Emergency service

Losing your internet connection is no laughing matter. Here's what to do when disaster strikes.

Life is full of unexpected sur­prises designed to trip us up when we least expect it. But these days there is a new, oft-overlooked catastrophe to worry about: the loss of your broadband connection. One minute it's there, the next it's gone. No e-mail, no blogs, no downloads, no Internet radio. Nada. Zip. Diddly-squat. Accordingly, this month's Networking column is devoted to helping you avoid a world of pain and get back online double-quick.

The basics

First things first. Although it's tempting to think the problem lies at your end, with your hardware and software, the odds are that it doesn't.

The Internet is a network of nigh-on infinite connections, with you and your PC comprising but a tiny cog in a vast gearbox. In short, if you have a connection problem, it's probably wise to start with your ISP and find the current network status.

The next step is to power-cycle your ADSL (asymmetric digital sub­scriber line) modem or router - in other words, pull the power lead out, count to 10 and then plug it back in again. This will usually fix your connectivity problems, so it makes sense to give it a go first.

The first stage of establishing an ADSL Internet connection is to obtain what I call "an electrical connection" to your phone exchange. Soon after you power up your ADSL modem, it will automatically attempt to synchronise with the DSLAM (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer). This is a gizmo at the exchange that links many customer ADSL connections to a single, high-speed ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) line - see FIGURE 1.

So all ADSL modems and routers have a sync status LED that indicates whether or not you have a physical connection to the exchange. If this LED isn't on, you've not synched. If you use Windows dial-up networking to connect, it may somewhat misleadingly tell you it can't detect a dial tone, but it's the same thing.

Although I have a fairly new Netgear DG834G router, it can take anything up to 10 minutes to sync - the LED stays off, then flickers yellow then off, before finally going green and staying on permanently. But normally, most ADSL modems will sync within a minute. If you can't sync with the exchange there's no point in proceeding any further - this is a pretty fundamental show-stopper.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Roger Gann

PC Advisor (UK)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?