As easy as networking in Windows has become, there are times when connectivity problems are encountered that make you scratch your head. The PCTechBytes Easy WiFi Troubleshooting Guide below provides fixes and tips that will help you resolve most of your networking woes.
WiFi Errors When Connecting A Laptop To A Network
Random errors can make WiFi troubleshooting difficult. You can have multiple issues when simply trying to connect your laptop to a network. One such problem is trying to connect a new network adapter to an existing network. The process is usually flawless and automatic, but you may encounter the error “The settings saved on this computer for the network do not match the requirements of the network” even though you have the correct password and a strong connection.
Change Network Settings
There are a couple of quick options you can try to resolve the error “The settings saved on this computer for the network do not match the requirements of the network.”
One option is to click on the wireless network settings icon near the clock. Right-click your network and then select Properties. In the figure above you can see the settings under the security tab. Change them to match your network type. If your router’s security is set to WPA-Personal, make sure your security type is set to match. If your encryption is set to AES, try changing it to TKIP. Lastly, make sure your network security key (network password) is typed in correctly.
Another WiFi troubleshooting option to correct the “The settings saved on this computer for the network do not match the requirements of the network” error is to remove the network from under the Manage Wireless Networks option located in the Network and Sharing Center of the Control Panel. Once you remove the network, you can click on the Change Adapter Settings in the left side menu of the Network and Sharing Center. Right-click the wireless adapter and then click the Connect / Disconnect option. You should see your router or access point listed. Click “Connect” and then type in the password for your network.
Here is how to reset your IP address in the event you lose connectivity on your local network or the Internet. It sometimes becomes necessary to manually renew your computer’s IP address. If you suddenly realize you do not have an Internet connection, you can often right-click the network icon in the taskbar near the clock on your desktop and select “Troubleshoot Problems.” This will go through a process of resetting your IP address. Or you can perform the following steps:
- Go to the Start menu and type cmd in the search box and hit enter.
- Type ipconfig /release and hit enter.
- Type ipconfig /renew and hit enter.
Your should receive an IP address similar to that of your router. For example, if your router’s internal IP address is 192.168.1.1, then the IP address of your computer should be similar. In most cases the last digit in the octet will change. So you computer may have an IP address such as 192.168.1.2. If it returns a generic IP address such as 169.254.x.x, then you know you have more serious issues with your network configuration, as your computer is having problems communicating with your router.
Reset IP Address of Router
Another WiFi troubleshooting step is to reset the IP address of the router. First, go ahead and release the IP address on the PC, then shut the computer down. Next, unplug the cable modem for a couple of minutes, then plug it back in again. Once all of the modem lights are green, power up the PC again. It should automatically renew its IP at boot.
Note: If you have a router, you’ll want to unplug it, as well, then plug it back in AFTER you plug in the modem, but before you power up the PC. The router will need to supply the PC with a new IP address.
Reset IP Address Conclusion
If the reset IP address option fails to help you regain Internet access, there could be other issues with your computer. You could have a mis-configuration of your network settings that prevents you from obtaining an IP address, or you could be receiving an IP address but you might have malware issues or incorrect DNS settings. If you need additional help to reset IP address or help you access the Internet, join our free forums or read our other networking tutorials.
If your computer suddenly loses local and Internet connection, you may have been assigned an address in the 169.254.x.x IP address range. This is a common issue with computers that are set to Obtain An IP Address Automatically through the router via DHCP. If for whatever reason your computer cannot get an IP address automatically, it makes one up in the IP address range between 126.96.36.199 to 169.254.254.255. It uses this address range to reduce the likelihood it will conflict with other, valid, IP addresses on your network.
Fix 169.254.x.x IP Address
There are a lot of reasons why your computer cannot connect to other computer on your LAN or to the Internet and produce a 169.254.x.x IP address. The following WiFi troubleshooting steps should resolve this connectivity issue:
Reboot the network. Power cycling the router and computers is discussed in more depth below. Performing this task is a recommended first step in fixing most networking issues.
Check Other Computers – If you have more than one computer on the network, try checking their IP address and see if they also have an IP address similar to 169.254.x.x. To do this, go to Start then Run and type cmd and hit OK. At the command line, type ipconfig /all and hit enter.
You should see the IP address of the computer. If it is working properly, it might have an IP address similar to 192.168.1.2 or 192.168.0.2 (depending on your router’s IP address). If it also has a 169.254.x.x IP address, then there is a problem with the router or the infrastructure between the router and the computers.
Check Router Settings. You can login to your router and check the settings to make sure they are correct. You will need to follow the instructions from your router manufacturer to login. Typically, you will open your web browser and type in either http://192.168.1.1 or http://192.168.0.1 and hit enter.
This will bring you to your router’s login page. Login and look for the setting that says DHCP and make sure it is enabled. Since your computers are looking for an IP address via a DHCP server, this must be enable for the router to provide them with IP addresses.
WiFi troubleshooting a 169.254.x.x IP Address Conclusion
Check Your Cabling – If you are getting an IP address other than 0.0.0.0, then you know your computer’s network adapter is enabled. So if your router is configured properly, then you might have a cabling issue between your computer and the router. Check to make sure the LED on the back of the computer where the Ethernet cable (network cable) plugs in is lit and plashing green. If it is amber color or not lit at all, then there’s a problem with the physical connection. Replace the cable or try a different port on the back of the router and see if you continue to get the 169.254.x.x IP address.
If you have low WiFi signal strength, these WiFi booster tips will help you get the most out of your wireless. Having a low Wifi signal strength in your home or business is frustrating. This is especially true if your router or access point is in the same room with you. If you have a sprawling location, running wires may be impossible. The good news is there are ways to increase the range of your wireless network, as well as improve signal strength. If it were possible to see the signal bouncing around, many people could easily detect problems with their network. So we must rely on simple trial and error to find the perfect location for your router and Access Points.
WiFi Booster Tip For Low WiFi Signal Strength
Our first low WiFi signal strength booster tip is placement. Location location location. Place your router in the center of your home or office, in an area away from cordless phone stations and microwave ovens. Some types of wall construction, like concrete or metal, will also cause signal loss. Be sure your router is approximately centered and away from any of those things that can degrade the signal. Some people think their router needs to be right beside a computer, but this isn’t true. It can go anywhere in the house. If it needs to connect to a broadband modem, the modem will need to go with it.
Purchase a high gain antenna. If your router has a detachable antenna, you should be able to add a high gain antenna. These types of antennas are more directional than your standard antenna and allow you to focus your WiFi signal toward an access point or your computer. You can also make these, which are often referred to as “cantennas,” but you’ll probably have better results if you purchase one. High gain antennas are a great way to shoot the WiFi signal across a house or even a yard. But in order to achieve maximum range, you should have line of site to the target.
Change the wireless frequency in the router. If you do not get the results you want by moving the router, you can try changing the frequency the router uses to broadcast the signal. You only need to do this in the router itself, as the wireless devices should recognize the new signal automatically. All makes and models of routers have different menus, but all you need to do is login to your router through your web browser and look in the wireless settings. Experiment and see if changing the frequency helps.
Buy a new 802.11n router. One of the newer wireless standards is 802.11n. It uses Multiple-Input Multiple-Output channels and has nearly double the range of a wireless-g. Here is an example of a Wireless N router you can buy to boost the range of your WiFi signal: Cisco-Linksys WRT160N Wireless-N Broadband Router
Use A WiFi Signal Extender
WiFi signal strength can degrade rapidly. You can use a portable device such as an iPhone or a laptop to walk around your location and see where the signal begins to fade. This is where you want to put a WiFi signal extender (WiFi repeater). The goal is to extend the range of the wireless to all areas of your home or office, but if your WiFi fails right before the bathroom door, that is fine. Place WiFi signal extenders in areas where you see approximately forty percent signal strength. You do not want to place it too far away, as the repeater might not get a clean enough signal to pass along. WiFi signal extenders plug directly into the wall and are easy to configure.
Power Cycle Your Router And Computers
Power cycling is the process of “rebooting” the router and modem. When we power cycle a network, we generally will do all computers behind the router, as well. This gives those devices the opportunity to clear memory and refresh IP addresses. This is typically done when a noticeable slow-down has occurred or if you are having connectivity issues and cannot connect to the Internet.
Your modem gets an IP address from your ISP, the router gets this IP from the modem and then the router gives out fake internal, IP addresses to computers behind it. This is called NAT translation. Renewing these IP addresses occasionally will help your network run faster, and this process only takes a few minutes.
To begin the process of power cycling your router, modem and computers, begin by shutting down all of the computers in your house. Next, shut down the router by unplugging the AC power cord. You can leave all other cables attached.
Note: Many networks will have either a modem and router or a combined modem and router in one box. If you have a separate modem and router, you will want to shut them both down.
After that, shut off the modem and unplug it. Some newer systems, like Verizon FIOS, have a battery backup system that will begin to complain when you unplug it. Just take the battery out so we’re sure everything is completely shutdown. For most Internet Service Providers, you will only have to unplug the modem.
Once the modem is off for a few minutes, plug it back in and wait. The modem will usually have all green lights when it is up and running. Plug the router back in and wait for it to cycle up completely. You will see all green lights again. Some of the lights will be flashing, which is normal.
You can now boot up the computers. If the router is setup as a DHCP server, it will now provide the computer with a fresh IP address. You can confirm this happened by going back to the command prompt and typing ipconfig /all. You should now see that your computer has an address similar to 192.168.1.2.
Other Reasons For Low WiFi Signal
There are other reasons for low WiFi signal strength that repeaters and new routers just cant fix. The problem could be with your device. Every wireless device you have has hardware and software that controls it. Make sure you always have the most up to date firmware and drivers. For example, if all of your devices receive a strong signal, but one particular laptop does not, then there is an issue with that device. Seek out a BIOS update from the manufacturer, as well as obtain the very latest drivers for the WiFi card. Usually, major brand name manufacturers will have a place to search for your make and model, and will also list all of the drivers available for that model. Download and run the installers for the new BIOS and WiFi card in your computer just to rule these out.
If WiFi troubleshooting guide did not help you fix your networking issues, be sure to join our free computer repair forum for free help.