How to resolve poor or no signal from a wireless router

Resolving poor wireless signal

There are a few factors why your wireless device is getting low or poor signal from the router.  This article will guide you on how to resolve these issues.

Low or poor signal is mainly caused by six (6) major factors:

Distance problems

Wireless devices have limitations when it comes to their signal range.  For devices running on 2.4 GHz, the range can go up to 100-150 feet (30-46 meters).  If your wireless network devices are too far from each other, consider relocating the devices.  Remember that distance is directly proportional to signal strength.  The farther you are from the access point, the weaker the signal.

To check if you’re getting a stable connection, perform a continuous ping.  If you’re getting replies most of the time, this means the connection is stable.  If time outs are occurring frequently, the connection is not that stable.  For instructions on how to perform a continuous ping on your computer, see the article below:

Pinging the Linksys router

To get the best connection, you may need to find ways to move your computer closer to the center of the router’s range.  When choosing an area where the router will be placed, ensure that it is well ventilated.

Physical obstructions

Wireless networks are also susceptible to obstructions that may lead to low signal.  Oftentimes, the signal gets reflected, refracted, or absorbed by the obstruction.

Common obstructions are:

      •    Cabinets or drawers
      •    Mirrors, Glasses
      •    Metal Objects
      •    Thick walls and ceilings
      •    Aquariums

If you have any of these objects between your wireless adapter and access point, consider relocating your access point somewhere high to get around the obstruction.

Routers have a default broadcast range that is dependent on their wireless networking standard (Wireless -B, -A, -G, -N, -AC draft) and the wireless signals broadcasted by the router may not be able to completely penetrate thick walls and other common obstructions.

Also, you may use a Linksys range extender or Powerline to boost the signal of your router if you have a big area and there are a lot of obstructions between your router and the wireless device.  For more information about how to expand your network using Powerline adapters, click here.

Wireless interferences

Common sources of interference are:

      •    Neighboring wireless networks
      •    Microwave ovens
      •    2.4 GHz cordless telephones
      •    Bluetooth® devices
      •    Wireless baby monitors

To solve the problem, change the channel and SSID on your access point.  Preferred channels to use are 1, 6, 9 and 11 since they’re considered as non-overlapping channels.

The 802.11b/a/g/n standards use the 2.4 Gigahertz (GHz) band.  With this frequency, 802.11b/a/g/n equipment may encounter interference from microwave ovens, cordless telephones, Bluetooth® devices, and other appliances using the same band.  To learn how to change your wireless router’s channel, see the article below:

You can also select the 40 MHz channel width on your 2.4 GHz network to improve the performance of your Wireless-N network.  However, this is only advisable if you are in a location less crowded with wireless networks.  It is also important to note that in order for your wireless devices to connect to the network, they need to have a Wireless-N network adapter that is compatible with the 40 MHz wireless channel.  The latest versions of Linksys Wireless-N adapters can connect to a 2.4 GHz network with 40 MHz radio band.

QUICK TIP:  The Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Routers have the 40 and 80 MHz Channel widths in the 5.0 GHz network.

If you are not sure about the settings, it is best to leave it at its default settings.  The channel width is set to Auto by default.  This automatically defines the best wireless channel for your wireless network.

Transmit rate on the wireless router

Changing the Transmit Rate on the router allows the device to work at a specific speed for wireless transmissions.  The default Transmit Rate is Auto with a range of 1 to 54 Mbps.

The rate of data transmission should be set depending on the speed of your wireless network.  You can select from a range of transmission speeds or keep the default setting, Auto.  This will allow the router to automatically use the fastest possible data rate and enable the Auto-Fallback feature, which will negotiate the best possible connection speed between the router and a wireless client.

NOTE:  If the transmit rate on the router or the adapter is not set to Auto, the Auto-Fallback feature will be disabled.  If the Auto-Fallback is disabled, you will not be able to experience the maximum range of the wireless router as it will not be able to adapt to the environment’s condition.

Linksys does NOT recommend changing the transmit rate of the router other than the default value since it will shorten the range of the wireless network as shown in the sample diagram below.

If you can't get connected into your router after changing the transmit rate to AUTO, try to change the transmit rate manually by using the router’s web-based setup page.  You can do this by accessing the router’s web-based setup page, then click on Wireless > Advanced Wireless Settings.  You can set your preferred rate on the Transmission Rate drop-down.

Outdated firmware on the router

Outdated firmware on the router can sometimes cause connection issues in your network.  To fix this, you need to upgrade the firmware of your router.  To properly do this, click here.  For a video on how to upgrade the router’s firmware, click here.

Power outage

One factor that may also trigger the poor performance or loss of wireless signals coming from the router would be power/electricity interruptions.  If you are not able to acquire any wireless signal after a power outage, you may powercycle the router by unplugging and re-plugging the power cord from the power outlet for 10 seconds.

However, if the powercycle still does not resolve the problem, you may need to reconfigure the wireless settings of your router.  Refer to the links below for more information:

NOTE:  Instructions for reconfiguration may vary depending on your router model.

How to set up your Linksys Wi-Fi Router for the first time using Linksys Connect
Setting up a Linksys router with Cable Internet service
Setting up a Linksys router with DSL Internet service​
Setting up a Linksys router with a Static IP Account on a classic web-based setup page

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