Networks not showing in Android Wi-Fi menu

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e
Here’s a strange thing. On my S5e, if I go to the Wi-Fi connections menu right now, I’m seeing just one SSID, which is my own 2.4GHz signal. My 5GHz is missing, and all the nearby neighbours’ networks are missing too. Some pertinent facts:

  • There’s only about 6 metres and one hollow stud wall between this room and the router
  • SOMETIMES I do get the 5GHz, just weakly, and occasionally one neighbouring SSID too
  • From time to time, it offers me no SSIDs at all until I go closer to my router
  • No, I’m not holding the tablet in the forbidden corner which is known to block the Wi-Fi :p
  • NONE of my other Wi-Fi devices have this problem in this location
  • A third-party app such as Wifiman or WiFi Analyzer on the tablet DOES find the other networks.

It’s that last bit that I find most puzzling. In the Wi-Fi connection menu, it looks like the networks aren’t detected, but in the third-party apps, they usually show up. Is this because some signal strength threshold must be met in order for them to be made available by the OS?

If I lay my tablet and phone near each other and open the Wi-Fi connection menu on both, I usually get at least half a dozen networks available on the phone and one or two at most on the tablet. Running Wifiman shows that both devices usually pick up the same networks, although the signal strength tends to be a bit lower on the tablet (sometimes just by a few dBm, sometimes a bigger gap). Obviously this means it can be a struggle to connect to my home Wi-Fi from certain rooms. I have tried it in a different house (nowhere near home) and exactly the same problem occurs – the tablet struggles to find networks that other Wi-Fi devices pick up with no problem.

The tablet has been examined in a Samsung repair centre, where they just ‘flashed the software’, and then said that the device passed all their Wi-Fi connectivity tests. I’m guessing they never actually replicated the problem at the outset.

Can anyone explain this discrepancy between networks detected vs available, or offer any thoughts on what to do next?



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