What to do if your Internet connection drops frequently

It takes time and is annoying to have to continually reconnect to the Internet. Plus, the flashing red modem light can be more than a little disconcerting. Refreshing web pages and getting "connection problem reset" messages just add to the no-joy situation. Fortunately, there are some relatively simple things you can do to correct the problem.

Troubleshooting: Wired connection

If you're using a wired (as opposed to a wireless) connection, check your DSL filters. They're the most likely reason you're experiencing problems. 

Every electronic device that's connected to your DSL line -- except your modem -- needs a filter. This includes: phones, fax machines, security systems, caller id boxes, answering machines, cable boxes, DVRs, etc. 

Tip: The next time your Internet drops, pay attention. Did your phone ring about the same time? If so, you probably have a phone in the house that doesn't have a DSL filter installed (or it's installed incorrectly).

To learn more about filters, read "Internet & Phone Working Together with Filters."

Need filters? Chat with us to order more, or you can purchase them from most electronics stores.

Troubleshooting: Wireless connection

Interference from electronic devices is the most common cause of connectivity issues. Read "Improve the performance of your wireless connection" and/or "Troubleshooting common wireless connection problems" for tips.

Additional troubleshooting ideas

Damaged jacks or wiring

If your phone jack is damaged, connecting your modem to a different jack might solve the issue. If the cord that you're using to connect the modem to the jack has any cuts or nicks, find one without damage, and see if that fixes things. Additionally, if the cord you're using is more than 14-feet long, using a shorter cord may improve your Internet connection.

Sick or slow computer

If your computer is sick or just not functioning optimally, that can impact your Internet connection. Run a PC Health Check to see what's going on.

Messed up modem

It's possible that your modem needs to be reset or updated. Try these simple fixes:

  1. Power cycle your modem. Unplug the power to your modem, wait 30 seconds and then plug the power back in. You may need to wait up to 3 minutes for the Internet light to turn solid green and start flickering. (Read "What to do when the modem lights aren't the right color" for an explanation of what the lights on your modem mean.)
  2. Reset your modem to its factory default settings. For step-by-step instructions, read "Modem RESET: Understanding what it does and when to use it." Be sure you read the article before resetting your modem. You don't want to accidentally erase network information you need, and doing a reset clears out any custom settings you have programmed into your device including: static IP entries, DNS, customized admin password, customized wireless settings, port forwarding, routing and DHCP settings.
  3. Update your firmware. Firmware is the software that runs your modem, and it can become old, obsolete and/or corrupt. Check if there's an update for your device and then download any recommended software fixes. (If your device is not listed, go to the device manufacturer's website for more information.)

Bogged down browser

We use browsers so frequently that they're almost invisible. We forget how much they do and how integral they are to a good Internet experience. However, if your browser gets bogged down with temporary files, cookies, etc., it can cause headaches -- like dropping your Internet connection. To make sure your browser is working properly:

  1. Reset your browser.
  2. Restore its default settings.
  3. Delete temporary files and cookies.
  4. Clear the history and cache.

If you're not sure how to do this, we've put together some basic resources for Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome and Opera. If you use Internet Explorer, you might find these IE resources and One Click Fixes helpful.


For additional assistance, chat with us. We're here to help.