Wireless networks, or Wi-Fi, allow us the freedom of using the internet without being tied down to a modem via a cable. However, a connection that relies on radio waves can be impacted by factors such as interference, signal range limits, hardware problems, and operator error.
If you're having trouble with your Wi-Fi connection, the guide below can help you recognise some of the most common causes of Wi-Fi troubles and how you can fix them.
Finding the source of the problem
Use our Troubleshooting Tool to help find and fix common connection issues anytime on your mobile device or computer, with guided steps to help resolve common Wi-Fi issues.
You can check for outages in your area or use our Troubleshooting Tool any time with theTelstra 24x7 App.
Also, you can use the Telstra Home Dashboard™ App to check and manage the Wi-Fi coverage in your premises, and recieve helpful tips for improving this.
Having Wi-Fi troubles?
If you're having a problem with your Wi-Fi network, there's a few things you can do to try and resolve it.
1. Check your laptop for a Wi-Fi button or switch
Many laptops have a switch on the case or a keyboard switch which allow you to disable the wireless radio. This generally has an wireless icon indicating this. Make sure this hasn't accidentallybeen turned off, as your Wi-Fi won't work without this enabled.
2. Restart your computer and modem
It might sound simple, but just restarting your computer and modem can help resolve some basic connection issues.
3. Change the Wi-Fi channel on the router
Choose your Telstra modem from the link below to view a walk-through on how to change your Wi-Fi channel. If you have your own modem (non-Telstra supplied) please refer to the user guide from the modem's manufacturer.
4. Check the signal strength and placement of your modem
If your modem has an antenna, check that it’s securely connected to the modem and check for any damage to the antenna.
Also, make sure the modem isn’t covered by anything. This includes large objects placed in front of or on top of it, and ensure it's not locked away in a cupboard - it needs to be in a well ventilated area.
For best results, your modem should be out in the open so the signal can travel freely. The Telstra Home Dashboard™ App can check the Wi-Fi coverage in your premises, and suggest the best placement of your modem to maximise signal strength.
5. Reset the wireless modem to factory settings
To do this, use a paperclip (or something similar) to press and hold the reset hole at the back of your Telstra modem, and keep it pressed in for 15 seconds.
Allow 2-5 minutes for the modem to reconnect to the internet. Alternatively you may prefer to do this via the modems interface 10.0.0.138 for ADSL and NBN, or 192.168.0.1 for Cable modems.
For ADSL modems, you may need to re-enter your username and password back into the modem in order to re-connect to the internet.
Good to know:
You'll always get the best performance from devices that are connected to your modem by an Ethernet cable. We know this isn't always a great option if it means having cables running to different locations around your home, but it's something to keep in mind!
Things to keep in mind
When you are connected through Wi-Fi to the modem, there is an opportunity for interference which will affect the speed that you receive. Wireless interference can come in three main types which are dense objects, bodies of water and wireless interference.
Dense objects, if located directly between the modem and the device it is connecting to can inhibit the signal or block it completely. Examples include refrigerators, filing cabinets, televisions, brick or marble internal walls, copper plumbing and large mirrors.
The same problems occur with bodies of water which is usually found in the form of fish tanks, water beds and hot water systems.
Wireless interference can come in the form of microwaves, base stations of cordless telephones, baby monitors and even car door remotes and a next door neighbour using the same wireless channel as you.
If possible, try moving the modem to a higher position, such as on a shelf or cupboard. Try and place the base units of cordless phones as far away from the modem as possible and make sure that your devices (computers, tablets, etc.) have as clear a path to the modem as possible.
Changing the channel that the modem is transmitting the signal on can also improve wireless coverage and help to avoid interference. Our preferred channels to try are channels 1, 5, 6, and 11. However, with trial and error, you may find an alternate channel that works best for you.
Distance is also something to take into consideration, the further you are from the modem the less signal you are likely to receive. If possible, move your modem to a central location to increase coverage within your premises.
Also, it's important to consider the Wi-Fi capabilities of the modem and the Wi-Fi adapter you are using to connect with.
Most recently the 802.11 G was the most common Wi-Fi network used by modems and adapters, however this is swiftly giving way to 802.11 N which can operate at both 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz frequencies, and then to 802.11AC which has added features such as "beamforming" and operates only on the 5.0 GHz frequency.
Please note that both the modem and the Wi-Fi adapter need to both have N capability to take advantage of this technology. N devices are backwards compatible, and most modems have the capability of using B/G only. Similarly, AC compatibility will require a compatible modem and Wi-Fi adapter and are also backwards compatible to B/G/N.
If your modem has dual band Wi-Fi, it is important to remember that the 2.4 Ghz has a lower max speed but provides more distance whereas the 5 Ghz has higher max speeds but covers less distance.
Wireless networks never reach the theoretical bandwidth limits. Wireless-B networks typically get 2–5 megabits per second (Mbps). Wireless-G networks are usually in the 13–23 Mbps range. The average everyday speed for wireless-N equipment is about 50 Mbps. (www.microsoft.com)