Troubleshooting an Internet Connection - dummies

Troubleshooting an Internet Connection

By Faithe Wempen

If you can’t view web pages or send and receive email, your Internet connection is probably to blame. Sometimes it’s not your equipment’s fault that the Internet isn’t working. Service providers can have their own problems that result in temporary outages, ranging from a few seconds to a few hours.

In addition, sometimes the data traffic on the Internet, or on the segment of it that affects your service, gets bottlenecked, and things run more slowly than usual. If you just wait it out for a few hours, a lot of times the problems go away.

That said, here are some things to try when troubleshooting, in the approximate order to try them:

  • Restart your computer.

  • Power-cycle the modem (and router, if they are separate units). That means to turn the device off or unplug it for 30 seconds, and then turn it back on again. Some modems take several minutes to fully come back up after a power cycle; this is normal.

  • If you are using a wired connection, check to make sure the cables are plugged in snugly.

  • If you are using a wireless connection, check to make sure that your computer’s wireless networking feature is turned on. On some notebooks, there’s a button somewhere near the keyboard that toggles the wireless networking on/off.

    If you accidentally press that button, your wireless turns off. If you look for the wireless icon in the notification area and it has a red X on it, that’s a pretty good clue that the wireless networking is turned off on the device.


  • Right-click the networking icon in the notification area and choose Troubleshoot Problems. Then follow the prompts to walk through a Windows Network Diagnostics utility, which will ask you questions about your problem and try various fixes.