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What to Do When Your Internet Isn’t Working (Guest Post)

“The Internet Isn’t Working” is probably one of the single most common and vague problems that people face in their dances with computer problems. It’s tough to know what’s wrong and even how to determine what’s wrong. And even once you do figure out the source of the problem, you still have to somehow reach a solution. Luckily, there are a few initial steps you can take to help smooth out the process of troubleshooting your Internet.
Can’t you see your wireless network?

If you can’t, first check to see if your wireless switch (if you have a laptop) is enabled. Don’t be embarrassed if it’s off; this happens often in normal handling.

Wireless switch enabled, still no network?

Check to see if your router is working properly and check the range of your wireless signal. If you move closer to your router and see your network, then you were just out of range. If you don’t see any wireless activity on your router (with blinking or lit LED lights), try unplugging your router, waiting 30 seconds, and then plugging it back in.

Router working, still no network?

This either means that there is a problem with the router or your computer’s wireless adapter or wireless software. If you own a laptop, see if you can connect to a known good network at a friend’s house or a public network at a place of business (like Starbucks). If you can see and connect to their network, then you have to reset your home router to defaults, and possibly buy a new router if it’s still not working.

Can’t find any known network?

Your wireless adapter has failed or you are experiencing a driver or software issue. First, update any driver involving your wireless adapter for your computer. Then try a third party wireless adapter software for the fix. If none of these work, you will have to replace your wireless adapter.

Can See Your Wireless Network?

If you can see your wireless network but can’t connect it may be that you got the encryption key wrong. When you first try to connect, check the dialog box and see if it gets hung up on “Acquiring Network Address;” this usually means wrong encryption key. You can try turning security off on the router and then reboot and see if the connection works after that.

Won’t connect with security off?

If you’re still having trouble connecting, try plugging your computer into the router with an Ethernet port. This will usually give you Internet with no problems. However, make sure you don’t have any security or firewall on your computer blocking you. If you still don’t get any connection from the router plugged directly to your computer, you have either a settings/laptop issue or a router or ISP network problem.

Works in Ethernet port?

If you get Internet while plugged into your router (which you should), check to see if your router has default settings by using your IP address in a browser or accompanying software. If it’s not on default settings, restore defaults through your direct IP connection.

Default settings restored, still no wireless?

Check and see if your connection is intermittent or just non-existent. If it’s an intermittent connection, check for Bluetooth or phone interference (if you lose connection when on a cell phone or Bluetooth, then it’s interference). Try to increase the distance between your computer and interfering devices. If it’s just non-existent, test if your computer can connect to other known networks. If it can, try rebooting your router. If it still isn’t working, you have wireless router failure or incompatibility.

This guest post is contributed by Barbara Jolie, who writes for online classes.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: barbara.jolie876@gmail.com.

3 comments… add one
  • Julia July 18, 2011, 4:54 am

    Yes sometimes your clues can help. Usually i have to switch off and then on my wireless router.

  • Johnson Yip July 18, 2011, 4:28 pm

    Same for me, Julia. I usually sometimes need to switch off/unplug the wireless router for a few seconds, and turn it on or plug it on again. Lost of internet seems to affect Wireless Routers the most in my experience. I’m thinking about switching to Powerline ethernet or just wired ethernet, but both are somewhat expensive when it comes to long distances.

    I wonder if using a Automatic Power plug Timers like those timers which you plug your lamp, radio, etc into will help since all the power will be shut off for a certain amount of time like overnight which means your router, modem, and other networking devices plug into the router will be off, and will turn back on when you set it to turn on during the time when you are most likely to use the internet. By using an automatic power timer to turn your router on and off, you also have the benefit of saving electricity, avoiding hackers from hacking your wi-fi signal when its off, etc. A cheaper alternative would be to just manually switch off the power on your power bar when you are not using your router, computer, or any other devices plugged into your power bar.

  • Jenny October 8, 2011, 5:10 am

    Great for me that I found your Blog… I just started with my own Blog, can I reference to this post? I want to write something on similiar topic!

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