Wi-Fi Home Network Troubleshooting Tips

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.

Wi-Fi home networking from EarthLinkBut 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.

Your Problem:

  • The power indicator on your modem or router doesn’t light up after being plugged in.

What You Should Do:

  1. 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.
  2. If you’re using a surge protector, make sure it’s turned on and working.
  3. Check that the electrical outlet you’re using is working by plugging in a night-light or lamp to see if it works.
  4. Try plugging the modem or router into another outlet. 

Your Problem:

  • You can connect to your Wi-Fi network but aren’t able to browse the Internet

What You Should Do:

  1. Shut down/turn off your router and cable or DSL modem.
  2. 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.
  3. Turn on the modem and wait approximately 30 seconds. Then turn on your router. Attempt to connect to the Internet again.
  4. 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 Problem:

  • Your wireless network doesn’t show up on your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

What You Should Do:

  1. Make sure that your wireless router and modem are both plugged in.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 

Your Problem:

  • You’re continuously losing or dropping your Wi-Fi signal.

What You Should Do:

  1. Make sure that the Wi-Fi antenna is securely connected to your router and pointed straight up.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Your Problem:

  • 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).

 Your Problem:

  • 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.

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