How to Troubleshoot your Internet Connection with an IT Specialist
Internet connection issues can be very frustrating, especially if you don’t know much about how routers, modems, and Wi-Fi work. If your connection is slow, your streaming services keep buffering, or you can’t connect to any websites at all, there may be a problem. These symptoms usually mean that your internet is down or there is something preventing a strong connection between your internet service provider’s line and your devices.
Let’s go over a few simple checks you can easily do yourself to troubleshoot your internet connection, before reaching out to an IT specialist for help.
Reboot your Router and Modem
Rebooting is always the first recommendation when troubleshooting internet connections. Your router and modem stay on all day and night to provide you with internet access, often for months at a time. Sometimes these issues are from failing hardware, which means you must replace your router or modem. More commonly, the router and modem just need to be rebooted to clear out the memory and restart the hardware.
When rebooting your router or modem, simply unplug the power cord. Wait 30 seconds for the best results. You want to flush the memory, so you need to allow adequate time for the capacitors within the router or modem to fully drain. Plug the devices back in and wait at least 60 seconds, as your router and modem boot back up and reconnect to your ISP.
Now you can check for an improvement in your internet connection.
Plug in with Ethernet cable
If you are using a Wi-Fi connection, it’s helpful to determine if the issue is coming from your modem or router. Here’s a simple breakdown, so you can better understand the distinction between a modem and a router:
- Modem – required to connect to the ISP’s signal, provides a direct connection to the internet
- Router – the router establishes a local network, creates the Wi-Fi connection, and allows multiple devices to connect at once.
Most modern network setups rely heavily on the router, to provide and manage the Wi-Fi connection. To troubleshoot effectively, you need to determine where the problem is coming from. Try plugging into a LAN port on your router (yellow) using an Ethernet cable. If your internet connection is restored, then you know you have a Wi-Fi issue, not a modem or ISP issue.
But if you can’t connect to the internet, then the issue is coming from your modem or ISP.
Check for local outages
If your internet does not recover when plugged in with an Ethernet cord, then you should check for local internet outages. You can reach out to your ISP directly or check downdetector.com. If Downdetector indicates there may be an outage in your area, again reach out to your ISP to get an estimate for when a resolution is expected.
Check Your Cables
Coaxial, Ethernet, or phone cables, create a connection to the internet. If these cables have become damaged by age or excessive tension stress, your cables may not work correctly.
First, check the connections for every device. Check that your coaxial cables are secured tightly and screwed all the way. Check that your Ethernet cables are actually fully seated in their port.
If everything looks good connection-wise, consider replacing the cables.
Change Wi-Fi Bands
When you open up the list of nearby internet connections, how many do you see that have your network name? If you have two, your Wi-Fi router is dual-band meaning it’s transmitting across two frequency bands. For example, your nearby Wi-Fi connections may show:
- John Doe 5G
- John Doe Wi-Fi 2.4G
These two frequency bands offer different Wi-Fi speeds and ranges.
The 2.4GHz band offers lower speeds but at a much greater range. This is going to be the frequency band you can connect to from the end of your driveway.
The 5GHz band is faster, but with a limited range. 2.4GHz has limitations to the number of devices that can be connected without slowing to a crawl.
So when you think about the issues with your Wi-Fi connection, consider the Wi-Fi bands. Where is your router in relation to you? If you are farther away from your router, consider switching to 2.4GHz but understand the connection is slower. If you are close to the router but using the 2.4GHz band, you are missing out on great speeds, so switch to the 5GHz band.
Typically you’ll want your smartphones, tablets, and laptops connected to 5GHz, while your smart tv’s, smart home devices, smartwatches, and other less demanding devices stay on 2.4GHz.
Wrapping up Troubleshooting
There are dozens of other methods for troubleshooting your internet connection, but today we kept it focused on simple, yet effective starter methods. You can continue troubleshooting until you reach solutions that are too far outside of your comfort zone. Or you can reach out to IT specialists that are highly trained in resolving internet connection issues. Don’t let your network stay down any longer, contact Bloomfield Networks today.