Tag Archives: router

I’m Having Network Issues!

Here is some general advice on figuring out why your devices aren’t working well at home – in no particular order.

One of the first things to do is to check your connection with the outside world. A handy website:
Anytime your connection seems wonky, fire up a web browser, surf to this site, and click the go button. After the test, you’ll have three numbers:

PING measures how long it takes a “Are you there?” message to travel between your machine and a distant server. A longer PING time, or much slower upload/download speeds than normal, indicates a problem with your connection to the outside world.

If there is a problem – the only thing YOU have control over is your router. Try rebooting it [turn it on/off – sometimes the only way is to unplug it.]  The router plugs into the Cox cable connection .

Other things to try:

The iPad reboot dance: http://tech2.mountdesales.net/?p=800. It really IS important to swipe out of running apps.

Make sure you have room on your iPad. Details are here –> http://tech2.mountdesales.net/?p=916

If you have an OS update pending, get it installed. It is generally best to start the update at night – some of these can take a good long while.

When things aren’t working well, check network connectivity with multiple devices. If only one device is wonky, then you know it’s the device. If all of them, then you know it’s either the router, the connection, or the problem is upstream from you.

Cox Support has an automated tool you can access – call up the tech support number, select cox internet, residential… and somewhere in that phone tree is an option to automatically test the line. That’s a good way to test your connection as well – can the Cox network see your router?

In terms of wireless setup, there are some other things to note:

  • These are changes that would be made on your wireless router. How you get into these settings will change from router to router, and I cannot help you there. You can look up online how to access settings for your particular model router, though.
  • If your  wireless settings have both 2.4GHz and 5 GHz radios, try turning the 2.4Ghz band OFF unless you have an older device in the house that ONLY has that type of radio. [Robot vacuums, for example – or really old iPads].
  • There might be some places in the router where you can look for an open channel – you want your router to transmit on a channel that no one nearby is using. Interference from a neighbor can cause all sorts of network wonkiness.
  • Elevate your router – keep it off the floor, if that’s possible. 

“Can I block site XYZ at the house?”


The iPad Guy has had several parents ask if such-and-such a site can blocked at home for the iPads.

That is indeed doable, but only on the network at the house. It is not something the school can do for you.

You need a wireless router that includes a feature that is usually called “parental controls” or similar. [Here’s an Amazon Link]. Usually the network cable that comes from the wall plugs into a cable modem [or other box provided by your service provider], and then the wireless router plugs into the network jack on that box.

You’ll have some configuring to do – the routers all work somewhat differently. I suggest doing a Web Search for your router model plus “how setup parental controls”. [LIKE THIS, for example].

As an example, here is a detailed document that steps you through setting up Parental Controls on a TP-Link Archer router:  https://www.tp-link.com/us/support/faq/1155/

Some families would find it useful – especially if there is a home business involved – to have TWO wireless networks available – one for family, one for business, for example. Some wireless routers have that capability – some others can have a “guest” network that you can password protect that could be used for that purpose as well.

A last word about costs:

These kind of features are NOT found on the less expensive routers. You will probably pay over $100 for that feature set.

…and please use a good quality surge protector on the router – NOT a $10 one. You are protecting a critical part of your network, so it is worth spending more to make sure the thing KEEPS working!

Here is another option:

Another options is to use OpenDNS [ https://signup.opendns.com/homefree/ ] on your network. Start with the free account, and then upgrade to the paid one if necessary.
Here is why this looks promising:
  • With over 50 customizable filtering categories, OpenDNS Web content filtering keeps parents in control of what websites children visit at home.
  • OpenDNS blocks phishing websites that try to steal your identity and login information by pretending to be a legitimate website. Surf the Web with confidence.
This will require changing some network settings to use them for DNS [think of it as an internet phonebook]. Do a web search for your router model and how set DNS” – you can often find detailed directions there.