"Help! My broadband connection is dead!"

Find the router.
Check that there are lights on the font of it.  There most likely be a light to indicate each/any of:

  • power
  • phone line connection
  • broadband (ADSL) signal
  • WIFI signal
  • and a light for any network sockets that have computers attached

If there are no lights, make sure that

  • the power adapter is firmly pluged into the wall/extension and securely plugged into the router itself.
  • the router is actually switched on (not all routers have a power switch).

If it is switched on and plugged in but there are no lights, the router is probably dead.  For completeness sake, test the socket with another appliance to verify that the socket works.  Likewise, if you have another power adapter, test the alternative power adapter in the router.  If the router then works, it is just the power supply that is dead.  Be very careful when testing power adapters that you test with an adapter which is the exact same voltage/current output. Otherwise, you will destroy your router.  If the router is dead, take it with you to a computer shop: it helps to be able to brandish the type of hardware which you seek.

If there are lights on the router, see if you can connect to the router itself through your web browser.  Firstly, your active network connections will likely be shown down the bottom left of the computer screen, in the form of little TV icons, either blue for connected, or with a red X through them for disconnected.

Assuming the computer thinks it has a network connection, we can attempt to access the router directly.  When set up, routers are given an IP address.  This address is only for your network, it does not apply to the Internet.  When the router connects to the internet, it acquires another, different address.  If the router has been switched on after the computer, it sometimes necessitates a computer restart to get the PC to discover the router.

Using a web browser, e.g. Internet Explorer or Firefox, enter the address of the router into the address bar.  The address will be something like 192.168.1.1, or possibly 192.168.1.254.  Internal network addresses are always of the order 192.168.1.X, where X goes from 1 to 254.  Common router instructions often suggest one of these two addresses.

Upon entering the address into the web browser address bar, e.g. http://192.168.1.1, a control panel interface will generally be presented for the router.  This is usually password protected, with a password set a setup time.  Within this interface you will be able to test connections and reset the router.  As all routers are different, exact instructions are outside the scope of this article.

Often a router will be on, connected to a computer and connected to a phone line, but the ADSL signal has been dropped.  This will generally be indicated by a light going out or turning orange or red.  In this case, simply turn off the router and turn it on again.  It would not be entirely unusual to have to repeat this procedure more than once to encourage the router to find and maintain the signal.

This guide is a simple troubleshooter, to address common broadband troubleshooting problems.   

Eircom have quite an extensive support section to help people set up and troubleshoot their broadband here.

Perlico too have a support section.  Although theirs is not quite as extensive as Eircom's, they do detail how to set up several different types of router .