Many home network problems can be solved by switching your equipment off and back on again. This has become something of a cliché among IT support staff, but it actually has a large degree of truth. The best way to do this is to switch off, and even unplug, your computers and all networking equipment. You should then switch them back on, at 30 second intervals, in the following order: cable modem (if you have one), router, computers using wireless connection, and finally computers using wired connection.
One of the main home network problems that can be solved by this method are a conflict between IP addresses. This is a result of the way a router assigns identification numbers to each computer on the network so that it can handle and route data appropriately, particularly to and from the Internet. As computers are connected and disconnected over time, there can be a mix-up which leaves two different machines using the same IP address. This can effectively block communication to one machine as the router automatically sends all data to the other machine regardless of its intended destination.
It is also worth checking on physical connections with a network. Loose sockets and frayed wires can cause communication problems with a wired network. Wireless home network problems can come from a machine being too far away from the router to pick up a signal. If there are intermittent problems, check whether a cordless telephone or a microwave could be causing interference. You can also try altering the settings on your router to use a different wireless channel, which may prevent your signal strength being diminished when neighbors are using their own wireless networks.
You may find that a firewall is causing home network problems. If you are using an extra firewall beyond that provided with your operating system, check whether it may be causing a conflict and whether you need to alter the settings on the operating system. Check also that you have correctly chosen any setting options on your third-party firewall which cover networks.
If you have home network problems which can’t be solved by any other method, try setting up the networks from scratch through your operating system. This may help overcome any problems that have been caused by changes to your machines since the network was first set-up. When using this technique, don’t be afraid to carry out each step meticulously and carefully, no matter how simple or obvious it is.