We love routers here at Gadget Preview. What’s not to like about a tiny device that lets you connect to the internet and browse its millions of sites? But it’s not always smooth sailing – if you’re an internet user, you know that routers can sometimes have a mind of their own.
Modem problems are plentiful and varied, and the solution usually involves waiting on the phone longer than you’re comfortable with. Once the operator finally picks up, you’re forced to try to explain your issue and generally talk to someone you don’t know, when you just want to check what’s trending on YouTube. We offer you an easier solution: With our tried-and-true router repair steps, you’ll fix most router issues in a few minutes without having to get in touch with your ISP or, even worse, replace the modem. So let’s start with the basics.
The newbie guide for getting your router back on its feet
To start the our modem troubleshooting guide, you will learn what a discharge fix is, what a reset fix is, how to know when the problem is from your side and how to know when it’s from the ISP side. All of that so that in the end we can together fix your internet connectivity issues and connect you to the internet.
So, the next two steps cover a solution to these common problems – you’re connected to the modem, but the internet doesn’t work, internet connected, but browser doesn’t work and modem is connected, but there is no internet.
1.) First solution, the discharge fix: While unplugging your device and plugging it back in can solve a lot of issues on paper (we’ve all seen that South Park episode, right?), reality is a bit more complex. The capacitors and other components of your router will actually store electricity for some time even after the router has been unplugged, and connecting it back to an outlet right away could give way to more issues.
Instead, unplug your router completely from everything which was connected to it and press as many keys on it as possible, the most important being the power key. This will use up all the residue electricity and, if a simple re-plug is what you need, ensure that this fix works like a charm.
2.) Second solution, the reset fix: If the previous method didn’t do much and you’re stuck with a persistently nagging router, it’s time to do a hard reset. More than likely, your modem has a key that you can use to reset it, either in one go or by powering it on and off. However, there’s another key hidden deep within the device: the all-powerful factory reset that ISP operators will often tell you to make use of.
The key for this device will be hidden in a minuscule hole somewhere around the rear of the modem, so you’ll need a needle or pin of similar thickness to press it (don’t worry, you won’t get electrocuted). After you press it, various software settings in the modem will likely be reset, meaning they will have to be set up again. Still, in the situation we described, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to skip this step.
Still not working? Figure out what your router’s lights are telling you
Although routers can vary greatly, most of them have a uniform set of lights that will clue you in on what’s happening with the router. The flickering and amount of lights turned on will depend on your network configuration, and you will probably need to consult your device’s manual for an exact interpretation.
That being said, your setup should look something like:
- A green and steady power light: This is the first thing to look out for, and if the power light is flickering, that means something is interrupting the flow of electricity to the router. Most often, this will translate to a faulty power adapter. Solution: Try to exchange power outlets and see what the results is. If it’s still flickering, the device is malfunctioning.
- A green and steady broadband light: Your router is connected to a wall outlet via a standard broadband cable. The broadband light should be a steady green if the connection is interrupted. If the green broadband light is either flickering or not working, try to first exchange the cable which goes from the wall outlet to the modem, that’s one of the most common problems. These cables tend to get old, and it’s a simple fix. If that doesn’t work call the ISP provider because the problem is outside of your reach.
- A green flickering internet light: Flickering will mean that data is being sent through the cable, which is definitely something you want. If it’s red or turned off, either your modem doesn’t have the right username and password within its settings, or your ISP is once again probably at fault. First try to log in to the modem with the info from the papers provided with it (in most cases it’s logging in to the address, while connected with a cable to the modem, on to 192.168.1.1. in the address bar, and connecting it manually to the internet by entering your username and password within the modem settings. If that doesn’t work, then you should, once again, give them a call to figure out what’s going on.
- A green flickering wireless light: This tells you that data is being set over the wireless connection. If it’s anything but green and flickering, there is an issue with your Wi-Fi – either your router isn’t configured to transmit it or you haven’t connected to the router properly. We listed some of the fixes for this above.
Okay, that got the modem up, internet works but wireless is not, what to do?
If your internet connection works but you can’t use wireless, that means you’re halfway there. The first thing you have to determine is whether your computer is struggling to recognize the router, or whether the router is sending a faulty signal. Start by deleting all of your network profiles from your PC. The way to access it depends on the Windows version you’re using.
For Windows 7 network settings, go to Control Panel, Network and Internet, and then Manage wireless networks from the menu to the left. This will show you a list of existing profiles, so delete each of them and have the computer scan for a network again.
In Windows 10 network settings, the path is a bit different: after clicking the Network icon in your Tray, go to Network Settings and then Manage Wi-Fi settings. From there, you’ll see a slightly altered version of the above that reads Manage known networks, and the method is the same – delete those profiles with extreme prejudice.
Still nothing? There’s a chance your router’s default configuration prevents it from broadcasting the SSID.
How you find whether this is the case depends on your router, but you’ll be able to find this option in your router’s settings with a bit of tinkering. If disabled, make sure to set SSID broadcasting to on.
Your router transmits wireless frequencies through channels, and these channels can get a bit cluttered, especially if you’re living in a residential area. We’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel here – if this doesn’t help you, the problem might be out of your control or involve a malfunctioning router.
Finding out how many networks are on each channel can be a bit complicated, but still doable even for a novice. Download a free network app like Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector or WifiInfoView to get a peak inside the local network channels. Switch your router’s Wi-Fi to whichever channel is used the least, with 1, 6 and 11 being the ideal choice as they are the only true standalone channels.
As a last resort, you can check that the modem’s cables are connected properly and try moving the device closer to the computer. But, if you’ve reached this point, you probably want to move on to updating its firmware and after that double check with the ISP that everything is OK with it.
Advanced troubleshooting of the D-Link modems and routers
We’ve covered the basics, but now it’s time to go in-depth about D-Link maladies. While they might rank as one of the top modem manufacturers in the world, their devices are hardly immune to common problems, and keeping this list handy is a good idea regardless of the model you use. The five most common D-Link router issues are:
1.) D-Link Wi-Fi is constantly crashing: D-Link users sometimes report that their wireless connection crashes, seemingly for no reason. The router will still work fine when connected with a LAN cable, and the problem is usually fixed by turning off the router and doing the discharge fix which we explained in the beginning of the tutorial. Of course, this can be quite the hassle, and you’re probably looking for a more long term fix.
The ugly truth is that D-Link released several models with faulty software, such as the 655 and 825 line. The problems were fixed with a series of firmware updates, and this is probably your best bet in case of a dropping Wi-Fi connection. Figure out your exact model name, download the latest firmware and update the router – more than likely, the Wi-Fi will run smoothly afterwards.
2.) D-Link connection dropping: If you’re suffering from a general loss of connectivity in no specific hour, interference might be the culprit. This can be either someone nearby using your internet by connecting to the Wi-Fi, or using the same channel with their own router.
You should have a strong password and good encryption for your Wi-Fi before you ever transmit it – the last thing you want is someone else using your bandwidth or monitoring your internet activity. Check the router’s settings for a Wi-Fi password and, if one is absent, make sure to set a hard-to-guess one along with 256-bit encryption. We went into more details regarding channel issues above, but the essence is: too many devices connected through the same channel will result in an unstable connection. To fix this, download one of the free networking apps we listed and figure out a less populated channel for you to use.
3.) Low transfer speed with D-Link router: Getting only a fraction of your bandwidth could happen for a variety of reasons. Assuming you aren’t using a severely outdated model, D-Link recommends to position the router several feet from other electronic devices to avoid interference.
While this might not always be practical, changing your router’s placement while downloading something and checking how it affects the speed is something you can try.
Also, believe it or not, the Ethernet cables do get old and can slow down the speed. Try to exchange the cables involved in the story, first one which goes from the wall to your router and the second one which goes from the router to your computer.
The router’s configuration also has a variety of settings you can tamper with, including WLAN Partition, Extra Wireless Protection, Short GI and HT 20/40 Co-existence. If you’ve tried every combination of these and are still getting low speed, try changing all of the router’s settings to default.
4.) PC has trouble detecting the D-Link router: If you’re facing periods where your computer can’t seem to find the router even though it’s properly connected and the lights are in order, it’s a toss up between outdated drivers and a weak signal on one end.
The first is by far the easier to fix. In order for your PC to communicate with your D-Link router, it needs the correct drivers to tell it how to do so. If you recently upgraded your PC or changed the router, uninstall all previous drivers and install the most up-to-date ones for your specific router model.
If this doesn’t help, either your computer’s wireless adapter or the router’s signal are too weak. Either can be fixed with a hardware upgrade, including getting an extender device which boosts the signal without forcing you to replace a PC component or the router.
You decided to pump up the game and get a new router? Here are the five best ones for every pocket:
Our ISP tends to rent us a combined router and modem for the duration of our internet use, and this device tends to work well most of the time. That being said, there are many reasons why you might want to return the device to your provider and use a model of your own choosing.
For starters, the ISP charges you a monthly rental on the device, which can amount to a pretty penny over the long run. Buying a device upfront is sure to save you money as more time passes. Past that, a device of your choosing will give you more control over your internet and Wi-Fi setup and, in all likelihood, improve performance.
That is, if you pick the right model. To help you with that, we’ve rounded up the top 5 D-Link routers currently available, and any one of them should serve you well for years to come.
1.) D-Link DIR-859 AC1750 Wi-Fi Router: Tired of routers that can’t handle multiple devices leeching wireless data without a significant loss of performance? In case you couldn’t tell from the three antennas, the AC1750 means business. Ranking as one of the few 11ac routers that are affordable to the average household, D-Link’s powerhouse packs every bit of the punch that more expensive models in the same category do. With built-in amplifiers that help it transmit 450 Mbps/1300 Mbps on 2.4GHz/5GHz and a set of security features to its name, a price tag of $80 seems reasonable for the bandwidth enthusiast, sometimes it can be found for as low as $65 on the official D-link Amazon store, so check out the updated price, they also have Prime delivery so you can get it today: D-Link DIR-859 AC1750 on Amazon.
2.) D-Link DIR-842 AC1200 Wireless WiFi Router: Just when you thought three antennas were futuristic… In all seriousness, the DIR-842 AC1200 is similar to its AC1750 cousin – it accomplishes slightly less for a significant reduction in price. The Dual Band technology will minimize the interference on your own network, allowing you to engage in two high-bandwidth tasks without sacrificing performance on either channel. Its transmitting power of 300 Mbps on 2.4GHz and 867 Mbps on 5GHz is significantly lesser than the AC1750’s and it lacks the more expensive model’s amplification, but it doesn’t lag behind in other features and costs around $60, making it even more affordable compared to renting a device from your ISP. Check the current price in the D-link store here: D-Link DIR-842 AC 1200 on Amazon.
3.) D-Link DIR-822 AC1200 Wireless Wi-Fi Ethernet Router: Want to go even cheaper? The DIR-822 AC1200 costs $40 and is virtually the same model as the DIR-842: Dual Band connectivity, four antennas, 300 + 867 speed and all-purpose utility. The main difference is the lack of a Gigabit port – whereas the DIR-842 offers both LAN and WAN Gigabit ports, the DIR-822 makes do with the standard 10/100. Both lack the firewall and the amplifiers of more expensive models, so if you don’t have much use for Gigabit LAN connectivity, going for the cheaper model will be a good tradeoff. The current price can be find in the official D-Link Amazon store: D-Link DIR-822 AC1200 Wireless Wi-Fi Ethernet Router.
4.) D-Link DIR-605L Wireless N 300 Home Cloud Router: Whereas the previous routers focus on high-powered transmissions, the N 300 is more interested in giving you utility. True to its name, the router allows you to connect multiple devices to it in more than the traditional sense. Through the mobile app compatible with both iOS and Android, you’ll have freedom to control access to the router from miles away. This makes it an ideal choice for large families needing to monitor children’s internet usage, as well as establishment owner wanting to know what goes on with the network. The app will notify you of unwanted intrusions to the Wi-Fi network through email and let you deal with them however you see fit and from anywhere. While the max speed of 300 Mbps isn’t cutting-edge, the set of features is more than appropriate for a low price tag, sometimes it ca be found for as low as $20 on the D-link store.
5.) D-Link AC1900 DIR-878 Wireless WiFi Router: If the AC1750 would fit inside an Altered Carbon household, the AC1900 would feel comfortable inside Star Trek’s Voyager ship. Upgrading the DIR-859’s 775MHz processor to a dual core one, this model features extreme performance with maximized range. The manufacturer advertises it as 4K optimized, and we find it hard to argue that – the 600 Mbps in 2.4GHz and 1300 Mbps in 5GHz combine with 3 x 3 data streams to allow uninterrupted HD streaming and online gaming on a single network. If your connection speed is sufficient to make full use of the D-Link AC1900, $100 hardly seems a lot to ask for a router that will remain actual for a while. As the other routers, we recommend the D-Link store on Amazon.
Still can’t watch Taylor Swift’s new video? It’s time to ring your ISP
We’re pretty pleased with our D-Link router troubleshoot guide, and it covers virtually every malady that these devices can suffer from. However, there is only so much that the user can do in cases of internet difficulties. Unlike broken mouses or dead graphics cards, malfunctioning routers are mostly the responsibility of your internet service provider.
In fact, your ISP is likely contractually obliged to help you with whatever internet issue you’re having, even if you are using your own modem. So, if the connection keeps nagging you even after you tried all of our miracle solutions, go and give the customer support a call – Yeah, no one likes them, but they’re paid to help you out. Good luck!