This can present a tricky home networking problem, where you normally connect to your router with Wi-Fi, which then provides the connection necessary to access your router settings, but for some reason it’s not working. Perhaps there just is no Wi-Fi network available at all to connect to (the router isn’t broadcasting it or the Wi-Fi card in the router/device is broken), or the signal is just weak or unusable.
We’ve covered elsewhere how you DON’T need to be fully connected to the internet to access your router configuration, but you DO need to at least be connected to your router either via cable or Wi-Fi. If the Wi-Fi option seems to be unavailable or broken, then what do you do?
It’s not always the end of the world if this happens – there are some things you can do to try and fix or refresh the Wi-Fi network, or failing that, there are ways you can connect most devices to your router with a LAN/ethernet cable, which also allows you to access the router settings (you don’t need to use Wi-Fi – it’s only one of the two main ways you can log into you router configuration panel).
Let’s cover all the possible solutions below.
Quick Steps To Improve/Fix Wi-Fi Connection
If you’re absolutely sure the Wi-Fi connection is completely broken or dead, you can skip to the next sections. However, if it’s merely a weak or inconsistent signal that’s making it harder to connect to the router settings, you can try a couple of things to improve it:
- Move closer to the router to see if the signal improves.
- Reset your device and router to try and refresh the connection.
- Some routers may have a Wi-Fi/WLAN switch that you need to actually toggle on to enable the wireless network. Same for some older laptops as well.
Connecting With An Ethernet Cable (Desktop Devices)
If you have a desktop device (PC/laptop/most netbooks) that already has an ethernet port, you’ve already got an easy alternative way of connecting to your router settings without even needing to use Wi-Fi.
Here are the steps:
1. Plug one end of an ethernet/LAN cable into your device:
2. Plug the other end into any of the 4 LAN ports on the back of your router (don’t use the different colored WAN port):
3. You’ve now established a connection to your router, and can access the settings as normal – type the router login URL (eg. 192.168.0.1) into any browser address bar, plus the login username/password found on the router label, and you should be inside the router configuration (see here if stuck on this step):
And it’s really that simple. If your device already has ethernet capability, it’s no big deal if the Wi-Fi is broken; you can just connect to your router by cable instead.
Connecting Indirectly With An Ethernet Adapter (Smaller Portable Devices)
It is true however, that not all devices even have an ethernet port that you can connect a LAN cable up to. More specifically, it’s the smaller devices like phones and tablets that don’t have this function, so what do you do then?
If you really need to access the router settings, and don’t have an ethernet capable device to hand like a laptop, then there are still ways to create an indirect ethernet connection to the router, using a Micro USB to Ethernet Adapter, of which loads of available online (affiliate links to Amazon):
- USB-C to Ethernet Adapter – Best-selling Benfei adapter here on Amazon. Has symmetrical USB-C connection. Wide ranging compatibility (including Macbook, Chromebook, some Samsung models).
- Micro-USB to Ethernet Adapter – OTG model here on Amazon. Has the Micro or “B” style port, not symmetrical, more limited Android compatibility.
Be sure to get the right USB connector for your device (it’s mostly going to be C for the smaller micro USB port on most newer phones/tablets). Sometimes it might the Micro-USB instead, especially for older Samsung models, but check device compatibility in the product description very carefully before purchase.
Here’s a quick differentiation of the types (see here for a more detailed guide):
- USB-C – The one that works with most newer phones and tablets. Has a symmetrical shape so it can go into the phone’s port either way round.
- Micro-USB – A very similar smaller connection mostly for Samsung phones, but is NOT symmetrical and bends round in more of a U shape – has to go into the phone’s port only one way.
- Mini-USB – The much larger USB cable that goes into much older cameras. Also not symmetrical. Not used so much nowadays.
USB-C vs Micro USB vs Mini-USB Explained in 90 seconds
This is the kind of device you need to indirectly connect a smaller portable device which doesn’t have a built in ethernet port up to your router. You connect the adapter up to your device with the micro-USB port, and then plug a small ethernet cable into the other end of the adapter, and then connect that to your router.
So you effectively get an indirect ethernet connection between your portable phone/tablet and the router, and you can then connect to the settings page as described above as though you had any other cable connection.