You can do this...

I have never been very good with computers. Luckily my role at Jones IT doesn't involve fixing them. My knowledge has been confined to the tools and apps required to perform my job. This was all fine while I was working in companies that had a dedicated IT department with enough free time to address my little problems. Of all the variety of issues that can plague your computer, network connectivity problem is perhaps the worst. Although, computers can do a whole lot offline, not being online can severely cripple everyday tasks. This is especially the case when most of our work resides in the cloud. All the apps and online tools that make our life whole lot better can make us miserable when we cannot connect to the internet.

When you are working for an IT services company, it isn’t really a problem until of course you are working remotely. It is a small but nagging problem that we encounter quite often. It is frustrating, and a serious drain on our efficiency especially if we do not have IT support or the know-how. What is an even bigger problem is that when we are offline, we can’t search for fixes online. That’s a double whammy.

So how do you fix it? Just continue reading our step by step guide from the resident network experts at Jones IT that helps me isolate the problem and troubleshoot. After each step, I try to connect to the internet and that tells me if the problem is fixed. So what are you waiting for? Follow along…

 

1. Check the silly little things.

Yes, it is annoying to think that you can overlook a minor thing like the WiFi not being switched on for your laptop. But the fact is that it does happen. We have a hundred things going on in our minds and the hot keys add to the problem rather than solve it. So it is best to check that you haven’t inadvertently hit that key. Look for the following:

  • Check that the WiFi is on and WiFi symbol on your Windows taskbar is not greyed out
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  • Check that your Windows Laptop is not in Airplane mode
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2. Check if it is the website’s problem

Many times in what appears to be a network problem may in fact be a problem on the website’s end. You can quickly check if the website in question is down at the aptly named site Down For Everyone Or Just Me, provided you can get online. 

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3. Check if it is just your device

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Ask your colleagues if they are also experiencing connectivity problems. Additionally check your mobile device. If it is down for everyone in your office, then it is likely an issue with your network device or ISP (Internet Service Provider).

Check if the lights on your router/modem are flashing green? If no lights are on, your device could be dead. If you see red lights, or a power light but no connection light, your ISP is likely down.

At this point you should reach out to your IT Support who will likely have a hotline to your ISP and if not then you can try to reach your ISP directly. If the problem is with a single device, you can continue with the next steps.

 

4. Restart/Hard boot/Power cycle

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We hate to hear this and it seems silly to think that simply turning your system off and then back on can solve the network problem, but most of the time it does. This is the go to step for all things IT because it is doesn’t take long (recommended to wait for 60 seconds before turning your system back on) and fixes a ton of problems. So go ahead and switch off your system.

Alright, at this point of time if none of the above steps work, we can safely say that the problem is not a temporary glitch and that it resides in your system alone. The following steps may appear a little technical if you are not familiar with the command prompt in Windows. However, if you are, you can simply follow along the steps you should be fine.

 

5. Check for a Valid IP Address

You first need to open the command prompt by typing cmd in your start menu in Windows or by pressing the hot key combination window key + R to launch the Run window and then typing "cmd". This will give you a the following window:

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At the command prompt type ipconfig and you should see the following information in your command prompt:

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Look at the text under Wireless LAN adapter WiFi. If the IPv4 Address value is of the form 169.x.x.x then it implies that you are not receiving a valid IP from your router. Now, type ipconfig /renew at the command prompt. This can sometime fix the problem. You can check if the problem is fixed by typing ipconfig again. If you still see the IPv4 as 169.x.x.x, connect your system with the modem with an ethernet cable. Now check if you can get online. If yes, then the problem is with the router and if not then continue with the next step.

 

6. Try a Ping and trace the route

If in the above step you receive an IP address that begins with any value other than 169 then it means the problem is occurring between the router and the internet. Type the following command in your command prompt: ping google.com

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If it fails to send packets to Google, it will let you know the problem that caused the failure. After this you can use a command to check the path that the packet takes to reach Google’s DNS servers. Type the following in the command prompt: tracert google.com

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This displays the path and if you see that a problem occurs early in the path, then the issue is likely with your local network otherwise it lies outside your network.

 

7. Inform your IT Support/ISP of the network connectivity problem

At this point we have verified that your gear is working fine, you have a valid IP address and where the problem lies in the network. With this information you can reach out to your IT Support or your ISP. Once you have let your ISP or IT Support know of the problem, hopefully they will resolve the problem in a short time especially since they have all the valuable information about the problem that you have gathered.

While you wait to get back online, have patience and remember that you can do plenty when you are offline.

This step by step guide for troubleshooting network connectivity on Windows is a general template and may vary from case to case. In general, whenever you start the troubleshooting process you can eliminate quite a few causes by verifying if the problem persists after restarting, checking if the problem is occurring on other devices or for your colleagues.

If you found this useful, you should also check out this informative blog that lists the common signs that indicate a poor network at your workplace: 5 Signs Your Business Needs A Wifi Upgrade

If you're interested in learning more, feel free to ask us about Networks, WiFi, improving your network security,  or upgrading your network and WiFi gear. Call or email Jones IT today!

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