I originally intended on writing a single page article about one of the issues that my clients have most often: Broadband. However, it soon became clear that this is a much larger subject than I can cover in a single post at least without losing you after a single paragraph. So I have broken it into 3 sections:
Although not very technical, they should be enough to steer you in the right direction if you find yourself having issues.
The first troubleshooting step no matter what area you are looking at is always to try and narrow down the issue(s) to make it easier to diagnose the problem. Time spent narrowing down the issue will save you trying out every solution you read on an internet forum or googling “my router doesn’t work”.
Step 1 is always, check the status lights on the front of the router and tighten up any and all cables connecting the router. Routers will typically have Upstream, Downstream, Status / Online lights. If these are off / red depending on your router, then it’s generally worth a call to your ISP to get them to sort it / diagnose problems.
Sometimes, the lights lie! Yes, I have come across some routers (particularly the units Cisco UPC / Virgin) that show all lights green and everything being ok, but it’s not so it helps to know some basic troubleshooting tips.
At this point, I will say that I’m a windows guy with limited experience in Mac and some experience in Linux so I’m going to stick to windows (at least until I educate myself a bit more on Mac’s). I’m assuming if you’re using Linux, that you are somewhat versed in basic diagnostics.
Let’s begin! Can you reach a website?
If not, then check that the DNS server is not the cause of your problems. DNS translates IP addresses into names that you can read; kind of similar to a reverse phone book for computers. Once you type the name into your browser, your device sends the request to the router. The router then requests the numeric address from it’s DNS server and once it gets a reply, sends you there. When you type www.Google.com for example, your router is actually going to 18.104.22.168. This is DNS doing its thing and if it stops working then your router can no longer find the number associated with the name.
To check DNS status:
We will use the ping command. The ping command is one of the most commonly used commands by professionals to diagnose connectivity issues. In essence, a ping is an “are you there?” request to a device / location. You send out the “are you there?” request and wait for the “Yes I am” reply.
Open a command prompt window by clicking the start button and typing cmd. Click on the cmd.exe icon and a black box will open up. Type “ping www.google.com” without the quotation marks and if you get a result like this, then your DNS is ok.
If however, you get a result like this, then you likely have an issue connecting to your router or experiencing a DNS issue.
Firstly, you need to check that you are connected to your router. Keeping the command prompt box open, type “ipconfig” again, without the quotation marks. You will get information about the local machine’s network adapters. What you are really looking for is the IP of your default gateway which is your router. I am connected using my wireless adapter, so if you are using a wired connection, make sure you are looking at the Wired adapter section in the information:
You can see here that my IP is 192.168.0.52 and my default gateway is 192.168.0.1. If you are using DHCP to connect then you should be ok but just to be sure, ping the default gateway by typing ping “default gateway IP”.
If you get a reply like pictured here, then continue on but if not, then reboot your router and see if the issue is fixed. If you’re not getting a reply then the issue is connectivity between your device and your router so you need to check your physical connection i.e. if wireless is not working, try connecting via a cable and vice versa.
So now that you know that you have connectivity between your device and the router but that you cannot ping google.com so you need to change your DNS server.
To fix this, you have 2 options. You can go into your routers settings and set Googles DNS servers or change them on the adapter of your device.I am going to show you how to set the DNS on a local machine.
NOTE: The issue with simply setting the DNS on your device is that (providing the issue is on all devices) then repairing it locally will not fix the problem for everyone else. For this reason, I would advise you to set the DNS on the router if you can. I use Googles DNS servers as they are the most reliable in my experience. If you take issue with Google, feel free to look up another.
Click the start button and type network. Click on Network and sharing center:
On the next screen, click on change adapter settings, located in the top left of the screen:
Once you click this you will be presented with a list of your adapters. It doesn’t matter which adapter you use to connect. The process is the same for wired and wireless adapters. Right click on the adapter that you are using and select properties. Scroll down to Internet protocol version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click the properties button:
Now click the radio button “Use the following DNS Server addresses” and use Googles (If you like) DNS servers. The primary is
Now click the radio button “Use the following DNS Server addresses” and use Googles (If you like) DNS servers. The primary is 22.214.171.124 and the secondary is 126.96.36.199. Hit ok.
If DNS was the issue you should now be able to ping google.com and navigate to whatever website you like.
If this has helped you then, please share. Thanks for reading.