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Want to Impress Your IT Person? Answer ‘Yes’ When They Ask “Did you Reboot Modem and Router?”

reboot modem and router

We’ve all been there. Your computer is running slow as molasses. Nothing will load, files are slow to save—or worse, your computer just refuses to run altogether. There are a lot of reasons why your computer could be slowing down. If you’ve tried turning your computer off and on, and you’re still having a problem, your IT service desk will almost certainly tell you to reboot modem and router. Don’t know how to do that? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

Why Do I Have to Reboot Modem and Router Anyway?

Most people know that they have to turn off their computer from time to time. Doing this allows the computer to clear out its cache and prepare to run better the next day. Your modems and routers are, essentially, little computers. So that means they need to be turned off and on occasionally, too. Obviously, it’s incredibly inconvenient to reboot modem and router every day. But to keep your systems running optimally, we generally recommend you do this rebooting process about every eight weeks. Let’s talk about how to get that done.

How to Reboot Modem and Router

Let’s talk first about what modems and routers do.

A modem takes the internet signal coming into your home and turns it into a signal your devices can understand. A router sends that signal on its way to all the devices that need it, whether that’s through cable or through wifi.

Most people will have BOTH a modem and a Router. However, some people will have a combined modem and router. Neither is better than the other. But there are some slight variations when it comes to the reboot process. Let’s walk through all the steps you need to reboot modem and router.

Step One: Find Your Modem and Router.

Not sure which is which? Your router is the ones with the visible antennas (like the photo above.) Remember, wherever there’s a router, there’s likely to be a modem nearby. Your router will plug directly into your modem, and the modem will plug into the wall or another power source.

***An Important note***There will often be a button that says “RESTART” on these devices. Do not push this unless advised to by your IT support desk. Why? Because this button is what is pushed if you want to take the device back down to its factory settings and start completely over. This is, most definitely, what you DON’T want to do.

Step Two: Unplug the Modem and the Router

This can be the tricky bit for some people, because there’s generally a lot of wires coming off the back of your devices. However, follow the wires, and you will see the cord that connects the device to its power source. Pull that wire out on both devices.

Step Three: Count out 30 Seconds

You’ll want to make sure you give both these devices enough of a rest so that it can reboot properly. This waiting period will ensure that the capacitors in your router and modem discharge thoroughly and the modem loses its connection to your internet service provider. That way, when you reconnect, it will be forced to use a fresh connection. This is what you want.

Step Four: Plug Your Modem Back in FIRST

Why the modem first? Because it needs to reconnect to your Internet Service Provider before the router can do its job. Plug the Modem back into your power source, and it will begin the process of reconnecting. Sometimes this will happen in sixty seconds. Sometimes, it might take a few minutes. How will you know when it’s reconnected? Most modems have a row of green lights that indicates when it has a proper signal. When those green lights are lit without flashing, you’ll know the connection is restored. Then it’s time to move on to the next step!

Step Five: Plug in Your Router and Wait at Least Two Minutes

Plug in your router and look to see if it has a power button. If it does, push the power button. If it doesn’t then all you need to do is sit back and wait. Power button or not, your router will need a minimum of two minutes for the router to boot back up again.

Step Six: Turn Your Computer Back on, and See if your Connection Has Improved

The only thing to do now is see if it all has worked. We recommend turning the computer back off and on, and signing back in. Is everything running faster now? Great! You’ve just solved your problem. Is something still wrong with your connection or speed? If you’ve successfully followed the directions to reboot modem and router, and it still isn’t helping, then it’s time to call your IT help desk.

But Wait! What if I Have a Combined Modem and Router?

Rebooting a separate modem and router is a little different than rebooting a combined router/modem device, but not much. In this case, you’ll basically follow the same steps, you’ll just have ONE device to unplug. It’s a good idea to check to see if there’s any batteries in the device, and remove those as well. Wait, put the batteries back in, and plug it in. Check the lights to see if the lights have come back on, and are not blinking. If you’re getting lights with no blinks, you’re good to go!

When You Reboot Modem and Router But It Still Doesn’t Work

If you’ve done all this, and it doesn’t work, you still have a few options. You could call your company’s IT service desk and ask for assistance. Or, you could check out some Iconic IT’s other tutorials, including what to do if you’re connected to wifi but have no signal, and what to do if your computer is running slow.

If you’d like to have some expert service desk help, but your company doesn’t have one yet, it might be time to consider hiring an managed IT service provider. If you’re in one our service areas, we’d love to talk to you about being your company’s service desk! Contact us for a free consultation!


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