Tech Talk #184–July 23, 2022
After the day you just had, once you finally get home, all you want to do is check your email, play some Wordle, and maybe watch a movie on Netflix. Except, you’ve got no internet. Not on your phone, your tablet, or your computer. Now what?
Getting the internet to your house is a complex undertaking involving global telecommunications corporations, federal, state, and local governments, fiber optic cables, satellites, communications towers, data centers, undersea cables, and miles and miles and miles of wires.
Luckily, when the internet is down at your house, you don’t need to worry about all the internet-providing infrastructure outside your house. However, here are some basic things you should check at your house before calling your Internet Service Provider (ISP.)
Power cycle your device to ensure it’s not the problem by turning off your phone, tablet, or computer, waiting for a bit, and turning it back on. Still no internet?
Most ISPs use either a box that functions as a combo modem/router or two separate boxes, one a modem and one a router.
If you have a combo (one box), unplug it, wait 30 seconds, and then plug it back in. Watch the blinking lights on the ISP’s box until they’re all green, or at least none of the lights are red. Then, check your device, and hopefully, your internet works again.
If you have separate boxes, unplug them both and wait 30 seconds. Also, unplug the ethernet cable from the modem to the router at the router. Plug in the modem (it probably only has two lights) and wait until the lights are green or at least not red. Now plug in the ethernet cable and the power to your router. Again, wait until all the lights are green and check your device. Hopefully, you have internet again.
If you still don’t have any internet or have red lights on your ISP’s devices, it’s time to call for support. There may be an outage in your area, or your equipment may not work correctly. When you connect with a service person, they should be able to connect to their equipment at your house and “see” if it’s working correctly. They may refresh the authorization code to their equipment and see if that fixes the problem. If their equipment still doesn’t work, they’ll schedule a technician to come to your house and fix the issue.
If you usually connect your phone to your Wi-Fi when you’re at home and your Wi-Fi isn’t getting any internet, apps on your phone won’t work. Turning off Wi-Fi on your phone will force your phone to use your cellular data, and you’ll be back online, at least on your phone. If you need temporary internet on a tablet or a computer, turn on the hotspot functionality on your phone and connect to that. Getting email and paying bills will work fine, but any streaming you do will eat up the data on your phone.
Ten ways you know your internet connection is slow
1. Text on web pages displays as Morse Code.
2. Graphics arrive via FedEx.
3. You believe running a heavier string to the pole might improve your connection.
4. You post a message on Facebook that displays a week later.
5. Your credit card expires while ordering online.
6. The ESPN website exhibits ‘Heisman Trophy Winner’…for 1989.
7. You’re still in the middle of downloading that popular new game, ‘PacMan.’
8. Everyone you talk to on the ‘net phone’ sounds like Forrest Gump.
9. You receive emails with stamps on them.
10. When you click the ‘Send’ button, a little door opens on the side of your monitor, and a pigeon flies out.
Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.