Common reasons your Wi-Fi is not working

Camryn Smith

Apr 3, 2024 — 6 min read

“Why can’t I connect to Wi-Fi?!” We’ve all said it. Here’s how to troubleshoot common network connection problems at home.

Wifi connection issues at home

Many issues might be the reason your internet isn’t working. Your fix is often as easy as plugging a modem or router back in or restarting your laptop’s network driver. Use this guide to find out why your Wi-Fi isn’t working and how to fix it on your own:

No internet connection? Check these Wi-Fi network issues first

To find out if your Wi-Fi network is causing your internet problems, check these potential network issues:

  • Check to see if your router is unplugged or if the power is cut off — your solution may be as simple as restarting your router or plugging it back in.
  • Check if your devices are trying to connect to a different network. Although your device typically connects to your home Wi-Fi network, it may be trying to connect to a different network. You might have to manually make it connect to your home network and forget the other one.
  • If you changed your Wi-Fi password recently, make sure the correct one is saved in your device.
  • Check to see if other websites or internet browsers are working. Sometimes, certain websites or servers go down.
  • Check if moving your device closer to your router helps you connect. If you normally have a strong signal in rooms far away from your router but suddenly can’t connect, take your device closer to your router. If it can pick up a signal in a closer room, you may need a Wi-Fi extender.
Troubleshooting tips if you can't connect to Wi-Fi at home.

How to fix Wi-Fi network issues

1. Reboot your modem

Just as your IT person usually has you start with a computer reboot, your internet service provider (ISP) will tell you to unplug your modem and then plug it back in. If that doesn’t work, unplug your router, give it a minute and then plug it back in. Sometimes, restarting your modem or router will reset your network and the issue magically disappears.

Pro tip:

When my Wi-Fi recently went down, resetting only the individual modem or router did not work — I had to reset the whole system, so this is a great first step to try when you lose your internet connection.

2. Check network configuration

Next, check your wireless network configuration. Sometimes Wi-Fi channels get overcrowded which causes connection issues.

3. Reset your network

 Reset your network by using your laptop:


  • Go to “Settings.” 
  • Then “Network & Internet.” 
  • Then “Status” 
  • Click on “Network Reset.”
Windows network status

Mac OS

  • Check your TCP/IP settings in your “System Preferences” Network pane.
  • Click the “Renew DHCP lease” button.
  • Select Wi-Fi and you’ll see your “Preferred Networks.” 
  • Click OK and navigate to your stored network passwords using “Keychain Access Utility.”
  •  There, remove your stored network passwords and restart your computer.
Mac TCP/IP settings

4. Check your network adapter SSID

Check that your wireless network adapter’s SSID is available and what its status is. If your Network Adapter reads “Not Connected,” click “Connect.” If you can’t connect to your network, you may need to debug your wireless network settings (an advanced, technical troubleshooting issue). Or, your status may say “Acquiring Network Address” or “Authenticating.” If that happens, you may need to click “Diagnose” to fix an IP address issue.

Device connectivity issues

Many times, your laptop, PC or phone is the source of your connection issue. If you’ve been able to connect your device to your home Wi-Fi network before but suddenly can’t, it’s most likely a device problem.

Connection problems range from software issues to network adapter glitches, so troubleshooting your smart devices is a good idea.

How to fix your laptop or desktop PC

1. Restart your device

If your laptop won’t connect to Wi-Fi, as your typical IT person will tell you, your first step is to restart your device. This is a standard troubleshooting solution and could be the fix you need to get connected to Wi-Fi again.

2. Check your network adapter

Your next step is to check your network adapter. Sometimes, connection issues arise because your computer’s network adapter is not enabled.


  • Check your network adapter by selecting it on the Network Connections Control Panel.
  • Make sure the wireless connection option is enabled.
Windows Wi-Fi settings

Mac OS

  • Look for the Wi-Fi (AirPort) card in the top right corner of your screen (next to the sound and battery icons in your menu).
  • Click on the option to “Turn Wi-Fi On.”
  • If your menu icon doesn’t show anything in the menu bar, Apple recommends selecting “System Preferences” from the main Apple menu, selecting the Network icon and then clicking on Wi-Fi.
  • From there, check the box to “Show Wi-Fi status in menu bar.”
  • To check if your wireless adapter is enabled on other Apple devices, check your settings to make sure the device isn’t in airplane mode and that Wi-Fi connectivity is on. 
  •  On Android devices, check your settings to make sure the device’s airplane mode is off and that Wi-Fi is on.
Mac Wi-Fi network settings

3. Update adapter drivers

Your network adapter driver could be out of date.

  • Go to your device manager. 
  • Select “Network Adapters.” 
  • Select “Update Driver.” 
  • Follow the instructions and after your computer restarts try and connect to the Wi-Fi.

4. Repair or replace hardware

If these tips don’t work, investigate potential hardware or software problems. Hardware problems aren’t prevalent, but an older computer or tablet’s network adapter could suddenly stop working if it overheats. To fix hardware issues, you can take your device to a repair store and see if they can assist in replacing any hardware. Depending on the age of your computer or other devices, you may need to purchase a newer version.

5. Remove viruses

Software issues might arise if you have a computer virus, which could disable or block your ability to connect to Wi-Fi. You’ll want to scan your computer or device for viruses and remove any if found. Then restart your computer and try connecting again.

How to fix your phone

If your phone won’t connect to Wi-Fi, make sure the Wi-Fi is turned on or doesn’t need reset. If the connection isn’t the issue, there are a few steps to try before reaching out to your service provider:

  1. Restart your phone
  2. Turn Airplane Mode on and off
  3. If you can’t make a call, switch to Wi-Fi calling
  4. Use your carrier’s network instead and turn off Wi-Fi
  5. If you don’t have a 5G device, it might be time to upgrade

Internet service provider issues

You might be blocked entirely from Wi-Fi due to any of the following problems that can only be fixed by your ISP:

  • You haven’t paid your bill
  • You were illegally transmitting/storing specific types of information
  • There’s a weather- or disaster-related network issue. You can use platforms like Downdetector to check this, which tracks outages for major ISPs.
  • Internet speed throttling.

How to fix your internet service problems

  • Some provider-related problems are out of your control. For instance, you may have to wait out weather issues that have taken down cables.
  • If late payments have resulted in disconnection, talk to your provider about paying to restore your internet service.
  • If illegal content transmission resulted in no service, pay any related fines and talk to your provider about how you can get service restored.
  • If you notice that your provider seems to be throttling your internet unfairly, let your ISP know. Call them, email them and visit a retail store with your speed test data in hand. Keep in mind that some internet plans have terms and conditions that allow for internet throttling, so you may not be able to resolve the slow connection issues from throttling.

Get connected and maximize your speeds

Once your Wi-Fi’s up and running again, you can use different strategies such as moving your router or tinkering with its settings to make your internet faster. Some of the same strategies that can reconnect your laptop to your network could also speed up your browsing, such as giving your hard drive a good sweep and updating specific programs or software.

Key takeaways for Wi-Fi connection problems

If you’re having Wi-Fi network issues, try rebooting your modem and router, resetting your Wi-Fi network and checking both your network configuration and network adapter. If you’re having device connectivity issues, restart your devices, check your network adapter and try repairing or replacing hardware and checking for viruses.

If you have an issue with your internet provider, first check if there are any internet outages in your area, then call your ISP.

Can’t connect to Wi-Fi FAQs

Why am I suddenly unable to connect to my Wi-Fi?

If you suddenly lose your Wi-Fi connection, there may have been a fast power surge or outage and your Wi-Fi device is resetting. Check the router’s power supply, too.

Chances are, if others can use the Wi-Fi, it’s your device that is having an issue connecting. For a desktop PC, laptop or phone, turn off the Wi-Fi and try to reconnect. If that doesn’t work, follow the more detailed steps above.

Your phone may be in Airplane Mode. The fastest way to fix this issue is to turn off that mode. If that doesn’t help, turn off your phone and restart.

First, check your Wi-Fi’s power supply and reset the router or gateway device. If you still cannot connect once the Wi-Fi is reset, turn off the device you are trying to use and restart it.

Camryn Smith

Written by:

Camryn Smith

Cammy is a writer with Allconnect, growing her broadband industry knowledge for over a year on the internet marketplace. Her expertise lies in home internet and broadband service with a focus on providers, plans… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

Read bio