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Pro-Tips for Wi-Fi Troubleshooting

In order to successfully process payments with Square, you need a good connection to the Internet - and for most businesses that means Wi-Fi. If you ever have trouble with your setup, we wanted to offer a few troubleshooting steps. If you’re using Square Register, you can also connect to the Internet via an Ethernet cable.

 

Unplug the Device, Let it Rest, Plug it Back In
One of the first things to do if you’re experiencing Wi-Fi issues is to disconnect your router and wait at least 30 seconds before plugging them back in. I know, this sounds so simple, but this almost always does the trick.

 

The IT Crowd, anyone?The IT Crowd, anyone?

If unplugging your router doesn’t work, the next thing to do is try to isolate the issue - is it your device or is it your service? In order to narrow it down, test another device, like your personal phone or computer, to make sure your Wi-Fi network is functioning. If you are unable to connect any of your devices, you may need to contact your Internet service provider to make sure everything looks ok on their end.

 

Reduce Interference

Most wireless networks transmit their signals in a narrow radio frequency range around 2.4 GHz, so it's common for devices and appliances on the same frequency to affect the wireless signal. To reduce this interference, you can set your network to use a 5 GHz signal - instructions for how to do this will vary based on the router you’re using.

 

If you suspect you’re experiencing interference with the signal, make sure your device is not on top of, or close to, a microwave oven. Also check to ensure your device is not plugged into a power source that’s shared with a refrigerator, coffee grinder, or microwave.

 

Make sure your router is not set up in a closet or any other closed area that may block the signal. Also place the router as high up as possible (get it off the ground!) and if your model has one, make sure the router’s antenna is standing up and connected correctly.

 

If you’re using Square Register, make sure your placement is such that the antenna is not obstructed. To confirm this, make sure the black Square logo on the back of the merchant-facing display is not blocked by any other counter equipment. More info on Square Register setup can be found in the Support Center. 

 

Wi-Fi Speed

If you notice your Wi-Fi is slow, it could be that your router is too far away. You can test this by moving the router closer to your Square setup, or by taking your personal device closer to the router to test connection speeds.

 

If you move closer to the router and still have issues, it could be that there’s not enough bandwidth. Try disconnecting other devices that you don’t need Wi-Fi on, and instead connect them using an ethernet cable.

 

If you’re using Square Register, also check that the Wi-Fi signal is strong enough by checking the top right corner of the Seller display and confirming that the Wi-Fi signal strength is 3 or more bars. You can also check this by going to Settings > Network >tap on the Wi-Fi you’re using and look for signal strength “Good” or “Excellent.”

 

Secure your Wi-Fi Network

To prevent other people from using your network and slowing down the connection for you (and your customers!), make sure to secure your network with a password. You can read more about how to do this in this PC Mag article from 2016. You may also consider changing the password every so often and giving it out sparingly to prevent long-term use.

 

Additional Recommended Settings for Wi-Fi Routers

For you over-achievers out there, we wanted to give some more ideas on how to set up your router for success. You can read more about all these recommended settings in the Apple support center.

 

Choose a unique Wi-Fi network name (SSID)
The SSID (service set identifier), or network name, identifies your Wi-Fi network to users and other Wi-Fi devices. You should set your SSID to any unique name.

 

Choose a name that's unique to your network and isn't the same as other nearby networks. If your router came with a default SSID, it's very important to change it to a different, unique name. Some common default SSID names to avoid are things like “linksys, netgear, wireless, and default.” If your SSID isn't unique, Wi-Fi devices will have trouble identifying your network. This may cause them to be unable to connect, or to connect to the wrong networks that share a network name with yours.

 

Avoid setting up a hidden network
Hidden networks don't broadcast their SSID over Wi-Fi, which means devices might need more time to find them and connect with them. That’s why you’ll want to make sure you have the setting for hidden network disabled.

 

Set Channel to “Auto”
The channel setting controls which channel your Wi-Fi router uses to communicate. Set your channel to “auto” for the best performance. Selecting Auto may allow the router to select the best channel. If Auto isn’t an option for you, choose a channel that doesn’t have any other Wi-Fi routers or sources of interference. If your router is operating in the 2.4 GHz band, select channel 1, 6, or 11. Although channels 2-5 and 7-10 may be available, there will be interference issues if using other than the non-overlapping channels 1, 6, or 11.

 

Keep in mind, you won’t be able to use a captive portal internet connection if you are using the Square Register.

 

What other tips do you have for making sure your Wi-Fi works consistently and what issues have you had in the past?

 

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Also,  Routers have two bands a 2.4Ghz and a 5Ghz.  2.4 is slower speeds, (fast enough for most things like Square) but the range is better.  5Ghz is faster but the range is smaller.  If you are a distance from your router make sure you are on the 2.4 signal.  This is usually the one that doesn't say 5 or 5g next to your SSID name.  

 

I have a router about 20 feet away in a concrete building with a metal door.  We run the iPad out of a booth right next to it, if the door is shut we have no signal,  if the door is open we are fine.  Yes, things interfere with WiFi Signals.

 

You can test your speed with the speed test app by Ookla. 

 

I have also had times when the iPad showed connected but we had no internet.  Instead of restarting it I was able to switch it to airplane mode.  This shuts all the radios off.  Then turn off airplane mode and everything came back.  This is a lot faster than rebooting the iPad.

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Super Seller Alumni

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Also,  Routers have two bands a 2.4Ghz and a 5Ghz.  2.4 is slower speeds, (fast enough for most things like Square) but the range is better.  5Ghz is faster but the range is smaller.  If you are a distance from your router make sure you are on the 2.4 signal.  This is usually the one that doesn't say 5 or 5g next to your SSID name.  

 

I have a router about 20 feet away in a concrete building with a metal door.  We run the iPad out of a booth right next to it, if the door is shut we have no signal,  if the door is open we are fine.  Yes, things interfere with WiFi Signals.

 

You can test your speed with the speed test app by Ookla. 

 

I have also had times when the iPad showed connected but we had no internet.  Instead of restarting it I was able to switch it to airplane mode.  This shuts all the radios off.  Then turn off airplane mode and everything came back.  This is a lot faster than rebooting the iPad.

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Good call on using Airplane Mode to troubleshoot, @RHatch! Thank you for your tips 🙌

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I can't say enough good things about the Wifi Access Points from Open Mesh (https://www.openmesh.com/). You plug it into your wired router and shut off any existing wireless. You can set separate SSIDs for customer and company wifi and easily apply various controls to each. A control panel can be accessed remotely to check status and make adjustments. We switched Gelato Fiasco's stores to these a few years ago and have not had to manually reset our wifi since.

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Nice, thanks for the tip @bobbyg

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