If you’re using Dial-up Internet access to get online, it’s smart to keep a list of troubleshooting tips in case something ever goes wrong.
The good news is that most of the things that do go wrong are very easy to fix. Trust us —we’ve been helping our dial-up Internet members connect more reliably since way back in 1994.
So, if you ever can’t connect to the Internet, the dial-up Internet experts here at EarthLink recommend you try our top 10 dial-up solutions:
- Wait a few minutes (really, that’s all)
If you were recently connected to the Internet and haven’t changed anything, your dial-up connection may automatically reconnect depending on your configurations. So just give it a few minutes. If your dial-up connection does not recover after several attempts, you should move on to the next suggested solutions.
- Restart your computer
Turn off your computer; wait for 30 seconds; then turn it on and try your dial-up connection again. This super-simple solution is often all you need to do.
- Check your phone line
Dial-up Internet access requires an open phone line. So make sure no one in your home starting using your phone in another room. Unfortunately, you can’t browse the Internet and talk on the phone at the same time. (Also, check that a phone wasn’t left off the hook.)
- Check all cords and cables
Cords and cables sometimes get knocked out or loosened. So make sure your phone line is securely plugged into your computer or external modem (if you’re using one) and the phone jack in your wall.
- Check for hardware problems
If you have an external dial-up modem, make sure its lights are on or shows signs that it is plugged in and functioning. If you are using a surge protector, make sure that it is on (it’s pretty easy to accidently bump a surge protector and turn it off). Make sure that the outlet that you are using is working by plugging something else into it. Then try plugging your modem into another outlet. If it still shows no signs of it working, you may have to replace the modem.
- Check our Network Outages page
If you can get to the Internet from your smartphone, tablet, or a different computer, visit our Network Outages page at http://support.earthlink.net/contact/outages.php to see if there are known problems with our dial-up network. If there is an outage listed, you can be sure we’re working to get it resolved as soon as possible and you can check back for confirmation that it’s fixed.
- Double check your email address and password
Your email address and password are both case sensitive (so capitalization matters) and they need to be entered exactly for you to be able to connect. Mistyping passwords is one of the most common reason dial-up users fail to connect to the Internet. So ensure that your keyboard’s Caps Lock is off and retype your email address and password carefully.If you forgot your password (and can use another computer or device to connect to the Internet) you can reset it at https://myaccount.earthlink.net/cam/passmain.jsp.
Important: Your new password may take up to 20 minutes to activate in our system.
- Update drivers and firmware
Make sure that the drivers and firmware on your computer and modem are up-to-date. That process varies by computer and operating system, so check your computer’s help system if you don’t know how to do it.
As our blog post this Tuesday speculated, there’s a good chance tablets and smartphones may one day phase out laptops due to their superior mobility and convenience.
But at home, the thing that still makes all your computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones more convenient is a high-speed Internet connection and a Wi-Fi home network. I love my iPad, but I do all my Internet surfing at home over Wi-Fi rather than paying for a monthly cellular connection. It’s also required for some things like a FaceTime video chat.
If you are not sure how to get started with home networking and would like us to take care of it for you, you can sign up for our Home Networking service and support plan. For the cost of a couple of cups of coffee a month we can send you all the equipment you need, help you get set up properly, and provide ongoing support.
If you are trying, unsuccessfully, to set up Wi-Fi at home, or you are having problems with your home network, we have some general home networking troubleshooting recommendations from the EarthLink Support Center based on the most common problems and solutions we’ve seen over the years.
- The power indicator on your modem or router doesn’t light up after being plugged in.
What You Should Do:
- Check the power supply. Are the connections with your modem, router, and electrical outlet secure? Sometimes a plug that looks like it’s in isn’t really in fully.
- If you’re using a surge protector, make sure it’s turned on and working.
- Check that the electrical outlet you’re using is working by plugging in a night-light or lamp to see if it works.
- Try plugging the modem or router into another outlet.
- You can connect to your Wi-Fi network but aren’t able to browse the Internet
What You Should Do:
- Shut down/turn off your router and cable or DSL modem.
- Check all connections between your router and modem and make sure that all power cables are securely connected.
Ethernet users: Make sure that the Ethernet cable is securely connected to both the computer and modem from your router. Click here to see illustrations.
- Turn on the modem and wait approximately 30 seconds. Then turn on your router. Attempt to connect to the Internet again.
- If you still can’t get online, see if you can connect without the router (with only your modem and computer connected). Unplug the modem, wait for 10 seconds, then plug in the modem again. After the lights stabilize, see if you can browse the Internet:
- If you can surf the Internet with this setup, your router is either defective or needs to be reconfigured. Contact your router’s manufacturer to reconfigure your router.
- If you can’t surf the Internet this way, check to see if there is an Internet outage in your area. If not, refer to your modem’s setup instructions to reconfigure your modem.
- Your wireless network doesn’t show up on your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
What You Should Do:
- Make sure that your wireless router and modem are both plugged in.
- Make sure that your Wi-Fi or wireless network utility is activated on the computer or mobile device you are using. There is often a Wi-Fi switch that you can toggle to turn on/off. Check your device’s manual if you are not sure how to do this.
- If your wireless network is private (and it should be for security reasons), refer to your setup configuration to provide your device with the network ID and password. You will need this information when you manually connect to your existing private wireless network.
- You’re continuously losing or dropping your Wi-Fi signal.
What You Should Do:
- Make sure that the Wi-Fi antenna is securely connected to your router and pointed straight up.
- Check your Wi-Fi signal strength by opening your Web browser (preferably Internet Explorer or Safari) and entering your router’s IP address. If you don’t know the IP address, look for it in your router’s manual.
- Make sure your router is not on or near electronic devices that can interfere with your wireless signal. Computer monitors, cell phones or cordless phones (handset or base), radios, halogen or fluorescent lights, and microwave ovens can all cause problems with Wi-Fi routers if they are too close.
- Move your router to an area where there is a better signal strength. Try placing your router closer to an outside wall or window. All homes are different, so trial and error is often the best way to find the strongest Wi-Fi home network connection.
- You can’t reach the modem or router login screen.
What You Should Do:
Make sure that your computer is set to use a dynamic or server-assigned IP address. Find out how to do that by clicking on How to Configure Your Network Control Panel for DHCP and following the instructions for your operating system (if you don’t know your Windows operating system, right-click on the My Computer icon and choose Properties).
- You do not have an Ethernet port on your computer.
What You Should Do:
- You will need to buy and install an Ethernet adapter (also called a network interface card or NIC) from a computer or electronics store.
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 Connection
- 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 eartlink.net(I’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: https://myaccount.earthlink.net/cam/passmain.jsp
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.