Can't Get on the Internet?

It happens to all of us -- and all to frequently to those of us who live in thunderstorm country where surges, spikes and brownouts cause electrical disrutptions.

You were on the Internet yesterday (maybe even earlier today) and now you can't get online. So what in the heck is going on?

Our first reaction is to call our ISP (Internet Service Provider). And their first reaction is to make changes to your computer settings. DON'T!

I have a favorite motto: If you were on the Internet yesterday, you will probably be able to get there tomorrow, but today may be a problem. But if you start messing around with settings, you probably will not be on today or tomorrow!
It happens to all of us -- and all to frequently to those of us who live in thunderstorm country where surges, spikes and brownouts cause electrical disrutptions.

You were on the Internet yesterday (maybe even earlier today) and now you can't get online. So what in the heck is going on?

Our first reaction is to call our ISP (Internet Service Provider). And their first reaction is to make changes to your computer settings. DON'T!

I have a favorite motto: If you were on the Internet yesterday, you will probably be able to get there tomorrow, but today may be a problem. But if you start messing around with settings, you probably will not be on today or tomorrow!


Connected Directly?

The first assumption I am going to make is that you have some sort of high-speed access to the Internet. It may be through a cable modem, a satellite dish, FIOS or DSL. If you have only one computer, and it has an ethernet cable plugged into it, then the first thing to do is to put your computer to sleep.

Then find the modem or router. In the back of it will be a cable that runs from it to an electrical outlet. Unplug that electrical cable, wait a few seconds, then plug it back in. Wait for the lights on the modem to get steady, and try to connect to the Internet. That will probably fix your problem. If it does not, call your ISP and inquire if there is a problem with service in you area. If the say yes, find out when they expect to have service restored. If the say there is no problem, thank them and hang up. DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO ASSIST YOU IN MAKING CHANGES!

Call back in a couple of hours and ask about service in you area. If they are still not reporting an outage, then tell them that you cannot connect, and ask them to ping your router (modem) to determine if they can see it. Once again, resist the temptation to allow them to help you change settings! It worked before. Unless you have had a computer crash there is a 99.99% chance the problem is theirs, not yours. Check with a nearby neighbor who uses the same ISP to see if they have service. Make changes only when you are certain it is not their problem.


Sharing one cable connection with another computer

When your computer connects to the Internet using high-speed service hardware such as a router or modem, it checks the MAC address (Media Access Control) of the computer and gives it an IP Address (Internet Protocol address). It will only connect that one device with the Internet. If you disconnect your computer and connect another one, the modem will not recognize the new computer's MAC Address and so it will ignore it.

To get the second computer on the Internet, you must unplug the modem from electrical power, then connect the new computer. Plug the electrical cable back in and let it complete its start-up process. Then you can try going to a web site.


Fixing more complex set-ups

Many Mac owners have more elaborate set-ups for their home networks. They may have two or more computers, they may have an AirPort network or perhaps a router to share an Internet connection between several computers.

In this case, there is a simple rule to follow. Start by disconnecting the electrical cable from the back of each device that is between your computer (or AirPort Base Station) and the wall. Follow the cable from the wall to the first device. Plug the electricity back into it. Wait for the lights on the front to become steady. This could take several minutes. When they are steady, plug the electricity back into the next device, and let its lights get steady. When the last device is reconnected, then try to go to an Internet site.

If things are still not working, then it is time to follow the procedures outlined above in contacting your ISP.

Of course, if you need someone to give you a hand, we are always there to help at Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus Consulting. Contact us through our our Get Help Now page
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