2. Run the automated troubleshooter in Windows 10, which may be called “Support Assistant” or similar in other clients.
  3. Systemically reset hardware manually: Turn off the client, disconnect the power source to your router, disconnect power to your modem, wait, and power back on.
  4. If LED lights on your router and modem are blinking but connectivity issues persist, contact your internet service provider.


How Reliable Is Your Company’s Wireless Network?

Businesses run on Wi-Fi connectivity that’s always available, fast and secure. Without superior connectivity, you’ll struggle to meet the voice, data and video needs of today’s business environment.

While Wi-Fi connectivity issues can be as simple as a disruption of a physical connection to a power source, they can also represent more complex mismatches in security protocols or user credential issues.

CTC Technologies offers managed services and support for wireless networking, software-defined networking and much more. Learn more today.