Never Miss Another Deadline
We’ve all been there: a deadline fast approaching, frantically finishing up your work, ready to send it in, and then there it is, router not connecting. It’s always frustrating, but luckily there are several things to try before calling in outside help.
Here is what to do when your router can't connect to the internet.
Step 1: Diagnose the problem
Before you start trying to fix the problem, verify that you know what the problem is. First, make sure everything is plugged in properly. Double-check all the cables and connections to ensure nothing is loose or unplugged.
Next, check the LED status lights on your router and modem. Usually, a solid white or green light means the router is connected. A flashing light means it’s searching or connecting, and a red or amber light means it’s not working. However, it’s always wise to check the manual or website for your router so you know how to interpret the lights.
Of course, some problems may also interfere with the accuracy of these lights. So if the light says the router can’t connect, or you believe something else may be wrong, continue to Step 2.
Step 2: Run some tests
If you’ve already looked at the lights on your modem and router and determined that the router isn’t connecting to the internet, it’s time to verify. The best way to do this, in this case, is through a couple of tests:
- Speed test: Run a speed test to see how your download and upload speeds are functioning.
- Ping test: Run a ping test to tell if your router and device are connected.
Step 3: Restart your equipment
Once you’ve confirmed that your router isn’t connecting to the internet, it’s time to try the oldest fix in the book. As with many issues of connectivity and technology, the absolute first step when your router isn’t connecting is to restart your equipment.
Don’t just turn your router off and on again. To completely restart, unplug all your devices, then unplug the router and the modem. Wait 60-120 seconds, then plug your modem back in and turn it on. After that, plug your router back in and turn it on if necessary.
If your router is hot to the touch, it may have simply overheated. In this case, leave it off long enough to cool before firing it up again.
Once you’ve restarted them, give your devices another minute or two to allow time to connect, then run a speed test and ping test again.
Step 4: Make sure you’re configured
If the old off-and-on again/restart trick doesn’t do it, don’t despair yet. Your router may be failing to connect if you’ve recently reset it to factory settings. In this case, you need to reconfigure it to connect to the internet.
You should also make sure your router is physically “configured” correctly as well. If your router is too far from your wireless access point, the connection will slow and eventually stop at a certain distance. Make sure you’re close enough and that nothing is blocking the signal.
Step 5: Reset your router
If you have not recently reset your router, it’s worth a shot. Log in to the router address, which you can find by searching “[manufacturer name] router address.” From there, reset your router to factory settings following the instructions in your manual or on the manufacturer’s site.
Don’t forget to reconfigure your settings and update your firmware after the reset.
Step 6: Check your security settings
Firewall and antivirus software can easily interfere with connectivity, so if your router still won’t connect to the internet, look at your security settings.
Of course, you might not want to turn off your security software, even if it is the problem. Luckily, in most cases, you don’t have to. Try disabling it for your router instead. Depending on what system you’re running, you may also be able to enable permissions for your router directly from your Privacy & Security page.
Step 7: Call a professional
If you’ve tried all these steps and still can’t get your router to connect, it may be time to call in a professional. Give your ISP (Internet Service Provider) a call, and verify that your internet is live and functioning. They may also be able to diagnose the issue from their end or walk you through safely resetting your devices and solving the issue.