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Home PC How-To: The 1-2-3 Method Of Troubleshooting Your Broadband

How-To: The 1-2-3 Method Of Troubleshooting Your Broadband

Situation: Your internet connection dies and you’re not sure whether it’s your computer, router, cabling, reception (i.e. wireless), modem or ISP’s fault.

If your broadband connection dies for whatever reason, you can use a simple 1-2-3 method which 99% of the time works in reestablishing your connection.

After turning OFF everything, you turn things on in this order:

1. Your modem. Power it on and wait two minutes so it can establish its connection. It usually doesn’t take this long, but better safe than sorry.

Modem won’t turn off? Unplug the power cord. If it still won’t turn off, inspect it for a battery backup. If it has one, pop the battery out, wait 10 seconds (to ensure it goes completely off), then pop it back in.

2. Your router. The router will establish a connection much faster than your modem will (usually in less than 10 seconds).

Router won’t turn off? Unplug the power cord. Plug back in to turn it on.

3. Your computer. Boot the computer as you normally would.

You turn things on in this order because the computer can’t make a network connection without the router booted and its connection established. The router can’t make a connection without the modem booted and its connection established. So in order for everything to connect properly, the power-on order has to be modem, router, computer. Computer connects to router which connects to modem.

Further troubleshooting tips

Modem will not establish a connection to the ISP

This is either the ISP’s fault or the modem’s fault. You need to call your ISP to troubleshoot this one. They (should) be able to confirm whether or not you need a replacement modem.

If it is the modem’s fault, in most instances the ISP will replace your modem free of charge if it was originally provided by them.

There is also the possibility the cabling going to the modem from the ISP might be faulty. The ISP will determine whether or not this is the case.

Modem will not establish a connection to the ISP at specific times of the day

This is actually a more common problem than you’d think. If you encounter the instance where your broadband connection stops only at very specific hours of the day, this is an instance where weather is affecting the connection. It normally happens at dawn or dusk where the ambient temperature outside changes enough to cause enough condensation where a connection filter on the pole fails. Once the condensation is gone, the connection magically (but not really) reestablishes itself.

Solution: ISP needs to send a tech out, get on the pole and replace a filter (or two).

You know if you have this problem if your connection cuts out at very specific times of the day for about 2 to 4 hours, then comes back. It should be noted that this is not a problem you can fix. The ISP has to take care of it.

It should also be noted that the ISP absolutely positively will not send out a tech unless your replace your modem first (because the ISP will always and without fail blame your equipment before anything else).

Router will not establish a connection to the modem

There’s an old saying in IT: 99% of all LAN problems are cabling.

The same reigns true with your small network setup at home. If a router won’t establish a connection to the router, replace the network cable first.

If the network connection still will not establish, consider replacing the router as there’s not much else you can do.

Wireless router will not broadcast

If you have a wireless router and you cannot make a connection to it over the air even if the computer is right next to it, change the channel. You have 11 to choose from in your router’s administration program. The channel you have chosen is most likely 6. Change to 11. If that doesn’t work, try 3.

This is assuming your wireless card still works properly.

Computer will not establish a connection to the router

Change your network cable first. If that doesn’t work, you have at least 3 other open physical ports on your router. Try a different one.

Network cards very rarely fail (as there’s not much to break). I don’t suggest replacing a NIC unless absolutely necessary.

Still having problems?

Our forums can help you out. :-)

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One thought on “How-To: The 1-2-3 Method Of Troubleshooting Your Broadband”

Steve Stone says:
Home networking and internet connection issues are not always as clean a PD as you describe.
A few weeks ago a thunderstorm rolled thru my area. The lights flickered a few times and my ADSL connection stopped working. I wasn’t too concerned. My UPS was doing a good job of managing the power issues. After a few hours I still did not have an internet connection. Looking at the Netgear DG834G admin pages everything looked normal. The ADSL connection was up. The 8 PC’s on my home network, wired and wireless, could talk and share files with each other, but no Internet. I tried calling my ISP help desk. They refused to work with me until I took the Netgear router out of the loop and reinstalled the 3COM 812 router they provided me in the year 2000. I pulled the beast out of a dusty box in the garage, plugged it in and had similar results, no internet.. called the ISP help desk again.. they would now work with me. They did some diags on their end and claimed my connection was resetting every two seconds, claimed it was a line problem, wanted to know if I wanted to purchase their in home wire maintenance protection program (I refused), and then said they would send a tech out to my home between 1 and 5 pm the next day. I broke out the 56k dial up modem. Noticed the connect speed was half of what I would usually get, about 22kbps. I replaced the ADSL line filter/splitter and was rewarded with a 48kbps connect rate. The next morning I VPN’d into work on dial up on my laptop and screwed around some more with ADSL on my personal tower. At 11:30 AM my ADSL connection came back up, no warning. I swapped out the 3com 812 router for the Netgear (both these rigs have the ADSL modem built into the router). The Netgear connected to my ISP but I still could not talk to the Internet thru it with my PC. I swapped the 3COM router back in, everything worked, I assumed the Netgear router and the ADSL line filter splitter was cooked by a surge that came in the phone line that was not handled by the lightning protection at the demarc. For some reason the surge suppression for phone lines built into the UPS cannot be used because it degrades the ADSL signal and cancels out callerid on the voice side of the line. At 1:30PM the tech rolled into the driveway. I told him everything was working and thanked him. He said he did absolutely nothing and would write it off as no trouble found. I bought another Netgear DG834G on eBay for $5 plus shipping. Another day in paradise.

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Jun 30, 2008

643 Articles Published