Usually it's when you're trying to frantically connect to a WiFi network that you run into issues. Got an email to send? A burning message to fire across for work purposes? Yep, you can almost guarantee that these are times your network will decide to go rogue.
So, let's take a look at 6 ways that you can diagnose, fix and even prevent issues with your network not showing where it should be on your devices' WiFi list.
6 ways to diagnose and fix your network is not showing in your WiFi List
1. Ensure that the driver is updated as a priority
Wait… that's a thing?!? Yes, if you're not seeing your WiFi housed in its usual place within your preferred network list, then it may be time for an update.
Here's a really handy guide on updating your Wifi driver manually: http://support.connectify.me/article/354-how-to-update-your-wireless-wifi-driver
2. Your device (phone, laptop etc) may be out of the range of the router
So, what's the average range of a router? As in, how far away do you need to be for it to actually become an issue?
The average range of a modern router is 250 feet. Ranges haven't stayed relatively the same over the years across standard models, so while it's definitely worth checking, you shouldn't be worrying if your router is an older one (sub 5 years)… it's not like any over 5 years old lose signal strength dramatically, or for whatever reason start to lose range.
If this was the case, you'd have to be replacing your router periodically, and it's simply not required for what is often a relatively simple connectivity issue.
Having said that, if you're sat outside on a mobile device trying to connect within your house, then it's normal to have a slow connection, or struggle to even see your network showing on its usual list. It can often simply be a range issue, so if you're aware that you're much further away from your router than usual (e.g. in the car or in the garden), then switching to 5g on enabled devices is best option until you're back in range.
Consider an extender if you're having ongoing range issues.
3. Try to manually connect to the network
Older devices such as tablets and laptops, particularly those with outdated software (and especially those with outdated drivers) may ‘drop' your go-to network due to storage and memory issues.
Before you send your laptop to the tech graveyard, simply head to your standard network connections list to see if the WiFi name is there, but just unconnected.
4. Check for potential device malware of viruses
This can actually happen, even if it is a particularly nasty virus that would cause something like this. Giving the advice of ‘get antivirus software' is too late at this point, so you need to work backwards to ascertain what has actually infiltrated your device, how is it causing connectivity issues from your router to your WiFi name itself, and how can it be resolved.
Here's a really awesome video which walks you through this process:
5. Is there something in the way?
It's surprising how often older homes can run into connectivity issues with routers simply due to them being built like a fortress. For example, thick brick and cinderblocks are prone much more to connectivity issues than newer homes with thinner plywood, so if you know your home is an older one that is built like a tank, then you may need to reconsider the placement of your router within it.
6. It may sound obvious, but check that your router is actually turned on!
I know, this sounds way too obvious to even be on the list. And perhaps I should've put it first… But, as ridiculous as it sounds, I'll hold my hands up to having fallen victim to this more than once. So, before you hop on the phone to your network provider, head on over to the plug or extension cable… is everything turned on like it should be?
This was a quick guide to run you through some of the very common issue that many of us often encounter where our usually stable network name otherwise disappears from its list. If you find it helpful, you may also enjoy some more router-related troubleshooting content: