Honey, Why is the internet broken again?
Why is the internet Broken? It is something we have all asked. Whether in frustration or agony over missed deadlines, assignments, or calls, the internet breaking seems to be a normal part of life now a days. Because of the unusual emergency caused by the coronavirus, we are forced to stay at home: network connections take center stage, and it is now more important than ever to have a reliable Internet connection to stay productive, in touch, and social.
Interruptions in the connection, poor coverage, or slow download speeds are all indications that the internet connection in your home is not working at its peak or as quickly as it should be – Needless to mention the significant other yelling that the Wi-Fi is broken from the other room.
In this article, I will answer the age old question — Why is the internet broken? As a DevOps engineer, I am the resident tech guy of my family, and always get these types of questions. Although the causes of these internet problems are numerous (poor signal, Wi-Fi theft, improper router selection, among others), I also present you with a variety of solutions. From changing the router to changing the service provider and even changing your Wi-Fi password, it is easier to fix your wifi woes than you think!
First steps to take if your connection isn’t working
When you are wondering why is the internet broken, the first thing to take a look at is your own device. Is the Wi-Fi turned on your device?
If you are using a wired connection, check to be that the Ethernet cable is securely attached, with one end connected to the Ethernet connector on the internet jack on your device and the other end connected to the Ethernet connector on your cable modem (if applicable).
Another good step is to check to see if any other devices on your local network are connected to the internet. If they are, there generally would be an issue with the specific device.
Did you try turning it off and back on again?
If both of those don’t yield any good results, unplugging your modem (the wifi box), waiting 30 seconds, and then plugging it back in again works wonders. This will refresh the connection with the internet provider, allow your modem to get a well-deserved break, and will allow only the devices that need the connection to connect right away.
After unplugging your modem, wait for the Internet connection to be restored, which should take no more than 5 minutes. Then, if all of the above steps have been followed and the Internet connection is still not working, I would consider reaching out to the internet service provider. You can find yours here!
It is recommended that we restart the devices we are using to connect as wifi as well rule out the possibility of connection problems. Turn off your phone or table by pressing the power button on the side of the device and wait a few seconds before turning it on again. Carry out the same procedure with your computer or laptop. Sometimes the drivers for these devices, software updates, or a transient conflict can cause the connection to become unreliable or even fail entirely. It is also possible to use the Troubleshooter in Windows, which can occasionally resolve these issues by reinstalling the original factory drivers. I wouldn’t count on that though, because Windows is notoriously bad with their troubleshooters.
If you notice flashing red lights on your equipment, you should double-check that the wiring has been installed correctly. You can go to the Quick Setup Guide that came with the router, as well as the router’s documentation, to accomplish this.
Check the speed of your router.
The first step is to determine the speed at which your request is returned to you, regardless of which internet company you are using. Using an Ethernet cable to connect your computer to the router and a program to measure the connection speed would be the most practical solution in this situation. You can use a website like speedtest.net to determine your internet speed. Generally anything above 100mbps will be completely fine for a family of tech users. One thing to note on this is that the speed shown to you is the speed that your computer is receiving at that given time. Wi-Fi and being farther from the router will slow the speed down to less than the advertised speeds from the internet service provider. They price those plans as if there is only one computer connected to the internet from your home at a time.
If you don’t have access to a computer, you can use apps on your phone that can do the same thing. While the WiFi speed will be lower than the actual speed of your router in this situation due to the many interference with other signals, it will still be faster than the actual speed of your router.
If you perform the test and find that your speed is significantly lower than what you contracted, you must determine the source of the problem and implement a solution. If the estimated internet speed is really slow, you should consider taking further actions by contacting your internet service provider.
Change your Wi-Fi password
Another reason why the internet is broken is potentially because of your neighbors. It’s possible that your neighbor will steal your Wi-Fi. This problem will be resolved if you log into the router and update the password (it is a bit unlikely though). Changing the password is easy, you just need to follow these steps:
You may obtain the web address of your router by typing ctrl + R and then typing “cmd” and clicking enter. A Microsoft CMD window appears (black background and white letters). There, type the command ipconfig and look at the address listed in Default gateway, which will be the address of your router. If everything is correct, your router’s address should be displayed. Then type it into the address bar of your web browser, followed by the prefix “http: //” or “https: //.” This is often represented by an address in the format http://192.168.1.1.
Logging into the router
You will be requested to enter a password as well as a login name. Sometimes the information is printed on the router itself; if not, contact your service provider and inquire. Alternately, you can use the more frequent admin / admin or admin / 1234 username and password combinations.
Select Wireless> Security from the menu bar and make the following selections:
- Use WPA2-PSK for authentication.
- If you use AES for your WPA encryption, you should change your WPA password to something fresh, longer, and more challenging.
- If all of your devices have the WPA3 encryption option, use that instead of the former because it is more secure.
In this section I have explained in very general terms on how to change the Wi-Fi password. Obviously every router will have a different interface and process to change the password. I hope that this will at least send you on the right path on how to change your password and help answer the question “Why is the internet broken” once and for all.
Making sure your router can cut it in today’s world
If you are receiving much less speed than what you contracted, it is possible that your router is unable to give the Wi-Fi speed that need for all of your devices or your Operator might be fooling you by selling a low-speed plan, you need to be careful. Make sure you know what kind of router you have (either on the router or in the box).
- Using A b/g router, you will be able to access only 50 Mbps, which is shared among every device connected! These devices are generally older, but depending on the age of your modem
- A b / g / n router should be able to provide you with download and upload rates of up to 200 Mbps. This is generallt acceptable for a lot of small households.
- If your ISP cares, they should have installed an a c router if you have a fiber optic connection. Depending on the provider, some do and that will be more than enough for most use cases. If your ISP didn’t, WiFi 5 is a widely available standard that will provide good speed in a new router. WiFi 6 is the fastest WiFi available at the moment.
It is imperative to note here that in almost every case utilizing a wi-fi router and modem that you purchase and is not controlled by the company you buy your internet from will generally provide you with a better internet experience (and also save you some money on your bill due to the rental costs!). Most routers provided by the internet service providers are bloated with bad software, poor optimization, and cheap components that can barely handle the workloads of today. Looking into ditching the black box for a real wi-fi set up will make you happier in the long run.
External elements that have an impact on connection speed
Unfortunately, there are some occurrences and circumstances that are out of your control. Outside influences such as overcrowded websites or the propagation of computer viruses can cause a slowdown in the entire web, even with a fast internet connection. Additionally, looking into the internet lines that come to your house can maybe shed some light on slowness. I know it did for me when I had the ISP out three times only to find our lovely neighborhood squirrel thought the coppery and rubbery meat of my internet line was a good snack. They replaced the line and the speeds improved immensely!
Additionally, weather and storms can cause the internet to go out, as well as “planned” maintenance on the internet lines in your neighborhood. A lot of internet service providers do not give warning on these maintenece periods but will let you know that is the case once the outage happens. “Planned”…. Yeah sure.
Some of the most popular websites might also get overrun by the sheer volume of visitors they receive. When a website is mentioned in a television commercial, for example, a large number of people may attempt to access the site at the same moment. Delays may occur if the website is not ready to monitor traffic when it is launched and there is nothing you can do in that case other than waiting out the storm and trying again later.
In this article I have explained Why is the internet broken and provided some of the tips and tricks I use to make sure that the internet is on as much as possible and the quick fixes to make life easier when they aren’t. It is good to note that as more and more devices get connected to the internet, what cut it a few years ago may not be enough got the increasingly internet connected world we live in.
What are your thoughts? Let me know how you deal with internet outages in the comments!
Matthew J Fitzgerald is an experienced DevOps engineer, Company Founder, Author, and Programmer. He Founded Fitzgerald Tech Solutions and several other startups. He enjoys playing in his homelab, gardening, playing the drums, rooting for Chicago and Purdue sports, and hanging out with friends.