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Why is your internet not working? Tips on how to diagnose and fix

Internet | 5 November 2021

You’re relaxing for the evening and streaming your favourite series when suddenly it freezes…

All you see is a spinning circle (or 3 blinking dots), and then nothing. Or, worse, one second you’re in the middle of an important video call with a client while working from home, and the next you’re staring at a “connection lost” screen.

Internet connection problems and Wi Fi network issues are incredibly frustrating at best. At worst, they can cost you big time if your business or side hustle depends on a network connection to the internet.

If your internet connection isn’t working, or you’re experience problems with your internet speed or network settings, here are some tips to diagnose and fix internet connection problems.

Scenario 1: Nothing works at all

If nothing’s working, not even a little bit, start with these steps.

Step 1: Restart your modem and/or router

It’s true: the first step really is “have you tried turning it off and turning it back on?” Just like your computer can freeze up and need a reboot, your modem or router can do the same. If either device is no longer doing its job, restarting may be all that’s needed to get you up and running again.

Unplug your modem and router and leave them disconnected from the power for at least 15 seconds. Then plug them back in, modem first, then your router if you have one. If they don’t start powering up immediately, look for a Power button. Most devices need about 2 minutes to fully power on and restore the wireless connection. If your devices aren’t working once this is complete, either via an ethernet cable or Wi Fi, move on to Step 2.

Be sure you DO NOT RESET YOUR MODEM! This will wipe your all-important Internet connection settings from the modem and will then require a reconfiguration.

Step 2: Check the lights on your modem/router

Your modem or router may have indicator lights that tell you whether they think they’re working. If so, review these – if you’re unsure, check the documentation or ask your internet provider. If they say they’re working, but your devices still don’t have internet, either via ethernet cable or via a Wi Fi connection, move to Step 3.

If the lights indicate that you don’t have service, move to Step 4.

Step 3: Forget and rejoin your wireless network

Your phone or tablet remembers information about your wireless network so that it can quickly reconnect when you get home. But if something goes wrong with your network connections, your devices may be remembering some bad wireless networks information on the internet connections, affecting your internet bandwidth and internet speeds. Look for an option on your device to forget the Wi Fi networks. Do this, then in your wireless settings, rejoin to the same network. If reconnecting to your Wi Fi network or wireless network doesn’t fix your issue with your local connection and there’s no improvement to your connection status, move to Step 4.

Step 4: Contact your internet service provider (ISP)

If the above steps don’t resolve your problem (and especially if your modem and router display that something’s not working), it may be time to reach out to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Sometimes it’s a simple fix on their end with network hardware or network equipment where they can reset your internet access. Other times there’s a more widespread internet outage that may be affecting multiple customers. Calling in or checking your providers’ outages page online is the best way to get an idea of when this will be fixed, and if it’s something outside of your control.

Scenario 2: Some things work, some don’t

Sometimes your internet is working, but only sort of. Some things will work, but other things seem to get hung up or won’t load at all. If that’s you, try these options.

Option 1: Restart your modem/router

Yes, again. This is usually the answer if existing devices (say, your streaming box) are working fine, but new devices or ones that have left and returned to the premises (say, your phone) don’t.

Your router assigns IP addresses to devices that join your network. Sometimes the router will handle existing devices just fine but fail to assign new IP addresses correctly. Usually, rebooting will solve this.

Be sure you DO NOT RESET YOUR MODEM! This will wipe your all-important Internet connection settings from the modem and will then require a reconfiguration.

Option 2: Restart Wi-Fi network devices that aren’t working

We’re kind of giving your modem and router a bad rap. Sometimes it’s not their fault, though! If your phone or tablet isn’t working and everything else is, try restarting the problem device. It may be failing to connect correctly or remembering an old IP address. It could be struggling in any number of ways. Usually, a restart will correct it. If device-specific issues persist, it may be time to look at a new modem/router – this could be the cause of your Wi-Fi or network issues.

Option 3: Check if the website is down

If everything is working fine except your favourite website or streaming service, then the problem is probably with that website or service. If you aren’t sure, you can try checking a site such as DownDetector.com. Crowd-sourced websites like this one can tell you if others are having the same issues as you.

If the above options don’t yield results, or if you’re having consistent sorts of problems across all devices, it’s time to call your ISP. Your issues might be solved by a reset from their end. Or they may be experiencing difficulties of some kind such as a partial outage. They can likely reassure you that you’ve done everything you can do.

Following these tips will help you solve many of the common internet connection problems people face. If your internet connection still isn’t working, please contact us for help troubleshooting. We’re here to help!