When your internet goes down, it can be difficult to know what to do. But what may appear an involved technical issue, may only require some simple troubleshooting.
With a major uptick in online gaming platforms, streaming services, smart home devices, as well as more people now working from home full or even part-time, ensuring you have a strong and reliable internet connection is more important than ever.
If you’re either experiencing constant buffering or lag when trying to stream a TV show or play a game online, or it's taking a long time for a download to complete, there’s a good chance that the problem is on your end, rather than it being an issue with your broadband provider.
Before reaching out to your Internet Service Provider (ISP), it's a good idea to try troubleshooting the problem yourself.
1. Try another device or website
It may sound obvious, but the first step towards solving an issue with your broadband is to eliminate whether the issue is only happening on one device or across all devices in your home.
If, for example, your laptop isn't connecting to the internet, check some other devices in your home - smartphone, tablet, desktop computer etc. In the event the problem is only occurring on one device, you can safely assume the issue is to do with that particular gadget.
If you're trying to get on to a specific website that won't load, try another site. If you find that other websites load without an issue, then it's likely that the issue is with the particular webpage you're trying to visit. And if that's the case, there's little you can do other than wait for those site issues to be fixed by their web team.
2. Check your Wi-Fi signal
If you're on Wi-Fi and experiencing issues, try plugging your device directly into your router using an Ethernet cable. If you find that when connected, you're able to access the internet, your Wi-Fi - rather than your line or router - is likely the problem. In this case, check the Wi-Fi icon on the device you're using: how many bars does it have?
If the bars are low, check that your router is positioned upright and away from other electrical devices. Also, try and ensure the connection isn't blocked by furniture or thick walls by placing the router as close to the centre of your home as possible. You may also want to think about contacting your broadband provider to discuss a Wi-Fi Extender to help expand the reach of the Wi-Fi connection in your home.
3. Ping Google
A simple way to test your internet connection is to ping Google using the ping network command on either your Windows or Mac computer.
The command tests whether you can reach Google - it also measures the round trip time to receive a reply from Google.
Ping is an ideal way to check if your actual internet connection is faulty - if you're having problems browsing the web, it may be an issue with your browser rather than your broadband connection.
The Ping command is run from a Command Prompt window. To open it:-
On a Windows PC
- Press Windows key + R on your keyboard. This will open the Command prompt tool.
- Type "ping www.google.com" and press Enter.
On a Mac
- Press Command + Space Bar on your Mac keyboard. Type in “Terminal”
- Type "ping -c 4 google.com" and press Enter.
In either of these cases, you are looking for a response from Google. If you get a reply, it means you have a working internet connection.
Alternatively, if a 'timed out', 'destination host unreachable', 'unsuccessful', or any other similar message is displayed, you have a problem with your connection.
4. Check your IP address
An IP address, or Internet Protocol address, is a series of numbers that identifies any device on a network. Each device in your home requires a valid IP address in order to connect to the internet.
On a Windows PC
- Type: ipconfig | findstr /I “Gateway"
- You should then see a line that looks similar to this: Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
On a Mac
- Open 'System Preferences' and under 'Internet and Wireless', click 'Network'.
- Select 'Ethernet' and click 'Advanced'.
- Click the 'TCP/IP' tab and the IP address will be displayed next to 'Router'.
A valid IP address always begins with 192. If it starts with 169, it means your device and router are not communicating properly and that you need to contact your broadband provider as soon as possible for next steps.
5. Check the lights on your router
The lights on your router can provide as a useful tool in indicating whether or not you have a problem with your broadband.
As a genreal rule of thumb, if any of the lights on your router are amber or red, this is indicative of a problem.
If there are no lights on at all, this usually means there is no power, so make sure your router is plugged in all the way.
As a quick troubleshooting method, you can try resetting your router. To o do this, take the following steps:-
- Unplug the router and modem.
- Wait at least 30 seconds.
- Plug in the modem again. If it doesn't restart automatically within a few seconds, press the power button.
When restarting your router, some may take some time to do this. Allow at least 3 -5 minutes for your router to turn on fully before diagnosing further.
6. Test the microfilter
The microfilter is the small white box that you plug into your phone socket. One side connects to your phone cable while the other to your internet cable. For ADSL and standard fibre connections, the microfilter allows your broadband to work at the same time as your landline.
Check the connection to your microfilter, making sure the cables click in place properly when you plug them in. If they don't, there may be an issue with the connection.
More modern housing and new builds may have a microfilter that's already built into the phone socket, in which case you'll need to contact your provider to see if they can help diagnose the problem.
7. Test the line
If you have a home phone, plug this directly into the landline socket (without the microfilter or any other adapters in place) on the wall and listen for a dial tone.
If there is silence, or any noise other than a dial tone, this is indicative of an issue with your line. You should report this to your provider as soon as possible using your mobile device.
8. Contact your broadband provider
If you've gone through this list and are still having issues, you should contact your broadband provider.
Compare broadband deals
We find deals from all the top providers and help you switch.