How to Fix The Most Common Internet and Network Issues When Your Family is 'Working From Home'
Before the pandemic, having Internet and networking issues weren't always a big deal. If you had problems, you could always rely on your Internet service at the office or have the kids surf and stream on their mobile devices. Now with many of you working remotely and homeschooling, spotty or, no Internet is the equivalent of trying to ice skate uphill. The Internet now is the lifeblood that helps keep your family employed, educated, and entertained which is why it's important to ensure that your home network is always up and running. When you do encounter issues with your Internet and home network, there are some simple steps you can follow to get you connected again. I've listed these from very simple to fairly simple, so follow them in order. Of course if none of these work, you know who to call.
1. Reboot Your Devices. Whenever you have problems with computers, smartphones, tablets, printers, mesh networks, and routers, rebooting should be the first thing you do. When you reboot your devices, including your modem or router, it clears out any crossed signals that could be occurring with your devices. With computers, smartphones, and tablets, you can turn them back on as soon as they power off. With modems and routers, you need to keep them off for at least a minute before you turn them back on. When it comes to modems and routers, make sure you are 'rebooting' them by either unplugging them or flipping the power switch off. You never want to press the reset button on your modem or router. Doing so could change your home network settings that will cause further issues. Before you reboot your devices, always make sure you save anything you're working on to minimize the risk that you will lose them.
2. Could The Website be Experiencing issues? This step is a close step to your first step. Companies sometimes have outages with their websites. With Internet traffic up during the pandemic, the chances of an outage increase. If a particular web site you're visiting doesn't work, just visit another web site to see if the page will load on your device. If other pages load normally, it's a problem with that website. To verify, go to another device in your household to see if it will load the same website. If you get the same results on that website from another device, the only thing you can do is wait until the website comes back. You can also use Uptrend's (www.uptrend.com) handy Website Uptime Tester by clicking here. This tool will let you know if a website is down.
3. Is Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) having issues? With more bandwidth being used by you and everyone else trying to work from home, it's possible your Internet company can have the occasional outage. A quick way to check if there is an outage in your area is to go to another mobile carrier connected device and visit www.downdetector.com This website is designed to let you know if your Internet provider is experiencing an outage. This tool isn't completely foolproof, so you might have to get on the phone to call your ISP to see if there is an outage in your neighborhood.
4. It Could Be Time To Replace Internet and Home Network Devices. How long have you had your router in your home? If it's been 5 years or more, it's time to swap that equipment out. Home network and Internet equipment should be replaced every 5 years. That's a pretty good life considering these devices work 24/7 keeping you and your family connected to the Internet. Most IT professionals will tell you that it's better to purchase your own home networking equipment, but I disagree. When you lease your equipment from your Internet provider, it's much easier to troubleshoot and replace modems and routers. When you lease your equipment, your Internet provider will provide more troubleshooting steps because it's their equipment. When you purchase your own equipment, they won't provide much help. Also, with leased equipment, you can swap it out for newer equipment when you experience issues. If you purchase your own, you have to go through the pain and effort of configuring your equipment with your Internet company.
5. Configure Your Home Network Properly to Minimize Problems. The right configuration of your home network will save you many problems down the road. Wired connections to your computers and laptops are going to give you the fastest connection. If you can wire your devices, you shouldn't experience internet issues. If possible, place your wireless router in the center of your home on the main level to ensure all of your devices can get a good wireless signal. If you have to set up wireless extenders or repeaters, make sure they carry the same name as your main wireless network. Too many different wifi names can confuse your computers and devices making them jump back and forth between networks. When it comes to Internet speed, get as much as you can to ensure you get good Internet speeds wired and wireless.
A reliable home network is something that will create less stress in your life in the coming year. If you follow the above tips, you can probably troubleshoot and fix many of the issues that can pop up with your home network. Home networks can be complicated, so if you ever run into issues with yours, never hesitate to reach out to me for professional help.
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