No Internet Connection :: How to Troubleshoot and Get Back Online


It’s happened to all of us: you turn your computer on one morning and get the dreaded “no internet connection” message. Do you know what to do? Knowing how to get connected or re-connected to the internet is essential, especially in this day and age with the rise of virtual schooling and working from home. As a former tech support agent for a major internet service provider, I learned many different reasons for a loss of connection. I am going to write about how to resolve some of the simpler reasons for connection loss.

No Internet connection - arg.
Do you know how to get re-connected?

Before We Begin

I am writing this with the assumption that you know or have access to:

  • A simple network setup that includes a modem and router OR a modem/router OR gateway
  • Your network name/SSID and password
  • The location of your network setup along with the ability to do a power cycle

If you don’t know all of these things, I would strongly recommend that you do learn them in the very near future, especially if you end up having to contact your internet service provider!

No Internet Connection

Back to our original scenario: you’ve found the dreaded “no internet connection” message on your computer. First and foremost, I would recommend that you simply restart your computer. You would be surprised how many times a simple restart fixes an internet issue! I know I have a bad habit of not turning my computer off at night. I simply close the lid on my laptop. It works, but it isn’t good for a long-term situation. A restart definitely helps from time to time.

Check Internet Connection

The steps I will outline below are based on a Chromebook. The steps are fairly standard across devices, however. The icons, as far as I know, are standard across typical devices such as laptops, smartphones, smart TVs, etc.

Click on Wi-Fi icon on lower right (it looks like a baseball diamond/slice of pizza/slice of pie).

A menu should pop up. Check to see that you are in fact connected to your personal Wi-Fi connection. For this scenario, assume you are not connected. At this point, click the actual text that says “Not Connected.”

Internet Menu - re-establishing an internet connection
Take note of the internet icons both in the lower right of the picture as well as on the menu that is up.

This should pull up a network list. This should help in a couple of ways. To start off with, a Chromebook will tell you if the computer’s Wi-Fi is on or off. If it is off, click the slider to turn it on. If you get connected to the internet, then you are good to go!

WiFi Off - re-establishing an internet connection
The WiFi is off in this scenario. Clicking the slider should turn it back on.

On the network list that pops up, check to see if your network name is there. If you see it, click on it. Enter your password if prompted. This should get you connected!

What if This Doesn’t Work?

What if you check the network list and do not see your network name? Our next step is power cycling your modem. Just to clarify, a modem is how you get your internet connection. A router is a separate device you connect to your modem that provides your Wi-Fi. If you rent a device from your internet service provider, you likely have a gateway. A gateway is a modem and router all in one single device.

Power cycling is unplugging your modem from the power for at least 30 seconds and plugging it back in. If you have a setup that includes a separate modem and router, you will be unplugging the modem. The modem will be physically located closest to the wall.

Once you plug your modem back in, I would wait a few minutes for everything to get back up and running. It won’t happen instantly. Most (if not all) modems have a light on the front that indicates if it is receiving power. That light will come on first. Any remaining lights will come on one by one. After a few minutes, you should be back online!

I can’t comment specifically on the lights on the front of modems/routers/gateways because there are thousands out there. No two are exactly alike. I would encourage everyone to familiarize yourselves with the lights and what they mean on your personal setup!

What if I’m Still Not Online?

At this point, you’ll need to call your ISP (internet service provider). There may be something more at play such as a local outage or an issue with the cabling at/around your home.

Most tier 1 technicians you will start off talking with will likely run you through our above steps, up to and including power cycling the modem and possibly sending a signal. Among other things, sending a signal will determine if your network setup is able to send and receive information.

What the phone technician finds will set up the next steps. They may have to send a technician to look at a few things locally (mainly things that can’t be done over the phone), or they may even advise you to replace your modem. Every situation is different, and no scenario works for everyone!

By writing this blog, I am hoping that everyone is able to run some troubleshooting steps on their own and solve some basic connectivity issues. Please let me know if they helped!

Previous articleThe Rituals I Will Carry into 2021
Next articleThe Great Shift
Kristina is an Alabama native who came to Birmingham in 2005 for college (has it really been 15 years?!). She had lived in Muscle Shoals her whole life up until that point. After graduating from UAB in 2009 with a degree in journalism and a minor in music, she married Paul in 2011. Paul has worked in the tech industry since 2009. Kristina has had several jobs in the area - everything from banking, veterinary medicine and receptionist. She most recently worked from home as low-level tech support. Kristina and Paul had the biggest surprise of their lives when they went in for the first 8-week ultrasound and found out that they were expecting "spontaneous" twins! Everything was going to change already, but they had to multiply it by two! Two girls, Elle and June, were born in July 2019 and nothing has been the same since. Kristina is now a stay-at-home mom to Elle and June and it has been the most rewarding job of all! Kristina, Paul, Elle and June make home in Alabaster, where you can usually find them on the weekends. They like going around to the things in the area, such as shopping and going on walks in the park. The babies are famous - neither Kristina or Paul can go anywhere alone without people asking about the twins!