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Internet Trouble? 6 Steps to Saving $40

Published on April 22, 2013 by Peter Tomala

Contributed by IT Program Chair Scott Hill, Broadview University

Information Technology In this day of megabit connections, wireless hotspots and 4G LTE, we often take our Internet connections for granted. Nothing is more frustrating than sitting down to the computer, opening a browser and getting the dreaded “Server Not Found” screen. Like most people, you probably immediately pick up your phone and call customer service. There, you are usually greeted with a message about going to their website to troubleshoot your problem. This is the most ridiculous waste of time in history because if I COULD go to the website, why would I be calling about NO internet access?!

Most of the time, the resolution will be the timely scheduling of a full examination of your system by a technician. The technician probably already knows the problem (takes 30 seconds to fix) but the full examination is used to soften the blow of next month’s bill and $40 service charge. What can you, the consumer, do to prevent the need for this call, or at least understand the need for it?

Before you pick up the phone, know if you’ve had problems like this before, understand how you access the Internet (cable, wired router, wireless access point, etc.), realize if you have internet phone service and check if you have a signal amplifier. Do you still see blinking green lights?

If you have not found an obvious problem yet (unplugged cable, dead device), check outside. Has there been any recent yard or utility work….cars running into green boxes on the side of the road?

Assuming you can’t provide any reasonable cause for an outage, here are some basic steps you can do to restore service.

  1. Turn off all your devices that use the Internet. Some devices, like Wi-Fi enabled televisions might have to be unplugged.
  2. If you have a router in addition to your modem, remove the power plug.
  3. Remove the power plug from your modem. (Digital phone service will be inoperative)
  4. If your modem has a “reset button”, depress the button as you plug back in the power (this is sometimes easier said than done). Depending on your type of service, it may take a couple of minutes for the device to reestablish a connection and turn on all the proper green or blinking lights.
  5. Once your modem is powered up, plug your router back in. It may also have a reset button so the same steps apply.
  6. Now, power up your devices. If you have followed these steps, you have a 90% chance of restoring your service! Take yourself out to dinner. You just saved $40!

If this doesn’t resolve your problem, you will probably need to pick up the phone and make that call to customer service. But, if the problem is not inside your house, you are not responsible for the cost to fix it.

Next month . . .How devices communicate over the Internet

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