How do I Troubleshoot a Network Router?

Paul Woods

Troubleshooting a network router is a process of elimination to determine what type of problem keeps the the router from connecting various devices such as desktop or laptop computers to an Internet signal. Network router problems can result from improper physical connections such as ethernet cables between the Internet modem and the router. Problems can arise from the router not being set properly resulting in it not receiving an Internet signal. Network settings on computers on the network can be incorrect, too. If all connections and settings seem correct, then the router itself may be malfunctioning and need to be replaced.

A router.
A router.

The first step in troubleshooting a network router is to ensure the router is receiving and broadcasting an Internet signal. Begin by viewing the indicator lights on the modem and the network router. Check the manual of both devices to learn which indicator lights verify Internet connectivity. If there is no Internet connectivity to the modem, check for problems with the Internet service provider, also called an ISP. If there is an Internet signal, check the network router light that verifies whether the router is broadcasting the signal.

A wireless network router.
A wireless network router.

When the problem appears to be with the network router, shut down all computers connected to the network then turn off the network router itself. Wait a few seconds and turn the router on, and then turn the computers on. This rebooting of the network router can restore the router’s function.

If the problem persists, check cables from the Internet modem to the router. Users also should check cables from the router to any devices that are physically linked to the network. Check to ensure cables are securely installed. Consult the router and modem manuals to ensure the proper type of cables are in use.

With all cables properly installed, check to see if the problem is with the network router’s wireless capability. Open the network connections window on the computer to ensure the machine’s wireless capacity is enabled. If the wireless router is enabled, verify that the network is connected.

A network router that receives an Internet signal from a modem and transmits it to a computer still might register as not connected. Check the Local Area Network, or LAN, settings to ensure the correct Internet Protocol, or IP, address is set. The network connections window on the computer allows users to set the proper IP address for the particular router in use and the particular ISP.

When a network router is properly connected and properly set, and receiving and transmitting a signal, it is still possible that connected devices are not connecting to the Internet. In this case, the problem could be with the router itself. Most network router manufacturers will have a help desk available, often through a toll-free telephone number, for advanced troubleshooting or to determine if the router is malfunctioning.

Router configurations may reset if power is lost.
Router configurations may reset if power is lost.

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