There’s been quite a bit of talk lately about WiFi connectivity issues on the iPhone and iPad Mini. A lot of people who received either an iPhone 5 or iPad Mini for Christmas have been frustrated due to the fact that their device won’t connect, or stay connected, to their WiFi network. Up to this point, I’ve talked quite a bit about trouble shooting your iPhone 5 or iPad Mini WiFi problems.
But what if the problem you are having isn’t necessarily with your iPhone or iPad? What if the problem is actually found in your wireless router? Some people have been telling me that simply resetting their wireless router or updating their wireless router has been enough to solve to their WiFi connectivity issues with their device.
Here’s a few things you can do with your wireless router to help fix your WiFi connectivity problems with your iPhone 5 or iPad Mini. In fact, these steps can be applied to if you are having problems with any of your wireless devices – any iPhone or iPad, iPod Touch, Android device, Kindle, Kindle Fire, etc…
Resetting your wireless router
One of the first things I recommend when people are having trouble with their WiFi connectivity is simply reset their wireless router. There are really two levels to resetting your wireless router – one is mild, and the other is a bit more aggressive.
Mild reset: what I’m calling a “mild reset” consists of simply unplugging your wireless router so that it powers down completely, waiting about 15 seconds and then plugging the wireless router back in. Yeah, I know it sounds elementary, but simply rebooting your wireless router is sometimes enough to refresh your IP address lease and get your iPhone or iPad connected to your WiFi.
Along with mildly resetting your wireless router, you mine as well go ahead and power off your modem (the source of your internet connection), wait about a minute or so, and then turn on your modem back on. Sometimes the combination of power cycling both your modem and wireless router does the trick.
Once you’ve done a mild reset of both your wireless router and modem, go ahead and attempt connecting your iPhone or iPad to your WiFi network.
Aggressive reset: if the mild reset doesn’t work, then you can get a lot more aggressive by doing a hard reset of your wireless router. A hard reset consists of taking your wireless router, and all of its settings, back to factory default. Doing a hard reset will remove any security settings you have, all DNS settings, etc… it will be as if you just took the wireless router of the box for the first time.
Most wireless routers have a physical reset button tucked away on the back of the wireless router or underneath. It’s sometimes hard to find, and this is on purpose – resetting your wireless network is not something you want to be doing on a regular basis. So depending on the wireless router you have, look on the back of your unit or underneath.
Once you find the reset button, you might need an ink pen or something similar to press and hold the reset button. But go ahead and press the rest button > hold for about 15 seconds until you see all the lights flicker on your wireless router > then release the reset button. Now wait a few minutes until your wireless router completely recycles and comes back on. You’ll know it’s finished when all of the lights on your wireless router have settled on and everything appears to be normal again on your wireless router. Again, things will vary a bit depending on the specific wireless router you have.
Doing a hard reboot also removes all of your security settings. So if you need security enabled, you’ll to go back in and setup security but make sure you read about the WPA, WPA2, and WEP security settings below before setting it up.
Resetting your wireless network on your iPhone & iPad (or other devices)
Once you’ve completed what I’m calling the aggressive reset, it’s usually best to refresh the network settings on your iPhone or iPad as well. This is easily done by using the “Forget this Network” setting on your iPhone or iPad – you can watch a video on how to do to this here (forgetting network part starts around the 1:45 mark).
WPA, WPA2, and WEP Security Settings
Now let’s get to the meat of what I’ve been wanting to share with you about troubleshooting your WiFi problems on your iPhone or iPad. And it has to do with the security settings of your wireless router. I’m not going to go into the history and details of each, I just want to show you what settings are best to use, and how they can impact the performance of your WiFi connectivity on your iPhone or iPad.
On almost every commercial grade wireless router there are security settings called WEP, WPA, and WPA2. The oldest, most outdated setting is the WEP setting. The newer, more robust settings are the WPA and WPA2 options. Apple has even gone on record recommending that iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users go with WPA or WPA2 to ensure the best WiFi performance for their device.
Again, each wireless router will be different as to how you go about doing this, but you basically need to get logged into the administrative dashboard of your wireless router (typically by entering 192.168.1.1 in the address bar of your web browser), and then finding the security settings in your wireless router. Once you find the security settings, you should then see the options to chose either WEP, WPA, or WPA2.
You want to chose either WPA or WPA2 and forget about WEP. Again, WEP is the outdated setting which can dramatically impact the WiFi connectivity of modern devices such as iPhone, iPad, and iPad Mini. The difference between WPA and WPA2 is, in my opinion, nominal. Some people claim that WPA2 is has drivers that are too advanced for some networks which may cause a drag on WiFi speed. So to start with, I would go with WPA and then test out your WiFi speeds. Then go back in and bump up to WPA2 and see if there’s a difference.
You can test out the speed of your WiFi connection on your iPhone, iPad, iPhone Mini and all wireless devices with the SpeedTest App which is free in the app store.
Post your questions, comments, results, and feedback in the comment section below – I’d be more than happy to continue helping you with your WiFi connectivity issues.