Is your internet connection acting up? Before you call your ISP, you should consider some easy troubleshooting tips. Here are 5 of the best and easiest ways to troubleshoot your internet connection.
And no, one of these tips isn’t “restart and unplug your router”. I’m assuming you’ve done that first before you started reading an article like this.
5) Check If You Can Ping the Outside World
In many cases, your internet will seem to be down – but you’re actually still connected to the outside world.
To test if you’re connected, just type “Ping” followed by the IP address of the site you want to ping. If you don’t know that IP address, then you can just type a full address. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1) Open a command prompt by typing cmd into the Start menu and pressing enter
Step 2) Type Ping google.com
The test will run, sending small data packets to the target site from your computer. This will measure the speed of your internet connection in milliseconds.
If your router is still connected to the internet and the outside world, then you’ll see timed results telling you how long it took to ping the target site.
Why is this important? In some cases, you’re having an internet speed problem, where a trickle of data is coming through your internet connection – but not enough for general internet use. Pinging a site lets you test whether you have a little bit of internet – or no internet at all.
In any case, if your ping doesn’t work, then it’s probably a problem with your modem, router, or ISP.
4) Change the Router Channel
Your router uses one of 14 different frequencies (basically, channels) to send and receive data over the internet using its 2.4GHz band.
The most frequently-used channels are 1, 6, and 11, because they don’t overlap.
If you frequently have Wi-Fi problems in your own home, then it might not be your router or your ISP: you might be having channel interference. That often occurs if you live in an apartment building or a densely-packed city.
If that’s your case, login to your router management console (go to 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1 in your web browser) and look for the Wi-Fi Channel setting (it’s in a different place in each console, but should be pretty obvious).
By default, your channel should be set to Auto. Try changing it to another channel and then testing it to see if that fixes anything.
3) Switch Out Cables
Sometimes, the cables you use with your router are old and degraded. Typically, the cable itself isn’t degraded – but the connection with the router may be. That little plastic prong that goes into your router, for example, might have broken enough, making the cable loose and the connection spotty.
Inspect the cables for any signs of damage. See if you can spot any obvious issues. Consider grabbing a different cable – like if you have a spare separate Ethernet cable handy.
2) Check your Firmware Version
Routers, just like all other hardware and software on your computer, are regularly updated. Installing regular updates is a great way to keep your router running efficiently – not to mention securely.
Router firmware updates aren’t frequent. Many people ignore router updates. Still, you can easily install router firmware updates by logging into your router management console. Look for the firmware section of the settings menu, where you should find a button that says something like “check now” or “update firmware”. Click that button, and let the router scan for updates available.
If your internet is down, then you may want to install a firmware update onto a USB stick using another device and then stick it on your computer. The firmware update button should let you choose a file from your PC – you don’t have to scan the internet.
1) Reset your Router to Factory Defaults
If none of the above troubleshooting tips worked, then you may want to reset your router to factory defaults.
That’s not as scary as it sounds: your router is probably already running on its factory default settings. Have you ever changed any settings in your router console? Probably not. But still, factory default settings might override one accidental change you made – it’s a good tip to implement if nothing else has worked.
Do you have any other easy tips you can use to fix your internet connection problem? Let us know in the comments section below!