Can't Connect to Internet? How to Troubleshoot

An internet connection failure can be catastrophic for any professional business, exposing them to reduced productivity, lost revenue, and customer complaints. The cost of internet downtime is extremely expensive, up to $5,600 per minute in some cases. A few minutes of wifi or internet connectivity issues can significantly impact your company’s bottom line.

Due to these potential consequences, you need to equip yourself with the right skills to troubleshoot and tackle the problem head-on.

Can’t connect to the internet? Follow these network troubleshooting tips to get your system up and running in no time.

11 Ways to Troubleshoot No Internet Connection

1. Check for Loose or Unplugged Wires

Sometimes internet connection may fail due to simple things like loose or unplugged network cables, modems, or routers. If you're on a wireless network, your device's Wi-Fi radio might be shut off. First, check your Wi-Fi settings by clicking Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi and then switch Wi-Fi to the "On" position. When browsing from your phone or tablet, check the settings that turn Wi-Fi on and off and make sure it's turned on.

For wired connections, check the WAN and LAN connections, the Ethernet cables that connect to your router. If you suspect that any cable is the culprit, try swapping it out with a new one or changing ports.

2. Restart the Router

Restarting the router can sometimes help fix internet connectivity issues. If your router has been off for quite some time, a quick restart could just jolt it back to working condition. If that fails, consider resetting the router, especially if you have no trouble restoring it to factory settings.

Routers themselves are essentially little computers. Networking devices like routers and modems work the same way your regular computer would, which means they have a motherboard, memory, CPU, and software to make them function properly. These hardware and software components are prone to causing issues from time to time due to a variety of reasons. The same way your computer needs to be restarted every now and then in order to refresh running processes and clear cache.

3. Investigate Computer Firewall Malfunctions

Firewall software is intended to prevent unwanted network traffic from disrupting your computer's operation. Sometimes, these software firewalls may malfunction and begin to block valid internet traffic. When you install two software firewalls on the same computer, such as Windows Firewall and a private, third-party firewall, the contention between the two can incorrectly block traffic. If you recently installed or upgraded a firewall on your computer, consider disabling it temporarily to determine if it's the cause of the connection issue.

4. Check If You're Outside the Wireless Signal Range

If you're on a Wi-Fi network, you should know that the connection performance depends on the distance between your wireless access point and your device. The further away you move from the Wi-Fi device, the more sluggish the internet connection will be, and any further drift will result in a total breakdown. Signal interference in your location can also limit the effective range of the Wi-Fi connection.

5. Verify Your Wireless Network Configuration

If your Wi-Fi network has encryption options such as WPA or WEP, it will require computers to use matching security keys to connect to it. If someone changed the passphrase or encryption keys on the access point, all devices that worked before would be unable to establish internet connections and sessions.

If you can’t connect to the internet, confirm if the Wi-Fi channel number or encryption keys on your router have not been changed recently, and if they have changed, configure the same on your computer or device.

6. Investigate Broadband Router Malfunctions

Networks that utilize broadband routers are usually easier to manage, but technical glitches with the router can bar computers from connecting to the network. Router failures often happen due to excessive usage, overheating, or an older unit giving in. One common sign of a flaky router is computers on the network failing to obtain IP addresses or the router console failing to respond to requests.

7. Check Service Isn’t Being Blocked

Sometimes, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can decide to block access from your account due to non-payment or violation of the provider's Terms of Service. If you're using paid hotspots that charge hourly or daily, it's easy to forget to keep your subscription updated. Other times, your ISP might block your account when you're exceeding bandwidth caps, downloading illegal or inappropriate content, or sending spam emails. Contact your ISP promptly if you suspect your account has been blocked.

8. Open Windows Network Diagnostics

Windows features a tool known as Windows Network Diagnostics, which lets users troubleshoot internet connection issues. Simply go to Windows Settings > Network & Internet > Status. Next, view under Network Settings and click Network Troubleshooter.

The Windows Network Diagnostics tool will then run a couple of tests to determine what's possibly causing your internet connection issues. If any issue is discovered, windows will give you a list of possible actions to take to restore your connection.

9. Reboot the Computer

Another reason you might not be able to connect to the internet is because computers also suffer from technical glitches. Your computer's network adapter hardware may suddenly fail due to old age or overheating. Failures in the operating system software controlling the adapter can frequently occur, especially if the computer is heavily used. Worms and viruses can also disable or block network interfaces from working properly. If you notice such issues, consider rebooting your computer and try again to connect. If that fails, have an experienced IT specialist look at your computer.

10. Contact Your Internet Service Provider

If you're using satellite internet service, you may notice that the connection is not as reliable during periods of extreme weather. Sometimes, internet service providers or cellular internet carriers in densely populated urban areas are unable to support network traffic peaks that cause sporadic downtimes for some users. If you can't seem to figure out why you can’t connect to the internet, your ISP probably can and will offer informed advice.

11. Reach Out To IT

Ultimately, if you've tried everything and your internet connection still fails to restore, it is best to reach out to a professional IT support team to troubleshoot your issue and restore your connection before the downtime impacts your operations further. Although it may entail a service fee of some sort, it's worthwhile in the end considering the imminent loss of business and man-hours.

When your company partners with Electric, our team of IT experts can diagnose your connectivity issue and troubleshoot it for you.

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