Let's be honest . . . There's nothing more convenient than a fully functional wireless office network.
The wireless revolution has empowered scores of business users to ditch their corded connections and embrace a cable-free business computing environment. Besides an in-house Starbucks, what more could you ask for in a modern small business workplace?
But sooner or later (and it's almost always sooner), your wireless network will go on the fritz and your entire workplace will lose access to printing, faxing, business apps and the Internet. People left and right will curse the day you introduced a wireless network into the office and suddenly you will find yourself wondering if wireless was really the way to go.
Wireless networks have a reputation for being a little more testy than wired ones. But with a few troubleshooting tips under your belt, you can probably get your office's wireless network up and running again in no time.
- Wires & adapters. Start by checking to make sure that all of your hardware is properly connected. A loose router cable or power cord is the source of many wireless network snafus. Your router and modem should have a series of lights on them. If all of your cables are connected, consult the user guide to translate the light configuration for troubleshooting. You'll also want to make sure your wireless adapter switch is in the "on" position and that your PCMCIA or USB adapter are completely plugged in and functional.
- Drivers. Driver incompatibility is another common source of wireless network problems. If you have installed the wrong device driver for your wireless network adapter, your computer won't be able to properly communicate with the network.
- Low signal strength. It's not uncommon for wireless networks to experience variable signal strength. But if your network has consistently low signal strength to the point that it's interfering with your network usage, there's a problem. Try relocating the router to another location that is centrally located and clear of obstructions. If necessary, invest in a repeater to boost your signal.
- Network settings. Double check your network settings, taking extra care to ensure that they are consistent with the settings described in your user guide. If necessary, re-enter the WEP/WPA encryption key.
- Turn it off/on. Most wireless network problems can be solved by a simple reboot – turning the system off and then turning it back on again.