NOTE: The following instructions are for customers with separate wireless routers, and not for those with integrated wireless systems.  If you have a Netgear, Linksys, TP-Link, or some other branded wireless router read on. If you are not sure, please contact the office prior to troubleshooting.

 

If you connect to the Internet using a wireless router you may occasionally find your connection gets spotty.  To check to see if the issue is with your wireless router or your ECFiber connection, you will need to bypass the wireless router completely to troubleshoot.  Bypassing the wireless router requires having access to a computer with an Ethernet port, and connecting that computer directly to the ECFiber connection.  That may be indoor equipment or an Ethernet cable or jack.  If you are unsure which you have, email or call the office to find out. If you don’t have a computer with an Ethernet port, you may need to borrow one from a friend or look to purchase an adapter

[view sample adapter] than can plug into an existing port on your computer such as a USB port.

Wireless connections are the weak link in networking, and spotty connections are a very common ailment; however there’s no one universal cause. That also means there’s not one simple solution. There isn’t an easy way to figure out what the problem is, but there are a few common solutions that could help you fix the problem and prevent it from happening in the future.

Please continue reading to learn more about troubleshooting and possible remedies. These aren’t the only solutions, but these are some of the most common ways to solve the issue.

Verify That Your Router Is the Source of the Problem

  1. The first thing to try is unplugging the wireless router, waiting 30-120 seconds and then plugging it back in. Once the wireless router has completed its reboot process try connecting. If your connection returns then you are probably set.  If you find you have to do this often you will want to try some of the options below.
  2. Make sure the wireless router is getting plenty of air. Get your router out of hot, enclosed spaces, raise it up, or even stick it in front of a fan. A lot of times, a router that keeps dying can be fixed with just a bit of extra airflow.
  3. The next thing to check is whether your wireless router has a Wi-Fi on/off button on the back. Not to be confused with the Power button, the Wi-Fi on/off buttons are usually on the back of the wireless router and can be very small, poorly labeled, and easily pressed. If the wireless router has lights on it to indicate Wi-Fi being on or off and those lights aren’t on, but the power light is, try pressing the Wi-Fi on/off button to see if doing so turns lights on.  If that doesn’t help, continue to the next step…
  4. Unplug the Ethernet cable from the back of your wireless router, and plug it directly into the Ethernet port on your computer and see if you get any dropped connections or other problems. To test your connection go to http://ecfiber.net/speedtest and click “Begin Test” and make a note of your upload and download results. You should be getting at, or slightly above, the speeds for which you signed up.  If you get significantly less than those in either direction, let us know and we can investigate.  But if you do, then the issue is still likely to be with your wireless router.

At this point, if you are still having challenges you may wish to purchase a new wireless router. We realize there are many to choose from, so we suggest checking reviews at sites such as The Wirecutter.  They are constantly testing and revising their recommendations, and can provide suggestions at various price points.  Remember though, you get what you pay for!

If you consider yourself somewhat more tech savvy you can read a little further to continue troubleshooting, but the rest of this guide is not intended for novices.


Update Your Router’s Firmware

If the Internet works fine when directly connected to ECFiber’s equipment, it’s probably an issue with your router, and the first thing you should do is check for firmware updates. To do this:

  1. Head to your router’s config page (usually available by typing http://192.168.0.1 into your web browser, but you’ll have to check your router’s manual) and check its current firmware version. Write it down or keep that tab open so you don’t forget.
  2. Next, go to your router’s manufacturer’s web site and head to their support page. Find your router and go to its download page.
  3. If the latest firmware on the downloads page matches the one your router is using, then you have the latest firmware. If not, then you should download the latest firmware and update your router according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you’re lucky, the latest firmware will fix whatever problem your router was having that made it thirst for regular reboots.

Limit Connections to File Sharing Services

Oftentimes, your router can just get bogged down by too much traffic coming through. This is especially common with things like BitTorrent, which achieve high download speeds by making multiple connections at the same time. If you make too many, your router will stop working and need a reboot.

If you’re a heavy downloader, head into your BitTorrent client of choice and go to its settings dialog. You should find a place where you can limit the download speed. Try limiting the speed, and see if that solves your problems (or just shut off your client for a few days). You can also try tweaking the number of connections, if your client allows it. If you find that your router woes disappear after changing these settings, you’ve found the problem and you’ll just have to settle for slightly slower download speeds.