What to do if your wireless network isn't showing up

There are few common reasons that wireless networks aren't found by devices. To isolate and fix the problem, do the following: confirm you can connect to the Internet, your wireless is ON, you're looking for the correct network, you're within range of your modem, there's nothing interfering with your signal and your network isn't hidden.

Connect to the Internet

Confirm you have signal and can connect to the Internet. Do this by using your Ethernet cable. Plug it into your computer and then the modem. If you don't have a connection, read "Troubleshooting your Internet connection" and/or "Troubleshooting common wireless connection problems."

Turn the wireless ON

  1. Check your modem's wireless by looking at the lights on the front of it. For CenturyLink modems, a flickering-green wireless indicator light means your wireless is ON and transmitting data. (If you have a non-CenturyLink modem, refer to your user guide or manufacturer's website.) If your wireless is OFF, turn it ON and try finding your network again.
  2. Check that your computer's wireless is also ON. Many laptops (and tablets) have a button on the front (or side) that you can conveniently hit to turn your wireless ON (or OFF). It's easy to bump these types of buttons and accidentally turn OFF your wireless. Double check that this hasn't happened.
  3. Tip: While less common, it's possible your device is in Airplane Mode. If it is, you won't be able to find any local networks until you turn this setting OFF.

Find the correct network

  1. If you're using the modem's default settings, your network name is likely to be something very generic like "CenturyLink0001" (and easy to confuse with your neighbor's network, say, "CenturyLink0002"). To confirm your network name, look for your default credentials on a sticker on the bottom of your modem. (If you don't see a sticker, you can still find your network name.)
  2. It's possible at some point you (or someone in your household) changed your network name to make it easier to remember. If this is the case (and you now can't remember it), you can reset the modem settings and restore them to their factory defaults. For how to do this (as well as some words of caution), read "Modem RESET: Understanding what it does and when to use it."

Get within range of the modem

Wireless networks have a maximum broadcast range. If you're on the periphery, you reception may be slow or intermittent. When you're completely out of range, you won't be able to access it all. If you're using a portable device, try moving closer to your modem and then look for your network list. If you can't physically move closer, you may need to use something to boost your wireless signal such as an external antenna or a wireless repeater.

Remove any interference

Without a signal, you aren't able to see a network list. It might surprise you the bizarre things (e.g., cordless phones, microwaves) that can interfere with your signal. Read "Improve the Performance of Your Wireless Connection" for tips on strengthening your signal.

Unhide (or unblock) the network

  1. Hidden networks. It's possible to hide a network so it doesn't show up in network lists. People do this for security reasons, though not all experts agree how effective hiding a network really is. If you think your network could be hidden, search the Internet for "SSID broadcasting" or refer to your user guide for how to unhide it.
  2. Blocked networks. If someone else manages your network, that person could be intentionally blocking the network you're trying to access. Contact the person in charge to see if this is the case.

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