Basic Skills for the Workplace: Troubleshooting Your Internet Connection

There are three basic setups used in most workplaces for the Internet connection at your workspace. Before calling either your in-house IT professional or your provider, familiarize yourself with your equipment and basic troubleshooting. Here are some tips.

Setup I: Ethernet jack to the wall

You'll see this in most larger offices that don't run on wireless connections. It's a very simple setup from your point of view. An Ethernet cable (it looks like an extra-wide phone plug) is plugged into a jack on the back of your computer, and the other end is plugged into a similar jack in the wall.

Should your Internet connection conk out, take these steps:

1. Check both ends of the cable to ensure they are plugged in securely.
2. Restart your computer.
3. Before calling someone, check with your co-workers so you can let the professional helping you know if it's a problem with only your workstation, or if it's a wider issue.

Setup 2: Wired router

These are becoming increasingly rare, but they still exist. A cable goes from the wall to a modem, bringing Internet into the office. A cable then goes from the modem to a router, giving Internet access to the router and any devices attached to it. Cables then go from the router to various computers. Here are troubleshooting tips before you call someone:

1. Check all the wires to make sure everything's plugged in.
2. Move your cable to a different port on the router.
3. Turn off the router, then the modem. Start up first the modem, then the router.
4. Restart your computer.

Setup 3: Wireless router

This is a setup most commonly used at homes and at some small offices. If you're working at a bar or cafe that has wifi, this is the setup there, as well. A cable goes from the wall to a modem, bringing Internet access into the room. A cable goes from the modem to a wireless router, giving everything within range capable of receiving a wireless signal Internet access. Often, these are password protected. Troubleshooting tips:

1. Make sure your device is connected to the network, and, if necessary, the proper password is entered. If your device is connected to the network but you can't get Internet access, the problem is between the wall and the router.
2. Make sure all cables are attached securely.
3. Turn off the router, then the modem. Turn on the modem, then the router. Wait while they come up and run their self-diagnostics.

If you're still not online, call somebody.

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