What would you do if suddenly you lost all access to the internet? This happened to me last Saturday. Ok I freaked out a bit, but fortunately, I have an ethernet connection that was up and working. So, what happened to my laptop?
Not seeing this symbol can really mess up one’s day, so what did I do to solve the problem. I turned to Microsoft’s troubleshooter that was installed on my laptop. It said to touch Fn+F3 to enable Wi-Fi. I tried it…nothing. Tried it again…nothing. Digging further into the details, the troubleshooter said that the radio HW switch was turned off. Thanks, but no mention of how to turn it on.
You won’t believe what caused the loss of my Wi-Fi, or how many days and unsuccessful fixes it took to solve. Long story short. I stumbled upon the Acer Community Forum and started looking for an answer to the problem. No luck, but someone suggested uninstalling the latest Windows update (occurred the morning of my outage). I didn’t realize that an update could be uninstalled. Guess what? As soon as I did that, the orange Wi-Fi light came on. And stayed on.
The MS troubleshooter never mentioned that its own company could itself be the source of the problem and the solution could be uninstalling the update. So one week later, I know, and now so do you.
Unstable Wi-Fi is often caused by wireless congestion. Congestion problems are common in apartment complexes or densely-packed neighborhoods when too many people using Wi-Fi leads to connectivity problems.
Wireless congestion is caused by issues with two factors: frequency overlap and limited Wi-Fi channels.
1. Download and Install a Wi-Fi Analysis App
On Windows, many free apps can analyze the quality of wireless channels. One of the best options is available on the Microsoft Store: Wi-Fi Analyzer. For those without Windows, search your respective operating system’s app store for “Wi-Fi Analyzer,” and you’ll see dozens of options.
2. Detect Unstable Wi-Fi
Using Wi-Fi Analyzer is dead simple. Just install and run the app. After installation, you can launch it by going to Windows Search (Windows key + S) > Wi-Fi Analyzer.
The tool should detect your Wi-Fi signal strength, ranging from zero to -100 decibel milliwatts (dBm). If you have a 5GHz network, a toggle at the bottom of the app interface allows you to switch between detecting 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
To analyze your wireless router’s signal quality, take the following actions:
Click on Analyze in the top menu bar.
Wi-Fi Analyzer then displays a visualization of the Wi-Fi networks in your vicinity. If two networks broadcast on the same channel, you’ll notice overlap. Each channel has a number between one and 161 on the 5GHz frequency and one through 11 on the 2.4GHz frequency.
When two networks overlap:
The X axis represents the channels available on the 2.4GHz spectrum. As you can see, channels four to seven are unoccupied. Channels five and six have no competition whatsoever. Given the app’s analysis, I should change my router’s 2.4GHz channel to either five or six.
But how do you change your router’s channel?
How to Change Your Router’s Channel
Accessing your router’s settings requires a browser, like Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Accessing its settings, unfortunately, varies between different router models, but some general rules apply.
You can complete an internet search to find the login URL for your specific router brand and model.
Most routers use “admin” as the login and “password” as the password. The login details may also be printed on the back of the router or in the instruction manual that came with it. If you cannot access your router, try searching the internet for your individual router’s access method.
For my own Telus router, changing the Wi-Fi channel is easy. First, I navigate to the router login address and enter my login and password. Changing the channel is usually located under Wireless Settings > Advanced Settings.
I then change the network channel to the option which offers a good connection, save the settings, and restart the router by power cycling it (turning it off and on again). Afterward, it stopped randomly disconnecting.
One thing to mention is that most modern routers include a dual-band feature that combines 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies onto a single network name or SSID. This feature is notoriously unreliable, and if you’re having network problems, I suggest disabling it as a precautionary step. On my Telus router, it’s referred to as SmartSteering. Other brands have completely different names.
How to Fix Unstable Wi-Fi? Decongest It!
If your Wi-Fi sucks, a Wi-Fi analysis app is the best way to find out your router’s ideal network settings. If you’re still getting unreliable internet after changing your router’s channel, consider troubleshooting your Wi-Fi problems. Sometimes ironing out the kinks on your home internet will fix those irritating reliability issues.
The updates are numbered 15.4.1 for the iPhone and iPad, and 12.3.1 for the Mac.
They bring some small changes, including a fix for a battery bug that meant that iPhones and iPads lost charge more quickly than they should after a recent update. While it is not clear how widespread that bug was, affected users said their devices had been losing charge more quickly since iOS 15.4 was released.
OS 15.4 was made available by Apple in mid-March, and included a range of features, including the ability to unlock an iPhone while wearing a mask.
But as well as that battery fix, the new updates also fix a critical security bug that Apple warned could already have been used by hackers.
It did not give detailed information about those bugs, how exactly they could be exploited or how many people are likely to have been hacked. The company often withholds informations about such security flaws so that attackers are not able to exploit them.
Installing the latest updates should however secure devices against anyone trying to make use of the attack.
That is done by opening up the Settings app, clicking through to software updates, and pressing the option to install the new version of the operating system. Macs, iPhones and iPads should also prompt users to update too.
Apple has pushed out a number of security updates over the year, aimed at fixing similarly dangerous bugs.
If your iPhone is struggling to maintain a charge, it may be time to do something about it — and that doesn’t mean automatically running off to an Apple store to make new purchases. Instead, changing a few of your phone’s settings may be just the thing to get it back up to speed. Tech Expert Daniel Foley, SEO Specialist at UNAGI, says you should make this one change to your iPhone settings to save so much battery.
Turn on Low Power Mode
“When your iPhone’s battery level drops below 20%, it will offer to switch to Low Power Mode,” Foley says. “But if you’re attempting to save as much power as possible, consider turning it on even earlier. Low Power Mode dims your screen, makes it switch off faster, and refreshes background programs less frequently. While in Low Power Mode, for example, you might not be able to receive emails. If you’re using 5G internet, it’ll most likely drop you back to 4G. When your iPhone is in Low Power Mode, you can tell by looking at the battery bar. Low Power Mode is active if it’s yellow.” While you are adjusting settings for the sake of battery power, Foley says there are two more to consider changing.
Turn down your brightness
One of the most significant battery drainers is screen brightness, according to Foley. “Dimming the lights is a simple technique to save energy,” he says. “To launch your Control Center, swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen and drag your finger down the brightness meter to reduce it. You can also enable Auto-Brightness, which automatically adjusts the brightness based on the amount of light available. This option can be found by going to Settings, then pressing Accessibility, then Display & Text Size.”
Connect to Wi-Fi or go into Airplane Mode
While Wi-Fi was once thought to be the fastest way to drain your battery, we now know it consumes less energy than a mobile internet connection. “Connect to a Wi-Fi signal to preserve the battery while browsing the internet,” Foley says. “Also, try to stay connected to the same Wi-Fi network for as long as possible; if your iPhone is continuously looking for a new connection, it will drain your battery. Consider turning on Airplane Mode if you’re not accessing the internet at all. This will completely isolate your iPhone from all wireless communications, thereby turning off most apps while reducing battery usage.”
Make these simple changes to your iPhone settings and notice a big difference in your battery power.
So, your internet is acting funny, maybe a little sluggish, even after multiple router resets and disconnecting excess devices. While there are many possible reasons your internet is acting up, many folks will understandably start to wonder if one of the neighbors is mooching off their wifi.
While unlikely, it’s actually pretty easy to break into someone else’s wifi network using simple hacking software and a little patience—though it’s also possible your neighbor just overheard your password or made a lucky guess. Maybe you loaned them your wifi login when they were over once and they never stopped using it. Regardless of how they got in, you can check which devices are connected to your network and boot off any outsiders using your smartphone or PC—no extra software required.
Step 1: See who is using your network
There are a couple of ways to see who is currently using your wifi. Some routers and ISP offer network management apps for mobile and desktop that show you a list of connected devices and let you change permissions—including removing a device from the network and banning it from reconnecting. For example, Comcast/Xfinity customers can monitor home network activity through the Xfinity app. Check if your router or internet provider offers a similar app.
The other method is to access your router’s interface on a computer by typing in the local-access IP address into an internet browser. You can find your router’s local-access IP address using the following steps:
Press the Window key + R then type cmd to open the Command Prompt.
In the Command Prompt window, type [ipconfig] then press Enter.
The IP address should appear next to “Default Gateway” or “IPv4 Address” from the results.
On a Mac
Go to System Preferences > Network > Advanced > TCP/ICP.
Look for the IP address listed next to “IPv4 Address.”
Type the IP address you found from the steps above into the internet browser of your choice. Your router’s configuration interface should appear, then login with your network password. Once you’re in, you can now review network activity.
Step 2: Ban unwanted devices
Whether you’re using a mobile app or connecting directly to your router through an internet browser, the next step is to see who’s using your wifi and block unwanted access. However, the steps for finding and managing the list of connected devices will depend on the app you’re using, and/or your router’s make and model. Consult your router’s user manual or look up steps for the specific model online.
When you find this information, confirm that only devices you or members of your household are the ones connected. This should be easy to tell just based on the names of the connected devices, but since some devices only list their MAC address (aka Media Access Control, which is another unique identification number devices use to communicate with the router), you may need to manually cross-reference each device’s MAC address.
If you do, in fact, find a moocher, you can ban them from the network. Once again, the method differs between router interfaces, but is usually performed from the device’s preferences menu.
Step 3: Enhance your security
Lastly, you need to change your network’s password and ensure it’s using the strongest possible security protocol to prevent moochers from breaking back into your network. Just like the previous steps, finding these options depend on your router’s software, but should be easy to locate. Make sure you create a strong password, and enable the highest network encryption possible—for some devices, that may be WPA3, while others may only use WPA2-AES or WPA2-TKIP. If your router doesn’t support at least WPA2, we strongly recommend upgrading to a newer model.
Your go-to password might be easier to guess than you think.
That’s according to a new report from mobile security firm Lookout, which recently published a list of the 20 passwords most commonly found in leaked account information on the dark web. The list ranges from simple number and letter sequences like “123456” and “Qwerty” to easily typed phrases like “Iloveyou.”
Choosing easy-to-remember passwords is understandable: The average person has more than 100 different online accounts requiring passwords. But simple passwords can be extremely easy for hackers to figure out, allowing them stress-free access to your personal data and accounts.
It’s a timely concern. Cybersecurity experts say the current Russian-Ukrainian conflict could result in an uptick in cyberattacks around the world, with U.S. banks expressing concern this week that they could be targeted. That’s on top of a record number of data breaches in the U.S. last year – 1,862, up 68% from 2020.
Lookout, which makes cloud security apps for mobile devices, noted in a December blog post that, on average, 80% of consumers have had their emails leaked onto the dark web. You could easily be among that majority without even knowing it.
Those leaked emails often lead hackers directly to your passwords for other online accounts and identity theft, Lookout said. Here’s the company’s list of the 20 passwords most commonly found on the dark web, due to data breaches:
If you use any of the above passwords for any of your online accounts, you’d be wise to swap them out for something more secure. Cybersecurity experts often recommend picking something longer than the minimum number of recommended characters, and using uncommon characters – like punctuation marks or other symbols – in place of letters and numbers, to make your password harder to guess.
Lookout also noted that the majority of people reuse passwords for multiple accounts, which is a practice you should avoid whenever possible. If hackers can get into one of your accounts, you can at least make it harder for them to get into the rest of them.
You should also figure out which pieces of information about you and your family are publicly available, and avoid using passwords that include that information – including birthdays, anniversaries, names of loved ones and even your hometown.
The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology also recommends screening your passwords against online lists of compromised passwords and using multifactor authentication, among other security tactics.