On black Friday this past year I decided to pick up a new wireless router. The wireless N support was obviously a nice selling point, but the key feature for me was the range booster. I like to work on my laptop in different rooms around the house and some are pretty far from my wireless router. The range booster helps to transmit the signal farther and stronger than a standard router, resulting in a better experience in all rooms of the house or office.
The router I ended up buying was the Cisco/Linksys WRT160N. I’ve owned Linksys routers for years and have always had a good experience with them.
A Linksys router for wireless internet
After a simple and quick install I was up and running wirelessly, or so I thought. After a few minutes my wireless connection started giving me problems. The connection would drop every few minutes and then pick up again a few seconds later. This was annoying and rendered the router completely and utterly useless.
Having your wireless router drop the connection on a regular basis is a fairly common problem. You may encounter this problem after many months or even years of good use out of the router. Of course there is always the possibility that something is faulty with the router itself. There is, however, one important step that may fix the problem and get your router back on track. It worked perfectly in the above-mentioned scenario and has worked for me numerous times in the past.
The first thing you need to do is to check whether you have the latest version of the router firmware! If you don’t, then you should upgrade immediately!
In simple terms, the word firmware denotes the program or software that controls the hardware. The best place to look for the latest firmware is the manufacturer’s site. In this case I went directly to the Linksys website and searched for it. To install the latest firmware you’ll have to log in to your router’s admin control panel (typically done through a web browser) and then to go to the section that allows you to perform the upgrade. After the firmware has been upgraded the router is rebooted and then things are hopefully in good shape. I’m writing this article after hours of uninterrupted wireless internet connectivity.
There is one more important steps that you must take to ensure the most reliable Internet connection: Go to your computer manufacturer’s site and make sure you have the latest drivers for your wireless card. Even after upgrading the firmware, you need to ensure that your device is not partially responsible for the problems. So go ahead and download and install the latest drivers for your computer’s wireless card. This step is just as important as the firmware upgrade so don’t be lazy and ignore it.