It’s 10:30 pm and you’ve been burning your brain to ashes drinking gallons of coffee for hours to try to submit your super-late assignment before it’s due at midnight. After the final review, you still have 5 minutes left to upload it, and as soon as you click the ‘’submit’’ button there’s something wrong. The screen freezes, the uploading process won’t complete and that’s when you finally see the most annoying message you could ever see: "NO INTERNET CONNECTION." Now you’re stuck without any connection to the outside world with an unsubmitted assignment.
After seeing this message most of us would unplug the router from the wall, wait a few torturing seconds, plug it back and, like magic, the internet is fully functioning again.
Why does this happen?
This is one of the questions I hear the most when talking about network infrastructure, and this problem can occur for many different reasons.
First of all, just like normal computers, routers have their own mainboard, CPU, memory and even operating system that all work together to send data to the right places. Nowadays, residential internet connections typically use Dynamic IP addresses, which are like street addresses assigned to our home connections by the internet service provider (ISP), that change periodically. If a router is connected to too many different devices and is sending/receiving tons of packages at the time the ISP sends a new IP address, it might not latch to the new address and lose its connection.
Also, it’s very common to find routers and modems forgotten somewhere in a corner of our houses, but they need to be placed in ventilated areas so they can “breathe” as much as possible, in order to prevent overheating-- another very popular reason for connection loss.
But not all internet drops are related to a router malfunction: the wave space might get really crowded, especially on a common 2.4Ghz band, which is the same frequency used by microwaves, cordless phones, and close-by routers. All these waves coming from external devices can create a communication interferences called "noise." In order to know if this is your problem, you can download an app called “Wi-Fi Analyzer,” check your nearby connections, and try to change your router’s channel to the emptiest one.
So, if you’ve already tried changing your device’s channel, confirmed it’s running cool and the millenary technique of turning it off and on again, but your Wi-Fi keeps on dropping, you may have to check if there’s a firmware update for your router.
Finally, with all these tips in mind, you will significantly reduce the odds of being frustrated the next time you try to upload your assignment right before it’s due.