The 5 Most Common Causes of Internet Disconnection and How to Prevent Them

What to do if your internet connection is acting wonky

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It is frustrating and baffling when the internet suddenly stops working or the Wi-Fi signal drops. It can be challenging to identify the root causes of recurrent problems, but not impossible if you know what to look for. My years of experience as a broadband technician have exposed me to this issue repeatedly. Here are the five most common causes of internet disconnection and some suggestions for fixing the problem.

Interested in switching ISPs Find out what's in your area by entering your zip code in the box below.

If you're having connectivity problems, try power cycling your modem and router first. It's fast, simple, and highly efficient. This is usually the answer.

If your modem, router, or gateway (modem/router combo unit) needs to be restarted, the steps are identical:

First, disconnect the equipment's power cord from the wall outlet.

Step 2: Count to 60

Third, reconnect the power cable.

To take the fourth step, please be patient while the machinery restarts.

Wi-Fi signals can weaken and become spotty if your device is too far from your router. Disconnection issues can also be caused by physical barriers between your device and the router.

Check the strength of your Wi-Fi signal using your device's signal meter and pay attention to areas where your connection drops out. Keep track of the places you lose connection as you travel, and figure out what's getting in the way of your router there. Walls and furniture can obstruct wireless signals and disrupt your connection.

Wi-Fi can be frustrating, but there are ways to strengthen your connection. To get the most out of your Wi-Fi, make sure to read our guides on the optimal placement of your router and increasing your signal's range.

It may seem like your internet is losing connection if you try to use more bandwidth than your plan allows. When multiple people in your household are online at once, it's more likely than ever that you've hit the bandwidth cap on your internet plan and need to upgrade.

How fast of a connection do you require

Find the optimal internet speed for your home with our free tool.

There is a wide variety of causes for internet outages. There will be times when your connection is completely lost for hours, and other times when it will sputter and die. ISP maintenance may be to blame for your intermittent connection problems.

You can easily find out by calling your Internet service provider and asking. Providers typically keep detailed logs of their customers' internet usage. A tech support worker should be able to see the number of outages at your address and the times they occurred. They should be able to tell you roughly when service will be restored.

It could be time to look for a new Internet service provider if you're tired of constantly losing connection. Knowing that you have choices is a good starting point. Fiber and 5G home internet are two examples of how the internet landscape has changed recently, giving you potentially more options than you had before.

To find out what's offered in your area, simply type in your zip code.

If the network cabling in your home is faulty, loose, or improperly set up, you may lose your internet connection.

What you should search for is:

  • Verify the CablesCheck all of your network cables for damage. Examine it for any rips, stains, or creases. Coaxial cables should be securely fastened to the modem and the wall outlet.

The Ethernet cable that links your modem to your router or computer should also be checked.

  • Inspect for dangling wires You want your Ethernet cable to make a clicking sound when fully inserted, and your Coaxial cables to be securely screwed on. As a loose cable may still pass signal, albeit weakly, this is a common cause of intermittent internet problems. However, if there is any additional strain placed on the cable, such as every time it is moved even slightly, the signal may be completely lost.

The Ethernet cable's springy clip often becomes broken or loose, rendering the port inoperable. When properly inserted, an Ethernet cable will make a clicking sound and won't unplug without first being compressed.

  • Make sure there are no active coaxial lines lying around your home that aren't connected to anything. An unused coaxial line can cause radio interference by acting as an antenna in your otherwise peaceful home network. Always ensure that any unused coaxial outlets are sealed off by your technician during a professional installation.

Without the proper tools, figuring out if you have an idle but live coaxial line can be a challenge.

Due to the need for specialized equipment and expertise, fixing cable issues on your own can be challenging. An ISP technician visit may be necessary if you suspect a cabling issue.

Don't worry if you're still at a loss; there are still many potential solutions to investigate.

Reboot your machine.

For PCs, this is the best option. You may be able to flush out persistent hiccups by restarting your device, as doing so resets some of the networking.

It's time for an upgrade.

Keeping our computers and devices up-to-date is essential to ensure they continue functioning as intended in today's rapidly evolving technological landscape. However, it can be tempting to put off updates until a problem arises. Doing any necessary updates before continuing to troubleshoot is a good idea.

Verify whether your gadget is set to automatically switch between two Wi-Fi networks.

Your device may unexpectedly switch between connected Wi-Fi networks, causing a momentary drop in signal strength. Weak Wi-Fi signals may cause your device to automatically seek out a more robust signal.

To connect to your preferred Wi-Fi network, try turning off the auto-join and auto-switch features on your affected devices.

Check if the Wi-Fi channel you're using is overloaded.

There are specific radio frequency channels that your router uses to broadcast Wi-Fi. When multiple networks in close proximity use the same channels, congestion is likely to occur. Multiple routers broadcasting within close proximity to one another is a common occurrence in places like apartment buildings.

Use a Wi-Fi analyzer app, such as Netspot, on your Android phone or tablet to see which channels are free and which ones are being used at home. If your internet still drops, try logging into your router's settings and switching the Wi-Fi channel.


Log in to your router's administrative interface and change the channel settings; these will typically be located in a "Wi-Fi" or "wireless" section. ”

All sorts of issues with your internet connection can arise if your modem is unable to communicate with your internet service provider (ISP), perhaps as a result of an update or a change in compatibility. For instance, if the registration is incorrect, the modem and the ISP may waste time repeatedly trying to authenticate each other. If you provide your own modem, you're more likely to face these issues.

For troubleshooting and repair, please contact your Internet service provider. They can see if the modem is properly registered, if it is still compatible, and if it is checking in and updating successfully. The customer service representatives may not always be able to perform the necessary diagnostics, in which case you may need to request a technician visit or escalate your issue to a higher level of technical support.

The following questions must be answered truthfully before you can proceed with this step.

  1. Does my modem have an account?
  2. Can I still use this service with my current modem?
  3. How well does my modem talk to the internet?

Unless you have disabled automatic updates in your OS, your computer's network adapter (also known as a network card) drivers will update automatically. Even so, it's best to double-check.

To get the most recent version of your Windows 10 network drivers, follow these steps:

First, open the Windows device manager by searching for it and then clicking the resulting result.

Second, select "Network adapters" under "Devices"

Third, choose "Update Driver Software" from the submenu that appears when you right-click your network adapter. ”

Select "Search automatically for updated driver software" in the ensuing dialogue box. ”

Step 5: Completing the Update by Following the Remaining On-Screen Instructions

Restart your computer in Step 6

If you're having trouble diagnosing a network problem on your computer, you might try resetting all of your connections to factory defaults. However, this is a drastic step because it causes your computer to lose all of its network information and requires you to reinstall your security and privacy programs before you can rejoin your home network. Be sure you have all the necessary login information before proceeding.

To reset your network settings on Windows 10:

First, press the "Start" button.

In the second step, select Preferences.

Step 3: Select Internet and Networking

Four, at the very bottom of the Status tab's menu, select Network Reset.

Five, reset your device by following the on-screen prompts.

Sixth, reboot your computer.

Network diagnostic software is preinstalled on Windows computers. If your computer is having trouble connecting to the internet, you can quickly and easily do diagnosis and repair with these tools.

Although Mac OS includes a network utility for performing diagnostic tests and locating relevant information, there is no automated network troubleshooter.

Windows 10 includes a built-in network troubleshooter.

First, click the Start button, and then type "settings" into the search bar.

Second, pick Network & Internet from the Settings menu.

Third, click Network Troubleshooter in the Advanced section of Network Settings.

Fourth, the troubleshooter will attempt a diagnosis; at this point, you should follow the on-screen prompts.

Launch the Mac OS Network Utility:

First, hit the command-space bar to launch Spotlight Search.

Second, hit the "enter" key after typing "network utility."

Check out the hidden activities happening in your computer.

When your operating system has multiple background processes running, it can cause your internet speed to decrease or even completely disconnect. Possible causes include temporary firewall conflicts and programs that use too much bandwidth. Third-party applications, cloud-based backup software, and auto-updater clients (like Adobe's) are infamous for causing issues.

The up arrow in Windows 10's taskbar's bottom left corner allows you to access a list of currently running processes.

The task manager provides visibility into all of your running processes:

First, hit the Ctrl-Alt-Del keys.

Step 2: Go to the menu and pick Task Manager.

Third, click the Processes button.

Fourth, sort the operations by their network footprint by clicking the Network column.

Fifth, right-click on a suspect process and select Properties to learn more.

If you find something that seems problematic, you can try terminating the host program for that process (you can find the host program in step five's properties menu). If you are no longer experiencing internet drops, the problem has been fixed.

The antivirus program you use serves as the security system for your system. Its primary purpose is to obstruct potentially harmful web traffic, but distinguishing between safe and harmful web activity requires a lot of updates. Keep the auto-update feature of your antivirus software enabled at all times.

Disable anti-virus software temporarily.

While we do not suggest going online without any sort of protection, disabling your antivirus software might be the best way to determine if it is the source of your issues. It's possible that your antivirus software is interfering with your ability to connect to the internet.

If the issue is resolved by disabling antivirus software and then re-enabling it, please contact technical support. It's possible that you'll need to end the offending process or application or switch antivirus software.

Intermittent internet disconnections are most commonly caused by programs that automatically perform server checks or updates in the background. Keep an eye out for cloud-based service bundles that include licensing and update clients (like Adobe's Creative Suite).

Firmware updates for your modem and router are essential for smooth communication with your Internet service provider. Your internet connection may randomly disconnect due to bugs or registration issues if your equipment is using an older version of the firmware.

Even though your Internet service provider (ISP) likely updates your modem automatically, you should verify that you have the most recent firmware. Make sure your standalone router is up to date, especially if you didn't get it from your internet service provider.

Logging into the modem or router's web-based administration console will reveal any available software updates. Follow these instructions for your modem and router separately if you have them:

Starting with a Web Browser

Step 2: Enter the IP address or login URL for your piece of equipment; this information is typically found on a sticker affixed to the back or bottom of the piece of equipment.

Step 3: Input the username and password, which are typically located on a sticker on the device's rear or underside.

The fourth step is to locate the firmware version number, which is typically displayed in the upper-right hand corner of the initial settings page for your device.

Fifth, verify that the firmware version number on your device is identical to the firmware version number of the most recent update by conducting a web search or visiting the website of your equipment manufacturer. This is usually as simple as googling your equipment’s manufacturer name and model number followed by the words “latest update ”

If you're having trouble accessing the configuration page for your router, please refer to our more in-depth instructions on doing so.

Your router keeps a record of network activity. The cause of your internet connection issues may be uncovered by reviewing this data.

Router logs are accessible through the router's web-based user interface. Different routers may store their logs in slightly different places:

Initial Step: Using a web browser, go to your router's login page by entering its IP address or login URL. It's typically displayed on a sticker on the router's underside or rear. For more information on how to access your router's admin page, please refer to our detailed tutorial.

Second, enter the username and password for your router's administrative interface (found on the same sticker as the IP address). If you have never changed the default administrator credentials, then your username will be "admin" and your password will be "password." ”

Third, access the router's log (also called the "system log" or "network log") Although the specific location varies by router, this step is typically found in the "advanced" menu.

Sometimes the log entries are unclear, but a simple search will reveal what happened. Try searching for failure, malice, or attack. Google is your friend if you notice something fishy, like the same entry showing up multiple times.

Contact your internet service provider. It can detect and fix broadband problems more effectively. A technician may need to visit your home to perform advanced connectivity tests, signal strength checks, and other tasks that are beyond your skill set. The inconvenience of making and keeping an appointment is outweighed by the benefits of having your problem fixed once and for all.

Austin Aguirre is the author.

As a broadband technician for several major U.S. ISPs, Austin set up and fixed countless home networks for internet access. S In the year 2020, he decided to pursue a career as a freelance writer. Following his graduation from Arizona State University with a degree in technical communication, he joined the HighSpeedInternet team. com, where he writes about and fixes home networks.

Author: Rebecca Lee Armstrong, Editor

Over the course of her career as a writer, Rebecca Lee Armstrong has accumulated over six years' worth of experience covering topics related to technology and the web. While earning her BFA in creative writing at the University of Evansville, she began reviewing technology products and services. She eventually settled on writing about home networking, routers, and internet access for HighSpeedInternet. com Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ, and iMore are just some of the publications that have highlighted her work.

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