Have you tried everything that you can think of to get the Wi-Fi on your cell phone to work properly but it just won’t work? You’re not alone! This guide will go over some tips and tricks that you can try in order to get your Wi-Fi connected and working correctly once again.
Before we begin
Before we start troubleshooting the Wi-Fi connection on your cell phone or wireless network, I want to take a second to state that this guide is intended to be a reference when fixing advanced Wi-Fi problems that can occur on most types of smartphones, particularly smartphones running on the Android Operating System.
This guide is also intended to provide additional support when ALL standard troubleshooting has been exhausted and there are few options left to try when troubleshooting the smartphone itself.
If you have not read the article on How to fix the Wi-Fi on an Android smartphone then go ahead and read that article FIRST and follow every suggestion listed as it covers many tips and tricks that can get most cell phones connected to a wireless network and working properly. If you have read and done all the steps in that guide including a factory data reset and have also tried to setup a static IP address then please continue reading for some additional suggestions.
Advanced Wi-Fi troubleshooting
So you have tried all the basic approaches to try troubleshooting your smartphone and the Wi-Fi still isn’t connecting properly. Here are a few strange Wi-Fi issues that can be a real pain to try and fix when they happen to a cell phone.
I upgraded and now my Wi-Fi isn’t working
This seems to be an issue that can creep up on many types of smartphones regardless of its OS (Operating System). This is usually a software conflict on the phone itself but if you have already tried standard troubleshooting and this is the pickle that you’re in then keep reading because you’re in the right place.
When trying to connect to Wi-Fi it keeps saying “not in range”
This issue can happen after upgrading as well, and can be one of the most confusing Wi-Fi issues to have. You can hold your phone right next to the wireless modem or router and get no signal. Sometimes you can even establish a Wi-Fi connection when your right next to your router but as soon as you create a little distance between your cell phone and the wireless source your phone shows an “Out of range” or “Not in range” or “Not in range, remembered” error message. A very annoying issue that can be difficult to fix but this article has some suggestions for this issue as well.
SSID or Network Name(s) don’t appear when scanning
You scan for networks but the network you want to connect to won’t display, and of course there is no option to connect to it. There are a few things that can cause this problem, including hardware issues on the phone itself (like a damaged or malfunctioning antenna) or the wireless network might be hidden.
Wi-Fi disappears after trying to connect to it.
Your phone scans for networks, shows the network that you want to connect to, you click that network to establish the connection and low and behold the network vanishes and of course the phone doesn’t establish a connection.
These are just a few of the issues that the standard troubleshooting in the article mentioned above might not be able to fix.
This is because many of the issues described above can be the result of a problem with the wireless network and not a problem with your smartphone. The wireless network might just require a few settings changed in order for everything to function properly.
Cell phone connects to some wireless networks but not others
If the Wi-Fi on your cell phone seems to work with some wireless networks and doesn’t seem to work on others for example if your Wi-Fi works when using a public Wi-Fi or when using the Wi-Fi at your work but the phone doesn’t want to connect when trying to use the wireless network at your home, then these issues are more likely an issue with the network itself and not your cell phone. In which case you’re in the right place as the suggestions in this article can help you locate the cause and better yet the solution.
Cell phone won’t connect to Wi-Fi but other devices are working just fine
If you’re trying to connect to your home Wi-Fi and cannot establish a connection but other devices like your tablet, laptop, or even other cell phones seem to work fine then this can still be the result of a network issue and does not necessarily mean it’s an issue with the phone itself. So keep reading as this article can address this problem as well.
I just want to reemphasize that the following troubleshooting tips are suggestions that can and may get your Wi-Fi working properly. The following settings may be different on your particular wireless network or equipment and the best way to change such settings is to refer to your modem/routers owner’s manual or by contacting the manufacture of the wireless modem/router directly or by contacting your ISP (Internet Service Provider) for guidance.
I highly recommend that you write down any original setting(s) that you end up changing when troubleshooting your network so that you can revert back to those setting if a suggestion turns out to be ineffective or the problem persists. I am not responsible and will not be held accountable for any issues that might occur when manually adjusting these settings.
If problems arise you can always reset the modem or router back to default so there is little to no chance of causing anything permanent, but I just want to make it clear that you should pay attention to the settings that you change so that you can go back to the original settings should you want or need to.
Troubleshooting your Wi-Fi connection
OK now for what you came here for, the actual Wi-Fi troubleshooting! Since you have already completed the suggestions in the Wi-Fi troubleshooting guide mentioned above most of what you can do to your cell phone to get the Wi-Fi working again has been done. This means that the solution might not be phone related but network specific. So we are going to need to access your modem or router to adjust some settings.
The process to access the settings on a modem or router is typically strait forward but could vary from device to device. You might have to do a quick Google Search for your specific router and how to configure it. For example… if the network that you are trying to connect to uses a Linksys router (a pretty common brand of router) then you can do a search for “How to configure a Linksys Router” or “How to access a Linksys router” etc. You shouldn’t have too much trouble locating the method to access your wireless network settings. If you do have trouble then contact your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and they can tell you how.
Note: Before accessing your router or modem if you have not already soft reset your device then make sure to do that first. Simply remove the power cord from the wireless router/modem wait for at least 30 seconds (1-2 minutes couldn’t hurt) and then reinserted the power back into the device. Wait for your wireless router to power back on (which can take a few minutes), and then try to connect your cell phone to the network again to see if this easy trick fixes it. If you have already done this or it doesn’t work then proceed with the troubleshooting mentioned below.
Network settings to look for
Once you gain access to your network and can access and configure its settings then here is a list of things to try adjusting. Note: some routers my not have these exact settings or you might have to do some probing to find the setting that you need to change when troubleshooting.
If your network is a secured network than quadruple check the password to make sure that you are typing to proper password into your phone (which I’m hoping you had done already) and for good measure try removing the password to see if you can connect to the network when its open and not password protected.
If you can connect then reenter the passwords on your router and phone and see if it helped. If you still cannot connect then re-setup the password anyways as you don’t want to have an unsecured network when you can help it, and some other network settings might be more promising.
MAC address filtering
Check your MAC address filtering and try switching it off or to disabled. If the MAC address filtering is enabled then your network is performing an addition security feature, which is great as more checks can keep your network more secure, but this configuration has to be set up properly or it can cause these types of problems.
If your networks Wireless MAC filter is the culprit it might be why some of your wireless devices work on the network and your cell phone doesn’t. The working devices might have their MAC addresses listed as allowed connections but your phone might not be one of the allowed devices.
Your router may also have a list of addresses prevented from accessing or connecting to the wireless network. If you see an option that says something like, "Prevent listed computers from accessing the wireless network" and your cell phones MAC address is listed under that setting then remove it from that list and enjoy your working Wi-Fi.
If you check your MAC address filtering and don’t see a list of prevented devices and or have tried turning off or disabling the Wireless MAC filter feature, have rebooting your phone, and if necessary rebooted the router and have tried connecting your cell phone to the wireless network again and it’s still not working then keep reading for some other settings to check.
Change the Channel
If you live in an apartment complex, school dorm or have close neighbors then you have probably noticed multiple SSIDs (Wireless Networks) when scanning for Wi-Fi networks on your cell phone. If so then those other wireless networks might be running on the same channel as your wireless network and causing some interference.
If you are having issues involving a weak Wi-Fi signal, such as “Out of Range” or “Not in Range” error messages or your cell phone seems to be disconnecting from your Wi-Fi, then manually setting or changing the channel(s) on which your router broadcasts your Wi-Fi signal can help boost the signal and create a stronger connection.
Routers sold in the US have the option to choose from channels 1 through 11. Channel 6 is a common default channel on many US routers but channels 1, 6, and 11 are also commonly used channels as these channels have little overlap with one another. For the best signal and least interference a good general practice is to choose a channel as far away from everybody else as you can.
If the channel setting on your router is set to Automatic (which is common) then manually adjust the channel to the lowest channel (channel 1) and start working your way up (to channel 11) from there, making sure to test your phones Wi-Fi functionality for a few minutes each time you adjusting the channel and save your routers settings.
If you live outside of the United States then the channels for your router or modem may vary but the general principle is going to remain the same.
You might have to change the channel on your router a few times before finding the best frequency band for your specific cell phone or location but this is also another setting to try adjusting and can help fix many stubborn Wi-Fi issues.
Security Settings and Protocols – WEP vs. WPA
If your router or modem is still using a WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) encryption instead of the more secure WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) or the even better WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access II) encryption then not only do I recommend that you change your wireless router/modem from WEP to WPA1 or WPA2 to try to fix the Wi-Fi connection with your phone but I recommend you change it to better secure your wireless network.
WEP is an older security protocol that isn’t only outdated but not a very secure method of encryption, so changing this setting to a more current encryption type like the WPA2 encryption isn’t going to be a bad idea one way or the other.
Most current wireless routers have the ability to use multiple types of Wi-Fi technologies to improve your wireless networks speed, range, and connectivity. Some phones however, might have difficulty connecting to or staying connected to one of these technology types, depending on how your router is configured; so testing the different Network Modes that your wireless router has to offer might also help you fix your cell phones Wi-Fi connection.
These Network Modes are often listed under the routers Wireless settings and can provide many different Network Modes to choose from including Mixed, Wireless-B/G Only, Wireless-B Only, Wireless-G Only, Wireless-N Only, Disabled, etc.
Mixed is often the default mode for many wireless routers and is generally the best Network Mode to be on concerning wireless networks as it should allow the router to automatically communicate with many different devices regardless of what type of network adapter or wireless standard the device uses to connect to a wireless network.
Try modifying these settings on your router to make sure that the Network Mode isn’t the cause of your Wi-Fi problem. Make sure to “Save” the changes you make on your router after each adjustment, and to test your cell phones Wi-Fi connection whenever you change to a different Network Mode.
I suggest that you start by changing your routers Network Mode to use Wireless-B/G Only (802.11 B & G mode only) as I have seen this Network Mode solve some Wi-Fi issues, even though the Wireless-N technology is supposed to be backwards-compatible I have heard of it causing issues with some types of smartphones and their Wi-Fi connection, especially when it involves connecting to a hidden wireless network.
Connecting a cell phone to a hidden Wi-Fi
Hidden wireless networks are just that, hidden. If you are trying to connect your smartphone to a hidden Wi-Fi then that hidden wireless networks is not going to be one of the options shown when scanning for available networks. This means that that you won’t be able to simply click on the SSID (name of your network), type in the password and be good to go.
If you have a hidden network then that network is not going to show at all on your cell phone and it’s going to be as though it doesn’t exist. It is still possible to connect to a hidden Wi-Fi on your smartphone though you just need to type in the hidden networks information manually.
To manually connect to a hidden Wi-Fi you can open your phones list of available networks, scroll down to “Add network” or “Add Wi-Fi network” and then manually enter the information for your hidden wireless network and be good to go.
Just make sure to enter the networks information exactly like its setup on the wireless router/modem. Every piece of information must match. The password and SSID are both case sensitive so if your phone capitalizes the first letter of the network name but the networks SSID starts with a lower case letter then chances are the phone wont connect properly. So if your phone won’t connect to a hidden Wi-Fi then double check the information entered as one simple typo or upper/lower case letter can be the cause of your problem.
As far as hidden networks go however… many people, including myself, recommend that the average person should leave their SSID broadcast set to On as hiding your network doesn’t always mean added security, and a hidden network can cause issues with your network connections and be a real headache later on down the road. In some cases, even after correctly entering all the hidden networks information into the phone some devices can still have problems connecting and working properly.
One of the best ways to keep your network working properly while at the same time remaining secure is to simply utilize the best encryption method available (WPA/WPA2) and of course to setup and use a strong password.
Clean up all the settings
If you have tried adjusting the settings mentioned above and STILL cannot establish a connection to your wireless network or get internet access on your cell phone then there might be a setting on the device that has been overlooked and as a last resort I recommend that you perform a hard reset on the router/modem itself which will put all of its settings back to factory default.
The method(s) used to reset a router is going to differ from device to device but most routers have an actual reset button (usually located on the back or rear of the device) which you can press down with a paperclip or pen tip for 30 seconds which will force it to reset, reboot, and be back to factory default and its original settings.
If you cannot locate a reset button on your device, which is extremely uncommon, then do an online search for your specific brand and model of router and you shouldn’t have too much trouble locating its hard reset instructions.
Some routers (especially Linksys routers) also have an option to “Restore Factory Defaults” under their Menu settings which will work as well.
Wi-Fi issue with the cell phone itself
If you have tried all of these steps and your cell phone still refuses to establish a data connection on any wireless network then the issue lies on the phone itself, most likely a malfunctioning or damaged piece of hardware and if you need Wi-Fi on your cell phone then you are going to have to look into these other options which include replacing or repairing the unit.
If you have tried troubleshooting your phone and have made no progress in getting it to connect or stay connected to your wireless network properly then the fault may not lay with the phone but could be an issue with the wireless network itself. To help rule out your wireless network as the culprit you should…
- Check your networks password – making sure that it matches the password you are entering in your cell phone.
- Try different wireless channels – try changing the channels of your router under its wireless settings.
- Use updated encryption methods – check to make sure that your router is using the best settings to utilize a stronger security encryption such as WPA or WPA2 as opposed to an older standard such as WEP encryption.
- Try changing the network mode(s) – changing from the usual “Mixed” setting to other options available such as the “Wireless-B/G Only” setting.
- Reset router/modem – as a last resort you can set the router back to factory defaults to make sure that it isn’t a bad setting on the router that’s causing these Wi-Fi problems with your cell phone.
- Verify it's a hardware issue – after exhausting all of the troubleshooting steps listed above, troubleshooting both the phones software and network settings, if the phone is still having issues connecting or staying connected to a wireless network then it’s likely a hardware issue on the phone itself and the phone is going to need to be sent in for repair or replaced.
Thank you for reading
I hope that this advanced troubleshooting guide has helped you to locate and correct the Wi-Fi issue on your phone or network. If you are still having problems then make sure to look into your other options available to at the very least get into a phone that’s working correctly.
If this guide has helped you in any way, shape, or form then let me know that you liked it by pressing the Facebook Like button, Google + button or sharing this page through any of the other social networking sites shown at the end of this article. Feel free to also leave a friendly remark in the comment section below.
If you have used another method to fix the Wi-Fi on your cell phone that was not mentioned in the network troubleshooting article above or the phone specific troubleshooting article linked to at the beginning of this piece of writing then please let me know what steps you took to resolve your issue in the comments section below. Your advice or suggestion might help others fix whatever Wi-Fi problem that they might be experiencing on their cell phones.
Before leaving a comment
I welcome all friendly, well written, legible, and thought out comments or questions that you might have about your cell phone BUT before posting a question about your phone or wireless network often the best place to start getting answers to those types of questions is by referring to your devices owner’s manual, contacting your devices manufacture, or referring to and using your favorite online search engine.
It would be impossible for me to keep up or even respond to every question about how to access the settings on specific types of routers or modems or smartphones. If you need help accessing your networks router or locating or adjusting one of the settings mentioned in this article then I recommend performing a search online for that specific information as opposed to asking for it in the comment section below. I do not know every setting of every router ever made and answering network questions is not my specialty and certainly not the focus of this site and you will probably receive a faster and better answer about specific network questions on another website that specializes in wireless networking.
That being said I look forward to your comments, and if you do have a question make sure to provide as much information as you can in order for me to assist you properly. Including the type of phone you have and the network devices you are trying to connect to. The more information you provide the more likely it will be that I can assist you in resolving your issue.
Thanks again for reading, have a fantastic day and enjoy your Wi-Fi connection.