Android Wifi Guide

The ultimate guide to Wifi and Android

Everyone with a smartphone knows about Wifi. If nothing else, you know it's what happens when you get your AT&T phone too close to a Starbucks and your Internet gets faster (or slower) because you were automagically switched from a cell tower connection to a closer — but lower-powered — wireless connection that's made available for the public.

Of course, there is a lot going on to make that connection happen. While we're not going to dig into anything too technical like the software stack or the radio interface hardware, we are going to talk about the things you and I, as users, should know.

Don't worry, this'll be fun!


Reader comments

Everything you need to know about Android and Wifi


For some reason my S III only gets ~10 Mbps down on my 30 Mbps connection, and my brother's Moto G gets 40 (not a fluke, it's consistently like that) any known reasons why? my phone used to get the same speeds.

AT&T Galaxy S III

Make sure you're using WPA2 with AES as the encryption method. I've had several Samsung phones get flakey when using WPA2 with TKIP.

If you're using an ASUS router, make sure the firmware is up to date. Both HTC and Samsung have issues with old ASUS firmware.

You can check both of these in the admin panel of the router.

A lot of tablets default wifi on during sleep to always. If you are like me and don't need the internet connection when you aren't using a tablet I would set that to never so it isn't using battery when you aren't using it. There is no cellular signal so it doesn't fall back to wasting battery or data. This is a setting that when disabled can hurt battery if you are on a cell network or can help battery if it is a wifi only device.

I imagine it would, but one good reason is battery life. Not running the 4G card in the tablet when it isn't needed, would save some battery life. Not sure how much though.

Can anyone point me in the right direction to figure out why my devices (phone, tablet, laptop) keep connecting and disconnecting from my home wifi? But when I'm hooked to my mifi card it will stay connected all day no problem. It's been like this for years and even after switching routers I have the same problem. It's really annoying.

Did you ever connect to a neighbors network? There is a hierarchy to which networks your computer will connect to. I've seen plenty of people have a neighbors network listed before their own, so when ever your stuff sees that network, it tries to connect to it, even if it's a flaky connection.

Other things:

There are tons of interference for wifi these days, including other networks, microwaves, bluetooth, car alarms and baby monitors to name a few. There is a free app named Wifi Analyzer, which can help you with the other networks. Also use that app to check your actual signal strength, not just the random bars on your device. I've also seen plenty of small houses that were constructed like the apartment building in Ghostbusters, and they get terrible wifi service.

I'll check out the analyzer but i've never connected to my neighbors wifi and this happens when I'm sitting in the same room as the router. It's like every 30 seconds on my phone it disconnects and then reconnects. My lap top isn't as often but it does do the same thing.

I had a similar problem which had something to do with the router being on auto channel selection, and it was hopping between channels. I set it to a specific channel and the problem went away. Use the Wifi Analyzer mentioned earlier to find a decent channel.

I love that (as of Android 4.3) they separated wifi geolocation from wifi being on/off. I can turn off wifi without sacrificing the awesome location accuracy that I get out of wifi geolocation. I no longer had to forget a network and reconnect to it if the connection was poor.

You should do another one of these Jerry but on troubleshooting wifi. I'm a recovering cable guy, and I can't tell you how many internet "problems" were really WiFi problems. And since most ISP's don't provide any training on WiFi to the techs, the problems are a huge pain in the ass to solve for people.

Another fine article Hildenbrand! Give yourself a raise! You have been knocking them out of the park as of late. Keep it up please...Just bought a chromebook thanks to your(and Andrew's) articles on them. Went for the 4GB C720P. Pretty cool so far. DIdnt think about the F keys though.....

Just wanted to thank the author of this article. I am a fairly knowledge network person and I often have to try to explain some of this to friends or clients. This puts all the info at a level not too technical but not too dumb, so it is readable and understandable to a maybe not so tech saavy, but reasonably bright end user. I've bookmarked and printed it for future reference and sharing. So thanks!

Say your job has two locations, each with a password-protected WIFI that uses "guest" as the SSID. The trouble is, they have different passwords. Is there an automated way to connect to each one with the right password without having to forget and re-enter each time you change locations?

I knew most of what is in the article, but not all of it. Thanks for enlightening me. It was pleasure to read.

Posted via Android Central App

Interesting article. I was getting an inconsistent connection on my ps4 and my ISP got me switch from broadcasting in all 802.11 thingos like n, and just switch to only 802.11g. So far it has been better, but does this mean I'm not running at max speed. Like I thought n was the fastest.

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The thing that I would like to know is how to automatically log on to use unsecured sites without going through the website terms and agreements page every time with your browser.

Posted via my Nexus 5

Not sure if this is directly related. Have Galaxy S4. I've been using different custom ROMs but all of a sudden no matter wat one I use, when I set outside my home. I lose my connection. Everything works(WiFi & cell connect) xcept they cease. Running kitkat4.4.4. Enter back into home & it all works again! Couldn't find any gremlins. :-)