Ask Giz: What To Do if Your Wi-Fi Hotspot Is Not Working

Ask Giz: What To Do if Your Wi-Fi Hotspot Is Not Working

Welcome back to Ask Giz, where we answer your questions from across the Gizmodo world.

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Today’s question comes internally from one of our writers, Lauren. She wants to know: “What do you do if your Wi-Fi hotspot isn’t working?”

A terrific question. Personally, I’ve recently gone through two NBN outages as of late, having to rely entirely on a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot via my phone plan, so it’s fun for me to overthink a chaotic scenario like this.

What to do if your Wi-Fi hotspot isn’t working

Before we start, we have to acknowledge that this is a multi-faceted question. Your hotspot “not working”, depending on the problem and the context, could be the result of several things.

The first thing to make sure you’re doing is the right thing: We’ve got a guide on how to properly set up your hotspot.

But sometimes, this isn’t so straightforward. Your devices may have trouble connecting with each other and there may be something going wrong.

Here’s what I do, and you’ll hear this a lot from people in the tech world: I turn it off and on again. I start by switching my phone’s hotspot off and on by disabling it and then reenabling it in the settings (along with the Wi-Fi). Often, turning the Wi-Fi on my computer off and on again will also work.

Additionally, make sure the device isn’t trying to reconnect to your standard internet connection, if you’re at home or in the office. This is just getting in the way.

It’s also a good idea to keep the hotspot page of your phone open while you’re trying to set up a connection, just so you can quickly access the settings and turn it off and on again readily (and check that you’re typing the right password, caps and all).

I recommend this because one of my previous iPhones had a habit of turning its hotspot off unless the hotspot settings page was open during the connection process. You may have a similar issue.

But what about if it’s only partially working? As in, what if it’s connected, but it’s slow, dropping out, or not correctly accessing the internet?

For Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-connected hotspots, you’ll need to keep your devices as close to each other as possible, so that the connection isn’t slowed by distance. If a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection isn’t working, try switching to a wired connection.

If it’s generally quite slow where you are, try moving to another part of the room, office or house. My house is covered in signal dead zones, so I have to keep my phone in quite an awkward position to get a good enough 4G signal.

If it’s slow, know that Wi-Fi hotspots are typically not that fast to begin with, compared to wired connections. 4G, of course, suffers under load, so you’ll want to limit how many internet-intensive things you have open at any given time.

Try to avoid watching online videos and streaming music while doing something important on the internet. Yes, this absolutely includes streaming things on the phone itself.

5G connections are better with this and are faster, but of course, there are fewer 5G plans in Australia and they’re usually more expensive.

Happy hotspotting

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Ask Giz is a fortnightly series where we answer your questions, be it tech, science, gadget, health or gaming related. This is a reader-involved series where we rely on Gizmodo Australia’s audience to submit questions. If you have a question for Giz, you can submit it here. Or check out the answer to our last Ask Giz: How Much Sleep Is Too Much?

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