Mobility

Troubleshoot Wi-Fi connections on your Android phone

Wi-Fi connections can make using an Android phone a more robust experience. If those wireless connections aren't working, here are some Wi-Fi troubleshooting tips for users with Android phones.

When you need to connect to a wireless network from your Android phone, you can usually open the settings, select the network, and you're off and running. In the rare instances when wireless doesn't cooperate, there are tricks you can use to troubleshoot the issue. These Wi-Fi troubleshooting tips are listed in order of the simplest to the most complicated fix.

Power off

The first thing you should try is to power off your Android phone, remove the battery, leave the battery out for about 30 seconds, replace the battery, and power the phone back on.

Power-cycle wireless

My phone has retained a previous IP address from another wireless connection before and applied it to the current wireless. That's fine if the address scheme is the same and there is no address conflict, but that is not usually the case. You can try turning off wireless and then turning it back on by following these steps:

1. Tap the Menu button on your handset.

2. Tap Settings.

3. Tap Wireless and Network from within the Settings menu.

4. Tap Wi-Fi settings from the Wireless and Network menu.

5. In the new screen, uncheck Wi-Fi to turn it off.

6. After Wi-Fi is turned off, tap the entry again to turn it back on.

Forget the network

If the previous method does not work, you might need to have your Android device forget the network and then re-add it. Here's the catch: Your Android device cannot forget a wireless network that is within range, so you will need to get out of range of the network and then do the following:

1. Long press the listed network you want to forget.

2. Tap Forget Network.

3. Get back within range and wait for the network to automatically show up.

4. Enter the network password to join.

Your Android phone should have a new address and be working as you would expect.

Check the wireless password

Wireless passwords (hopefully) change from time to time, but when they do, your phone can't automatically update. In order to manually change your wireless password, follow these steps:

1. Be out of range of the network in question.

2. Long press the wireless network you need to configure.

3. Tap Change Network Settings.

4. Enter the new password in the resulting screen (Figure A).

5. Check the Show Password box. (I always like to check the Show Password box to make sure I am entering the correct password in my mobile device.)

6. Tap Save when you know the password is correct.

Figure A

This screen will also indicate the type of security used on your network. Make sure that matches what you believe to be the correct type of security; if it does not, you might need to have Android forget this network and re-add it.

Advanced Wi-Fi settings

If none of the previous solutions worked, you might have to dig a little deeper into the Wi-Fi settings on your Android phone. To get to the Advanced Settings window, follow these steps:

1. Tap the Menu button on your handset.

2. Tap Settings.

3. Tap Wireless and Networks.

4. Tap Wi-Fi settings.

5. Tap the Menu button again.

6. Tap Advanced (Figure B).

7. Tap the Proxy setting and make sure your Android device is not set up for a Proxy. (Unless the Wi-Fi network you are on requires a Proxy, this setting will get in the way of your device's access to the Internet.) If you tap on Proxy and see an IP address or domain, delete it.

Figure B

Most likely the Proxy and Port settings will not be set, but it's always good to check if you're having frequent issues with Wi-Fi.

Static IP address

Another troubleshooting approach is to give your Android device a static IP address. This could reveal if the router you are trying to connect to is having issues with handing out DHCP addresses, or if your device is getting a bad address. To configure a static IP, tap Use Static IP and then fill in the settings (IP Address, Gateway, Netmask, DNS).

The only issue with setting up a static IP is that address will apply to all wireless networks, so only use this for troubleshooting if you just connect to one Wi-Fi network.

Wi-Fi sleep policy

If you are having persistent Wi-Fi issues, you can set the Wi-Fi sleep policy to Never and see if your issues stop. With this policy set to Never, it will drain your battery faster, but it will also keep your Wi-Fi connected on a more consistent basis.

Summary

I hope these troubleshooting tips help you get through your Wi-Fi headaches. If all else fails on one Wi-Fi network, you should try another network so you know for sure that the issue isn't the wireless router.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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