How to troubleshoot failing wireless network credentials

If you're having trouble accessing your wireless network, it could be as simple as you're entering the wrong information or be more involved like your firmware needs to be upgraded.

Isolate the problem

Before you can solve anything, you need to know what's going wrong. 

  1. Confirm you can connect to the Internet at all.
    Use your Ethernet cable and connect it directly from your computer to the modem. If you don't have a connection, read "Troubleshooting your Internet connection" and/or "Troubleshooting common wireless connection problems."
  2. Confirm your wireless is ON by looking at the lights on the front of the modem. (On CenturyLink modems, a flickering green wireless indicator light means your wireless is ON and transmitting data.) If your wireless is OFF, turn it on and try connecting to your network again. 
  3. Confirm you're trying to connect to the correct network.
    Double check your network name (SSID). If you're using the modem's default settings, the 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.)
  4. Confirm you're using the correct password.
    If you're using your device's default settings, you can find your network password (KEY or PASSPHRASE) on a sticker on the bottom of the modem. (If you don't see a sticker, you can still find your network password.) Try entering the password again.

Fix the problem

To fix the problem, try these suggestions:

  1. Reset your password and network name.
    It's possible at some point you (or someone in your household) changed your password or network name. Alternately, your credentials simply may be corrupt. Either way, the easiest fix is resetting your modem. Then your name/password will match the factory defaults that are printed on the sticker on the device and you can use those to access your wireless network. For how to reset your modem (as well as some words of caution), read Modem RESET: Understanding what it does and when to use it
  2. 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.)
  3. Swap out your modem.
    Sometimes modems fail. Typically, they're fairly reliable and can last for many years, but there are exceptions to all rules. 

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