The worst moment of working from home comes when you’re 30 minutes away from an important deadline and boom! Your Internet disappears and you don’t know why.
OK, take a deep breath, you’ve got this.
Just use our quick guide to fixing your Internet connection when you really need to work and you’ll be back online in a jiffy. Most of the time, at least.
How To Fix That Lack Of Internet Connection In 9 Steps (Or Less)
- Don’t panic. Reboot the router and/or modem. The easiest way to do this is simply to switch the power off to the router and modem set up for about a minute and then restart it. This will flush the memory on the device and, with a bit of luck, may be all you need to do. If you have admin status on your router, you can also log directly into the router and instruct it to reboot itself. But we’re more in the “push a button” camp than the “play around with something we’re not overly familiar with” camp.
- Check which network you’re connected to. Just hover your mouse cursor over the network connection or click on it and make sure that you’re actually connected to your Wi-Fi network. We’ve all done this only to find we’re still connected to the smartphone hotspot we used the day before but which now has almost no signal. If you’re on the wrong network, disconnect and connect to the right one. (Note: If you use a Wi-Fi extender, it may have the same network name as the router – to test this, switch the extender off, if you then get Internet, the extender is the problem).
- Check your wireless password is correct. Not every network warns you that you’re not logged in due to a wrong password. Simply click on the “forget network” routine for your operating system and then reconnect and type in the password again. This is an unusual issue to have at home but super common if you work in co-working spaces or cafes. Your laptop has likely saved an old (and now expired) password in these instances.
Switch your VPN off. Not every VPN server is online 100% of the time. So, if you can switch off your VPN and get connected to the net, you need to change the server that you’re on or check that you’ve paid your VPN provider’s most recent bill. If that doesn’t fix it, call your VPN provider.
- Check if you’re connected to an IP address. It’s super easy to find yourself connected to the router with all those lovely signal bars and still have no internet. That’s because the router’s not connecting to the outside world. So, check if your IP addresses are in place. If you think there’s a problem, use your OS to reassign an IP address. (In Windows, you hit Control Panel, Network Adapter and then click Obtain an IP Address automatically).
- Check that you’ve got your browser open. Yes, we know that sounds really silly if you’re trying to check email on the go. But if you’re operating from a Wi-Fi hotspot? It’s often a vital part of enabling the internet connection. This is doubly true if you’re currently sitting in an airport or hotel. These places tend to require you to accept their t’s and c’s before giving you Internet access and they deliver those t’s and c’s via a browser. If you find they also need a username and password (and many do) ask for one from a server.
- Switch the DNS server. The DNS is a Domain Name Server and basically, it acts like an address book for the internet finding all the domains that you type into your browser via their IP addresses. It’s very easy to change the DNS server (and it’s free) all you need to do is follow these instructions at PCMag. If you’re working internationally, sometimes changing your DNS server can also help you evade local censorship of social media networks, etc. too.
- See if MAC address filtering is in place. A MAC address has nothing to do with Apple. It’s a unique identifier supplied to each device on a network and it’s permanent. So, your computer, your smartphone, etc. all have their own MAC address. But some Wi-Fi networks operate MAC address filters. That is, if your device doesn’t match their range of addresses, it won’t connect to that Wi-Fi network. If this is the problem, and it’s only likely to be true on private business networks, you’ll need to talk to the system admin to be added to their MAC address approval list.
Seek help from your employer, hardware providers or ISP. If you’ve reached this point in the list, sorry, we’ve not managed to get you back online and that’s almost certainly because there’s a problem with your hardware, software or ISP. Given that these problems are not so common, and there are potentially millions of them, you’re going to need to call in some external help. Talk to your helpdesk at work, or to your hardware providers and/or your ISP and they may be able to fix it for you.
Final Thoughts On Fixing Your Internet Connection
It can be a real nightmare when your internet connection drops offline and you need to get work done but most of the time?
You can fix your own internet connection using our step-by-step guide, so don’t panic, just roll up your sleeves and deal with it like a work from home pro!
Need help with another aspect of remote working?
Take a look at how to work remotely from another country, or how to ask your boss if you can work remotely or even our article on the most challenging aspect of working from home!