Troubleshooting Your DSL WiFi Internet Connection
Here’s how to troubleshoot a non-working Internet connection if you are using WiFi to connect.
The first step in troubleshooting your WiFi connection is identifying all the equipment involved in the WiFi connection you are fixing. Determine if you are connecting through a modem -> wireless router or an all-in-one modem + wireless router (properly called a wireless gateway). Then, take note of the device you are connecting to your WiFi connection. Are you trying to connect a game console, a mobile device, or your computer?
Once you have identified the devices involved in the connection, you can start troubleshooting the Internet connection. When troubleshooting Internet connection problems, always remember the mnemonic SARA. SARA stands for Sync, Authentication, Route, and Application. It is also similar to the original SARA troubleshooting model (Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment).
By the way, most common connection problems can be solved by power cycling (turning on and off) your devices. At this point, power cycle your modem, router, gateway, and the device you are trying to use for connection. Once they are power cycled, check if your issue is fixed. If not, then proceed to the next steps.
Check if your modem or gateway has sync first — this is assuming that you are connected via DSL, which is the most common Internet connection nowadays. If your modem or gateway has “Sync,” it means that it was able to establish a connection to your ISP (Internet Service Provider). However, it does not mean that your ISP is already giving you Internet.
You can check if it is on sync by checking the DSL light on your modem or gateway. If it is steadily on, it means it is already connected to the ISP. If it is blinking, it signifies that your device is attempting to establish sync. If the DSL indicator is off, it means that it is off or there might be a problem with your device.
Do note that depending on your modem or gateway’s make and model, the DSL might be presented or named differently. You better check the instruction manual for it. Or better yet, it will be best to call your Internet Service Provider, if it is the one who supplied you with that device.
If your device is not syncing, there are a few things you need to check. First, see to it that a phone cable is connected to your modem or gateway. Second, check if your phone has a dial tone (for dry loop customers, there will be none — some might not be given a phone). Third, if there is a dial tone, listen if you can hear static noises.
If you have a dial tone and no noise, and a phone cable is connected to your modem or gateway, check if the phone cable connected to the modem has a dial tone. You can check by connecting that phone cable to your phone. If there is none, check if the other end of the cable is connected to a phone port, splitter, or phone filter.
If it is already connected and there is no dial tone, then it will be best for you to contact your ISP. Further troubleshooting steps will require you to talk to them — in most cases a replacement for the phone cable, splitter, filter, or the connection of your phone cable from the demarcation point. Things might become complicated if your house’s connections are on HPNA.
Authentication basically means that your modem or gateway must log in to your ISP for the ISP to let your device to “get Internet.” Before your device attempts to get authenticated, it must establish a connection to your ISP first — through syncing. There are multiple ways or protocols for a device to complete the authentication process.
However, modern DSL Internet connections from Verizon, AT&T, and Time Warner do not require authentication anymore. Some regions might still be on PPPoE (Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet), but most are on DHCP (Dynamic Hosting Configuration Protocol), which does not require authentication or for your modem to “log in” to the ISP.
But still, it is an essential part of the troubleshooting. To know if your device is properly authenticated to the ISP and is “getting Internet,” you can check the Internet light on your modem or gateway. In some cases, the Internet light is denoted with a globe icon — again, depending on your modem or gateway’s make and model.
If the DSL light is solid and the Internet light is blinking, it means that your device is trying to get authenticated. If the Internet light is solid, that means that your device is authenticated and it is already getting Internet from your provider.
When your Internet light does not become solid after 15 minutes or more and it just keeps on blinking, there are three possible causes. The first cause is a possible outage. Second, it could be your modem or gateway’s configuration. And third, your service might have been suspended.
Do note that even if your service is suspended, you can still get sync, but you might not get authenticated. In some cases, you might get authenticated, but you will face a walled garden. In all those cases, you will really need to get help from your Internet Service Provider.
The Internet signals are routed to you by your modem or gateway through a wireless connection (since you are on WiFi). To check if your modem or gateway is sending out wireless signals, you need to check the Wireless light on your device. It is commonly denoted with the signal bars or waves “icon” on your device. If it is solid, that means that your device’s WiFi is on. If it is off, then the wireless is off.
If it is on, then make sure that your WiFi password is correct. If it is off, call your ISP or wireless router manufacturer’s support, and get help in configuring your wireless connection.
Once Sync, Authentication, and Route have been solved, it is time to check the connection of your applications. If all of your device’s programs cannot connect to the Internet, it means that there is a problem in your local area connection settings in your device. Or, it is possible that there is a problem in your device’s operating system.
If only one or two applications are not connecting to the Internet, then those applications might have problems of their own. It might be best to reinstall them, or contact the support guys for those software programs.