Connection Issues

Picture this: You’re on a video call with your family or friends. Everything is going well until someone’s video is going at a snail’s pace, and “How are you?” sounds more like “-ow a-e -ou?” Asking “Can you repeat that?” can and will get old after the first seven times. We’ve all been there! It can be frustrating. To make your life easier, here are a few tips on how to troubleshoot connection issues.

Is one website down or is it multiple?

The first step is actually making sure it’s a problem with your network. Sometimes it could be a problem on the specific website’s end. Use the Down for Everyone or Just Me website to see if the website is down for other users.

If the website doesn’t even show up, and you get Google’s “There is no internet connection” minigame, you definitely have a problem with your network.

Are you connected to Wifi or through Ethernet?

  • Wifi: Try disconnecting and reconnecting to your network. Make sure you have the correct password!

  • Ethernet: Is the cable plugged in properly? Is the cable damaged in any way?

Restart Devices

A network problem can often be solved by restarting your computer, modem, and router. To clear modem and router caches, wait 60 seconds after turning them off before turning them on again. If you have a physical switch, make sure it isn’t set in the “off” position.

Are the lights on your router and/or modem flashing green as normal?

  • No lights? The device could be dead or malfunctioning.

  • Red lights? Power light, but no connection light? Your Internet Service Provider could be experiencing a disruption.

Use Windows Network Troubleshooter

Sometimes, Windows Network Troubleshooter can automatically find and fix issues. If the troubleshooter finds and fixes the problem after it is run, try to connect again. To find Windows Network Troubleshooter, click on the search bar, type in “trouble”, and click on “Troubleshoot Settings”. From there, click “Internet Connections” followed by “Run the troubleshooter”.

Utilizing Command Prompt and PowerShell

These next troubleshooting tips will determine whether the problem is somewhere between your router and the internet.

What is an IP address?

An IP address is a label that is used to identify one or more devices on a computer network. It is similar to a postal address.

How do I find my IP address?

On a Windows machine, go into the search bar and type “cmd”. Open Command Prompt. In the terminal, type “ipconfig”, then hit enter. Your IP address will be on the same line of “IPv4 address”.

You can also utilize PowerShell to do this on a Windows machine. In the search bar, type “powershell”, then open Windows PowerShell. You can use the same commands as before, the terminal will just look a little different.

On a Mac, open the terminal by navigating to /Applications/Utilities. To find your IP address, type “ifconfig” and hit enter.

On a Linux machine, click on the terminal icon directly, or press Ctrl+T. To find your IP address, type “ifconfig” and hit enter. The outputs for a Mac or Linux machine will be similar to those of a Windows machine.

Try “ping”

First, what is the “ping” command? The ping command is your computer sending out a question to another computer (or network) to see if there is a connection to it. Basically your computer is going, “Hey! Am I connected to you?”. If the computer or network is connected, they will send a reply back. If not, the request will time out.

When you use the command “ping”, this will ping the Google DNS servers. A DNS (Domain Name System) server is a computer server that contains a database of public IP addresses and their hostnames. This essentially translates the hostname (the website) to the associated IP address so the networks can communicate with one other.

Windows, Mac, and Linux machines all use the same command for this. Open the terminal and type “ping” followed by an IP address or website. In the photo below, was pinged using Command Prompt and Windows PowerShell. You can see that both pinged properly.

When using the “ping” command, you can use the target network address instead of the website address. To ping google in this way, the command will be “ping”. This command is the same for Windows, Mac, and Linux machines.

Is your Internet Service Provider having issues?

Your Internet Service Provider might be having an issue. You can check an outage map to see if others are experiencing similar issues to you.

When you have a connection issue, don’t freak out! Connection issues can be easily solved through a few steps. First, check to see if the website you’re using is down only for you or for others. If the Down for Everyone or Just Me page doesn’t even show up, you have a network issue. You can then check your connection by disconnecting and reconnecting to Wifi or ensuring your ethernet cable is undamaged and plugged in. Next, try turning your devices on and off again. If that doesn’t solve the problem, utilize Windows Network Troubleshooter so the program can diagnose and fix issues automatically. Lastly, utilize the terminal on your computer to run the “ping” command. If all else fails, your Internet Service Provider may be experiencing an issue.

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