WiFi everywhere: 25 tips for your wireless network

A (wireless) network is a complex combination of all kinds of hardware, drivers, protocols and software. So it can be damn difficult to find a solution if you get stuck somewhere or something goes wrong. After all, you want to have WiFi everywhere. In this article we have collected no fewer than 25 WiFi problems and provided them with possible solutions. You will see that the cause of a Wi-Fi problem can also lie elsewhere in your network.

1 Optimal position

What is the optimal position for my wireless router or access point?

To find out where is the best place to place your wireless router or access point, you can conduct a 'site survey', for example with the free Ekahau Heatmapper or with the paid version of NetSpot. What it comes down to is that you install the software on a laptop, after which you walk through your home and frequently indicate your current location. Afterwards, the tool displays the strength of the WiFi signal at all those locations ('heatmap'). Repeat this procedure after moving the router or access point, for example, so that you can determine the optimal position again.

By the way, you should know that a wireless router transmits a more or less spherical signal in almost all directions, so that usually a lot of signals are lost. If you are planning to purchase an 802.11ac router, you may want to consider a model with beamforming. It then automatically sends the signals to your (ac) clients as much as possible.

As far as the best position for the router antennas is concerned, unfortunately we cannot give an unequivocal statement, as this also shows.

2 Limited range

The signal from my wireless router does not reach the bedroom.

There are various (possible) solutions to this problem, assuming that a repositioning of your router does not help or is not possible (see question 1). You can consider using a range extender or repeater, a solution that is currently being promoted by provider Ziggo. You usually place such a device in a place where it still picks up at least 50 percent of the signal from your router. However, keep in mind that such a repeater usually halves the speed of the WiFi signal. That doesn't necessarily apply to multiband repeaters (such as the ASUS ExpressWay), which assign one radio to the connection to the router and use the other to connect to the client.

An alternative is a Homeplug (AV)/Powerline set, which can conveniently use the power grid. A third option is to deploy a second router or access point (see also question 3). Finally, you can invest in a real mesh network, where one router unit is connected to your modem and the WiFi signal is communicated between the other units, which ensures a better range (see the article on WiFi mesh elsewhere). in this edition).

3 Second router

I have an old router laying around. Can I use it to increase the wireless range?

That is indeed possible. This is easiest if your second router supports a bridge or repeater mode, but you can also set it up to act as a wireless access point. The simplest setup is where you connect a lan port on each of the routers via an utp cable (and a switch). You also make sure that the wan-ip address of the second router, which is not directly connected to your modem, is within the same subnet as that of your first router - for example if router 1 is the lan-ip address has. Please note that the address you give to router 2 does not fall within the dhcp range of router 1. You give both the same subnet mask (perhaps or /24). In addition, disable the dhcp service on router 2.

4 Automatic switching

When I go upstairs with my mobile device, it does not (always) automatically switch to the access point on the first floor.

In most cases, it is recommended to set the same SSID on both access points, as well as the same encryption standard and password. However, set each to a (if) different (possible) channel. Now when you move to the other access point, a client that continuously checks for access points with the same SSID in the vicinity will automatically switch to that access point thanks to the strongest signal. Depending on the wireless network adapter on your laptop, you can switch that automatically too run faster. Open Device Manager (devmgmt.msc) and invoke the properties window of your wireless network adapter. With a bit of luck you'll find the tab Advanced the option Roaming aggressiveness. See what happens if you set it to a slightly higher value. On an Android device, consider installing the free Wifi Roaming Fix app, which does something similar.

5 Channel

My Wi-Fi connection regularly drops out: sometimes it works, other times it doesn't.

In many cases, a dropped signal is due to interference, especially when your devices connect over the 2.4GHz band. This spectrum is also used by other devices, such as microwave ovens, cordless telephones and baby monitors. Or maybe you're plagued by neighboring wireless networks that use that same spectrum. In most cases, it helps to set a different WiFi channel for your own wireless network, which is preferably at least five channels away from that of the (most) disruptive network. Tools such as NetSpot and WIFI Channel Picker help you find the most used channels, so that you can set the ideal channel yourself.

6 Still Wi-Fi

How do I connect my device to my wireless network without WiFi?

If your device has a USB port, you can use a USB to WiFi adapter. Such a dongle will cost you between 10 and 30 euros, depending on the specifications (for example, single band 802.11n versus dual-band 802.11 ac), and you can use it on an old laptop or a Raspberry Pi without Wi-Fi support. For the latter you will find the necessary instructions here. If it is a desktop PC that you want to provide with WiFi, an internal WiFi card is also an option (prices around 20 euros).

You can of course also take a different approach and use a wireless bridge. Such a device picks up the wireless signal from your access point or router and provides a switch to which you can connect wired devices. Incidentally, there are also wireless routers and access points that can be set up as wireless bridges.

7 Always at home

I have a wireless printer, but it is suddenly no longer available.

This may be because your printer is assigned an IP address via the DHCP service of your router. It cannot be ruled out that at some point, for example after a reset, it will assign a different IP address to your wireless printer. It is therefore a good idea to give devices that you always want to be able to reach at the same IP address, such as a printer, NAS or IP-cam, with a fixed IP address that is outside the address pool of your router. For example, if the ip range is between and, you could take as the address. A handy alternative is dhcp reservation. You then indicate in your router which device, based on the device name or MAC address, should always receive the same IP address from the DHCP range.

8 From the outside

I have a wireless IP camera that I would also like to access via the internet.

There is a real chance that you will then have to open one or more ports in your router. If your IP camera is listening on port 88, you go to a section like Port forwarding in your router and enter the internal IP address of your IP camera and enter both the external and internal port 88 along. However, it is also possible to enter 80 for example for the external port if you prefer not to always:88 want to include in the URL. As protocol you choose tcp or udp – or both (consult the manual with your ip-cam). By the way, here you will find instructions for numerous router models. Annoying is that you have to know the (current) wan-ip address of your network to reach your ip-cam. You can solve this with a dynamic DNS service – such as the free Dynu, possibly in combination with a tool such as Dynu IP Update Client (available for various platforms).

9 Mobile Hotspot

How do I make a WiFi connection with my mobile device if no wireless network is available?

Suppose you have a wired connection in your hotel room for your laptop, but no WiFi for your tablet or smartphone. Or you have a 4G connection for your smartphone, but there is no wired or wireless connection for your laptop. Then you can turn your laptop or smartphone into a mobile hotspot. You can do this on your laptop with Windows 10 (anniversary update) via Settings / Network & Internet / Mobile Hotspot, where you put the switch on On and select the – wired – internet connection you want to share. Through To process make up your own ssid and password or use a tool like Virtual Router.

However, your smartphone can also be used as a mobile hotspot: for Android you can find the necessary instructions here and for iOS you can go here.

10 Incorrectly connected

I can no longer access the wireless network with my WiFi printer.

It happens more often: suddenly it is no longer possible to connect a WiFi device to your wireless network. This can happen, for example, when the network configuration of the device has been reinitialized for some reason. Of course, that also makes it difficult to reach your wireless printer. In that case, connect it to the USB port of your PC, after which you try to reach the device with the tools that the manufacturer has made available or via your browser. In that case, check the default IP address of the device or use a free tool such as Angry IP Scanner (for Windows, MacOS or Linux) or the Android mobile app Fing to find the IP address of the devices find out your network. After that, it's just a matter of re-establishing the correct network settings. If necessary, let the printer temporarily forget the WiFi network, after which you try again.

11 No internet (1)

Apparently I have WiFi (or a network connection), but I can't access the internet anyway.

If this applies to several devices, then you have to look for the cause of the problem centrally. You can start by turning your modem off and on again, followed by your router and any switches and access points. Then also restart your client. There is a good chance that (one of) these interventions will solve the problem.

However, let's assume that the problem is with one device, such as your laptop. Connect it (temporarily) to your network via a UTP cable. If it works now, you can already try it by removing the wireless network profile in Windows. As an administrator, go to the command prompt and run the command netsh wlan show profiles off, followed by netsh wlan delete profile , where you replace with the name of the quirky Wi-Fi profile (see also question 20). Then click on the network icon in the Windows system tray, after which you reconnect to that profile.

12 No Internet (2)

Apparently I have WiFi (or a network connection), but I can't access the internet anyway.

However, there are other possible causes. Open it Network Center and choose Change adapter settings. Call up the properties window of your (wireless) network connection, select Internet Protocol version 4, click on Characteristics and make sure everything is set up correctly, such as the default gateway and dns servers.

If necessary, you can get a repair tool such as NetAdapter Repair All-in-One, with which you can easily reset some network settings.

Still no solution? Then a thorough study of the WiFi report may put you on the track. There command line command netsh wlan show wlanreport , run as administrator, then open the resulting HTML report in your browser. More information about this and other useful commands can be found here.

13 Laptop without Wi-Fi

My laptop has WiFi, but suddenly the device refuses to establish a connection.

This problem could simply be due to a function key or a small (sliding) button. Many laptops have a minuscule button, sometimes barely visible on the front, with which you switch the WiFi adapter on and off. Or you turn that feature on or off using some function key or key combination. You often have to press the Fn key together with another key.

14 Upgrade

My old laptop's wifi is too slow for my new router.

You bought a nice 802.11ac router, but your old laptop can't get past 802.11g or -n. If you want to get to the level of your router, then there is little other option than to replace your laptop's WiFi adapter with a newer model. First check whether (the bios of) your laptop does support the intended WiFi adapter (or specification): the website of your manufacturer will give you the necessary feedback. Possibly a bios update can offer a solution. However, it may happen that the format of the new card does not just (read: not without a bracket adapter) fit in your laptop. In addition, check that your laptop has the necessary number of antennas: for newer adapters, there are often three, so you may have to purchase a third antenna separately. After installation, check whether you have the up-to-date driver.

15 Firmware

My router does not support certain functions. How about a new one?

It depends on. In any case, first check whether your router is equipped with the latest firmware. With a bit of luck, a firmware update will add just the function(s) you need. This ranges from eliminating known vulnerabilities and bugs, to adding functions such as VPN support, wireless bridging and QoS bandwidth allocation, to even supporting newer WiFi standards.

The approach to a firmware upgrade may vary from router to router, but the bottom line is this: access your router's web interface through your browser and locate the firmware upgrade rubric (something like Firmware Update, Maintenance or About this Router). Then download the firmware file that corresponds to your router model. This can often be done directly, but sometimes you have to save the file on your PC first, after which you can access it via the web interface. Finally, you can perform the upgrade. It is important that you do not interrupt this upgrade process under any circumstances.

If you're more of the adventurous type, you can also consider installing alternative firmware such as dd-wrt or OpenWRT. First check whether this firmware is fully compatible with your router (model).

16 Slow…

My internet connection is remarkably slow.

To start with, check whether the speed is noticeably better if you connect the laptop directly to the modem via a UTP cable. You can use an online speedtest for this such as www.beta.speedtest.net or you can use the one from your own provider, such as www.ziggo.nl/speedtest or www.kpn.com/internet/speedtest. If the wired speed is indeed higher, see also the answers to questions 1 to 5. It may help if you place your laptop closer to your router or switch on a repeater or extra access point, or set it to a different channel (within the 2.4GHz band).

If the problem persists, try restarting your modem/router first. If there is still no improvement, it may be with your provider.

Incidentally, you should also be aware that the theoretical transfer speed of a WiFi standard is almost never feasible in practice. If you read, for example, that 802.11n achieves 150 Mbit/s, then in practice this will often go towards 50 Mbit/s, and with 802.11ac the theoretical throughput rate (from 433 or even 866 Mbit/s) often falls back to approx. 30 percent. This decline can mainly be explained by the often higher overhead of a wireless connection as a result of all kinds of disturbing (environmental) factors. With a wired connection, that overhead is usually around 10 percent.

17 Forgotten password

I want to give a new device access to my wireless network, but I forgot the password.

If you do remember the password of the wireless router or access point, in most cases you can retrieve the password via the web interface of that device in a section such as wireless. If you are connected to that network via another Windows device, you can also read it here. In Windows 10, however, this is deeply hidden. Go to it Network Center and click, right at Connections, the wireless network you are connected to. Choose Wireless Network Features, open the tab Security and put a check next to Show characters.

Or you can use a free tool like Magical Jelly Bean Wi-Fi password revealer, but on a Windows PC that has already connected to that network.

18 Guest Network

I want to give my visitors access to my WiFi network, but I prefer not to give them my password.

A possible way out - at least for visitors with an Android device - is to create a QR code with the login ID (ssid and password) for your wireless network, for example with www.zxing.appspot.com/generator, via the option Wi-Fi network. However, a much better solution is to set up a guest network. The condition is that your router supports this option – perhaps after a firmware update (see also question 15). In most cases, it is sufficient to activate this function (also called guest access or guest access) on your router and provide it with an ssid and a separate password. An additional advantage is that users who connect to this network cannot access the shared folders of your own wireless network. Some routers allow you to set a maximum number of users that can use the guest network simultaneously. Often users first have to open their browser to enter the guest password before they can actually gain access.

The feature is interesting Wireless Isolation, also known as AP/Client/Station Isolation, Internet access only or Access intranet off. This ensures that users of that network cannot communicate with other devices; in fact they can only access the internet. Please note that this feature may interfere with some wireless applications such as Google Chromecast.

However, if your router does not support all of this, it is also possible to set up a guest network yourself. That does require the deployment of two (or three) routers in a specific way. More explanation about this can be found here.

19 Extra security

Is it useful to enable extra protections like mac filtering and hiding the ssid?

About the only security that really matters is the Wi-Fi encryption – preferably a strong WPA2 encryption (based on AES) with a strong password. You can activate mac filtering and not broadcasting the ssid as additional protection, but know that you will at most make it more difficult for the good neighbor or the casual passer-by. A hacker has circumvented those protections with the help of tools such as Kismet or Aircrack. Moreover, this makes it difficult to add a new 'legitimate' device, since you then have to add the mac address to the whitelist yourself and also set the ssid and the security type yourself. So much too cumbersome.

As for hiding the ssid, that can actually weaken security a bit, especially if you have the option in Windows Make a connection, even when the network is not broadcasting activates (go to Network Center, choose A new connectionor set up a new network / Connecting to a wireless network manually / Next one). In this case, regardless of where your device is, your laptop will try to detect your wireless network by finding out via 'probe requests' whether the network (ssid) is reachable.

20 Old Networks

How do I prevent my smartphone, tablet or laptop from automatically connecting to old, known networks?

It is quite useful if your mobile device automatically connects to a network that you have previously connected to, so that you do not have to log in every time. Of course, there is also a risk: hackers can use tools that pick up your device's search attempts for a known network, after which they can pretend to be the trusted Wi-Fi network. However, it can also just be annoying, especially in the case of public hotspots that require an authorization first. You are connected, but you cannot use the network yet. In these cases, it can be useful to simply 'forget' the network for a while.

In Android you do that via Settings / Network & Internet / Wifi, after which you select the offending network and Forgot network chooses. On an iOS device you do this in almost the same way, via Settings / Wi-Fi, after which you click on the I-button taps next to the network name and Forget this network chooses.

On a laptop with Windows 10 this can be done from the command prompt (see also question 11), but also via Settings / Network & Internet / Wi-Fi / Manage Known Networks, after which you click on the network name and Do not remember selects.

22 Intruder

How do I check if someone is secretly using my (wireless) network?

You can start by checking your router's logs. In most cases, in a section like Status find a list of the devices connected to your network, including ip and mac addresses, often host name, and sometimes even manufacturer, model, and operating system. You can then activate a mac filter on your router based on the mac address (see also question 19). Keep in mind that many routers only show the devices that were assigned an address via dhcp.

Furthermore, instead of sporadically checking whether an unknown or unauthorized device is connecting to your network, you can use a tool such as Wireless Network Watcher or SoftPerfect WiFi Guard. The first tool continuously scans your network in the background and plays a sound as soon as a new device establishes a connection. The second tool is slightly more flexible: you determine the scan frequency yourself and you can also set devices as 'trusted', so that they are ignored from now on. With both tools, make sure that you select the correct network adapter.

22 Activity

The LEDs of my (wireless) router keep flashing. Should I be alarmed?

The intensity with which the LEDs of your router blink is of course not the most reliable way to check to what extent your network (adapter) is being effectively loaded.

With a Windows PC you already get more clarity via the built-in task manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc) on the tab Network: you then read the amount of data traffic per application or process. You will get more details via the module Resource Check (press Windows key+R and enter command response off), including on the tab Network and in particular in the section Processes with network activity. Check an item for even more details. Or you can use a tool like NetLimiter: it not only lets you monitor data traffic to or from the internet, you can also prioritize or limit traffic from specific apps according to quantity or time usage.

To check exactly what traffic is going from or to wireless devices such as a smartphone or tablet, you can temporarily set up your laptop as a wireless hotspot, after which you let your mobile device(s) connect via that hotspot. You then install a packet sniffer such as the free WireShark on that laptop, after which it can log all the traffic. However, this package does require a good dose of knowledge of network protocols.

23 Public Hotspot

Is it safe to connect to the internet through a public hotspot?

Even if we assume that it is a legitimate hotspot - and therefore not a 'honey spot' set up by a hacker with an SSID like 'Starbucks free' - it is never really safe to use it. After all, with the right tools, a co-user of such a network can intercept your data. In principle, this also applies to the wireless network of your hotel, for example, if the hacker (as a guest) has also been given the corresponding password.

To make things more secure, use https connections as much as possible and set your device so that it does not automatically reconnect with a previously connected wireless network (see also question 20).

The best remedy to prevent someone from stealing data from your wireless connection is a VPN (virtual private network) connection. This creates a 'private tunnel' to a VPN server, in which all data is securely encrypted. An additional advantage is that such a connection bypasses any site blocks and web filters set by the public network. There are plenty of VPN providers available, including CyberGhost (available for just about all platforms). Please note that free variants are often limited, also in terms of transfer speed. A possible alternative is that you set up a VPN server on your nas, preferably based on OpenVPN or l2tp/ipsec, but that is (technically) another story.

24 Quick Connect

My router supports wps, but is it safe to use it?

WPS stands for WiFi protected setup and is a technology that was created to make it easier to set up a wireless connection. Usually it is enough to press a wps button or enter a pin code, after which your client can set up a connection to your WiFi network. Ziggo, among others, supplies WiFi modems with this functionality.

Quite easy, then, but in the past there have been security problems before: hackers could gain access to such a network via a simple 'brute force' attack. If possible, we recommend that you disable this WPS functionality on your router.

25 Sharing data

How can I share files over my wireless network?

To start, make sure your devices are connected to the same wireless router. Then you – let's take a Windows 10 device as an example – check the type of network you have set up: open it Network Center and join View the active networks check whether it is a private network. If not, go to Institutions, choose Network and Internet, click on WiFi and select Manage Known Networks, after which you click on the network name, Characteristics chooses and This PC can be found sets to On. Go to it again Network Center where you at now Homegroup the option Can be made reads and confirms with Create a homegroup, after which you indicate what you want to share with others (such as Pictures, Music, Documents and Printers & Devices). A little later your homegroup is ready and you can also make other Windows devices part of this homegroup via the given password (see also this article).

To be able to exchange files between an Android device and Windows, there are several possibilities (apart from cloud storage that lets you act as an intermediate station). There are apps available that allow you to exchange files via SMB/CIFS, but also via (s)ftp or WebDav, such as ES File Explorer (with advertisements) or Solid Explorer. Or you use a tool like Resilio Sync, which makes it seem like you are connecting to a cloud storage server, but one on your own PC. There are also apps available for iOS, including Air Transfer and FileBrowserLite. Instructions for this can be found here (you will also find a link for sharing with Android).

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