Imagine your colleagues have been preparing for an important Zoom meeting with a client all week. The pitch has been rehearsed. The slideshow is a work of art. They even got fresh haircuts. (Yeah, it’s THAT important.)
Just as they’re gathering for a pre-meeting pep talk, and it seems like there’s nothing that can stop them from knocking this presentation out of the park… the office WiFi goes down completely.
They'll look to you for both reassurance and a solution, and it won’t be long before the phone calls and frantic messages start pouring in:
“What’s going on with the WiFi? Can you help us fix it ASAP??”
“Can you check the WiFi? The meeting presentation won’t load!”
“SOS!!! Something’s wrong with the WiFi in the conference room!!”
But there’s no need to panic. By asking the right questions in the right order, you’ll be well on your way to saving the day. We’ve got you covered with a step-by-step guide to troubleshooting your WiFi connection.
The first step is to isolate the problem.
Isolating the problem
Isolating the problem means taking a detailed look at all the elements that collectively contribute to establishing the connection to find out where the chain’s weak link could be.
Is the problem with your devices? Your hardware? Your network? The internet itself?
To help find the culprit, ask these diagnostic questions:
Can your phone or another device connect to the WiFi?
If you’re able to connect to the network on a phone or another device, it’s likely an issue with the affected computer itself and not a broader WiFi issue. Try restarting the computer that’s having trouble connecting.
If the issue is more widespread and you’re not able to connect to WiFi on a phone or other device, it’s more likely to be an internet or WiFi issue.
Is the connectivity issue in one area of the office, or are multiple spaces affected?
If connectivity is only a challenge in specific areas, that could simply indicate a dead zone. But it could also mean that your access point, which extends the signal from your router, isn’t working properly.
If the issue is happening throughout the office, it’s more likely a WiFi issue that’s originating from the router.
Does the network show up when you look at available WiFi networks on your computer?
If you can see the network’s name, it means that there’s likely power to the router. Check your computer’s network settings to make sure the device is set up to connect to the right network.
Is there power to the router?
Confirm that all lights are on and that none of the cables have come loose. After all, the issue could have been caused by someone jostling the router while retrieving something nearby or bumping the cable when plugging something else into the outlet.
Are the hardwired connections also having issues?
If individuals using ethernet cables to connect to the network are still experiencing a shaky connection, it means the WiFi may not be the culprit. Rather, your internet is likely struggling or down.
Check the modem or the Optical Network Terminal (ONT) for any indications (often flashing red or orange lights), or call your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for assistance.
Once all of these questions are answered and you’ve determined that it’s truly a WiFi issue, you can start to move toward a resolution.
Resolving WiFi Issues
Many of the most common DIY fixes to a dropped connection involve the router and the modem.
Since every brand and model can function slightly differently, we recommend reviewing the manuals or router and firewall tutorials for your exact modem and router models. (But, you know, probably after you’ve resolved the current time-sensitive connectivity crisis.)
In the meantime, here are some common ways to attempt to restore the connection.
1. The classic: unplug it and plug it back in.
This is the most reliable solution for so many technical issues, but it’s often forgotten in the moment.
Even though you’re looking for a fast solution, be sure to allow time for the router to properly reset between steps:
- Unplug both the router and modem
- Wait at least 30 seconds
- Plug the modem back in
- Wait at least 60 seconds
- Plug the router back in
- Wait at least two minutes
- Test to see if your colleagues can connect again
2. Check that all cables are plugged in where they should be (on your router and access points).
One loose cable, or a cable in the wrong port, can affect the connection for the entire office.
This diagram gives you a solid visualization of how most modems and routers are set up and how they’re all connected. (Again, refer to your equipment’s documentation for future reference in these scenarios.)
3. Check for software updates.
Much like office computers, routers also need the occasional software update to operate at maximum efficiency. Neglecting software updates not only has the potential to slow down or inhibit your connection but can also impact the privacy and security of your devices.
Check that the software is up to date. If you discover that it’s not, take a few minutes to install the latest version.
4. Confirm that the WiFi password hasn’t changed
Reach out to the members of your team who have admin access to see if someone recently changed the network password.
If this is the case, you and your colleagues may have to manually disconnect from the network and then reconnect using the new password.
If all else fails, and you’re unable to troubleshoot the problem on your own, contact your ISP to ask for support in diagnosing and fixing the issue. Be sure to have them walk you through the fix so you’ll be able to tackle the issue yourself next time.
WiFi issues are frustrating, inconvenient, and unfortunately not uncommon. And as employees are starting to return to the office with an increased reliance on video calls and other digital collaboration tools, ensuring a strong, stable, and reliable connection is more important than ever.
Office managers tend to feel the most heat when connectivity issues arise, so refer back to this troubleshooting guide whenever you need to solve a WiFi outage.
Pilot’s fiber-optic network solution helps you and your team get the most out of your workplace devices because everyone deserves connectivity that enables better work.
With dedicated internet access and 24/7 support, you’ll never have to worry about your employees missing an important meeting again.