Fixing DSL Internet Connection Problems

As nice as it is to have a high-speed Internet connection from a reliable provider like EarthLink, no technology is 100% reliable. Things happen. The good news is that they are usually little things and are very easy to resolve.

For many years I’ve had EarthLink DSL at home (actually, it’s DSL & Home Phone service, but the DSL part is the same), and I’m going to share with you the things I have learned to do over time to fix the occasional Internet connection glitch. I’ll also add some modem and phone line troubleshooting tips from EarthLink’s DSL support experts.

Simple Things I Do to Fix My DSL ConnectionDSL modem for high-speed internet connections

  • Turn off my DSL modem (sometimes also my wireless router) for 30 seconds
    If I see that the DSL and Internet lights aren’t lit on my modem (that’s my trusty old DSL modem on the right), I just press the power button to turn the modem off. Then I wait 10 – 30 seconds (depending on how impatient I am that day) and press the power back on. The modem typically takes a minute or two to fully reconnect, but then I’m good to go. This gets me back on the Internet again almost every time.
  • Check if other computers are online
    Often, the very first thing I do if I’m having a DSL connection problem is yell. Not because I’m mad, but because I want my wife in the other room to let me know if her computer is online. About half the time, she’s doing fine, so I don’t waste my time turning off my DSL modem. Instead, I restart my computer. If that doesn’t work, I will restart the modem and Wi-Fi router too. If it’s still just my computer with the connection problem, I wait a bit, then check other settings and things on my computer.
  • Just wait
    I’m not really sure this counts as fixing my DSL connection, but sometimes doing nothing at all for a few minutes works as well as doing something. If I’ve been connecting fine, I haven’t changed anything, and my modem lights look OK, the problem will sometimes miraculously clear up on its own after a few minutes.
  • Check all cords and cables
    We have small kids…which means anything can happen. So even though I know the cables and cords were secure, I’ll double check them if I’m having a problem not fixed by the above steps. I check that everything is plugged in securely and all connections to my computer and modem are snug. Remember, the cables that plug into your modem and computer should click when they’re inserted; if they don’t, it may mean they are not all the way in.
  • Double check my DSL login information (email address and password)
    If you are still having problems with just one computer, I’ll advise you double-check the email and password you use to log in to your DSL. Your email address and password are both case sensitive, so ensure that your Caps Lock is off and retype both. Make sure you didn’t type’ve done that one) or some other typo.If you’ve forgotten your password (and can connect to the Internet on another computer or device) you can reset your password on this My Account page:

If you reset your password, be patient: it may take up to 20 minutes to activate the new password so it works for you to log in.

These top tips have always worked for me. Below are some additional DSL troubleshooting tips from the pros at EarthLink Support.

DSL Modem & Phone Line Troubleshooting Tips

  • Reduce DSL modem interference
    Make sure your DSL modem is not near or on top of other electrical devices. Devices that can cause interference include stereo speakers, computer monitors, halogen lamps, cordless phones and their bases.If your DSL modem was working and you added a new electronic device in the area (or even just moved something closer to your modem), try moving the new device and restarting your computer and the modem.
  • Check DSL filters
    Make sure that a DSL filter is installed on every phone jack in your house that is being used by a device, like a phone or fax machine. If you have an unfiltered device in the house, you will need to add a DSL filter for that device and restart your modem and computer. If you don’t have an extra DSL filter, you can purchase one inexpensively at Radio Shack or another office supply stores. Until you are able to filter the device, keep that device unplugged.If you are still unable to connect to the Internet, disconnect all of the devices in the house from your DSL line except your modem. Power off your modem, then power it on again and try connecting to the Internet again. If you can connect to the Internet when only your modem is connected to your DSL line, you may have to replace one or more of your filters.
  • Check for a dial tone on your phone
    Unplug your modem and plug a telephone into that wall jack to see if you are able to receive a dial tone. If not, there may be a physical problem with your phone line. You can either connect your modem to a working phone jack or try to get your problem resolved by contacting your local phone company. If you are able to get a dial tone, this means that your phone line is working; however, something is preventing your modem’s connection to go through. Just because your phone line has a dial tone doesn’t necessarily mean that the DSL signal is strong enough to function properly. Try replacing the filter, reconnecting your modem, and connecting to the Internet again. If replacing the filter doesn’t work, there could be something wrong with your modem and/or phone line. After verifying that you have a dial tone, a working filter, and a working wall jack to test your modem with and you are still unable to connect to the Internet, please contact our Technical Support team.


11 thoughts on “Fixing DSL Internet Connection Problems

  1. These are all useful tips, but what is starting to bother me is that I lose internet connectivity and have to restart the modem several times a day. It should not be this way.

  2. We have had home net-working with EarthLink for several years but for the oast few weeks Internet Exployer has said we are having connection problems with EarthLink Net or other common sites. After doing their checks each time no problem is found and then we are reconnected for a normal connection DSL service. We have tried the corrective action suggestions and now suspect either the modem-router combination supplied by EarthLink and possible AT&T tricks biased against EarthLink as well as EarthLink server troubles. , &

  3. I would like to know why I couldn’ t get my webmail to open for me?
    Also I’m supposed to have high speed, but everything is so slow and
    I wanted to know how come?

  4. Hi Tom, great article.

    What is happening if, after following all these steps, I have to unplug and plug back in the modem 20 to 30 times to get the internet going (which works just fine once it’s going?)? Earthlink support is not helpful as, depending on who I talk to, they give me contradictory steps. The only thing that works is unplugging and plugging in many times.

    Thanks for any help you can steer me to.

  5. Could someone tell me why dsl disconnects whenever someone calls the phone line, yet I can pick up the phone and disk without being disconnected?

  6. I had this problem last night, and I use the same modem as shown. I did everything recommended. Nothing worked, except to wait — I got a one-minute burst of internet service after about 15 minutes of waiting, then it went bad again. It was fully functional after about 1.5 hours — dead time, as far as being able to work online is concerned. What is Earthlink’s part of this? All lights on the modem were on, except the rightmost Internet light. I assume since DSL was up, and the Ethernet connection to the computer was good, the reason I did not have internet access had to be some problem on Earthlink’s end. Right or wrong?

  7. Tom Sullivan – I really like your breezy writing style, but more importantly, the direct help I received from your article. I am anxious to hear about how to clear the cache.

  8. I disagree about how to fix with Check DSL filters, I have had major problems with DSL had the company log on to check my PC only to find the problem for so long was with the filters I purchased at Radio Shack, I was asked to remove I did my PC started to act like the day I purchased…was about to get a different ISP to fix, all the time I had received bad advice from EL some time ago, I have noticed a improvement in service of late not like before.

  9. The suggestions you made are real good to start but what about where your actual connection to the internet is? I was recently having very slow computer and happened across a website that tells you about your ISP connections. I was being connected as far away as about 30 miles east from where I live. Now for some reason it says my connection is within about 10 miles from my location. Now my computer speed is great so what determines that connection? To also mention I have a DSL service and I think at first the connection showed up as in West Virginia or Virginiawhich is out of state .

  10. Fixing my internet connection is very helpful to me. Thank you you for sharing this page! I can now fix it on my own !

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