How to Troubleshoot a Home Network Problem (5 Connection Statuses)

In Computer Networking Skills, Computer Skills

This article is going to discover how to troubleshoot a home network problem, especially in a router or modem connection. Building a simple home wireless network at home or your small office is quite easy using some network devices. Especially for wireless routers that have been integrated with a modem. Even, the latest series made by Netgear uses the fifth generation of WiFi technology (5G). However, sometimes it is not as simple as in the theory. In which, network problems often occur. So, you need to know how to troubleshoot your home network problem.

This troubleshooting work mostly consists of some technical steps to eliminate the potential problems one by one. Before you finally find the root of the problem on your home network connection. There are basically three basic steps in troubleshooting a wireless network problem at home or office. They are problem isolation and troubleshooting problems, but if necessary you can contact a network technical support.

Network Problem Isolation

Before you start to troubleshoot a home network problem, you need to localize or isolate what the root of the problem is. This article specifically guides you how to troubleshoot a home wireless networks. Or it may apply for a small office too. Although, sometimes you may also apply this theory to troubleshooting network problems on a corporate-scale network as well. Generally, on a home wireless network or a small office, there are three layers as shown in the diagram below, namely the Internet, modem/router, and computers on the network. We should be able to isolate on the layers where the problem is before we troubleshoot the network effectively.

Furthermore, before troubleshooting a network, we need to localize or isolate what is at the root of the problem. This article is devoted to home wireless networks or small office, although the theory can be applied to troubleshooting network problems on the corporate network as well. Generally, there are three layers of a home or small office wireless network or a small office, namely, the Internet, modem or router, and the computer(s) on the network. So, you should be able to isolate which layer a problem exists before you can effectively troubleshoot the network problem.

Although it is possible for you to repair almost any home network problem, knowing the root of the layer problem is very helpful for you in a situation where you absolutely need to contact a technical support like a vendor or your ISP. Calling such support is recommended only if you stuck in fixing your home network issues after troubleshooting the network problem.

Define the Layer Problem

Network Layers (How to Troubleshoot a Home Network Problem)How to know which layer causes the network connection problem? To do so, follow the following steps if you use a Windows computer.

Go to Start → Control Panel → Network and Internet → Network Connections
There you can see the status of the NIC network adapter connection on your Windows computer with the following possible status:

In Windows 7, you can type in “search programs and files” on your Start program. At the lower left corner search box, type “network connection” and if it shows some options, select “View network connection”.

Home Network Problem Troubleshooting

The Status is Connected but Cannot Access the Internet

This status indicates that a computer is perfectly connected to a network, which is connected to the router or modem (the middle layer) If it’s a wireless network connection, then the computer connects to the wireless router. This shows there is a problem on the top layer, the Internet.

To be able to troubleshoot a home network with such status, follow the following steps.

  1. Firstly, open your web browser and check into some certain websites such as Facebook, Google, Youtube or whatsoever. If you can access those websites, means that there’s no problem on your network. The problem lies on the ISP which one of the backbones may be damaged or broken. If you cannot access the internet anywhere at all, you can continue the next step.
  2. Disconnect the router or modem to the telephone or cable line. Then, wait for one or a couple minutes and then connect again.
  3. Disconnect the wireless router from the modem. In this case, the connection between the LAN port on the modem and the WAN port on the wireless router. Then, wait a moment and then connect again. You can do this if you have a separate device between the wireless router and modem.
  4. Next, restart your computer and repeat to open and access those websites. If you can access them but the connection is very slow while other devices can access very well, you can suspect that some other computers are consuming very intensive bandwidth. Other computers in the same home network may be streaming HD media from the internet or sharing files with some computers. So, to confirm the home network problem, close some suspicious applications on those computers. If necessary, turn them off temporarily. If none of those websites open on your main computer, then do the following step.
  5. In case you have a separate modem and wireless router, try to disconnect your computer to the wireless router and connect your computer directly to the modem. Then, restart your computer and try to access the Internet again. If accessing the Internet is successful, you can make sure that there is a problem with your wireless router.

In case you have followed those steps but still have not managed internet access, there could be a problem with your modem or there is a problem with your ISP. Call your ISP to make sure that there is a problem with the Internet service.

Wireless Adapter or NIC Disabled Status

Do the same thing how to check the network connection status of the previous status above. When you find out that the adapter status picture is blurred (grey), then it could be the adapter is in a disabled mode. You or someone else who can access or use your computer is inadvertently disabled it. Or perhaps you are a fad and try to click elsewhere and click accidentally disabled the wireless adapter. If so, right-click the right wireless adapter icon and select Enable.

Limited or No Connectivity Status

A no connectivity status is basically no problem with your computer. Besides, there’s no problem also on the connection to the router or modem. But it could be the wireless router configuration is not perfect. This is usually associated with DHCP configuration on the inactive router or there is a connection problem between the modem and the internet. This problem may occur in case your ISP provides DHCP services to the clients.

To troubleshoot the home network with the limited or no connectivity status is due to several different problems including failed internet connection, wireless router, or adapter that are not properly configured. Follow the following instructions to troubleshoot your home network in a case that your adapter is in such status.

  1. Right-click the adapter and select Repair. Notice whether it is normally connected or still limited. This step ensures to get the IP address of the DHCP server. Recommended reading; DHCP server benefits.
  2. Open the TCP/IP property of your adapter and make sure that its configuration is to obtain IP address automatically. Read also; the difference between TCP and UDP ports.
  3. Disconnect to the modem, wait a minute, and connect again.
  4. If there’s a separate wireless router with the modem, disconnect it. Then, wait a moment and connect again.
  5. Restart your computer.
  6. If you done this step but still limited or no connectivity status, see the router configuration to find out whether or not its DHCP configuration is enabled.
  7. Restart your computer. In case the adapter status is still limited or no connectivity, and if the wireless computer and modem are separate, try to disconnect the modem and router and continue to connect your computer directly to the modem. Restart the computer and check whether or not the status has changed.

If it’s still a limited or no connectivity status, contact your ISP. This network problem indicates a failed DHCP function which cannot provide IP address to the clients. Usually, an ISP provides DHCP configuration to the clients.

Network Cable Unplugged or Disconnected

This adapter status indicates that network cable connection is being unplugged or damaged. It means that there is no connection to the router or modem. So, follow the following steps to troubleshoot your home network problem.

  1. Check whether or not there’s a loose network cabling on all of connected computer ports.
  2. If the cable is perfectly connected to the router or Switch, try to swap to another port on the router or Switch. You can also check the light status on the router or switch when the cable is connected to the computer and in which port it’s connected. Usually, the port’s light will blink when there is a connection to the wireless router or switch on the port.
  3. In case the adapter status is still interrupted, try changing the network cable to a new one or you may also borrow a proven cable from the next computer if you use more than one computer on your home network.
  4. If the status is still interrupted, while other computers are running, you can suspect your adapter is damaged. So, change it with a new one.

Wireless Adapter Cannot Connect to the Wireless Network

This status indicates that the connection between the wireless adapter and the wireless network is lost. There are two possibilities, your wireless adapter cannot connect to your wireless network or intermittent wireless connection.

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