Five Steps to Troubleshoot Your Wi-Fi Network - Page 2

By Eric Geier

January 12, 2011

If you still don't see WPA or WPA2 as an authentication type in Windows, your wireless adapter likely doesn't support it. However, you can try to update your adapter's driver to see if the vendor has released updates. Visit the website of the adapter's vendor and search for drivers in the support section. If a newer driver exists, update it using their instructions or via the Device Manger in Windows. Then check the authentication types in Windows again.

4. Using Old 802.11b wireless adapters with 802.11n

If you're trying to connect an older 802.11b wireless adapter to a newer wireless router or AP with 802.11n, there might be a compatibility issue. Even though 802.11n is supposed to be interoperable with 802.11b/g, it still might not work. You can try to update your adapter's driver to see if that helps. Visit the vendor's website and search for drivers in the support section. If a newer driver exists, update it using their instructions or via the Device Manger in Windows.

If you still have problems, you may be able to connect the 802.11b adapter if you put your wireless router or AP into 802.11b/g mode rather than the default mixed mode that includes 802.11n. To do this login to the router's Web-based control panel using its IP address and then find the wireless settings.

For optimum 802.11n performance, you should only use 802.11n wireless adapters and change the default mixed mode of the router or AP to 802.11n only.

5. Fluke with wireless adapter or Windows

Sometimes there just might be some fluke with the wireless adapter or Windows. First, try disabling and re-enabling the wireless adapter. In Windows XP, click Start > Connect To > Show All Connections. In Windows Vista or 7, right-click the network icon in the lower right corner of Windows and open the Network and Sharing Center, and then access the adapter settings or network connections. Once in the Network Connections window, right-click the wireless adapter to disable and enable.

If restarting the adapter doesn't help, maybe try giving Windows a restart. There might be some issue with Windows.

In conclusion

We discussed the main troubleshooting tasks to diagnose and fix Wi-Fi connection issues. If you still have issues, and you haven't already, check for updates for your wireless adapter's driver. Additionally, check for firmware updates for your wireless router or APs and update it through the web-based control panel.

If you're having a problem with all your computers connecting, try restoring the factory defaults of the wireless router or AP by pressing the small button on the back of it.


Eric Geier is the Founder and CEO of NoWiresSecurity, which helps businesses easily protect their Wi-Fi with enterprise-level encryption. He is also the author of many networking and computing books, for brands such as For Dummies and Cisco Press.

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