How to solve problems with your Wi-Fi network

You should also be aware that DECT cordless phones and microwave ovens can emit signals at the same frequency used by Wi-Fi, so if you find your connection drops, check these devices are not in use when it happens.

We've recently come across a problem with Vista and some routers where the wireless connects for a short while, then disconnects, sometimes causing the router to reboot. The problem is with Vista's implementation of something called IPV6, which is not supported by older routers, and seems incompatible with some newer ones. If you are having problems, click Start > Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center > Manage Network Connections. Right-click on your wireless link, choose properties, and untick the option to use IPV6.

Some Vista laptops also lose connection after a period of time, say 30 minutes. This appears to be down to power-saving, so follow the same instructions for disabling IPV6, but this time click the Configure button. Click on the Power Management tab and untick the option to allow Vista to turn the device off.

Finally, if you are running a third-party firewall, make sure it is not set to block all connections, as sometimes, when networks are detected, they are set to be blocked unless you allow access.

Top tips to getting more from your connection

1. Security issues
If you can't connect, check your security settings. If you can connect with encryption disabled, check you are using the right key or passphrase.

2. Latest updates
Older routers may reboot or drop your connection, if you have IPV6 enabled in Vista. Disabling this setting should cure the problem.

3. Sleep mode
If your connection drops after a long period of time, or won't reconnect after waking from sleep or standby, disable the powersaving feature.

How to log into and configure your router

Use your favourite web browser to make changing Wi-Fi settings even easier

Step 1: Basic facts
It's worth having a copy of the Router's IP address handy, just in case you can't log on. Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt. Type Ipconfig and make a note of the number. If you can't connect to your router wirelessly, connect an Ethernet cable instead.

Step 2: The magic number
If your IP address is, the router's number will be, so type this into the address bar of your browser and log in to the router's control panel. The administration name and default password will be in your router's documentation, if you haven't changed them.

Step 3: Encryption tasks
If you can't connect wirelessly, make sure that the SSID is set to broadcast, and turn all the encryption off, as this can often hide or slow connections down. If you can then connect to the router, try enabling the encryption, ensuring you choose the same protocol on both your router and the laptop.

First published in What Laptop magazine, issue 117

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