FREQUENTLY I GET CALLS from clients stating their computer is running slowly. I always ask what they’re doing at the time it runs slow. The answer 99% of the time, is that they’re on the internet and the pages are loading slowly.
Typically, there is nothing wrong with the computer, but there are issues with the internet provider. Those calls to internet tech support almost always suggest you restart their modem. If you are connected to a router that doesn’t belong to them, they suggest you connect directly to their modem.
Some providers have a modem/router connection and they are the provider of both. In this case, they’ll do the troubleshooting for you. Of course, you may spend quite a bit of time on the phone before you get it fixed, and in some cases, will be speaking to someone you have a hard time understanding.
The following tips provided by “LiveWire” (a tech support newsletter) can help you solve the issue without having to call your ISP (internet service provider):
How to Properly Reboot a Router & Modem
IMPORTANT: The following process is not the same as a resetting a router or modem. The word reset is short for factory reset, which means the removal of all wireless settings and other configurations. That’s not what we’re doing here!
- Unplug both your router and your modem. Warning: Don’t use a button labeled reset, or even restart, since these likely start the factory reset/restore process I just warned you about above. A clearly labeled power button is probably fine to use, but unplugging removes any doubt. Advanced: If you have other managed network hardware, like many kinds of network switches, be sure to unplug them too. Unmanaged devices are probably fine left powered on but use your judgment if you think these might in some way be involved in your issue.
- Wait at least 30 seconds. Make a cup of coffee or go pet the dog… just don’t skip this step. Why Wait? This step might not be necessary if we knew exactly what the problem with your connection was, but restarting your router and modem is the sort of thing you often do when you have no idea what’s wrong. This extra time lets the device cool down a bit and clearly indicates to your ISP (and your computers & devices) that you’re offline.
- Plug the modem back in. Yes, just the modem. If it doesn’t power on in the first few seconds, there may be a power button that needs pressing. Is This My Modem? Your modem is the device that your physical connection to the Internet attaches to. For example, if you have cable-based Internet service, your modem is the device that the coax cable from outside your home comes in and attaches to.
- Wait at least 60 seconds. This wait is very important, and a step that I see skipped in other “reboot your network” tutorials out there. Your modem needs ample time to authenticate with your ISP and get a public IP address assigned. TIP: Every modem is different, but on most, there are four lights: a power light, a received light, a send light, and an activity light. Better than an arbitrary wait time, would be making sure the first three lights are stable, indicating that the modem is fully powered on.
- Plug the router back in. Like with the modem back in Step 3, some may require that you press a power button. TIP: If you have a combination modem-router, just skip this step, as well as the next. The software in that device will initiate things in the proper order. Is This My Router? The router is always physically connected to the modem, so the other device next to your modem is probably it. Not all routers have an antenna, but many do, so if you see one or more of those, that’s probably the router.
- Wait at least 2 minutes. This gives your router time to boot back up, and your computers, smartphones, and other “downstream” devices that use your network ample time to get new IP address assigned by the DHCP service in your router. Advanced: If you removed the power from any switches or other network hardware, now is the time to power those back on. Be sure to give them a minute or so as well. If you have several devices, be sure to power them on from the outside-in, based on your network map.
- Now that your router and modem have been properly restarted, it’s time to test to see if the problem went away. TIP: While it shouldn’t be necessary to restart your computers and other wireless devices, you may need to at this point, especially if some of your devices have come online and others haven’t. Like with your router and modem, be sure to restart your computer.
Hopefully this will help with a “slow computer” problem for you in the future. I suggest you retain this article for future reference.
— Tom FitzGerald, President
Shamrock System Solutions