Internet access is dependable these days compared with just a few years ago. But on those rare occasions when our computers lose touch with the outside world, I learn all over again how dependent we have become.
We pay our bills online and check the weather, and its an essential part of how most of us earn a living.
Today, well talk about what to do when you lose your connection, as well as some ways to soup up connections that work too slowly.
Lets start with the good news. In most cases, your Internet connection isnt dead. Its just taking a brief nap. So before I panic, let me stop typing this column for a moment and see whether thats what is happening here on Kodiak Drive. Ill turn off the high-speed modem and router and let it sit powered down while I get another cup of coffee.
Thats always the first thing to try cycle off the power to those devices, wait a few minutes, then power them up again. More often than not, youll be rewarded with a good connection.
Heres why. Your modem needs to work in synchronization with the gear at your Internet provider. Various things, including a blip in your electrical power, can get the devices out of sync. Something as simple as powering down and then up again can force your modem to renegotiate that connection.
If you try this and it fails, wait a few minutes and try again. It sometimes can take two or three tries to get a modem talking again. Luckily, thats just what happened here. All is well now. My email is working again.
That simple fix wont always work. When it doesnt, most of us are tempted to start tinkering. A small amount of that is OK. Go ahead and check the cables at the modem, your computer and your router. The easiest way to do this is to unplug each connector and then snap it back firmly in place. There are times when an accidental tug can pull something loose cutting off your connection. And its an easy and sensible thing to check.
But thats it for the tinkering even if you are an advanced computer user and know all the tricks. Its time to contact your Internet provider. (By the way, its a good idea to keep important phone numbers handy, perhaps entered in an address book or written down on a piece of paper, available for times you cant search for them online.)
Maybe it will cheer you up to know that the major Internet services, including my provider, AT&T, generally do a fine job when it comes to diagnosing and fixing Internet problems. It makes great sense to contact your provider first. After all, if the problem is on their end of the circuit, you could tinker away maybe creating new problems without a chance of fixing the problem.
Be patient when you call. You will be guided through several steps including things you have already tried.
For instance, you almost certainly will be asked to restart the modem. And you will be asked to connect the computer directly to your modem thats to rule out the chance that the problem is with your router or other devices in your home. The technical support person has a checklist that is pretty much set in stone.
In almost every case, there will be a way to restore your Internet service while you are on the phone. Even when that doesnt happen, help will be on the way.
email@example.com. Bill Husted writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.