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Can’t Connect or Wi-Fi Drops Signals Frequently? Here’s How to Likely Fix It

If you experience Wi-Fi dropping signals, disconnections, or can’t connect a device to your network (at the expected speeds), this post is for you.

I wrote this piece based on the myriads of questions I’ve gotten daily. I’ll answer those, explain how things work, and walk you through a list of specific tricks that will likely make things better.

“Likely” because there’s a chance it’s not possible to remedy the problem at your particular place. Sometimes, that’s just the nature of the wireless connection. But at least, you’ll know you’ve done all you could to improve your Wi-Fi situation.

Before continuing, though, make sure you’re comfortable handling a home router.

I’d recommend you read this entire post, but returned readers can use the Table of Content below to check on just the newly added info. Also, if you run into something unfamiliar, follow the hyperlink text, you’ll get to the page where I explain it further.

(By the way, this post is about the Wi-Fi dropping and other related issues within your local network. For Internet-related problems, here’s my take on troubleshooting a broadband connection.)

Read this  Broadband Internet Troubleshooting: The Steps to Do It Right

Dong’s note: I first published this post on March 29, 2020, and last updated it on December 9, 2021, to include additional up-to-date and practical tips. This post is frequently updated.

The Netgear RAXE500 Router is quite huge
Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: Don’t immediately blame your router.

Table of Contents

Wi-Fi signals (and speeds): A brief perspective

Before fixing anything, it’s a good idea to understand it at a certain level — don’t skip this part! Here goes:

Read this  Home Wi-Fi Explained: Hertz, Bands, Streams, Channels, Range, and More

Signal distortion and disconnection are part of radio transmission’s nature. As the radio waves travel through the air, they run into many things that alter their integrity.

Wi-Fi dropping signals:  Wave frequency
Radio (Wi-Fi) signals and Hertz

If you want to imagine how wireless transmissions occur, drop a pebble in a still pond, and watch the ripples move outwards. That’s your Wi-Fi signals — measured in Hertz.

Now, throw in another rock at a different spot. That’s your neighbor’s Wi-Fi signal. Toss a rubber duck in the water! That’s your microwave. See what happens when the ripples collide? That’s signal distortion — it’s when your Wi-Fi drops.

What you might not have seen is that the pond was never entirely serene in the first place. And there were other things, like wind, insects, fish, the liquid’s viscosity, etc., already affecting the ripples created by the original pebble.

The point is: At any given time, more things don’t help your Wi-Fi work as intended than those that do. And the fact it ends up working at all — delivering hundreds of megabits of data per second 24/7 — is already quite remarkable.

But it’s human nature to take things for granted. As Wi-Fi improves over the years, we’ve come to expect more out of it. Like all things tech, there’s more to Wi-Fi than what we can see. And we can’t even see it in the first place.

So set your expectations right. There’s no magic! Your Wi-Fi is never as fast as the vendor claims, and its speeds are always going to fluctuate. And that’s because your home, which is different from any other home, is not ideal for it in the first place.

Wi-Fi dropping, disconnections, and failure to connect: The general causes

To have good Wi-Fi, you first and foremost need the proper hardware. So get a router (or mesh system) that’s suitable for your place and set it up properly.

Hint: When possible, use network cables to link the pieces of your network together. Also, if you get a cheap lemon, no amount of troubleshooting can help — make sure you invest in suitable hardware first.

Considering you’re on this website, though, I’d assume that you already got one of the best routers, which leaves us with three other common reasons that cause your Wi-Fi signal to drop or are impossible for some devices to connect.

A. Hardware incompatibility

Incompatibility is likely the most common cause — as mentioned above, Wi-Fi can be complicated.

There are so many hardware vendors with lots and lots of devices. It’s tough to keep all of them interoperating well in all scenarios. That’s not to mention hardware and software quality and different Wi-Fi standards and tiers.

But at the core of it, this issue derives from the fact your broadcaster (router) and the client, like your laptop or IoT device, don’t work well together due to incompatible hardware or software driver.

B. Signal saturation or interferences

Signal saturation is also typical, especially in urban environments. Just look at your phone’s Wi-Fi scan, and chances are you’ll see a ton of available networks. Even though you have no access to most, they all are in your airspace, taking up precious spectrum allocation.

So, the more broadcasters of different types in the vicinity, the more likely you’ll have to deal with interferences. That’s not to mention other types of devices (like microwaves, cordless phones, etc.) that might also use the same frequencies.

Extra: The curious case of Bluetooth

The popular Bluetooth connection method also uses the 2.4GHz band. However, it’s very different and generally won’t cause (much) interference.

That’s because Bluetooth is mostly for peer-to-peer connections which don’t require a fixed channel. As a result, it can “channel hop,” meaning it picks and chooses the most unoccupied channel to use in real-time. And it does that 1600 times per second.

As a result, generally, Bluetooth doesn’t affect Wi-Fi. Except in two instances, I can think of:

  • The 2.4GHz band is fully saturated: Now, no hopping can help, but well, chances are non-Bluetooth devices saturate it.
  • Hardware sharing: This only applies to clients. Many (older) Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo chips don’t work well when both wireless functions are used simultaneously. This is rarely the case, if at all, with newer chips.

C. Other factors

There are other factors, too. Some of them you have no control over.

Examples are hardware issues, radar activities, thick walls, or even a jammer near your home. Or the fact your home is made of materials that block radio waves.

Now that we have identified the issues let’s find out how to fix them.

How to fix Wi-Fi dropping and connection issues

We can only fix what we have control over. Specifically, we generally can’t make changes to that radar station nearby — we just have to move — but there are tricks to handle hardware incompatibility and signal conflicts/saturation.

There are two sides to a wireless connection, the broadcaster, and the receiver. Each might have issues of its own.

Let’s start with the broadcaster since there are more things we can do on this end.

Wi-Fi dropping, failure to connect, and disconnection: What to do at the broadcaster (router) side

Your router is the center of your Wi-Fi network. If something is wrong with it, all devices in the house will suffer.

Zero. Common house keeping you MUST do before anything

Make sure you’ve taken care of the usual suspects, including stuff that seems obvious:

  • Plug it in: That’s right, nothing works without being plugged into power. Oh, you need to turn it on, too — some routers do have an on/off button for power or Wi-Fi.
  • Restart: You should restart — not to be confused with “reset” — your broadcaster once in a while, like once a month. Many routers allow you to schedule an automatic restart. In this case, it’s a good idea to make the router restart once a week — pick the time when everyone is asleep! A restart takes no more than a few minutes but will cause all devices to disconnect briefly.
  • Latest firmware: Updating the firmware to the latest generally helps with security, compatibility, and performance. Running a dated firmware version is generally the main reason a router becomes unreliable as they get old. Some routers have an automatic update feature, consider turning it on. A firmware update might take up to 10 minutes — again pick an appropriate time for it.
  • Too much customization: If you have played with your router’s setting too much willy-nilly, that can cause problems. I’ve seen folks blocking clients via their MAC address by mistake and then wonder why they can’t connect. (Doh!). In this case, reset the router and set it up from scratch.

Also note:

  • You have a router with a web user interface and are comfortable with the interface itself. (If you’re using a router that only uses a mobile app and no web interface, your chance of getting things fixed is minimal.)
  • Back up the router’s settings to a file: You can reset and restore it to a previous state if you mess up. That happens.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at more specific things you can do. Note that the list below is in reversed order with the latest (and less common) issues on top.

10. I have Gigabit Internet and just upgraded to a top-of-the-line Wi-Fi 6 router, but my phone can’t connect faster than 350Mbps. Why?

This is another assumption like the case of question number 8 below. A connection’s speed is that of the lowest party involved.

The short answer

Get a new phone. Or just stop speed-testing already.

The iPhone 5 and its Lighting Port (no USB-C)
You can never have fast Wi-Fi if you still use the iPhone 5. But that’s OK.
The long answer

I wrote a long piece on Wi-Fi and Internet testing, but the gist is this: The router and your phone are two different things. Upgrading one doesn’t mean the other is automatically up to snuff.

Read this  Internet or Wi-Fi Speed Test: How You Can Figure Out the Correct Numbers

Most importantly, our phone doesn’t need to connect at super fast speed, either. And 350Mbps is faster than any application would require.

9. Your 2.4GHz devices have a hard time staying connected or connect at slow speeds?

This is a relatively rare case when the 2.4GHz band performs at extremely slow speeds, even when you leave the device close to the router.

Again, we talk extreme here since this band, by nature, is slow. So be concerned if you can only connect at around 15Mbps or slower.

The short answer

Switch the router’s USB 3.0 port to USB 2.0 mode when applicable. Or remove the connected USB device from it.

The long answer

This applies only to routers with a USB 3.0 port and allows you to manage this port’s speed.

In many cases, using the router’s USB port in the fast USB 3.0 standard (5Gbps) causes adverse effects on the router’s 2.4GHz Wi-Fi band.

I’ve experienced this in routers from Asus and Synology, but the issue might be more prevalent.

Router USB 2 0 Mode
You can change the USB mode of an Asus router to USB 2.0 to improve the performance of its 2.4GHz band.

The solution: Use the USB port in USB 2.0 mode, which caps at just 480Mbps. You generally can do this within the router’s web interface, either at the USB or 2.4GHz Wi-Fi section.

By the way, you might need to plug a portable drive into the port before it’s possible to make the change.

Clearly, this setting is not ideal for those using the router as a mini NAS server since the NAS speed will be slow. But that’s just an example of how we can’t have everything.

8. I just got a brand-new top-tier Wi-Fi router, but my Internet speed doesn’t improve at all. Why?

I got this question a lot. Folks get a new and exciting Wi-Fi router and automatically expect their Internet to be faster. Specifically, they want it to match the new Wi-Fi speed.

The short answer

It’s likely your Internet. Wi-Fi can’t increase your Internet speed automatically — only your service provider can.

The long answer

Internet and Wi-Fi are two different things. If you have slow broadband, no Wi-Fi can make it faster.

However, in this case, proper QoS configurations will likely help. Also, reduce the number of smart devices, especially cloud-based security cameras, to free up the upload pipe.

Note, though, using QoS can make your Internet speed seem slower in a speed test.

Read this  QoS Explained and How to Get Better Voice and Video Calls over Wi-Fi

7. Fast Internet at the modem (or ONT) but slow via Wi-Fi or even when wired to the router?

This broadband speed discrepancy has been increasingly common as Gigabit-class, Gig+, or even faster Internet access become more popular. Here’s the scenario:

When using the same (wired) client, you get fast Internet directly to the modem (or the fiber-optic ONT) but not via the router.

The short answer

Check your client’s speed grade, router’s QoS, MTU, and Jumbo Frame, and make sure their settings are applicable.

The long answer

Assuming you already have an excellent router, this can be a complicated issue since. In this case, a couple of things to try in this order:

  • Turn off, or the re-tune, the QoS setting on the router. QoS is an Internet regulating feature and as such it might slow down the broadband speed depending on the application. In any case, remember that QoS is not intended to make your Internet faster.
  • Make sure that the client you use for testing is the only one using the Internet. That’s because the bandwidth is shared.
  • The router must have a fast WAN port. It has to be one of those Multi-Gig-ready routers.
  • The Wi-Fi (or wired) connection between the router and the client has certain cap speeds. The point is that the connection between the router and the client must be the same or faster than between the router and the Internet. So:
    • If that’s a wired connection, make sure it’s Gigabit or faster. Clearly, it has to be the same speed grade as your broadband.
    • If that’s a Wi-Fi connection, keep in mind that 2.4Gbps negotiated is the best you can get for now (real-world speed is much discounted) if you use Wi-Fi 6/E. If you have Wi-Fi 5, the general speed is around 800Mbps.
Extra: Jumbo Frame or MTU settings can be the real fix for a Gig+ and faster network

If Jumbo Frame and MTU sound foreign to you, that’s because they are not meant to be popular settings. And for good reasons.

However, in many cases, enabling Jumbo Frame or setting the MTU to the optimal value is the last crucial step in getting the best connection speeds.

You can find details on how to do that in this post about handling MTU and Jumbo Frame.

Read this  MTU and Jumbo Frame Explained: When You Need to Fiddle with Them

6. A (new) device can’t re/connect to Wi-Fi?

Assuming you’re not blocking the device by mistake, this is likely the issue with the IP address pool.

The short answer

Make sure the IP address pool is large enough. Generally, it’s better to have the pool significantly larger than your total number of devices.

The long answer

By default, most routers (or mesh system) limit their IP address pool to accept no more than a certain number of clients, like 25, 30, or 50 — much lower than the total number of IP addresses any router can give out, which is 253.

While it’s a good idea to have fewer active clients, it’s OK to make the address pool much larger than the number of devices a router can handle. That’s because not all clients are active at all times.

Also, sometimes, one device might use more than one IP address for various reasons. So the pool limit can run out earlier than you expect, causing new or returning clients to fail to connect.

That said, it’s generally a good idea to set the IP pool limit significantly higher than the number of devices you want to use. For more on IP pool and the detailed steps to change that, check out this post on all things router-related.

Read this  Wi-Fi Router Explained: How You Can Figure out that Perfect One Today
DHCP Server
Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: You can configure your IPv4 address pool using your router’s interface.
Extra: IP lease time and you

As you can see on the screenshot above (below the IP pool), the IP lease time is the window of time the router will keep an IP for a particular device — even the device is not connected. The IP will not be available to any other client during this period.

This period starts when the device first connects and won’t change until it runs out unless you restart the router before that, which will cause all devices to reconnect with a new lease.

The lease time is used in seconds, and by default, most routers use the 86400 value (24 hours). And that’s fine for most home use. But if you have an environment where you want the IP to become available immediately, you can reduce that to an hour or two.

When the lease runs out, the client will need to reconnect and get a new IP. This process takes a brief second and requires the router and client to negotiate, so it’s not a good idea to keep the lease too short.

5. Internet of Things (IoT) smart devices or legacy devices can’t connect to Wi-Fi?

First of all, when it comes to IoT devices, just because they have “smart” on their name doesn’t mean it’s a smart thing to use them.

The short answer

Don’t get cheap smart devices, especially those from unknown vendors. After that, use a simple SSID (Wi-Fi name) and password.

The long answer

In my experience, most smart devices are terrible and prone to security — that’s almost always the case if you buy a cheap one of unknown brands.

But even when you buy one from a reputable company, keep in mind that these devices have the low processing power, so they use minimum specs of Wi-Fi.

As a result, the broadcaster (router) needs to work in a mode that supports the lowest denomination of clients, which is slow. In other words, having these devices in the home might adversely affect the performance of your entire Wi-Fi network.

With that out of the way, the following trick might help.

In my experience, the complexity of a Wi-Fi network’s name (SSID) can be the reason why some clients — especially IoT devices — can’t connect to it.

That said, here are the rules in making your Wi-Fi network’s name:

  • Use plain English letters
  • Avoid using special characters or spaces
  • Keep it short

For example, instead of using a name like “Dong Knows Tech,” or even worse, “Đông Knows Tech ⚡,” pick “Dong-Knows-Tech” or, better yet, just “DKT.” (Needless to say, the quotes are not part of the names.)

As for the password, it’s best to use a long string of numbers. You can make it long and random, so it’s hard to guess.

Tips on passwords

When it comes to passwords, it’s always about keeping it a secret that matters. Don’t associate complexity with security.

The goal is to make your password hard to guess but easy for you to remember. Your password shouldn’t be so complex that you’d have a hard time using it.

Here’s one of many ways to make a digit-only password random and easy to remember: Pick a long sentence and use each word’s letter count to form the password. (That’d be 414833545652438 if you use the previous sentence — you can use your own.)

A Wi-Fi password that includes letters, numbers, and special characters, can be a pain when you need to enter it into an IoT device.

If you need to use a fancy name and password for your Wi-Fi for one reason or another, you can create a separate simple Wi-Fi network just for the devices that can’t connect to the fancy one.

In this case, you can make a Guest network for this purpose — make sure you turn on the intranet access for it.

By the way, many IoT devices only work with the 2.4GHz band, so make sure you turn this band on and apply the name and password rules above.

4. Network printers, IP cameras, etc., get disconnected sporadically?

This is the curious case when those devices work fine when you first set them up, but after a while, you can’t use them even then those they remain connected — as you can see that on their screen or status.

The short answer

Reserve their IP addresses. In other words, you want to make sure they connect to the network using the same IP every time.

The long answer

This issue happens in all devices that use the IP address as the only way to identify itself in the network — modern devices use something else to avoid this issue.

But this issue will happen in all applications where a fixed IP address is required. Examples are VPN server (or any server type) or remote administration.

In this case, when its IP changes — often when you restart the router or the device itself — the device now appears as a new one, causing the rest of the network to no longer see it as what it used to be.

IP Reservation Netgear router
Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: IP reservation on a Netgear router

To keep this from happening, you need to reserve an IP address for the device in question to make sure it has the same IP at all times. IP reservation means you “bind” a particular IP address with the device’s unique MAC address.

Find out more about IP addresses and specific steps on performing IP reserving in this post.

Read this  IP Address Explained: What It Is and How to Quickly Figure out Yours
Extra: Stop using extender

On this IP reservation topic, note you can’t do that with most, if not all, Wi-Fi extenders. That’s because they automatically give out virtual MAC addresses to their clients.

That said, if you need IP reservations, stop using extenders in your home or connect the device in question directly to the router.

3. Intermittent Wi-Fi disconnections on high-end/new devices?

This issue applies to those with a high-end Wi-Fi 6 router and experience intermittent brief disconnections seemingly out of the blue.

This is likely because the router works in the 160MHz channel width, which is required for the top performance.

The short answer

Avoid Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) channels and use the router in 80MHz channel width. You can choose to turn off the 160MHz width and use the router in the Auto setting.

The long answer

DFS shares its airspace with radar and, by regulations, takes the back seat. Consequently, a router automatically switches its DFS channels to a free one when radar signals are detected.

Clients will experience a brief disconnection that lasts from a few seconds to even a minute when this happens. It’s a dilemma since DFS channels are necessary for top Wi-Fi 6 speeds.

Read this  Wi-Fi 6E Explained: Better Wireless Connections at the Expense of Range

Depending on how frequent radar signals are present, you might not even notice the disconnection at all. But if that happens when you’re in the middle of a real-time communication app, like video conferencing, or online gaming, it sure is a pain.

That said, if you live close to a radar station — within tens of miles — it’s a good idea not to use DFS channels. Note that all airports have radar, and almost every city has a weather radar station.

Disabling DFS Channels
Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: Steps to turn off DFS on an Asus router
Extra: How to not use DFS channels

How we handle DFS depends on the router — some don’t support DFS at all. Generally, you can make the router ignore all DFS channels or manually pick one not part of the DFS spectrum.

Before you can do that, though, note that DFS is only available in the 5GHz frequency band. So first, you might need to separate it from the 2.4GHz — turn off Smart Connect, that is — before you can make specific changes.

After that, keep in mind that the 160MHz channel width requires DFS, so don’t use it.

Finally, DFS ranges from channel 52 to 144. That means channels outside this range, including 36, 40, 44, 48, 149, 153, 157, 161, and 165, are not part of this particular spectrum. Ensure your router (and the backhaul link if you have a wireless mesh system) uses one of those.

2. Many (legacy) devices can’t connect to Wi-Fi?

This issue happens when you upgrade your router to a newer standard. Existing clients might not be ready for it.

The short answer

Change the router’s Wi-Fi settings to favor compatibility. You can also consider separating its bands (5GHz and 2.4GHz) as different SSIDs (Wi-Fi network).

The long answer

Though all Wi-Fi standards are supposedly backward compatible, the devil is in the details.

That said, if you have a lot of legacy clients, such as Wi-Fi 4 or the first-gen Wi-Fi 5, and get a new Wi-Fi 6/E router, you might run into issues if you insist on making your router perform at its top speeds.

In this case, it’s a good idea to make the (new) router friendly with older clients. (More on how to improve this on a client below).

Generally, you can do this in the Wi-Fi or Wireless section of the router’s interface. There are two things two consider: compatible Wi-Fi settings and band separation.

Compatible Wi-Fi settings

Note that there are many Wi-Fi settings, and some routers might give you more than others. Also, any of the following items alone might be enough to fix the problem. So, try them out one at a time.

  1. Wireless Mode: Use Mixed or Auto. If you pick a specific standard like 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) or 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6), clients of different standards won’t be supported.
  2. Channel width: Choose the value that allows for all available bandwidths, including 20MHz, 40MHz, 80MHz, and 160MHz. If you pick just one value, the higher the number you select here, the fewer clients are supported. The settings that include all of the available channel widths are the most compatible. (More on the 160MHz and DFS channel below.)
  3. Security level: The level that’s balanced between security and compatibility, for now, is WPA2/WPA3. If you use WPA3 only, many clients won’t be able to connect. But if you pick WPA or lower level, your network is more susceptible to hacking. It would be best if you stopped using clients that require even less secure methods (WEP).
  4. 802.11ax HE frame support: Available in some routers; this setting favors performance for Wi-Fi 6 clients. If you have a lot of Wi-Fi 5 and older devices, you should turn it off.
  5. Turn on Extended NSS: Not available in all routers, but if yours supports it, it’s in the advanced/professional area. Also, it’s likely already turned on by default.
  6. Smart Connect (when available): This setting combines the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands into a single Wi-Fi network. It doesn’t necessarily improve compatibility, but it helps keep your connection consistent since clients can automatically switch between the two.
Separate the bands

This setting is the opposite of item #6 above. I know this is confusing, but it’s best to separate each band of a broadcaster into a Wi-Fi network (SSID) of its own in certain situations.

It applies to:

  • You have older or single-stream (5GHz or 2.4GHz) clients.
  • You have a tri-band broadcaster that has two different 5GHz bands (Wi-Fi 5 vs Wi-Fi 6), like the Asus RT-AX92U or AmpliFi Alien.
  • You have a traditional tri-band router and want to use one of its two 5GHz bands in the compatibility mode and the other in performance mode.
  • You want to have complete control of which band a client or a group of clients should use. For example, you can make the 2.4GHz for low-bandwidth IoT devices, and 5GHz for high-end gaming rigs.

By the way, if you use a tri-band wireless mesh, set the backhaul band to be the fastest supported by the satellites. There’s no need to worry about compatibility with this band — it works exclusively for the satellites anyway.

1. What’s the most important Wi-Fi setting for best connection speeds? The channel

There’s no short answer to this.

A Wi-Fi router has three things to fulfill at any given time: The best connection speed, the most extensive coverage, and the highest client compatibility. The last one is most important since the first two are irrelevant if a client can’t connect.

But all three are handled with nuances. That said, the most crucial Wi-Fi setting is likely to pick the right channel. By default, most routers use the “Auto” setting, which means the router itself will determine the best channel based on the real-world condition.

And most of the time, that works out. If you have a standalone router, that might be all you have to do.

However, a router can only detect the signal at its location, not throughout the entire home. As a result, all can be fine when you’re near, but as you move farther out, your device may start disconnecting intermittently.

The disconnection often happens when you use a mesh system with multiple broadcasters at different places around your home. To improve the situation, pick a channel that’s used the least, on average, throughout your area of desired Wi-Fi coverage.

Wi Fi Analyzer
Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: A Wi-Fi analyzing app helps you visualize your airspace and help you pick the best channel for your Wi-Fi network.

Here’s how: Get a free Wi-Fi analyzing app to site-survey the airspace as you walk around. You’ll be able to “view” the channels in real-time. You’ll note that a channel might be completely free at one spot, wholly used at another, and lightly used at another.

Pick the one that’s used the least on average. Do that for all the router’s bands involved. By the way, in a mesh system, the primary router and the satellite(s) will share the same Wi-Fi channel for each band.

(By the way, to understand the Wi-Fi signal strength and usage, you need to know the value of dBm. I explained dBm in detail in this post, but the gist is you’re dealing with a negative number, so the lower the value, the better the signal is.)

Synology Router Wi Fi Settings
Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: The Wi-Fi setting section of a Synology router.

And that’s it. Now cross your finger and apply the changes to the router when applicable. Hopefully, things are all good now. If not, it’s time to check on your clients.

Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: What to do the client

There are two things about the clients, the client itself and the software driver.

Client’s Wi-Fi settings, physical condition, and protective case

That said, check the client. Is it physically intact? If you have dropped it, that could have caused some hardware parts not to function correctly, and the Wi-Fi adapter might be among those.

Again, check to make sure you haven’t turned off the Wi-Fi (Airplane mode) or manually set its Wi-Fi to work in a certain way — leave the settings at default unless you know what you’re doing.

If you use a phone or tablet, keep in mind its protective case adversely affects the wireless reception. All phone cases do — it’s a matter of degree. The more “protective” the case is, the worse it gets.

Software drivers

You need the latest Wi-Fi driver for each client to work well. The driver is software that allows a hardware component to work with the operating system.

If you’re on a Mac, you’ll need to upgrade your computer to the latest version of macOS and also the latest of whatever is offered via Mac Software Update. That’s how you can keep your Wi-Fi driver updated. There’s no other way.

On a Windows computer or a mobile device, you can do a few other things. (By the way, if you’re using the Intel AX210 Wi-Fi 6E adapter, you might want to upgrade your computer to Windows 11 or use this particular driver for Windows 10.)

Read this  Real Intel AX210 Wi-Fi 6E Driver that Enables the 6GHz Band: Download It Here!
How to upgrade Wi-Fi driver on a Windows computer

In Windows 10, you can check on the driver of the Wi-Fi adapter the same way you do any other hardware components. Here’s how:

Driver Check
Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: It’s easy to check on and update the Wi-Fi adapter’s driver on a Windows computer.

1. Right-click on the Start button (lower-left corner) to bring up the Windows X menu. (I call it the “Windows X” menu because you can also call it up using the Windows + X keyboard combo.)

2. On the menu that pops up click on the Device Manager item to bring up its window.

3. On the Device Manager window, navigate to a hardware component in question. In this case, it’s one of the Network adapters. Pick the Wi-Fi adapter, and double click on it to bring up the Properties window of that device.

4 On the Properties window, click on the Driver tab to look at the Driver Date value.

For a Wi-Fi adapter, the driver’s release date shouldn’t be before 2019. If so, it’s too old, and you want to try updating the driver. To do that, click on the Update Driver button, then on Search automatically for updated driver software.

If there’s a new driver available, it’ll be downloaded and installed automatically. Alternatively, you can also check the manufacturer’s website to see if there is a new driver. Download it and install it manually, as I detailed in this post on Wi-Fi 6E driver.

If there’s no driver update and the computer’s Wi-Fi doesn’t work with your new router, even after you have done all the router-related tricks above, well, you’re out of luck. It’s time to think about replacing that Wi-Fi adapter or the host device entirely.

How to fix Wi-Fi dropping issue on a mobile device: Latest updates and reset

You can’t update just the Wi-Fi software driver on a mobile device. The only way to update anything is to wait for the update pushed out by the manufacturer.

Reset Network iOS
Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: Resetting the Network Settings can help improve Wi-Fi performance on a mobile device.

However, there are ways to fix your mobile device, especially an iDevice, from Wi-Fi dropping issues, without getting any update.


If you have an Apple device, including a computer, and its Wi-Fi connection starts acting up after an OS/Software update when connecting to the same router, which has no problem with your other devices, here’s an easy way to likely fix the issue:

Remove your Wi-Fi network from the device in question and re-add it like it’s a new network. This will remove any extra erroneous settings caused by updates.

Here are a few general things to try — any of them might fix the problem, so try one at a time.

  • Restart your device: When did you restart your phone? Exactly! It’s a good idea to close all open apps and perform a restart once in a while. That can solve a lot of issues, including those relating to Wi-Fi (and cellular) connection.
  • Update your device to the latest OS version and patches: This is especially true with incremental updates, which tend to include the latest drivers. The update process will also restart your device, by the way.
  • Reset the network setting: This will erase all saved Wi-Fi networks, and you will need to enter them again. However, it also removes all incorrect settings that might cause connection issues. You can find the Wi-Fi or Network reset in the device’s General Settings area, or you can search for it.
  • Reset the device to default:  This will erase everything you have on the device, so make a backup first. This drastic step helps refresh your equipment and make it work like new, at its optimal state, including the best possible Wi-Fi support.

The takeaway

Wi-Fi is a lot more complicated than wired networking. For one, it’s invisible. You can’t see what causes interruptions in the radio waves. So knowing what has gone wrong could be a challenge.

That said, proper hardware setup on the router and using clients with the latest software are the key to a well-performing wireless network. Besides that, make sure you pick the best setting for your particular situation and environment — you’re already there.

Most importantly, don’t expect magic! Take some time and appreciate how the technology has worked for you. A little Wi-Fi dropping and disconnection here and there is a small price to pay for so much gain you’ve been getting out of it.

☕ Appreciate the content? Buy Dong a Ko-fi!

127 thoughts on “Can’t Connect or Wi-Fi Drops Signals Frequently? Here’s How to Likely Fix It”

  1. Hi Dong
    To start off with, thank you for all of your great work, it has helped me solve a re-booting issue I had with my Asus ZenWIFI AX. It appeared to have been DFS related, so when I changed my backhaul 5GHz-2 channel to 149(I setup a wired backhaul for my network), all was resolved.
    Now to my question; I have read that in a Mesh network, only the primary router handles all of the load for the network, the nodes only act as a passthrough. That seems like a waste of resources considering the node has essentially the same hardware specs. Is there a technical reason as to why not or is it just lazy coding on Asus’s side?

      • Sorry, I guess it was a badly phrased question. The question was pertaining to the percentage of CPU and RAM being used by the primary device and the node(s). The router System status seems to only showing the primary router’s resources being used not the node(s)

        • That’s correct, but it doesn’t mean the router handles *all* the load. However, as the primary and only unit with the routing function, the router must deal with more than any satellites. That’s just how it is. Adding satellite doesn’t help on this front. This is like adding a trailer to your car only helps to increase the tonnage of the haul, but the car itself still has to do the pulling. You can add a managed switch to the network, or use a satellite in the AP mode, which would help with other functions, but things will get entirely then — it’s like you link two cars together.

  2. Dong – I’m at my wits end, I know you aren’t it support, but would love to see if you see a big red flag here…

    I purchased a couple 92u’s as to our last discussion on the thread:

    I setup the ai mesh system with the dedicated wireless backhaul, I also followed your instructions here (especially because i thought it would be due to the usb3 attached device) as well as

    …my iot devices work immediately after connect the rt-ax92u’s .. but after a few hours the IOT devices are slow to respond… after a day or two a few of them don’t at all.
    Replace with the old existing RT-AC87U – all works fine once again.

    Anyways – again if anything springs to mind…



  3. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for the article. I’m having trouble understanding OFDMA and Airtime Fairness, which are both disabled by default on my TP-LINK AX73 despite being a “headline feature”. What do they do and should I enable it on my router? I stream games to my TV and sometimes the signal would drop for like 15-30 seconds seemingly randomly.

    • I explained OFDMA in this post about Wi-Fi 6, Mark. As for Airtime Fairness, it’s only applicable when you have legacy devices (Wi-Fi 4 and older), in that case, it allows these devices less amount of airtime so that their existence will adversely affect the speed of faster devices (Wi-Fi 5 and newer) less. These days, this setting has almost no effect.

  4. I have a problem when I add mesh to the network. I had a Linksys velop ax4200 and it was working fine but needed more range so I had bought a Linksys velop mesh extender AC – 130 and my internet started losing connection I would have to unplug my modem and router for it to work again. I decided to buy the Asus ax82u and it was working fine but recently I had bought the Asus dual band extender RP-AX56 and the same thing happened my internet lost connection hours later after I hooked it up to the network and had to unplug the modem and router for it to work again and lost connection the next day. I unplugged the ax56 and no internet drops yet. My question is why when I add a mesh extender I lose internet connection?

  5. Good stuff here, all of it should mostly work depending on the router/clients involved. The most recent updates definitely add additional clarity to the troubleshooting that this article refers to.

    Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

  6. I have a NetGear Nighthawk R8000 router that I use for home automation (smart switches, smart thermostats, webcams, Google Home, roughly 15 devices). This router was rated as one of the best for home automation. It is connected to the internet through a cellular modem since it is at a remote cabin. I have separated the 2.4GHz and 5GHz connections with a separate SSID and the automation devices exclusively use the 2.4GHz band.

    The issue I am having is that it will randomly lose connections to the devices and the devices can no longer connect. Usually, a few devices stay connected (not the same ones). Sometimes I can fix it with multiple reboots, but, often it requires a complete power cycle of the router before devices can connect again. The router firmware is up to date. When the router gets into the “no connections” state, I can also not connect to the 5GHz band with my phone or laptop, getting an error message “can’t get IP address”. I am not using fixed IP addresses.

    I couldn’t find anything in this article that seemed to apply. Any thoughts?

    • It’s one of the worst routers I’ve tested, Roland — more in this post. It’s kinda tricky for me to say anything when you started with “rated as one of the best….” Maybe the fact that you can’t find anything here is telling enough? Maybe the lesson here is to go back and question the source that rated it as one of the best?

      I’m not here to justify what you have already believed — it’d be much easier for everyone if you got a new router. 🙂

  7. Hi, Dong,
    Thank you for your library of great articles, which I found very helpful in setting up a new mesh network with two Asus RT-AX68U routers. It works great with one exception. Using Smart Connect all of my devices connect fine and switch between the 2.4 Ghz and 5 GHz bands appropriately. But when I “Hide SSID”, my Motorola One 5G Ace will no longer connect to the 5Ghz band – even when next to the router – and has a much slower connection on the 2.4 Ghz band than when the SSID is broadcast. If I try this with Smart Connect off, the Motorola phone will connect fine to the 5Ghz band if the SSID is broadcast, but not when the SSID is hidden. I have worked with Motorola who found no phone problem (even in safe mode. In fact, I did a factory reset which didn’t help.) Now I’m waiting patiently for help from Asus. Do you have any thoughts about what could be causing this?

    • That’s totally normal, Bob. A hidden SSID generally takes the backseat compared to a non-hidden one. Try hiding both bands or neither. Or you can separate them as two SSIDs.

      • Hi, Dong. You might be interested in knowing that I solved this problem. On my phone’s settings for manually setting up a network connection (like one would do connecting to an SSID that was hidden) there was a setting for hidden network. This was located at the very bottom of the list of settings, on the next page. I’ve never seen a separate setting for a hidden network. One wonders why the Motorola support tech didn’t think of this.

        • Glad you figured it out, Bob. But that won’t “solve” the problem if you use another Wi-Fi client. And you can’t do that on every single device — on some, the option to make it explicitly take a hidden network as the priority is not available at all. Thanks for sharing, though. 🙂

  8. Hi, I just got a ax92u but the 2.4ghz Guest Network has issue. I think it keeps dropping or kicks out all devices or some devices. Please help. Thanks.

  9. Hi, great post! Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find the answer to my problem and I’m hoping you can help.

    My router provides a perfect wired ethernet connection with no issues, but all my wireless devices disconnect from the router for a few seconds about once an hour. The router’s technical log is full of logs like “was disconnected on SSID…”, “has successfully connected to SSID…”. I believe it’s not DFS interference (which looked like the best explanation from your article) because the problem still happens for channel 36 and on 2.4GHz. I’ve checked the bands using a wifi analyzer and all looks good. It persists over a router restart. There’s nothing I can see in this article to explain the problem – e.g. I’m not using an extender. Any thoughts?

    • This can be a problem with the router itself, Andrew. Try the usual stuff like updating to the latest firmware, backing up, reseting, etc. Maybe try another router?

      • Since signal levels look good, interference may still be the problem on the 2.4 GHz band, however, on the 5 GHz band, I’m wondering if channel 36 may be an issue as well, since transmission output for the lower bandwidth channels has been limited, especially on older routers. It’s worth a try to go higher. I get stronger and more consistent signal output on my Asus 1900p on the higher bandwidth channels 149-161 in my 3 level townhouse. (I’m excluding 165 since I believe it’s width is limited to 2O MHz.)

    • You may find that there is a device on your network which is scanning or probing the network. My guess is that might be scheduled to run hourly and doing so a bit aggressively which may interfere with some clients. Do you have any network monitoring or home automation equipment ?

  10. I am using an EE Smart Hub which has recently bee replaced because of erratic WIFI problem. the problems still exist so the hub was not faulty.
    The cable connection runs faultlessly and without any issues. The WIFI however drops out or runs erratically quite frequently.
    I have checked with a WIFI analyser and it runs at between -65 dB and -40dB and even when the analyser shows a good signal it can still drop out.
    There are 14 wireless devices connected.
    When it drops out or becomes erratic restarting my computer or hub will normally rectify the problem, but as the problem seems to occur several times daily it is not practical option also some of the wireless devices are badly affected by the problem.
    I have tried updating my drivers, the hub firmware etc and am wondering if a WIFI booster will help or is a case of rubbish in rubbish out???

      • HI!,
        I have been using the EE hub for at least 12months. The problem has only arisen in the last two months and EE have replaced the hub but it has not cured the problem.

        My question is would a booster improve the situation or if not,
        Which make/model of hub would you suggest as a replacement.


  11. Hi Dong, In your router reviews you often indicate results like, “This router didn’t drop connections for xxx amount of time.”

    How could I similarly measure the stability of my routers (two ASUS AX11000 in mesh mode, though I am most dependent on the main router)? If it’s in the logs, what description should I look for?

    Thank You,

    • There’s no log, Nick. I actually wrote a piece of software that transfers data within a few network devices constantly and measures speeds, disconnections, etc. You can do something similar by copying data from one device to another. More on my testing in this post.

  12. For the first 5 months of this year I did not have any issues with wifi. Since May 31, 2021 I drop wifi at least once a day if not more for anywhere from 5 seconds to 5 hours. I have a Netgear AC1900 purchased in January. I have 16 devices connected – 4 wired and the rest wireless. The cable company replaced all lines and installed a new modem, I live near the beach so salt water intrusion was a problem, even so I still have drops. I changed from auto channel to a fixed channel. I still have drops. What should I be looking for to keep from dropping so much? Can this router handle this many devices?

      • Am I missing something Dong? She claims her Netgear 1900 was purchased in January. I would suspect her WiFi settings if the problem is limited to her WiFi clients. If it’s also happening with Ethernet connected devices, it could be the cable tap by her house or a problem in the node.

  13. Hi Dong,

    found this website very helpful, i was using linksys router E2500 for the past 5 years in my office, it was working fine, and then it started restarting 2 to 3 time a day, it was a old model router so i have purchased new Dual band Router linksys MR9600 on january 2021 and having same issue, it also gets restart automatically, i have configured my router with different settings, but no progress.
    Things i have already done:
    1 Used auto channels on both SSID
    2 Used selected channels on both SSID
    3 Changed my network switch to HP Aruba 2530
    4 replaced All network cable cat 6 under the floor and patch cord (connection between patch panel and switch)
    5 DHCP pool set to 100 IPs – starts from ( we have only 12 employees having 30 to 35 Devices, including desktop, laptops and mobiles)
    6 – office is large so we are using one AP Linksys LAPAC1200 using same setting, i.e SSID ,passwords but different channels ( when i observe my router by using different channels)

    sometimes router works without any issue for one or two weeks, but then it get restart , i have tried alot of options but still no luck.

    please advise if i missed something or have done wrong configuration.

    • Make sure the power (electricity) at the place for the router is OK, Ahsan. If it’s not a power issue, get a router from a different vendor. I’d recommend an Asus or Netgear.

      • Hi Dong,

        i have already plugged my router with different socket (directly in the wall) before 12 days, and my router has not restarted for 12 days, but now after 12 days it got restarted at 10pm in the evening time(after working hours).

        • If it restarts at a particular time like that, Ahsan, then it gotta be something to do with the power source, OR somebody has programmed it to automatically restart using its web interface. Sorry, I don’t have any better answer for you.

          • Dear Dong,

            Thanks for your constant support.

            I am sure there is no power issue, because router is connected with the same power source where other devices are connected , like server and switches. and they have no issue.
            and this router Linksys MR9600 does not have any option to set automatically restart the router..

            please see my router configuration for your reference.

            security mode wpa2 personal
            wife mode: mixed
            channel: 13 ( selected manually)
            channel width: 20 MHz only

            security mode wpa2 personal
            wife mode: mixed
            channel: 48 ( selected manually)
            channel width: up to 40 MHz

  14. Hi Dong
    My wifi calling at my home network is not working whereas it works fine in my office. My home router is Asus RT-AC87U and I am having an iPhone 12 pro. Since it is working fine in my office network, I guess my home router is the culprit. I have reset my router to factory settings but wifi calling on my iPhone still failed to work. Out of the blue, it will show wifi calling for a minute or two then it will drop off.
    I had a VPN client connected in the past but I had disconnected it long ago when my wifi calling started to have a connection issue.
    Could you please advise? Thank you in advance.

    James Lee

    • It might just be your internet connection, James. Home Internet is generally not as good for Wi-Fi calling as business one. But check out the QoS section in this post for more.

    • Hey I’ve been having a problem where no device in my house can connect to my 2.4g and the 2.4g does not even show up on my phone. Rarely when I’m close to my modem it will show up and I can connect but when I move less than a foot anyway it disconnects. I’ve searched everyone for a solution but nothing I’ve done in the settings or factory reset has worked. After talking to a technician he said I need a new modem is this true.

  15. Dong, great article as usual. I have a question about IP reservation. I have an Apple TV wired to internet through a MoCA adapter, I noticed that sometimes the Apple TV looses the internet connection while my other Apple TV wired through an Ethernet port very seldom loose the internet connection. Should I assigned a fixed IP address to the MoCA device?. Is it also a good idea to make IP reservation to all my wired Apple TV’s?. How many IP reservations can I make on my router (GT-AC5300).

      • Dong,

        Thank you for your prompt reply. I understand is better to use network cables than Moca but my home only came pre-wired with two network ports that I am using for the aimesh nodes. I have a third aimesh node at my garage connected to a powerline adapter since it was the only way to get a wired connection inside my garage that was not getting wi-fi signal due to the concrete wall construction. The powerline adapter gives me over 400 Mb/s out of my Gb internet but I only need the aimesh to wirelessly connect my smart garage door opener and my smart sprinkler system. I only use MoCA adapters because my home came pre-wired with coax cable at all rooms. I am currently using two MoCa satélites connected to a MoCa adapter on my router. Both of them are getting over 900 Mb/s internet connection. (I get a max of 800 Mb/s on Wi-Fi and 980 Mb/s when my computer is wired through a switch on my Gigabit fiber connection so I believe I am getting good speed through the MoCAs). I went through the MoCA manual and they recommend reserving the IP address of the device so I am going to do that. I may as well reserve the assigned IP address of my powerline adapter (TP-Link AV2000) though so far I have not experience any drops on the aimesh node signal.

      • Dong, to clarify my previous post. The MoCA adapter do not get an IP address the device connected to it gets the IP assignment therefore I need to reserve the Apple TV IP address. The AV2000 does not get an IP address but my third Aimesh node gets the IP address. I have noticed that the wired AiMesh gets a Static IP assigned instead of DHCP. Shall I leave the AiMesh as it is and not do an IP reservation?

        • I know how those things work, Ricardo. Like I said earlier, there’s no harm in reserving IP addresses as long as they are used.

  16. Great summary on ways to stabilize the routers based on environments. PSA – disconnect problems I’m seeing are directly related to Asus’ latest firmwares across ALL of their products since January 2021 firmwares, mostly stemming from them launching AImesh features in Nov. Latest batch of updates address dnsmasq vulnerabilities. You can see many people complaining in their forums about the deauths in logs, but doesn’t look like Asus is trying to fix it. Wi-fi crashing out randomly on all devices in both bands. . I’d buy a new router suspecting the age of ac1900, as I liked the Asus configuration options, but it definitely seems to be pointed at firmware after last 4 months of troubleshooting.

    • Dong, I was hoping you could point me in the right direction.
      I have RT-AC5300 as master for Aimesh to RT-AC68u. Both running latest version of merlin.
      Internet is poor at the cottage running off high altitude satellite with latency of around 700ms.
      I powered up the cottage and everything connected. I upgraded the firmware on the routers as they would not have been updated since last spring. 5300 was new last year.
      Wifi radio is turn off and on. I will stay on for hours other times on and on every 10 minutes. Reduced TX from Performance to Good on 2.5 and both 5g setup.
      Do you think it’s the firmware. I see ASUS has a newer one then merlin. Merlin patch in Alpha. I can wait for Merlin for a week or two.
      The routers are not hardwired together. I also don’t really need the aimesh one on for inside the cottage. It is used to extend into the yard.
      Wifi seems to recycle (router does not recycle) more when hardwired PC in one and RT-AC68u is on. However can be stable for hours. Have not used to for hours since reducing power level. Though it did cycle right after I changed them.
      Thank you for your time.

      • I’d go with Asus firmware in your case Alpha is a bit too buggy early, Vic. Also, if possible, run a network cable to link the two.

        • I will wait a few weeks for Merlin to catch up. Hopefully that will fix the issue. I might do a factory reset re-apply 386.2_4 as well and see if that fixes it up. I will keep everyone posted.

          • You can always back up the setting and restore them with the newer version then. But sure, you can wait, too. More on Asus routers and Merlin in this post.

          • Well I stopped be Lazy, Saturday did a factory reset and on my 5300 and all is good now. Reset my wifi / passwords and firewall setups. I did not export the setting as I figured it was upgrading from aimesh 1.0 to 2.0 without a factory reset caused the problem. After main router was solid. I reset my AC66u node. Has been stable for hours and the laptop I was using was taking big win 10 update. So I think I am good.

  17. Dong, thanks for another excellent and comprehensive article. I’ve used many of your suggestions, but I’m still scratching my head over the connection quality between my Asus AiMesh system (3 XT8 units) and my 3rd Gen. Nest Learning Thermostat.

    The Nest is located approximately 6 feet from one of my XT8 nodes, yet still consistently connects (via the 2.4 Ghz band – no Smart Connect, it doesn’t seem to work well in my system) to my router located over 25 feet away. If I try to reconnect the Nest via the Asus GUI, or bind it to the closest unit, I get a warning message that the signal is too weak and may preclude connection to that unit. Same result occurs if I try to set the Nest for the 5 Ghz-1 band (3rd Gen Nests are dual-banded).

    I’ve heard comments that Nest IoT products don’t play well with Asus mesh systems. I’m wondering if that’s the case here, or I’m missing something obvious.

    • Thomas – I have exactly the same issue with a Nest 3rd gen thermostat and my mesh XT8 system. I have tried lots of configuration changes on the 2.4Ghz band – lots on the internet about IoT devices on Asus 2.4 Ghz

      I read an article today which suggested that after a recent ASUS firmware update it effectively broke the 2.4Ghz band and causes regular wi-fi device and internet disconnects. Unfortunately the only way to resolve it is a full factory reset of the nodes and then manually resetting all the configuration. I plan to try this at the weekend. I will feedback on my results.

    • Thomas

      I did a full factory reset of my my three XT8 nodes running the latest version of firmware. I manually entered all the settings/configuration. I created 3 separate WiFi networks again (I use ethernet backhaul) – all WiFi settings left as default. So far Nest 3rd generation thermostat is working perfectly with no drop outs or offline in app.

    • Thanks for the great post Don !

      Hi Thomas !

      I am struggling myself with the 2.4gHz network and “smart” devices. It seems that sometimes the devices really connect to the worst possible node and have terrible connection as a result. In my case it seems like a networking / IP issue where devices stop responding after a router reboot.

      I came across this post (see link below) on stability issues with the Asus xt8 and it does appear that newer firmware really broke things.

      Most people seem to see all their issues going away if they roll back to firmware 42095 (August release… 6 releases ago !)

      I have not tried it myself. I just did test the USB trick that Don just suggested, but do intend to try this next

      Hope this helps.

  18. Thanks Dong ! Another great post. Honestly I have learned so much through all your posts, they are truly fantastic.

    Very stupid question on the subject of interference, and more specifically on interference within my own mesh network. As you mentioned in another post, one cannot control the channel used by individual satellites in an Asus AI mesh network (can only control a channel for all). Yet if I am using a 5GHz back haul, that means that the router and the satellite need to be close enough for the 5G to get through, (ideally without too much loss). But since the 2.4G signal propagates further and goes through walls better, it seems that the router and satellite will necessarily interfere with each other. Is that true ? Why would AI mesh system not try to optimize the mesh by using the most appropriate channel on each AP so that they don’t interfere with each other?

    Looking at wifi analyzer, my AP is placed just right so that the 5 GHz signal covers the house well (without the satellite it doesn’t work in the back). But on 2.4gHz it feels like there is a very strong overlap and I could almost do with the 2.4 turned off on the satellite.

    • That’s not exactly true, Leo. That’s where a mesh is better than an extender. That’s because the two hardware units that have overlapped signals work together. You can think of them as sharing the same signals, so to speak. But the 2.4GHz band is generally congested even by non-Wi-Fi devices anyway — your analyzer won’t show these signals. I wouldn’t worry about it.

  19. Hi Dong,
    I have an ASUS ZenWifi mesh using both a wired and wireless backhaul. At least once a day I lose my internet for 5-10 seconds, both wired and wireless. I am running the latest firmware version. Any thoughts as to what I should try – could it be hardware?

      • Many thanks Dong. I should have mentioned that I have the ZenWIFI AX, but I will follow your instructions about DFS. We are rurally located, and can only see one neighbors WiFi, but are close to a number of radio towers. Additionally we are approx 6.5 miles from an airport!

        • Yeap, I suspected that you use the XT8, Steve. You’re close to an airport. Disable DFS, including for the backhaul band, — you’ll get slower speed but things will be more stable. There’s no way around it.

  20. Hi Dong,
    I was a longtime Amplifi HD user and switched to the Linsys MX10 with 3 (MX5300) nodes in Dec. They are all using backhaul to the main. I am constantly having to start the main node and the firmware has never updates. The app is also slow to update.
    I was thinking of switching back to Amplifi with the new Alien and 2 extra Aliens using backhaul. But, you have made me start thinking about switching to ASUS instead. What do you think? Dump the MX units? ASUS or Alien. House is 5800 sqft. 3 stories.

      • Seconded (fwiw). I was going to ask if you had any suggestions as to why my Lenovo laptops can’t connect in SmartConnect mode while my mobile and IoT devices connect just fine.

        Dong, thanks for all of your informative reviews and articles. I’m fairly technical but I still learn a lot from you.

  21. Hi Dong — I have the ZenWifi AX router and node set up in my house. Updated to latest firmware, reset to factory default and then reset my network through web GUI. The node is connected to router through dedicated wireless backhaul on the 5Ghz-2 channel. Because of location of node in my home I can’t use wired backhaul.

    I’m having an issue where the node randomly disconnects from the router. It will flash blue for a few minutes and then reconnect (solid white). Great signal strength (-44 dBm). Disconnects happen periodically throughout the day. The main router always maintains its Internet connection to the cable modem. As a result of the node disconnect all connected devices reroute to the main router. So I end up with 30 devices on the main router and nothing connected to the node. Then slowly as devices find the node again it will connect them — until the node randomly disconnects and all devices go back to the main router.

    Is this an issue I can address myself or a hardware issue that needs to be sent to ASUS for diagnosis?

  22. Hi Dong
    I have just joined Vodafone broadband after having years of Stone Age broadband speeds with BT and others.
    It seem I’m getting good speeds into the router but then crazy poor WiFi signal throughout the house.
    I cannot game, I can barely watch tv. And signal is constantly dropping.
    A colleague has mentioned adding a few mesh access points?

  23. Hi Dong I have a virgin media hub 3 and have had it for 3 months with no issues. We decided to get 3 wireless cameras fitted to the outside of our home and since we did this our wifi is now terrible. I can be just 2 meters from the hub and my devices loose connection. I tried different channels but no improvement? Is this because of the new cameras and if i were to wire the cameras up to the network would this restore the wifi back to a better state?

      • Hi Dong thanks for your speedy reply, I turned all cams off and reset the home hub 3 and still had bad WIFI afterwards. So luckily I had a BT Superhub lying around and put this in the center of the home and sent a Ethernet to it from the virgin hub. I setup the BT hub first now WI-FI runs through the BT hub and all works very well. The virgin hub is very poor for Wi-fi in my home. Thanks for your help again.

  24. Hi Dong – this is the most useful piece I’ve read on troubleshooting wifi issues at the router level (and I’ve since followed you down a rabbit hole on other posts).

    I’m completely at a loss for my issue and wondering if you’ve seen anything similar. I recently replaced my router with a newer one – same SSID and password for wifi. I can get about 90% of my IoT devices (mainly outlets, switches) to connect to the 2.4 ghz and then the network refuses to let me connect new devices. Refuses phone, tablet, laptops, but retains IoT existing connections. If I adjust the wifi or router settings, or reset the connection or device, I can temporarily connect a phone/tablet/laptop for a few minutes.

    Never had this issue with the previous router, and that one connected to 100% of my IoT devices. Checked the channel, bandwidth, DHCP. I don’t have DFS controls. Anything else you can think of? I returned this router and replaced it with another unit thinking it was the unit, but same issue occurred.

    • Check the IP pool and security settings mentioned in the post, Diana. Also, make sure you use the same IP subnet, meaning if your old router used the 192.168.x.1 IP, then the x should remain the same as the new one. If you don’t remember what you used, reset the IoT devices and reconnect them.

  25. Hi Dong,
    I recently switched from Linksys 1900AC wireless router to the TP Link Deco M9 plus (router + 2 AP mesh). We’ve been having problems where it appears to drop the internet link periodically throughout the day. Wired devices show no issues, wifi local devices do not appear to drop, but my VPN tunnel will close for a minute and I lose SSH connections to office hosts.

    Any thoughts on this? Wife is getting frustrated since she’s always online.


  26. Hi Dong, came across your site. Awesome info! Maybe I can ask you a question: I’ve got fiber 600 Mbps entering my home in my living. My desktop is ~40ft away in the adjacent room (= study, 1 wall in between). Since no ethernet runs to the study, I think about the ASUS RT-AX92U (2-pack mesh). One to be used as main router (living), the other in my study wired to my desktop. I’ll use the backhaul for communication. The node in de study can also cover (by 2,4 n + 5 ac) the garden directly behind the study. Do you think the AX92U is a great buy, or do you recommend another type/solution? The mesh feature is not mandatory.

  27. Came across this post through a google search….
    I don’t know if you’ll have a solution to this problem I’ve been having but I occasionally get WiFi isn’t connected to the internet errors which lasts a couple seconds to a few minutes randomly through the day, it’s extremely annoying when working from home getting disconnected and having to reconnect to conference calls all day, or in the middle of gaming afterwards.

    I’ve already tried rebooting the cable modem and wireless router, forgetting the wireless access point/reset network settings on devices but it still happens. Any thoughts on ways to find a remedy to this problem?


  28. Hello! I recently found this site while searching about AI Mesh and Asus routers. Lots of info and very rich piece of work you got here. I’m not too into tech and I actually feel a bit overwhelmed with all the information available. I will make this quick to see if you can help me. I have a 1450 sq ft. 2 story town house in Miami, FL. Wi-fi has always given us issues and now we notice it even more, due to the fact that the kids have remote school. ISP is Comcast Xfinity 300 mbps plan, Arris SB6190 modem, AI Mesh RT-AC3100 router (primary) and RT-AC68P (node). I used to have the cable modem and primary router inside the master bedroom (2nd floor) and the AC68P node in the living room downstairs, but I decided to bring the modem and AC3100 to the living room downstairs, because I became a bit scared that all these radio waves could cause health issues since they were concentrated inside our room.
    Connections are wireless because it is almost impossible to run a cable in this house. I wish I could though.
    At this point, my primary router AC3100 is in the living room along with the modem, and the router is located nearby the stairs that lead to the second floor. The AC68P node is located in the hallway on the second floor and it is about 23 to 25 feet away from the primary router. My questions:

    1. I have read some bad things about the SB6190 and the Puma chip causing latency issues. I have noticed my modem drops signal very often and it always leaves me thinking if the issues could be on the ISP side or mine. Should I get a different cable modem for this AI Mesh setup? If so what would you recommend?

    2. As far as the AI Mesh goes I’m using this dual band routers because its what I have and I wanted to take advantage of whatever resources I had without spending too much money. Should I get another node to place on the first floor about 10 feet away from the primary mesh router?

    Thanks for time and attention in advance. I would just like to make my setup a bit more reliable. My kids home schooling gets impacted a lot when the internet doesn’t work right and I would like to see if I can fix this.

  29. I have a new PC which I’m trying to connect to my ASUS Zen WiFi AX6600, and I’m not getting very far. The PC came with an ASUS PCE-AX3000, and while it connects to the router, it usually doesn’t get Internet access without running the Windows troubleshooter, or manually flushing DNS and releasing and renewing ipconfig. And when it does get Internet access, it usually lasts about 30 seconds before losing it.

    I have copied the latest firmware over to the WiFi adapter, reset my router a couple times and updated it to its latest firmware, to no avail. I have also tried removing the WiFi adpater and re-enabling the motherboard’s built in WiFi, but get pretty much the same results.

    It seems unlikely that the problem lies with the router, because I have multiple devices connecting to the Internet through it with no trouble. But it also seems unlikely to be a hardware problem with the new PC, as two different WiFi connections are having the same problem. Is there a setting in Windows 10 that would be causing this? Or do you have another article you could point me to which might help for this issue, where one device can connect to the WiFi but can’t get consistent Internet access, while other devices have no problem with the same router?


  30. Extremely grateful to have found your site. The past week I have been having Wi-Fi issues. After many speed tests, I concluded it was my Apple Extreme. Checked the firmware per your article and found the last update was May 2019.
    Guess I didn’t realize it was that old!
    I’ve been reading many of your reviews, so I can find the best replacement. 🙂

    • Happy to have you, Michele. You’ll likely find what you need here, mostly because almost any routers you find here will be better than the one you have. 🙂

  31. Hi Dong,

    I live near the airport and while playing Xbox which is connected to the node I had some instant connection lags. Searching the internet brought me here and as always helpful article.

    I believe the issue could be backhaul connection between the nodes of my Asus ZenWiFi AX. I disabled 160Hz for 5Hz 2 which is now 20/40/80Hz but can not disable “Auto select channel including DFS channels”. Every time I unselect it and apply it refreshes as selected. Also available control channels are 100-140Hz which according to this article are the DFS channels. Am I doing something wrong?

    My ISP speed is 200mbps download so I don’t need gb wireless seeds. What I need is solid connection with no interruptions or lags. Thanks.

    • @Dong Ngo, unfortunately not possible in my home, or I would use cable for sure. I’ve disabled 160Hz for backhaul, is there anything else I can do? Thanks.

  32. i don’t think combine 2.4GHz and 5GHz is a good idea. when the client switch between two band, gaming dropout happens. seperate is better.

    • You’re right TKO. This is more about “compatibility” as in making sure something can get connected. Separating them will give you more control.

  33. Hi Dong, your articles are excellent and very informative. I’ve progressively improved my home network based on your articles. I moved from my ISP Modem/router to bridge mode and standalone router. I also added a Netgear AP(wired) for wifi purposes because of our larger house. Unfortunately, I am not ready for a Mesh setup yet. What is the preferred setup same SSID for my router and AP or different? I was cautious with no overlapping channels etc. but had issues with drop-out, so I am trying different SSID’s. Unfortunately, the changing of SSID is painful with the number of clients.
    Any suggestions or articles that I may have missed be very appreciated.

  34. This post is very informative. I’m trying some new things as a result, but still having an issue. My issue may be too specific to warrant a reply, but I’ll give it a shot and if you have time and advise I’d very much appreciate it!

    I upgraded to an Orbi mesh network and was quite happy for about 2 months. I have quite a few smart home devices, and everything was working beautifully.
    One day I decided to add in a raspberry pi with hass.io and a Conbee II zigbee stick. That evening I noticed the wifi was completely disappearing and reappearing every 10min or so. I have no idea if that had anything to do with the problems, but of course I started googling and found that zigbee can cause some interference. I unplugged it and haven’t plugged it back in, but the problems have remained and gotten worse.

    I’ve tried all sorts of things, but never got it to return to “normal”. Sometimes changing channels helped, but it wouldn’t last long. I notice on day my laptop was getting extremely slow speeds while my phone was still getting good speeds. I tried turning off the satellite that day, and my laptop bumped up to reasonable speeds. So I tried moving the satellite around and fiddling with various settings, but that didn’t help. So I just kept the satellite off for a while, but after a week or so the disconnecting/reconnecting issue returned.

    I’ve also tried factory resets, which didn’t help (or at least not for long). I even tried a factory reset and just left the default SSID and only connecting my phone. I also confirmed the firmware was up-to-date. That particular time, after only 10 minutes I noticed the wifi disconnecting and reconnecting again (on for a few minutes, then off for a minute, then repeat).

    You mention in this post that radar (and airports) can cause disconnections like this. I DO live 1 mile away from a very small airport. But I’ve tried playing around with the channels and that doesn’t seem to fix the issue, or at least not for more than a few days. I’ve tried doing the site survey you recommend and there didn’t seem like there was an unusual amount of stuff going on. I only have one neighbor who’s a good distance from me, so I typically only see my own network and sometimes hers and a very weak signal coming from one of our town’s ISP’s open hotspots.

    Any thoughts? Is it possible I may have somehow killed the router? Could the rasberry pi/zigbee stuff I was fiddling with have anything to do with it?

    • It’s unlikely something to do with the Zigbee, Jacob. But it can be anything. It’s impossible to diagnose from afar, unfortunately. It can be just issued with the hardware itself.

  35. I live in a complex with lots of ppl having wifi
    I would get frequent disconnects on my ipad/iphone when in my bedroom, router was in lounge. Ipad worked perfectly fine in the lounge.
    I changed the radio frequency etc with no benefit.

    Interestingly i split 2.5ghz and 5ghz and only allow ipad/iphone to 5ghz and have not since had a problem. My iot decices connect fine to the 2.4ghz.

    Router – tp link Ax3000.

    Sadly I was having a similar problem with my apple airports and replaced the router unnecessarily

  36. Having issues with WiFi and own Roku streamer. The Roku may be your issue. The Roku uses WiFi channel to talk with its remote. How does Roku pick WiFi channel? It follows your router. If router is on 48 the Roku picks 48. If the router moves to 36 the Roku moves to 36. Had major issues with WiFi stability. The router kept changing channels to fix inference, but Roku followed. Fixed Roku WiFi issues, smooth sailing.

  37. Hi

    Do you have an article on how to set up FTTP interface with a Talktalk super router as my WIFI keeps dropping, more so when 2/3 people are doing Zoom together. Thanks

  38. I mentioned this on your AX82U review. Have been very satisfied with my new AiMesh network (AX82U as my main router on the first floor and TUF AX3000 wired as my node on second floor). Now I have full 5Ghz coverage and full internet speed as advertised by my ISP around the house.

    Was having problem with some of my older devices (especially the older IoT that I use to control my air conditioner). Tried to reset those IoT devices, change a lot of setting on my router but still have troubles. Finally change my 2.4Ghz security to WPA2 only (I use separate SSID for 2.4 and 5Ghz) while keeping WPA2/WPA3 for the 5Ghz channel. Now all of my devices are working fine and I am very satisfied with it.

  39. Does anyone know from Asus confirmation as to whether Guest nodes will fully support Guest Networking in the Asus ZenWifi AX and if so, when? Thank you.

  40. Hello, just received the RT-AX89X this weekend and so far it has been somewhat unstable. Twice it has locked up to the point that both wireless and directly wired clients lost connectivity. I could not even connect to the management IP address of the router, it seemed to be completely locked up. The only way to get things back up and running was to power cycle it. The last messages in the log prior to it locking up look like this:

    wlan: [0: E:NSS] [nss-wifili]: wifi peer message send fail2

    The firmware that it came with is and when I check for updates it says “Temporarily unable to get the latest firmware information. Please try again later.”

    Have you seen similar issues with the router and how did you resolve?

    • Happened to my Asus TUF AX3000 router too (I think it’s regional Asia type only). You need to do a manual update (download the newest firmware to pc/laptop, connect the pc to router and upload it from router menu). In my case, I have to reset it a couple of times to access the router page.

    • you can manually update the firmware from asus and apply it from a pc. IT also depends on how you have the router set up. I have an AXE-11000 and since i have an xfinity wifi router, I have it set up as an access point so it wont hand out ip addresses. I even have it set up as the master to an AI Mesh system with an AX88u and an AC1900 connected to it wirelessly so the main one will update all 3 of them. how it acts is all determined by your setup. Hope this helps.


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