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Fix Your Internet Connection

This document describes how you can resolve your own internet connectivity issues. Anyone who uses a computer can benefit from this knowledge.

Definitions

ISP - Internet Service Provider

Process Overview

Obtaining an internet connection from an ISP is an easy thing to do if you follow
equipment reboot procedures in order with correct timing.

Concepts

Relay Race

Each piece of equipment between your computer and the ISP connection must obtain a signal from the one prior to it in order to work properly. It's like a relay race.
The ISP has equipment at their distribution point out on the utility pole or down the road that distributes their internet signal to the equipment inside your house or business. The next item is a modem of some sort. If you have DSL service, you have a DSL modem that was provided to you by the ISP. If you have cable internet service, you have a cable modem.

The next item in line is your hardware firewall. Finally, your PC connects to the hardware firewall. If you don't have a hardware firewall, then you have inadequate protection for your computer. You should get one. Linksys and Netgear both make good firewalls. Make sure you get a firewall and not just a router. Routers do not add security, only obscurity.

Handoffs

The first item that receives an internet connection in your house is the ISP-provided modem. All electronics requires some time to boot up and get its signal from devices it talks to. Your cell phone takes some time to boot up too. Various devices require different amounts of time too boot up. But the device cannot pass any signal to other connected devices until it is fully booted. This is the same as you cannot log onto your computer until it has booted up.
So when your internet connection goes out, the modem is the first thing you have to reboot. The hardware firewall gets its signal from that modem, so that would be the second device to be rebooted. Generally, it is not required to reboot your computer, however you can if you wish.

Procedures

Identifying the equipment
1. Ensure you have physical access to the DSL or cable modem and firewall in your house or office.
2. Identify who your ISP is. If you have Road Runner, then you have a cable modem. If you have AT&T or TDS, then you have a DSL modem.
3. Identify the actual modem appliance. If you have a DSL modem, look for a box that has a phone cord going into it. DSL modems have a phone cord, a power cord, and a single network cable going to the firewall. Cable modems have a cable TV cable going into it. Cable modems also have a power cord and a network cable that goes to the firewall.
4. Identify the firewall. This will be an appliance that either says Linksys, Netgear or WatchGuard on it. They come in different colors.

Reboot the connection
To restore the internet connection, the appliances must be rebooted in the correct order and correct timing.
1. Remove the power cord (generally small round and black) from the modem.
2. Leave the power cord unplugged for one minute.
3. Plug the power cord back into the modem and wait another minute.
4. Now that the modem has booted back up, remove the power cord from the firewall.
5. Leave the power cord out of the firewall for 30 seconds.
6. Put the power cord back into the firewall.
7. Wait another minute and then check if your PC has its internet connection back.

Troubleshooting

If you have rebooted the network appliances in proper sequence with proper timing, and you still don't have an internet connection, then verify that your cabling is connected properly. If you don't have the knowledge to do this for yourself, then call your IT support.

Note that calling your ISP NEVER results in problem resolution. They have no interest in retaining any security for your computer. They do not care if they mess up your computer configuration totally, and they don't care if your computer gets hacked. Don't follow the instructions their support people give you.

They will always tell you to disconnect your firewall and disable your software firewall. Then they will tell you to directly connect your PC to the modem. Doing this will leave your computer totally exposed to hackers on the Internet and does not achieve the objective. If their service is actually working and the modem you have is a functional appliance, then the procedure above will work to restore the connection.

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