How to Fix a Problem With a Wireless Adapter or Access Point

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We recommend you simply unplug your router for a minute and reset your device. But, failing that, this guide will show you how to fix a problem with a wireless adapter or access point from a Windows device. Read on to find a solution that works.

What Is a Wireless Adapter or Access Point

A wireless adapter connects your computer to any wireless network, like Wi-Fi. A built-in adapter in your laptop or some desktop motherboards allows wireless connectivity. If you are using a PC that doesn’t have a built-in adapter, you will need to get a USB wireless adapter, which will help you get wireless access to the internet.

An access point device uses a LAN cable to connect to the router that transmits the WI-Fi signals. Using an access point, you can quickly connect to the internet through one network over a distance.

Why Your Wireless Network Adapter Is Experiencing Problems

Your computer uses a combination of hardware and software to connect to the internet. Identifying the exact origin of an internet-related problem on your computer can be challenging as many factors come into play.

You will need to identify the potential causes for this type of error in connectivity through a thorough elimination procedure where you try out many solutions to find one that works. They typically involve either an issue with how your OS interacts with your access point or issues with how your access point makes the network available to a client device, such as a Windows device.

The most common problems start on the desktop’s Windows side of your connection. They can be caused by anything from software that doesn’t properly understand the connection to hardware, such as a wireless card that’s not correctly active. There are usually fewer issues with the access point because an access point is simpler than a desktop computer. However,  there might still be an issue, like the network connection not being transmitted properly.

How to Fix a Problem With a Wireless Adapter or Access Point

The worst part about troubleshooting the wireless network adapter is experiencing problems is that the message doesn’t specify the origin of the problem. This means you can’t be sure whether the problem occurred due to a driver error, an issue with the Wi-Fi router, or any other error.

Here are a few steps to fix the problem with a wireless adapter or access point. These steps range from easy to hard, hopefully one of the quick an easy solutions works for you.

Restart the Wireless Router and Your Computer

The first thing to do when facing a network connection issue is to restart the device. Temporary bugs in the operating system can be easily fixed with a restart. This can often happen if you install new software or update the operating system. However, if that’s not the case, the issue might be related to a temporary error in the wireless router.

Switch off the router or pull the plug out. Make sure to wait for around half a minute before you plug in your router again, as some wireless routers use capacitors to prevent connection failure due to power loss.

Forget and Reconnect to the Network

If you recently changed the wireless router settings, you may face a problem with the wireless adapter or access point in Windows 10 or 11. You can easily fix this by forgetting the network settings and reconnecting to the network.

Forget the network

To do this, click on the Wi-Fi icon on the taskbar. This will open the Wi-Fi menu towards the bottom right. Right-click on the network you wish to forget, which will show a popup menu. Click on the Forget option there. To reconnect, reopen the Wi-Fi network menu and click on the network name. You will be prompted to enter the Wi-Fi password here. Type in the password and click Connect.

If you forget the password to the Wi-Fi network, you can easily recover the password using our guide on how to find a Wi-Fi password on an iPhone.

Use a Wired Connection

Using a wired connection on a laptop can often defeat the purpose as you have to sit in a place with an ethernet connection. However, connect your laptop or pc to the router using a wired connection for troubleshooting. If the connection works fine using a wire, your issue exists with the router or the PC.

Until we find a suitable alternative, we suggest you have that LAN wire near you because some solutions we discuss will require an internet connection. If you are still unable to access the internet while plugged in, there is likely a problem with the router or ISP.

Read also: Ethernet Cable Connected But No Internet

Update the Drivers for the Wireless Device

Often, problems with wireless adapters originate due to faulty drivers. The wireless drivers can often be corrupted due to a recent update or incompatibility with other recently installed drivers. We recommend uninstalling the drivers and performing a clean install. Here is how to do this:

Open the device manager
  1. Right-click on the Windows start menu icon, press the Windows + X keyboard shortcut, and click the Device Manager option.
  2. Click on the Network adapters option in the device manager to expand it. Here, locate the wireless adapter in your pc.
  3. Right-click on the wireless adapter’s name to open a small menu, then click on the Uninstall device option. It will then show up as an unknown device.
How to Fix a Problem With a Wireless Adapter or Access Point by updating a driver
  1. Right-click on it and select the Update driver option. A window will open in the middle of the screen where you can select between an automatic update or a manual one.
Search for new drivers
  1. Select the Search automatically for drivers option, prompting Windows to find a suitable driver for the device. After the installation, click the Close button to close the window.
  2. Open the start menu and click on the Power button. Select the Restart option, and your computer will apply the changes and restart.

When your computer restarts, reconnect to the network to see if the issue has been resolved.

Related Reading: How to Mirror iPhone to TV With or Without Wi-Fi [3 Ways]

Disable Any VPN

Your computer transports data across the internet using the VPN like a tunnel. It creates a safe connection that saves your private information from being compromised. However, issues could occur if you link to a network using an access point because the IP address keeps changing.

Simply turning off the VPN may not fix the network adapter issues. If the issue persists, uninstall the VPN software entirely. If your browser has connectivity issues but other apps are working fine, ensure you’re not using a browser VPN extension.

Remove Your Antivirus Software

Even though Windows Defender is a great tool for protecting your pc against viruses, most people still use third-party antivirus software to protect their computers. Some antivirus software can disrupt the wireless connection resulting in a problem with the wireless adapter.

You can disable or uninstall any third-party antivirus software from your computer to resolve this problem. A lot of users have claimed that McAfee has often caused this issue. You can switch to an alternative antivirus if that’s the root of the problem.

Disable the IP Helper Service

The IP Helper service built into Windows can help you retrieve any information about your computer’s local network configurations and modify it. However, if the data you modify about the computer’s local network configurations is incorrect, you may face an issue with your access point or wireless adapter. This is why disabling the IP helper may help in fixing the wireless network adapter experiencing problems.

Here is how to disable the IP Helper service in Windows 10 and 11:

  1. To open Run, press the Windows + R keys on your keyboard.
Type services.msc
  1. Type in services.msc and click on the Enter key.
  2. Look for the IP Helper option and right-click to show a dropdown menu.
Open the properties of IP helper
  1. Here, click on the Properties button.
  2. Click on the Stop option under Service Status.
Change the drop down menu to Manual
  1. Now you can check your internet connection to see if it fixed the issue. If it does, disable the IP Helper from starting up by choosing the Manual option under the Startup type option in the IP Helper Properties menu.

Reset the Wireless Router

Problems with wireless access points can occur due to the improper configuration of the router. This problem can be easily fixed by simply resetting the router.

Press and hold the button on the back of the router to reset it, or go to the settings and click on the Reset option. However, before resetting it, ensure you have saved and exported the configuration, so you do not have to replace it manually. If you are still unsure how to reset your router, take a look at the router’s manual.

We recommend checking the Best Modem Router Combos if you are looking for a new one.

Contact Your Internet Service Provider

If you cannot solve this issue, contact your Internet service provider, as ISPs will be far more knowledgeable about the state of the network. The ISP can help troubleshooting wireless access points thanks to its extensive resources. If your ISP detects an issue with the router, they can also send one of their technicians to investigate router or access point issues.

The router can often refuse new connections if too many devices are on the same network. However, before you contact your ISP, we recommend connecting to the network using another device, such as your smartphone. You can check the connected devices by following our guide on how can I see what devices are connected to my network?

If the issue persists on other devices and resetting the router doesn’t fix the issue, then you should contact your ISP.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do I Get an Error Message From My Wireless Printer?

If you get an error message on the printer’s status, “Printer in error state,” there might be an issue with the printer. Ensure your printer is powered on and connected by Wi-Fi or a cable on your PC. Make sure it does not have issues like low ink or paper. Also, ensure the paper is not jammed and the cover is closed.

What Does Wireless Adapter or Access Point Mean?

An access point device using a LAN cable connects to a router that transmits the WI-Fi signals. Using an access point, you can connect to the internet through any network over a long distance. The wireless adapter connects your computer to any wireless network, such as Wi-Fi. The adapter that is built into your laptop allows wireless connectivity.

How Can I Fix the Problem With Wireless Adapter or Access Point?

There are some possible ways you can fix problems with your access point or wireless adapter. You can try disabling your VPN, updating the drivers, removing antivirus software, or disabling the IP Helper service. You can also try restarting or resetting your wireless router. If none of these possible solutions fixes the problem, you should contact your internet service provider for guidance.

Why Is My Laptop Not Detecting WI-FI?

Usually, problems with wireless adapters originate from faulty drivers. To update the drivers, head to the Device Manager and click on the Network Adapters option. Locate the wireless adapter on your PC and right-click on the wireless adapter’s name to open a small menu. Here, click on the Update driver option. Select the Search automatically for drivers option, prompting Windows to find a suitable driver for the device. After you are done with the installation, click the Close button to close the window and restart your computer to apply the changes.

Boost Your Productivity

Losing internet, even temporarily, can negatively impact your productivity. Make back some of the time your lost fixing your internet by completing a productivity course on Udemy.

Wrapping Up

You should now know how to fix a problem with a wireless router or access point. Unfortunately, there’s no single way to perform the fix. Let us know in the comments which fix worked for you.

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