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How to troubleshoot Internet connection problem

Updated on February 6, 2011

Have you experienced Internet outage while your boss is waiting for your email? Or perhaps you are so excited to reply to your friend’s facebook message? Or maybe you would just want to surf the net for your shopping budget for tomorrow? For all other reasons, you may feel so bad when your Internet connection turned haywire while you are thinking clueless about it. And then you start calling your Internet service provider for help. This article suggests steps to undertake in order for you to at least have a basic knowledge or technical knowhow in such cases. Sure, there are a lot of ways to do things, but as an ordinary Internet user like me, or maybe you are already an advance user, it is always good to have a reference or a guide which could help us find the solution to a problem; in this case, down Internet connection.

This article is applicable to an Internet connected to a wired environment such as Local Area Network, Cable internet and Broadband DSL which uses a UTP CAT5 cable.

Take the first step. To start isolating the cause of your Internet connection outage, it would be best to begin with the physical or hardware elements that are relevant to your computer’s network connectivity.

1. Check the status of the modem, router or network switch. Based on my experience, there were incidents that my network devices turn into inactive state. It usually happen when there was a power surge or spike occurred.

Make sure that your modem / router is turned on. The ADSL / Internet light indicators are normal. If not, try to restart the modem. Turn it off and then turn it back on.

2. From your computer, verify if your Local Area Connection status is connected.

Screenshots here were taken from a Windows 7 operating system. It may somehow look similar for Windows XP users.

Click Start button, Control Panel, and then Network and Sharing Center.

From the Control Panel, click Network and Sharing Center.

 And then click on Change Adapter settings from the upper right corner.

You will then see the Local Area Connection Icon. Right click and then select Properties from the selection menu as shown in the next screenshot.

If the Local Area Connection status is connected as shown in the above figure, then your computer is physically connected to the network. Otherwise, if the status is Network Cable unplugged, verify if both ends of your LAN cable or the CAT5 cable are properly plugged-in. You may try to unplug and then plug-in again both ends; one is connected to your computer, and the other end is connected on a network switch or directly to your modem.

3. If everything seems fine after step2, check whether your IP address is in the same range your modem is configured.

On the Network Connections window, right click Local Area Connection icon, and then click properties.

 Under the Networking Tab, select the Internet Protocol TCP/IP (v4) and then click Properties button.

 Now pay attention. Most Internet Service provider or ISP's will give you a modem which is configured for DHCP or Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. This simply means that the modem is configured to lease IP Address to your computer automatically provided that your TCP/IP configuration is set to 'Obtain IP Address automatically'. The next figure shows this configuration.

 To verify if the IP Address is successfully leased by the modem (or maybe your router), from the Network Connections window, double click the Local Area Connection Icon and click Details button.

 From the screenshot above, notice that the DHCP enabled value says No because my network configuration is set manually. If Yes, you should be able to see the IP Address, subnet mask, default gateway and the DNS server IP address. Take a look at the next screenshot as an example.

If all details appear under this window, then your network configuration is set for 'Obtain IP Address automaticall'.

It is too obvious if somehow at a certain point while your computer is connecting, and the DHCP service fails to issue correct network configuration. You would see an IP address like or

To fix it: Right click the Local Area Connection, click disable, and then right click again, and then click Enable. See the next two screenshots below.

If this didn't work, restart your modem or router.

You can also use the 'ping' command to ensure that your computer and your modem talks to each other. In short, they can communicate from one end to the other. To do this, click Start button, from the search box, type cmd and then press enter. Or simple click the 'Command Promt' icon from the menu.


For Windows XP users, click Start, Run, and then on the Open dialogue box, type cmd or click Start, Programs, Accessories, and then click the Command Prompt icon.

Now at the command line interface or the command prompt, type ping {ip address of your modem/router} and then hit Enter from your keyboard. Example: ping as shown in the figure below.

Note that your the IP Address of your modem or router is the DHCP server IP address which can be seen from the 'Details' of your Local Area Connection under the Network Connections window which was discussed beforehand. Take a look at the DHCP Server IP Address screnshot.

DHCP Server IP Address
DHCP Server IP Address

Reply from simple means that your computer and your modem or router are connected. On the other hand, if you see 'Request Timedout', it means the opposite.

The ping command is useful to further determine if your internal network setup is working properly.

4. The least desparate move you could do to fix your Internet connection problem is by restarting your computer and your modem or router.

5. After doing all of this, you couldn't seem to make it to work, call your ISP and ask for technical assistance.

That's it for now. I hope this article could help especially those who are non-technical Internet users. For those of you who are experts in troubleshooting Internet connection problem, you may post your comments or additional inputs below.

Ohh by the way, this is just a very basic troubleshooting guide for Internet connection problem. This does not cover everything.

If you have questions, please email me at



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