Quick Tips

Troubleshoot Your Problem by Power Cycling Your Modem

Dec 20, 2019

At first glance, the term “power cycling” may seem like a sports-related term. Pedal your bike as hard and fast as you can, with the force of a He-Man, and you’re power cycling. No, it really refers to a quick and painless process that could troubleshoot your internet connection and make a big difference in your computer’s performance.

A generation ago, that connection was like a home’s gas line — a single line going to one or two appliances. Today, each and every mobile phone and perhaps a tablet computer maintains a 4G network connection. Then, there’s the broadband network connection (modem) and WiFi router — a dozen or more devices from computers to thermostats harness the network this way.

Kind of sheds light on why so many Americans search for answers to how to fix modem connections issues. Is your internet slower than in the past? There’s something you can do about it! 

Power cycling means you are resetting a modem to the factory settings. If you are experiencing connectivity issues, power cycling your modem may improve or completely resolve these. Think of it like changing the oil in a car — routine maintenance.

This fast and simple reboot can make the difference when your modem is not working or you suspect it’s the router not working. First, let’s consider all the reasons internet speeds get bogged down.

Performance Dip, Meet Bandwidth Boost

Before smart TV streaming, cloud computing and video calling, internet speeds measured in single-digit megabits per second (Mbps) were sufficient. Families could surf the internet over multiple devices, scroll through social media feeds, even get together to Skype with grandparents.

Today, we simply have too many connected devices for that. Some, like video doorbells, are downloading and uploading in HD video. Large file transfers (think about moving photo albums into cloud accounts), online gaming and more consume loads of bandwidth.

If you’re wondering how to troubleshoot your internet connection, the first question is: what are your bandwidth requirements? Take this quick quiz to help you inventory your needs. If you need to secure bigger bandwidth for your home and family, turn to an expert. Check out Kinetic Internet by Windstream, or contact us.

Network Tips and Tricks

Recently, convinced by one of our Kinetic blogs, you pulled the trigger on new high-speed Kinetic Internet service, and now when you run a speedtest such as this one, you’re consistently getting 100+ Mbps. Hooray! This helps explain why junior household members have been giving you winks and nods. When they bother to look up from their screens at all.

There will still be times when internet processing speeds seem, shall we say, reminiscent of days past. Before we get to how to fix modem connection issues, consider these first.

  • Equipment The promise of cloud computing is that less hard drive and processing hardware can deliver improved utility simply by moving processing off owned drives. Quite old devices, though, may need additional memory.
  • Viruses and software Have you ever taken your laptop in only to have a tech tell you after that he spent as much time cleaning your drive as he did repairing it? How long has it been since you returned, or thought about the unnecessary software running on your systems?
  • Distance from PoP Internet speeds are dictated by the distance and the routes information has to travel. Sites that use far-off servers will be that much slower. Windstream’s core transport network has Points of Presence (PoP) right beside major sites’ such as Netflix, Google, Amazon and others, in key cities like Chicago, Denver and big coastal metropolises.
  • Website traffic The problem isn’t you or even the network. It’s the big football game that everyone’s watching over an overloaded network website app.

If things were working just fine a week ago and suddenly they’re slower, let’s target-lock on the router or the modem not working.

Router Not Working

It’s OK if you don’t distinguish between your router and modem. Today, many consumer devices are two-in-one. If you’re setting out to troubleshoot your internet connection, though, let’s distinguish between them.

The modem is the gateway device between computers and the internet network. A router connects to the modem and provides a local area network. The router enables devices to go wireless but also provides multiple access “ports” to a modem.

It’s reasonable to imagine your Wi-Fi router like a dome over your home. Inside, you’re connected as if by invisible ethernet cable, but the cord only stretches as far as the fence. Actually, your Wi-Fi range is more like a big speaker. Sit in front of it and the music’s clear and loud. Step farther away, or behind things, and it grows muddled and softer.  

  • Placement When you’re setting up your Wi-Fi, consider where it’s most important to send a strong signal. If the answer is “Pretty much everywhere,” then put the router in a central location. If your router is set up in the living room, where the smart TV streams perfectly, and you’re wondering about the frequent buffering on the TV in the bedroom, begin weighing your options for moving the router.
  • Obstructions Fireplaces, exterior walls and floors, furniture and appliances will obstruct the signal and slow speeds.
  • Interference Bluetooth devices, smart home gadgets and even microwaves, while not necessarily even connected to the Wi-Fi, can operate at about the same 2.4GHz frequency as a router and impede internet speeds. If you live in an apartment complex, Wi-Fi networks may interfere with each other and tether performance even though each network is password-protected and closed.

Finally, if you have a large area to cover with a Wi-Fi router, consider a repeater or extender to improve your coverage. Another answer is a new, more powerful router.

Modem Not Working? Power Cycle Your Modem

Among the quickest, most reliable tools to troubleshoot your internet connection is to power cycle your modem.

  1. First, shut down all computers and devices connected to the modem and router. This may not be quick and easy for all devices such as video doorbells or smart thermostats — leave them alone. In shutting down complicated devices such as computers, be sure to use the operating system menu shutdown, not the power button.
  2. Power down then unplug the router if you’re using one.
  3. Unplug the power source from the modem. Do not feel impelled to unplug the DSL, coaxial RF or ethernet network connection, though you may.
  4. Advice on wait times differ, but experts agree that power cycling requires a delay before powering back up. If you’re impatient, we recommend 15 seconds. We suggest giving it a full minute.
  5. Begin powering back up, beginning with the modem (network connection before power supply), then the router.

Performing these quick steps to power cycle a modem could help improve the overall performance of your connection. If you are looking for high-speed internet service or are interested in upgrading your current speed, check out Windstream’s plans and save today!

Kinetic by Windstream has technical support experts willing to help talk through performance issues and improvements. Contact Kinetic by Windstream today!

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