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What to do when your broadband isn't working

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Here's the fortnightly I.T Crowd column, written by Philip Brooks of Diamond Byte Solutions...

We receive many calls from customers asking for advice on why their broadband is not working. Often, the problem will lie with the broadband provider themselves. However, there are some things you can check before contacting them.

Firstly, check all your devices. Start with the device you’re trying to access the internet from, then see if you’re having the same connection problem across all your devices – mobile phone, tablet, laptop, or even the TV, by checking their wi-fi status.

Frustrated over broadband?
Frustrated over broadband?

If a specific device isn’t working but the others are fine, disconnect then reconnect the wi-fi, and if that doesn’t work, restart the device.

The next step is to check your broadband provider’s service status as it may be a temporary problem or a planned outage that is affecting all broadband connections in your area.

Most providers offer a service checker online or through an app but this information should also be available by phone. HANDY HINT – make sure you have noted down somewhere the contact telephone number for your broadband provider because if your internet is down, you won’t be able to search for it on-line!

If this doesn’t work, you should check the router. As a rule, if any lights are red or amber, this is a bad sign. No lights usually means no power so do check that it’s plugged in properly!

We also suggest turning it off, then waiting 30 seconds before turning it back on again. If you keep your router turned off for five minutes and then turn it back on again this will also change a few settings at the exchange.

It may seem obvious, but another step is to check that your hub is plugged in and that there are no loose cables and connections involved in your internet connection.

Even if you are sure nothing has changed, it only takes a few minutes to make sure. Take your time to remove and reinsert cables as well as check for damage to cables and plugs.

Finally, check the phone line by plugging a home phone directly into the landline socket on the wall, without the microfilter or other adaptors in between, and listen for a dial tone. If instead all you can hear is noise or silence, there’s an issue with the line, which you should report to your provider using your mobile phone.

If none of these steps bring your internet back, then it’s time to contact your broadband provider. Let them know you’ve completed the steps above and ask them to confirm if there are any other checks you need to complete.

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