Q: My wife’s PC loses its Wi-Fi internet connection about every other day. I don’t know if it’s caused by AT&T’s U-verse wireless router or my PC’s Wi-Fi adapter. I’ve been able to reset the Wi-Fi adapter, but that only solves the problem temporarily. What should we do?
Howard Cohen, Cooper City, Fla.
A: The periodic loss of a Wi-Fi signal could be caused by the impending failure of your U-verse router or your PC’s Wi-Fi adapter. Or your Wi-Fi signal might be encountering radio interference from a garage door opener, a microwave oven or another nearby Wi-Fi router.
To locate a technical flaw, follow AT&T’s Wi-Fi diagnostic instructions at tinyurl.com/z27c4np. Alternatively, you can log in to your AT&T internet account and choose “Troubleshoot & Resolve,” an automated Wi-Fi diagnostic program. A new router costs about $100; a USB Wi-Fi adapter (to replace the PC’s internal one) costs $15 and up.
To check for radio interference, try switching your router to a different Wi-Fi frequency to see whether your connection will become more stable. There are 11 channels, but the adjacent channels tend to overlap one another. As a result, choose channels 1, 6 or 11; that way you will be several channels away from the radio interference.
To change the channels on a U-Verse router, type http://gateway.2wire.net (the address works only for AT&T customers) into your Web browser.
On the resulting website, click “home networking” and choose “edit settings.” Scroll down to the “wireless channel” heading and select a channel from the drop-down menu. Click “save” to give your router a new wireless frequency.
Q: I’m using a real estate app on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 tablet computer. But the compass in the app appears to be frozen, even though that app works for other people I know. I get a pop-up message that says my tablet has no compass. What can I do?
Donal Nielson, Bloomington
A: The real estate app really uses the Galaxy tablet’s own compass. But the sensors that run the tablet’s internal compass need to be calibrated to work properly. Several experts recommend using a calibrating app from the Google Play store called “GPS Status & Toolbox” (see tinyurl.com/cnt2mgu). It’s free, but offers purchases for different services.
The calibration app will orient the tablet’s built-in sensors so that they recognize magnetic north and true north. After that, the tablet’s compass and the one in the real estate app should work. For a video showing how to calibrate the tablet’s compass, see tinyurl.com/mzydrar.
Q: My Mom uses her iPad for Facebook and e-mail. But Siri, the talking digital assistant, bothers her. Should I disable Siri on her iPad? Will it make the iPad run better?
Liz Core, Baton Rouge, La.
A: Some people are annoyed by the Siri feature and turn it off. Doing so should make your mother’s iPad run a little faster. In iOS 10, go to settings and scroll down until you find Siri; click on the name and toggle the switch to off. In earlier iOS versions, go to settings and click “general” to find Siri, then turn it off the same way.
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