This guide aims to address some common WiFi related issues reported by users, as well as their potential solutions.
Please Note: We are only be able to troubleshoot issues with your PC and its respective hardware. If your issue is determined to be caused by outside hardware such as your Router, Modem, or a WiFi hotspot you may be directed to reach out to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for additional assistance. NZXT support will not be able to provide assistance with network hardware.
My PC does not have a WiFi icon.
Not all PCs will have WiFi capability out of the box, with some systems requiring an additional adapter in order to connect to wireless networks. The most common sign that your PC is WiFi capable however is the presence of WiFi antennas or the ability to connect them as shown below.
If your PC is WiFi capable, but there's no WiFi option available within Windows go ahead and try the following steps:
Power Cycling your PC
An extremely common yet overlooked situation when it comes to not being able to use a WiFi adapter is the adapter itself being stuck in an invalid hardware state. When this happens, the PC will act as if there is no device connected to the PC and Windows will not be able to properly connect to it. This can be a rather troublesome issue to identify, however this often overlooked step can resolve a large number of issues.
Shutdown your PC as you would normally, then once the PC is off you'll need to set the switch on the rear of the PC to the O position. If your PC does not have a PSU switch, simply unplug the main power cable.
Allow the PC to sit without power for 5-10 minutes, as this will allow any residual power to drain from the PC.
Once the PC has drained any remaining power, reconnect the power and start the PC again and on bootup the WiFi adapter should be available again.
Updating your WiFi Drivers
Due to an update or recent reinstall of Windows, there is a chance that your WiFi adapter drivers may not be properly installed. Typically, Windows will automatically install an appropriate driver even if it is a temporary generic one. However in some situations, a driver may not be readily available and needs to be updated.
Start by opening your Device Manager in Windows by right-clicking the Start Menu and choosing the Device Manager option.
If the device is being detected but there are no drivers, you should see an error such as the one above where the system knows it's a Wireless Adapter, but does not have a driver ready for it. If you see this error, you'll need to download the latest version of the adapter's WiFi drivers from the manufacturer's website.
Does my Motherboard support onboard WiFi?
Not all motherboards are going to include onboard WiFi support. A common practice with motherboard manufacturers is to put the word "WiFi" or a supported signal type in the name of the motherboard (i.e. "AC" or "AX" in the motherboard name). This is not always going to be the case however.
The only way to be sure is to check the motherboard model name printed on the board itself, or use a monitoring program to check the model within Windows. For example, NZXT CAM can tell you the exact model of your motherboard in the System Specs tab as shown below:
The NZXT N7 Z690 motherboard in this system does support onboard WiFi according to the product page.
Checking the WLAN AutoConfig Service
While uncommon, your system may run into an issue where the WLAN AutoConfig service has been disabled. This service is the backbone of the WiFi controls within Windows, which can cause issues if the service is stopped or missing. You can easily find this service by pressing Windows + R on your keyboard to open the Run dialog, then enter services.msc to open the Services window. From here, scroll down until you find WLAN AutoConfig and confirm that the service is running.
If the service is not set to Running, right-click the entry and choose Properties.
Make sure that Startup type is set to Automatic and click the Start button to restart the service.
If WLAN AutoConfig is missing or does not start, this could indicate that the service is missing or corrupted and will require either a factory reset or reinstall of Windows. For more information on resetting Windows, please check out our guide here:
Checking your BIOS
Note: This step only applies to motherboards with integrated WiFi. If your system does not have integrated WiFi support (i.e. users an add-in card or USB adapter), please skip this step.
In extreme cases, your system may have WiFi capabilities but the hardware may not be properly enabled in the motherboard BIOS. These settings will vary wildly from motherboard to motherboard, so it is recommended to review the User's Manual or BIOS Manual provided by the motherboard manufacturer.
For example, in the NZXT N7 B550 and B650E motherboards the settings will be located under the Advanced tab in the Onboard Devices Configuration section under the name WAN Radio which will need to be set to Enabled.
My WiFi Signal is Weak or Unstable
Once we've confirmed the WiFi adapter is being properly seen by Windows, the next thing to check is going to be our Signal Strength. Windows itself will have a simply indicator for this in the form of the WiFi icon itself. A Strong signal will be represented by a full WiFi icon with 4 "bars" while a weaker signal may have only 1 or 2 bars.
There are a few things that can have an effect on your signal:
- Missing or Improperly Connected WiFi Antennas
- Excessive distance or obstacles between the PC and Router
- Nearby Interference
Check your WiFi Antenna(s)
An often overlooked step is to check the WiFi antennas. If your system has an integrated WiFi controller or an add-in card, these will be connected to a pair of brass colored hardpoints found on the rear of your PC.
If these are not connected, this will result in a severely degraded WiFi signal which will result in sudden drops in speed, disconnects, or total loss of signal. These WiFi antennas come in one of two forms: Shark Fin (left) and Pen (right) as shown below.
If the antennas are not present, you may want to check the accessory box or bags that the PC or parts came with in order to ensure they are present. If they are lost, you can easily purchase generic versions from most online retailers.
Check your Distance
Another big factor for your WiFi signal is going to be your distance from the router, as well as any obstructions. Depending on the signal type, you can expect the following ranges from your WiFi hardware:
- 2.4 GHz - Up to 150 feet (45 meters) indoors
- 5 GHz - Up to 50 feet (15 meters) indoors
This distance however can be greatly impacted by physical obstructions between you and the router. For example, if you are living in an addition to your home with the router located in the main house, you may need to contend with thicker, more dense walls between you and the router which will greatly diminish the signal strength.
It is recommended that while testing your WiFi to be as close to the router as possible before increasing the distance. If the issue is found to be distance, you can try the following to resolve the issue:
- For 5GHz users: Try switching to a 2.4 GHz connection. While slower, 2.4GHz has greater range and can more easily penetrate thicker walls.
- Use a Wireless Repeater between the PC and the Router to improve the signal strength
- Have an additional Wireless Access Point installed closer to the PC.
- Move the router to be closer to the PC, or relocate the PC to be closer to the router.
Check for Other Devices
If you are using the PC in a room with many other devices using WiFi, this can have a major effect on your WiFi signal. WiFi operates across several network channels, which are generally automatically set by the router once a device connects.
For example, if your PC is set up in a family "gaming room" you may have 2-3 computers, a smart TV, game consoles, and even each individual member's phone connected wirelessly. If one of these devices is hopping around channels looking for a strong signal, it can potentially bump other connections off or impact their performance.
These connections don't even necessarily need to be on the same network or connected to a network at all. If you live in an apartment or use an entertainment system with wireless speakers for example, these adjacent devices may be saturating the same frequencies and channels used by your PC. For issues regarding channels, please consult your ISP or Router manufacturer.
My signal is strong, but why is my Speed low?
After confirming your signal is holding strong, the last thing to check would be the network itself. It is worth noting however that in the case of network issues it is highly recommended to reach out to your Internet Service Provider for assistance. Common reasons why your network speeds may be degraded include:
- Network Saturation - Too many devices are connected to the same resources, causing reduced speeds. This can happen for many reasons, including but not limited to:
- Shared network infrastructure - Most common in dormitories and apartment complexes that provide internet for tenants, the network will have a limited overall bandwidth that can be provided.
- Peak Hour Throttling - More common in densely populated areas, your ISP may only have a limited number of resources to serve users in your area. In these cases, during peak hours (5:00PM to 9:00PM during weekdays) you may experience reduced or degraded speeds.
- Rate Limiting - Depending on your ISP, you may only have a set allotment of high-speed access. Once exceeded, your ISP may throttle your network performance until the next billing cycle.
- Router Limitation - Your router may simply not be able to handle an additional device at full speed. If there are multiple connected devices, each device added reduces the overall performance of the network for each user.
- Packet Dropping/Packet Loss - While your connection may be strong within the network, you may be losing data between yourself and the sites or games you are connecting to. This is known as Packet Loss and can result in games or websites disconnecting randomly. This can be confirmed by doing a Packet Loss Test, however please note that these issued are generally tied to your ISP.
- When running a Packet Loss Test, we recommend running 3-4 tests across different serversfor a minimum of 60 seconds for each test. While you may experience minimal packet loss to a nearby server, further servers may experience greater packet loss.
- While small amounts of packet loss are expected, if you experience large amounts of packet loss we recommend reaching out to your ISP immediately.
- Distance to Servers - This one is more common with gaming, but if you are connecting to a server located in another country or continent you may experience higher latency or slower download and upload speeds. It is recommended if the option is available to use servers located as close as possible to your region.
- Malicious Software - Your PC could potentially be infected with a virus or malware that is taking up network resources. In these situations, it is best to save and backup any important information and reset the PC.
- For more information on resetting an NZXT BLD PC, please check out our guide linked below:
NZXT Support - How to Factory Restore your BLD PC
- For more information on resetting an NZXT BLD PC, please check out our guide linked below:
Generally for any issues where your signal is strong but your connection is slow, the issue rarely falls with the hardware on the PC and comes down to either network resources being used elsewhere (i.e. the network is congested) or there may be an ISP issue where your connection is being throttled. For these situations, it is recommended to reach out to your ISP for direct assistance.
Do you have any questions not covered by this guide or need further assistance? Please feel free to reach out to our Customer Support team and one of our friendly support agents will be there to assist you.
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