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Why does my Wi-Fi keep dropping out even when I’m using my laptop in the same room as my router?

Why does my Wi-Fi keep dropping out even when I’m using my laptop in the same room as my router?

The Wi-Fi signal to my laptop is always dropping out – even though I’m using it literally a few feet away from the router.

How do I tell whether this is a problem with my broadband service, my router or my laptop? 

The same thing doesn’t appear to be happening with my smartphone.

Many people have found their broadband is slow even if they’re sat right next to the router

Grace Gausden, This is Money, replies: Having a poor internet connection is incredibly frustrating – especially when you are sat right next to the router. 

With millions of people still working – and studying – from home, having a decent web connection is more vital than ever. 

While some will likely have taken steps to update their broadband speeds as a result of home working, others are still suffering from a dodgy connection.

One of the main complaints from those using their home internet to work is the slow speeds they receive with others saying their broadband drops out altogether throughout the day.  

Even if sat next to the router, it seems that slow speeds and even a complete loss of internet is a common problem.

But why is this? If the issue is with the internet, why do smartphones seem to be able to function as normal?

This is Money asked some internet experts to explain the common causes for this sort of problem – and what can be done to fix it.  

Matt Powell, editor of Broadband Genie, replies: If this is only occurring on a specific device then it would suggest the laptop is the cause of the issue.

First, try updating the Wi-Fi driver on the laptop to ensure it is running the latest software version.

Depending on the operating system, this might be something you can do automatically via the device or network settings or you can manually download and install the latest version from the laptop or Wi-Fi adapter manufacturer.

You may need to check your laptop specification or contact support if you’re not sure about model numbers.

You should also ensure the operating system is fully up to date with the latest feature updates and security patches.

Another potential fix is to configure the network mode of the Wi-Fi adapter to match the Wi-Fi network, for example, make sure both are set to 802.11ac – but check your Wi-Fi router settings to find out what 802.11xx standard your router is using.

The power management settings of a Wi-Fi adapter can also impact stability – check that the computer is not allowed to switch off the adapter to save power.

With many still working from home, having access to decent internet speeds is imperative

With many still working from home, having access to decent internet speeds is imperative

Nick Baker, broadband expert at Uswitch, replies: Few things are more frustrating than a poor or unreliable broadband connection at home.

Your smartphone can be a useful diagnostic tool to get to the root of the issue. If you turn off its mobile data connection and can’t get online through your Wi-Fi network, there’s a good chance your broadband or router are to blame.

On your device’s Wi-Fi settings, check if it has previously been connected to another local network or hotspot, as it might be the laptop is attempting to connect to this instead – which can cause dropouts.

If this is the case, click ‘Forget this network’ on the unwanted network to ensure you’re always connected to the right one.

Old programs or software can also slow things down, creating potential problems with connectivity, so make sure everything is up-to-date and that you uninstall outdated software you no longer need.

If the issue persists, try connecting to the router directly via ethernet connection and if that doesn’t fix the fault then this would need to be addressed by your broadband provider.

Broadband outages are very common and our recent data shows that almost 15million households suffered from them in the last year, with some areas more affected than others.

Speak to your provider, as they can diagnose any problems in your area and assess your connection to see what speeds you are getting. There may be a fault in your cable box causing the internet connection to ‘trip’ throughout the day.

If the problem persists, it might be time to switch providers or try another type of broadband connection, such as mobile or satellite broadband, which could be more reliable for you.

Grace Gausden, This is Money, adds: It may be worth using an online broadband speed checker to see if it is slower than the promised speeds your internet provider offered. 

If that is the case, customers may be able to get compensation from their internet provider. 

This is also the situation for those who find their internet dropping out often.  

Since 1 April 2019, the majority of networks signed up to an Ofcom scheme which said they must provide compensation for delayed repairs following a loss of service, missed repairs or provision appointments and delays to the start of a new service. 

Depending on the problem and the length of time it takes to fix it will depend on how much you could receive back.  

If you did not receive the compensation you believe you were entitled to, you can complain to the Communications Ombudsman who should be able to help you resolve your complaint. 

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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