Troubleshooting common wireless connection problems

Wireless networking is so commonplace these days that not having it can be a big inconvenience. If you're having problems connecting to the Internet wirelessly, try these troubleshooting tips.

Confirm your Internet connection

The first thing to always do if you lose your wireless connection . Get your Ethernet cable and use it to directly connect your computer to your modem. 

Now, do you have Internet connection? If so, continue reading this article. If you don't have Internet connection, read Troubleshooting your Internet connection and modem.

Confirm your wireless connection

Confirm that your computer has wireless capability and that the wireless capability is turned ON. For built-in wireless adapters consult the computer documentation on how to enable WIFI. If you cannot locate the support documentation for your device, contact the manufacturer or start with this list.

Find your wireless settings

The default wireless settings are usually located on the bottom of the modem. If these settings don't work, proceed to the next section.

Confirm your wireless settings

If you're getting an error when you try entering your password (KEY or PASSPHRASE), verify your modem's wireless settings:

  1. Open a web browser using a wired or wireless device with an Internet connection.
  2. In the address bar, type, then hit Enter.
  3. Select Wireless Setup. (Note: The wireless parameters/settings are located at the bottom of the page.) Find the network name (SSID), security type and password (KEY or PASSPHRASE). You'll need these when you try to connect to the network in Step 4.
  4. Try connecting to your wireless network: 

Check your power settings

If you can't surf after your computer hibernates, check your power settings. Power-saver settings increase battery life by reducing, or turning off, power to devices like wireless adapters. Try changing your power setting to Always ON or High Performance.

Windows 7: 

  1. Select Start and then Search.
  2. Type powercfg.cpl.
  3. Select OK and then High Performance.

Windows Vista:

  1. Select Start and then Search
  2. Type powercfg.cpl.
  3. Select OK and then High Performance.

Windows XP: 

  1. Select Start and Run.
  2. Type powercfg.cpl.
  3. Select OK and then Always On.

Macintosh OSX: 

  1. Select Apple and then System Preferences.
  2. Select Energy Saver and then the Power Adapter tab.
  3. Check Wake for Airport network access.

Check your power settings

If your wireless shows you're connected, but you can't surf the Internet, try removing your saved networks. If you're not sure how to do this, click on the name of your operating system for instructions:

Next, reconnect to your network (SSID).  If you're not sure how to do this, click on the operating system you use for instructions:

Fix your firewall settings

Firewalls block unwanted traffic from reaching your computer. Unfortunately, if they're configured wrong, they can also block your Internet signal.

Firewalls come in hardware and software varieties, and it's not uncommon for people to have one of each running. For instance, you could have a firewall as part of your router setup (hardware) and an additional firewall associated with your antivirus software.

To troubleshoot, try this:

  • Hardware firewall: When you connect your computer directly to the modem, do you have Internet access? If so, are you bypassing a router that has a firewall? 

  • Software firewall: Temporarily disable (or shut OFF) your firewall. Does that solve the problem?

Setting up firewalls and getting them to play nicely with each other can be tricky. Begin by referring to your equipment/software's how-to instructions.

If you run into difficulties and you are a CenturyLink @Ease® Ultra plan subscriber, you can have a CenturyLink tech help you. On the CenturyLink PC Services page, go to the "I Know What I Want" box, select Need new hardware on my PC configured and click the Connect to a Technician button.  Someone will work with you to resolve the problem. (Learn more about CenturyLink @Ease. Click the "Plans & Prices" tab and then use the dropdown arrows to see exactly what's included with each plan.)

If additional help with your firewall, try searching the Internet or contact a local computer technician.

Additional Ideas

You might also want to make sure your wireless adapter is working properly. Read Common wireless adapter problems and solutions for more information. Alternately, you may have caught a virus or be having problems with malicious software. Read Keep your computer healthy with PC diagnostic and security scans to learn more.

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