What to do if your internet’s playing up

Bethany Reid
Thursday 26 March 2020

Follow these steps if your wifi isn’t performing as usual. If you’ve tried everything listed below and your wifi still isn’t working, contact your internet service provider.

Step 1. Make sure there are lights flashing on the router

No light means no power. If you don’t see any flashing lights, check that the power cable is connected properly to the router and the power socket on the wall.


Step 2. Turn your router off and on again

Unplug it, wait for 30 seconds (yes, it will feel like an eternity) and then plug it in again. You’d be surprised how many different issues this usually resolves.


Step 3. See if you can connect with another device

Check your phone or another device to see how strong the connection is on them. If it’s just the one device, it’s probably a momentary issue. Try turning the wifi off and on in your device settings.

On Windows 10 devices, there’s a network troubleshooting option which you can find from searching ‘wifi troubleshooting’ into the search box on the task bar.

If no other devices are connected, you may be experiencing an outage in your area and should check with your internet service provider.


Step 4. Check your landline for interference

If you hear noise on your phone line, it could be caused by electrical interference (or in some cases, bad weather). If you have an immediate neighbour, like someone in an upstairs flat, their wifi network may also interfere with yours and vice versa. Focus on what you can control and try to minimise wifi interference in your home by:

  • moving your router to a shelf or table (or any elevated surface). When they’re placed on the floor, physical obstacles, like furniture, between the router and your laptop can make a difference to the strength of your wifi signal.
  • turning off other wireless appliances. If your kids are playing with walkie talkies or you have an Alexa, try turning these off.
  • turning off appliances which emit electromagnetic waves. This seems silly but it’s true, as noted by the BBC last week. The two main appliances we’re talking about are microwaves and fridges. Although you can’t turn off your fridge, try and restrict microwave usage to your lunch breaks when you don’t need the wifi.


Step 5. Move closer to the router

The next thing you can do after elevating your router is moving physically closer to your wifi router. Even a few meters can make a difference. The best thing to do move to the same room as the router. Concrete, metal and mirror have the highest interference levels out of all physical obstacles.


Step 6. Try connecting an ethernet cable

If you can’t connect to your wifi at all, plug your laptop into the router directly using an Ethernet cable, and see if you can connect that way. If that works, your wifi is the problem — but if it doesn’t, then your internet may be down altogether.


Step 7. Check your internet speed

If a website has too much traffic, it could perform slowly. This might lead you to believe your internet connection is the problem, rather than the website. Check a speedtest website like fast.com to see whether it’s your connection which is the problem.


Step 8. Check what your provider recommends

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