Why does my connection keep dropping?

The worst thing many people can imagine is not having internet access. Try turning off your internet access at home and pretending that Telkom has sliced through some important wires and watch everyone lose their minds. Including yourself. Actually, on second thought, don’t do that.

But sometimes your internet connection just doesn’t want to play ball. Here are some of the reasons it can happen and what you can do about them.

Sometimes it just happens

Like the title says, sometimes internet connections stop working for no particular reason. Occasionally a router or a modem will need a reboot, occasionally it’s a network card or a computer software issue causing the fuss. There’s nothing really wrong with it, it just needs a little smack upside the head.

Solution: Like the folks from The IT Crowd like to say: Have you tried turning it off and on again? You’d be surprised how many disastrous issues this fixes.

Check ALL the plugs

So you’ve gone for the restart route and nothing has changed. Time to take the next step. Check all the cables. All of them. Yes, even the ones that you know have been plugged in. Especially those. Cables can work loose, even if they seem to be plugged in, so disconnect and reseat all of the wires in the back of your PC, modem, router, and so on. Don’t do this if you’re going to wind up messing with the company network. Let IT take the blame for that, that’s what they’re paid for.

Solution: Get hold of another modem router (the Netis DL4323U is cheap enough to hang around as a diagnostic machine) to make sure your hardware is fine. If it does turn out to be just a loose cable, never mention that to anyone, ever.

Outside factors (or: someone’s messing with the internet pipe)

So it’s not a loose cable and a restart didn’t fix it. Could be that the problem is external. If there was a recent lightning strike or an ongoing storm/flood/earthquake, the problem is almost certainly external. What you can do is test your own hardware and also look outside. If there’s a pole lying on the road or a bulldozer has dragged up a section of fibre optics, your connection is toast. If it’s intermittent then the problem could be on a pole (in the case of ADSL) or at the exchange. Either way, someone else is going to have to hunt the problem down for you.

Solution: . Lift up your phone (assuming you have one). If it’s dead (or you don’t have a landline), contact your ISP or Telkom to come and look at physical infrastructure, particularly if a dodgy wire and bad weather could be mucking you about. Or, go wireless (depending on your signal strength) and grab a wireless router from https://shopnetis.co.za/.

Software, drivers, and traffic

Networks can drop because of major traffic or driver and software issues. Major traffic shouldn’t ever be an issue on a home connection, unless you have an unsecured network and are hosting everyone that lives within range (in which case, add a password to your network).

Driver and software issues are also possible, but rare. An operating system update could mess with your internet access. Be sure to check in for any firmware updates for your network gear regularly. Update drivers when they’re available too – this will prevent headaches.

BUT… sometimes it’s just a driver corruption issue. This can be a mission to solve but often simply reinstalling the drivers in question (see below) will be enough to fix the corrupted files.

Solution: Software and drivers shouldn’t be an issue but in the event that you’re paranoid, you can find downloads for network hardware at the main manufacturer’s website. In the case of Netis, that’s http://www.netis-systems.com/.

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