Ethernet (wired connection) is better in many regards than Wi-Fi, but we can agree that it’s fairly limited, unless you want to run around with your laptop and trip on UTP cables all day long.
That’s why the Wi-Fi is preferred connection for so many users, especially since the majority of modern computing is done on the phone. For those, the problems with Wi-Fi can be quite crippling, especially if ethernet works just fine.
The sole fact the ethernet connection is fully functional points towards your PC or router settings. For that purpose, we prepared a list of possible solutions in order to help you address this annoyance for good.
In case you’re able to connect with the cable, but Wi-Fi won’t comply, make sure to check the steps below.
What can I do if Wi-Fi doesn’t work but Ethernet does in Windows 10?
- Check the router
- Use Windows Troubleshooter
- Reinstall drivers
- Flush DNS
- Reset Winshock and IP stacks
- Use different frequency band
- Use IPv4 or IPv6 solely
1. Check the router
Firstly, let’s discard the router as the one that causes Wi-Fi issues. The obvious way is to try and connect to the network with an alternative device, smartphone, or another PC. If you’re able to connect and internet access is fully functional, move to other steps.
On the other hand, if none of the available devices can connect, check the steps we provided below:
- Restart your PC.
- Restart your router and modem. Power it off and wait for some time before you turn it on again.
- Chech the physical Wi-Fi switch. Every router has a dedicated Wi-Fi switch, so make sure the Wi-Fi is enabled.
- Also, inspect your laptop for Wi-Fi switches. This also concerns FN button (Function button).
- Hard reset router and modem. You can do so with the small physical button positioned on the bottom or within the router settings. Connect the router and PC with the ethernet cable and insert the noted IP address in the browser address bar. Insert your credentials and look for the Factory reset option within settings.
- Update router firmware.
These are some of the most common troubleshooting steps which should address all of the router-based issues. On the other hand, we can’t avoid the possibility of the router malfunction, so there’s also that.
Power spikes, overheating or physical damage can inflict malfunction to delicate equipment which the router certainly is.
2. Use Windows Troubleshooter
Now, once we concluded that the connectivity issues are imposed by the PC rather than anything else (router or ISP issues), you should try troubleshooting the problem with the Windows Troubleshooter.
The usefulness of the dedicated troubleshooting tool is overlooked too often. Firstly, it’ll do everything you can do manually (most of the things).
Secondly, even if it’s unable to help you, it should give you a better insight into the issue instigator.
Therefore, don’t shy away from using Windows Troubleshooter for all network-related issues, including the one we’re addressing today. Here’s how to run it in Windows 10:
- Press Windows + I to open Settings.
- Open Update & Security.
- Select Troubleshoot from the left pane.
- Highlight the ”Internet connections” troubleshooter and Run the troubleshooter.
- Wait for the troubleshooter to finish and, hopefully, resolve the issue with the Wi-Fi connection.
- You can also run the ”Incoming connections” troubleshooter.
If you’re having trouble opening the Setting app, take a look at this article to solve the issue.
3. Reinstall drivers
Drivers are another culpable part that’s frequently overlooked. Even though generic drivers provided by Windows Update should work without issues, that’s not always the case.
Sometimes they won’t comply and the Wireless Network adapter will suffer in the process. Without the proper drivers, your device won’t be able to connect or the connection will be unstable.
Now, as we see it, there are 3 options concerning drivers. You can uninstall them and let the system update them automatically.
If you’re more of a DIY user, here are the steps you should follow to resolve network driver issues:
- Right-click Start and open Device Manager.
- Expand Network adapters.
- Right-click on Wireless Network Adapter and update it.
- Restart your PC.
- If that isn’t sufficient, right-click on Wireless Network Adapter again and open Properties.
- Open the Details tab.
- Select Hardware Ids from the drop-down menu.
- Copy the first line and paste it into your browser.
- Locate OEM’s official support site in the result and download the driver.
- Install the driver and reboot your PC.
Most of the laptop manufacturers offer full software support, and the easiest way to acquire proper drivers is to visit the dedicated website.
3.1. Update drivers automatically
To speed up the operation, and ensure a proper version is updated, we suggest you do this automatically by using a dedicated driver updating software. Thus, you will prevent file loss and even permanent damage to your computer.
The solution below it’s quite easy to use and will repair and update all your drivers in a single run with only one click so make sure you try it out.
4. Flush DNS
DNS (Domain Name System) is a vital naming system in networking. Its main purpose is to act as a translator between IP and hostname, changing well-known ”www.website.com” to IP and vice versa.
While doing so, DNS collects cache and, as we all know, piles of a stored cache usually mean trouble.
Now, it’s not exactly simple to flush the DNS and clear its respective cache. You’ll need to use Command Prompt and a few commands, too, in order to do so. Fortunately, we provided the steps below, so make sure to follow them closely:
- Press Windows key + S to summon the Search bar.
- Type cmd, right-click Command prompt and run it as an administrator.
- In the command line, type the following commands and press Enter after each:
- ipconfig /release
- ipconfig /renew
- After the process ends, type in this command and press Enter:
- Close Command Prompt and try connecting to Wi-Fi again.
If you’re having trouble accessing Command Prompt as an admin, then you better take a closer look at this guide.
5. Reset Winshock and IP stacks
While we’re at essential Windows Internet-related protocols and built-in applications, let’s include Winshock and Internet Protocols (TCP/IP).
Winshock is the key component in the system-based communication between your PC and internet, and, as every other built-in Windows application, it can’t be reinstalled.
You can merely reset it. The same goes for the IP stacks (both IPv4 and its successor IPv6). Of course, it should resolve certain network stalls.
Now, there are two ways to reset these components: through Command Prompt and with the dedicated utility tool. However, it’s not noted if the tool supports Windows 10, so we’ll explain the manual procedure.
Follow the steps below to reset Winshock and IP stacks:
- Type cmd in the Windows Search bar, right-click Command Prompt and run it as admin.
- In the command line, enter the following command and press Enter:
- After that, insert these commands to reset IPv4 and IPv6 stacks and press Enter after each:
- netsh int ipv4 reset reset.log
- netsh int ipv6 reset reset.log
- Close the elevated command line and restart your PC.
If the issue is persistent, continue with the steps below.
6. Use different frequency band
Most of the present routers are using dual-band technology. This means you can choose between the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.
The first one is slower and more crowded (non-computing appliances use it mostly) but its reach is further and supports older devices.
The 5 GHz band is, on the other hand, much less crowded and it works faster, but a lot of outdated PCs won’t be able to access it and its signal flow is easily stopped by firm obstacles like walls.
Therefore, make sure to switch between the two and look for changes. Furthermore, you can select the different Wi-Fi channels. The best channels to use are 1, 6, and 11.
Here’s how to select one of those in Advanced adapter settings:
- In the Windows Search bar, type Control, and open Control Panel.
- Open Network and Internet.
- Select Network and Sharing Center.
- Click on ”Change adapter settings” on the left list.
- Right-click on your Wi-Fi adapter and open Properties.
- Click on ”Configure”.
- Select the Advanced tab.
- In the scrollable list, scroll to WZC IBSS Number Channel.
- From the right drop-down menu, choose channels 1, 6, or 11 and confirm changes.
7. Use IPv4 or IPv6 solely
Finally, you can try and disable one of the Internet Protocols and move from there. They mostly work fine while combined, but occasionally the lack of synergy can cause issues.
Of course, you can disable the former or latter but not both of them. Most of the older Wi-Fi cards should have an easier time with IPv4, so have that in mind.
Here’s how to disable IPv4 or IPv6 in Windows 10:
- Right-click on the Wireless icon in the taskbar‘s notification area and Open Network & Internet settings.
- Click on Change adapter options.
- Right-click on your Wi-Fi adapter and open Properties.
- Disable IPv6, confirm changes, and look for improvements.
- If the problem persists, re-enable IPv6 and disable IPv4.
That’s it. If none of the aforementioned steps helped you connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi, we advise you to contact your ISP’s tech support.
The router is probably faulty and you’ll need a replacement. Also, don’t forget to share your questions or suggestions with us and other users in need. The comments section is just below and we’ll appreciate your opinion on the subject.