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Techniques and How to Troubleshoot a Wireless Network LAN

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/24/2006 | Computer
Setting up a wireless LAN at home to share computing resources is becoming more and more popular. Wireless LAN manufacturers have simplified the process of setting up a wireless Network LAN to just a few quick and easy steps. However, like any computer hardware, wireless LAN can work for months or years and then all of a sudden, it stops working. Before you call in the professionals to check your wireless LAN, here are a few simple things you can do to troubleshoot the wireless LAN yourself.

1. First of all, save your work and restart your computer. If you have access to the wireless LAN router and broadband modem, restart them as well. This simple technique has a surprisingly high success rate.

2. If this technique fails, the second thing is to check for loose connections. If you have a USB or PCMCIA wireless LAN card, ensure that it is seated firmly in the slot. If you have an internal PCI wireless LAN card, you will need to open the computer casing to check the connection.

3. If a loose connection isn't the cause of failure, the next thing to try is check Windows' My Network Places. Are there any new network icons that appear there? Sometimes, your wireless LAN card may detect another network nearby that has a stronger signal and connect to the new network instead. If My Network Places showed any unfamiliar network name, simply remove it. Then double click on your own network name to re-establish the connection.

4. If there is no new network nearby, you can try to bring your computer right next to your wireless LAN router. If this works, then it is likely to be a case of interference. You should think carefully what has changed recently in your house. Maybe you have added a new cordless phone or other equipment that use radio waves. Try switching them off one at a time to determine the source of interference.

5. If you can't determine any source of interference, you can now try resetting the wireless LAN router to its original factory setting. You can login to the router's control panel using a web browser and look for the option that allows you to restore the settings to the factory defaults.

If none of these techniques worked, it is likely that there is a hardware failure in your network. You need to unplug each piece of hardware in your wireless LAN in turn to figure out where the failure is. Once you identify the source, call the manufacturer and report the fault. In the event you are unable to isolate the source of failure, call the manufacturer and seek their advice. They should be able to advise you on how to troubleshoot your network further. Just remember to stay polite and be patient.