Slow data speeds, dead spots, Wi-Fi that's AWOL -- don't replace that router yet -- first try these tips to overcome your 802.11x router headaches.
2. It's So Slow, You Can't Get Your Game On
Problem: You're trying to play a game with your kids upstairs and things are excruciatingly slow.
There can be quite a few reasons for this to happen, among them: too many game players, a crowded 2.5GHz band on your router, or even a router that isn't optimized for game playing (or even media playback).
We've already mentioned two possible solutions above: Netgear's WNHDEB111 networking kit or Linksys's WGA600N. These happen to be gaming adapters that you add to your existing network. They don't increase the overall speed of your network but they do facilitate communication between the adapters themselves which often lets you bypass the bottlenecks.
Then there are gaming routers -- devices specifically designed for gamers -- or at least there were. The advent of 802.11n routers, even in their current Draft 2.0 status, seems to have cured much of these gaming woes just by virtue of their faster speeds. D-Link still sells its GamerLounge Xtreme N Gaming Router DGL-4500, but Linksys appears to have discontinued its WRT330N Wireless-N Gigabit Gaming Router (which isn't even on its website any more.) If the kids are kicking and screaming and tossing furniture it might be time to jump on the 802.11n bandwagon or have the house wired for screaming, gametastic speed.
3. You're Locked Out
Problem: You've lost your passphrase and you can't access all of your router's feature.
Oh, are you in trouble -- but not for long, and it's not as bad as you think. If you've arrived at that point in the road where you once again need to access the internals of your router but never wrote down what your access passphrase was, relax. You can reset the device to factory defaults.
Most routers have a reset button recessed into the back of the case. It's sometimes ringed in red but often it's just an awfully small hole into which you must blindly poke a safety pin tip (or unbent small paper clip) so you can depress the recessed reset button for (typically) 3 to 5 seconds. (Don't mistake it for the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) button prominently placed, and usually labeled, on the front of your router).
The upside is that you'll now have access to your router. The downside is that any settings you may have modified will now be back to their factory defaults and you'll need to redo them. You've saved the manual that was supplied with your router so you can look up the factory default username and passphrase, right? In case you haven't, the usual combinations of usernames and passphrases are admin/password and admin/admin. (And now you realize why you should always change those values, right?)
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