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Past Episodes

Wireless Router Troubleshooting

I’m writing this tutorial to assist my in-laws in troubleshooting their wireless access. It might be useful for many more people, so I’m publishing it here. Their setup is a Linksys WRT54G router with one hardwired iMac, and a wireless MacBook. The scenario they face on occasion is the iMac can get on the internet, but the MacBook cannot. That eliminates the router’s wired connection and the modem and their internet service provider.

1 – Make Sure the Airport Wireless is Turned On

Up in the menu bar look at the wireless signal indicator. If it’s an empty pie symbol, then it’s off. Pull down to Turn Airport On.

2 – Make Sure You’re Connected to Your Router

If your wireless symbol shows the concentric arcs shown above, then the Airport wireless is on, so pull down and make sure your router name is chosen in the list. in this case my router’s name is White Dart, so it’s selected with the check mark.

3 – If You’re Getting No Signal at All

You might see your wireless indicator showing the concentric circles as shown but they’re grey instead of black. This means your airport is on, but you’re not connected to your wireless router. Again try pulling down to see if your router is there in the list. Assuming it’s not there, then we know we need to work on the router hardware.

4 – Time to Reset the Router

In this image you can see the reset button which is actually recessed. Take a paperclip and press it in and hold it for about 10 seconds. Next go back to the MacBook and repeat steps 1-3, checking to see if the wireless signal is being received by the wireless Mac. This may not fix the problem, but it doesn’t hurt to do it a couple of times.

If this doesn’t work, next you can unplug the power to fully reset the router. Leave it unplugged for about 2 minutes. Then plug it back in, and watch the lights blink on the front until it looks like they’re stabilized. Just a few will blink but not all of them. Again go back to your wireless Mac and run through steps 1-3 again.

Note: because you’re resetting your router, it will very likely change it’s name from the one you’ve chosen back to Linksys. If you see Linksys in the list on the wireless Mac, try it.

If you still don’t have a working signal to the wireless Mac, it’s time to call Allison!

5 – You’ve Succeeded, but…

After you succeed in getting wireless working again, it’s important to check and make sure that you reset your password on the router. You’ve reset the router several times and maybe even unplugged the power, so there’s a good chance you need to put your security settings back.

Open a web browser (Safari, Firefox, etc.) and type into the address bar:

http://192.168.1.1/

This will open the Linksys interface. Click on the Wireless tab.

Rename Your Router

Step 1: To the right of Wireless Network Name enter the name you prefer for your router. It’s considered good form to change it from Linksys for several reasons, one of which is to be able to identify it in the list of routers you see.

Step 2: Click on the Wireless Security tab.

Set Your Wireless Security to WPA2

The most important thing you’re going to do in this tutorial is to set your wireless security to WPA2.

1 – Set the Security Mode to WPA2 Personal
2 – Set the WPA algorithms to TKIP+AES
3 – For WPA Shared Key enter a strong password. Make it at least 8 characters long, and use letters and numbers. It’s wise to use even more characters but that may be more difficult than you want to use. Make sure you write that password down for the future.

On the wireless machine make sure you can still connect – you may need to enter that password the first time you connect.