Office Wi-Fi Problems: How to Troubleshoot
You could say we’ve become pretty reliant on Wi-Fi. The evolution of Wi-Fi has meant music, entertainment, productivity, and more are almost always within reach. We’re always connected…until we’re not. A loss of connection is disruptive to a daily routine, but most Wi-Fi issues are easy to fix! If you’re experiencing Wi-Fi problems in your office, you can restore access on your own by troubleshooting some of these common problems.
Certain Rooms Have Slow Wi-Fi
A slow connection is likely the most common office Wi-Fi problem. Wi-Fi is radio waves, meaning your Wi-Fi router broadcasts in all directions. If you can, make sure your router is located in a centralized location. The closer you can put your router to the center of your coverage area, the better reception will be throughout your office. If you have external antennas, you can try adjusting those, too. Alternating between fully vertical and fully horizontal positions can help it reach in multiple directions.
If you work in an office building with several other businesses, other routers might be interfering with yours. Free software, like NetSpot on Mac, Windows, and Android or Wi-Fi Analyzer for Android, can show you every wireless network nearby and what channel they’re using. If your router overlaps with nearby networks in particular rooms, consider switching to a less congested channel.
Slow Wi-Fi Everywhere
If your Wi-Fi speed is slow no matter where you are, try plugging a laptop into your modem directly and test your internet speed using a site like speedtest.net. If speeds are still down, the problem is likely with your internet connection, not your router. Contact your Internet Service Provider.
If that’s not the issue, it could be that your current wireless channel is overcrowded by your devices or by those of other nearby networks. Consider changing the channel on your router, or performing a factory reset. If none of that works and your internet is fine on a wired connection, then it’s likely the equipment itself. There’s a chance either the router or modem is dying, so it may be time to shop around for an upgrade!
A Device Can’t Connect to Wi-Fi
If you run into a Wi-Fi issue with one particular device, it’s probably just a momentary network issue. First, make sure that your device and your router are both updated. Then try turning off the Wi-Fi on your device, then re-enabling it. If that doesn’t work, do the same with your router by unplugging it, waiting 30 seconds, then plugging it back in. Should the problem reoccur, consider deleting your current network from your list of saved networks on your device and reconnecting again.
If you’re still having problems connecting to the office Wi-Fi, try moving it next to the router and seeing if it connects then. Distance and interference can make a difference, especially for smaller smart devices. You should also double-check that your smart device doesn’t need a Zigbee hub to operate. This is more common among older smart devices but a problem that still occasionally crops up.
If some devices continue to drop the Wi-Fi signal, especially during busy times of the day, check to see if your router supports automatic band switching for devices. I Sometimes a router will try to switch a smart device to a different band, but the device isn’t ready for that, causing it to lose a connection. Turning this feature off might fix the issue.
Wi-Fi Connection Drops
Is there some sort of pattern? Do connections drop whenever you use the microwave? It may sound weird, but some routers have trouble with this, especially on the 2.5GHz frequency or if you’re using an older microwave with shield problems.
If you can’t connect to your office Wi-Fi at all, try to plug your laptop directly into the router via Ethernet cable. Afterward, if your laptop connects then your office Wi-Fi is the problem. If it doesn’t, then your internet may be down altogether. Check with your ISP to see if they are reporting problems. Sometimes providers can be a little slow to note issues, so you can also check with a monitoring site like Downdetector and see if other users in your region are reporting problems.
Resetting your router can fix myriad issues, and an inability to connect is one of them. Press the Reset button on the back of the router with a paperclip for 30 seconds, and the router should default to factory settings. If that’s no use, you may need to consider buying a new router.
Wi-Fi Connection Lost on Login
This office Wi-Fi problem can crop up on Windows 10 due to an issue with Fast Startup. Fast Startup keeps certain processes running so you can log back in very quickly. However, this can sometimes cause a bug with the wireless driver that prevents it from reconnecting to Wi-Fi properly. In the short term, you can turn off Fast Startup to prevent this problem. Search for Power Options in your Windows 10 or Windows 11 search bar and go to this section of the Control Panel. Select Choose What the Power Button Does on the left-side menu, and then look at the new section Shutdown Settings. Find the option to Turn On Fast Startup and make sure it is deselected.
In the long term, your wireless network adapter may need to have its driver updated to fix any bugs causing this issue.
Unknown Devices on the Wi-Fi Network
Log into your office Wi-Fi app or administrator settings (which you can find by searching your IP address on your browser — here’s how to find it). Look for a list of currently connected devices and pinpoint the devices you don’t recognize. First, make sure these don’t represent connections you didn’t realize you had. Each smart device will have its own connection, for example, and they can have some strange titles if you didn’t name them. Game consoles and TVs may also be connected.
If you’ve ruled out all your own potential devices and there’s still a connection or two you don’t recognize, it’s possible someone else is hijacking your Wi-Fi network. In this case, look in your settings for an option to block these devices on your Wi-Fi and ban their MAC addresses, if possible. Then change your Wi-Fi password, and reboot your router. This may not stop especially determined hackers, but it’s usually enough to kick unwanted guests off your network.
A Recent Update Broke the Wi-Fi
This can happen with some operating system updates. Windows 10 updates in mid-2020 had bugs that stopped some users from connecting to their Wi-Fi networks or even seeing a Wi-Fi connection at all. Similar updates to iOS, Android, and other platforms also have created bugs in the past that disrupt Wi-Fi connections.
When something like this happens, it’s best to wait for a patch that fixes the problem. In the meantime, remove the update and roll back your system to an earlier version to help get your online connectivity back.
While routers can last for years without needing a replacement, keep in mind that some problems can develop with age. A router may start lacking support for new device updates and similar issues that prevent it from working properly. That’s a sign that it’s time to look for a new router.
Mesh Network Routers Not Connecting
Make sure that your satellite devices are powered up and turned on. If they are, try unplugging and replugging the problematic device and see if it will connect to your network then. If your router app allows you to restart a Wi-Fi point, then reboot that point and see if this helps, too.
It also helps to run a test that makes sure your network is set up correctly. If the test comes back with a weak or failed connection, you should try repositioning your satellite routers to be closer to your primary router. This also is a good tactic for any mesh system that keeps dropping its satellite points. They could be too far away from the primary point.
You can also double-check to make sure that your satellite router devices have a different SSID than your primary router. If they were accidentally all assigned the same SSID, then the mesh network may not be able to coordinate properly. There are additional special cases where certain Wi-Fi technology can interfere with mesh networks. In those instances, contact router support directly and explain your situation if nothing is working.
Can’t Connect to Printer
First, make sure you are trying to connect to your Wi-Fi and not via Wi-Fi Direct. We also highly suggest the traditional routine of turning everything off and back on again. This works in most cases where the printer has connected to Wi-Fi successfully in the past. If your printer is far away from your router and keeps running into Wi-Fi errors, try moving it closer.
If it looks like your printer is connected but still isn’t working, check the printer settings on your computer and make sure the correct printer is selected. Microsoft also has some troubleshooters you can run to see if they pick up on anything obviously awry.
We also suggest checking your router security, firewalls, and VPN security. There’s a chance they’ve identified the printer as a strange device and refused a wireless connection. You may need to disable certain firewalls or reconfigure security protocols to use your printer successfully. When all else fails, uninstall your printer drivers and reinstall the more recent versions.
Ready to Get Started?
We hope this guide helps troubleshoot many of your office Wi-Fi problems! Should you continue to see issues, it might be time for a professional to take a look. At Livewire, we have over 20 years of experience working with network connectivity. Get in touch today, and let’s see how we can help make sure your office is always connected.