How to See If Your Wireless Router Is Working

By Christopher Capelle

Updated September 15, 2017

See If Your Wireless Router Is Working
i Image 1: Linksys by Cisco, Images 2, 5, 6:, Images 3, 4: Chris Capelle

A wireless router is a great productivity tool, but like any other computer peripheral, it is not 100 percent reliable. Losing a wireless signal is more than a nuisance. It's a productivity killer, because so much of our workday depends on being able to access the network resources (Internet, email, servers and printers), and downtime can be bad for your company's bottom line. Fortunately, checking to see if your wireless router is working is a fairly simple, quick process that even the technically challenged can accomplish without breaking a sweat.

Wireless networks are ubiquitous these days.

Reboot your computer if you are having trouble connecting to your wireless network. A reboot will fully disconnect your computer from the network and force it to reconnect when it fully boots up. It will also help you determine whether it's the router or the computer itself that is the problem.

You can see the list of available networks in your computer's network settings.

Locate your wireless network on your computer by opening the network settings. On a Windows computer, this can be found in the System Tray (lower right-hand corner of the screen) or by going to "Start/Settings/Control Panels/Network Connections." On a Macintosh, it is found by clicking on the "Airport" icon in the upper right of the screen or in "System Preferences/Network."

Make sure that you have the correct password for your wireless network.

Open a Web page that isn't cached on your computer, click on links on that page and then refresh the page using the "refresh" button on your computer. If the links work and the pages refresh, the connection is fine. If they don't, then it could be your wireless router, or it could be your cable or DSL modem that needs to be rebooted.

When in doubt, connect your computer directly to your wireless router with an Ethernet RJ-45 cable.

Reboot your router if you can't access the signal or if the signal is weaker than it normally is. Wait for a minute, and try connecting again. If there are printers or other computers on the network, confirm that they are visible. If not, attempt connecting a wired computer to your router with an Ethernet RJ-45 cable to see if this helps.

Even smartphones depend on wireless networks.

Reboot your modem and your router if you're unable to obtain Internet connectivity or email. The preferred order of booting up is to start with the cable or DSL modem, then the router and then any computer and printers on the network. Obviously, for large networks, every user doesn't have to reboot her computer.


Make sure you have the correct password to access your wireless network. Confirm that the wireless network you're trying to access is indeed your network and not somebody else's that happens to be within range.


Don't power down the entire network or Internet connection if you're the only user who can't access the wireless network.