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    PC does not connect to the Internet but connects to the modem

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    Pau Monfort
    @paumonfort

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    It must be very frustrating to see that the PC does not connect to the Internet, but connects to the modem. It is hard to imagine that only about 1% of the world's population used the Internet just twenty years ago. Today, more than 4,3 billion people actively use it, which represents more than half of the world's population. This is how important it is to have an Internet connection.


    However, WiFi connection problems are always present, the first being a no internet connection. On the one hand, you can connect to your modem, but on the other, you get the dreaded yellow triangle No Internet access above the Internet connection icon.



    While it's not easy to immediately detect whether the problem is with your modem, computer, or Internet Service Provider (ISP), you can resolve this error and get back online. We will show you how in this guide.

    How to fix if your PC does not detect WiFi

    • Exclude false alarms.
    • Check the lights on the router.
    • Restart modem and router.
    • Run the Windows Network Troubleshooter.
    • Check the IP address.
    • Check your network card.
    • Check MAC address filtering.
    • Reset TCP / IP.
    • Clear DNS.
    • Disable the security software.
    • Update your wireless drivers and network card driver.
    • Update the router firmware.
    • Reset the router.
    • Reset your network.

    The reasons why the PC does not connect to the Internet but connects to the modem

    The main culprits for any network problems are your device (computer, tablet or smartphone) and the wireless router.




    Connection problems could be anything from old hardware to faulty firmware or old infrastructure, damaged cables, erratic signal strength, and too many people connected to the network at the same time.

    If there is a problem with one of these devices, you will see errors such as "unable to connect to the Internet" or the usual problems connecting to WiFi.

    Here are some steps you can take if you encounter these problems. We will go through the simpler steps first, then move on to more advanced solutions.


    1. PC connected but not surfing, let's first exclude false alarms

    Before you think that your modem or PC has broken, rule out any false alarms by doing the following:

    • Make sure your network hardware is turned on and connected.
    • Visit different websites as sometimes the one you are visiting may be temporarily offline.
    • Check if your other devices can connect successfully. If it's just your computer or mobile device, it could be an incorrectly configured setting on that particular device. If there is no internet connection on all devices, the problem may be with the network equipment.
    • Switch to a wired connection if available or try a different connection. If you are able to go online using one of these configurations, it is likely that your modem is faulty or there is a problem with the connection between your ISP and your home or office, or the connection from the ISP.
    • Restart your computer to clear the temporary software problems and try to connect again.
    • Check if your WiFi is turned on or enabled on your device. Most laptops have a WiFi button or switch which, if turned off, may block internet access.
    • Disable Airplane Mode if it is on. You can do this using the Airplane Mode button on your laptop or from the Action Center for a Windows PC.
    • Make sure you are using the correct SSID (router name) and security key. Re-enter the wireless password and try to connect again. You may have changed it and are still using the old password.
    • Reseat the modem or computer. This helps in maintaining a strong signal between the two devices and prevents connectivity issues. You can also buy a range extender to receive a stronger signal in all cases.
    • Contact your telephone operator.

    2. No connection available? Check the lights on the router

    When the PC does not connect to the Internet it thinks that the modem has different status lights displayed on the front, with different labels depending on the model being used. These include the wireless light, the Ethernet light (for wired networks), the Send / Receive lights (blink rapidly), and the Ready / Service / Connect lights.



    Check if the lights Ready / Service / Connect they are fixed, which indicates a good connection. If it is off or flashing, there is a problem with the connection. But if it's still solid and there's no internet connection, check with your ISP for an outage.


    3. Restart your modem and router if your PC fails to connect to the Internet

    To do this, unplug the power plug from the modem and router and leave them unplugged for about two minutes.

    Next, plug in the modem, let it boot, and then plug in the router. Wait a few minutes for both devices to restart and verify that they are working properly. This helps to reset any problems in the background and clears the contents of the router's memory.

    If there are no lights on any of them, it is likely a hardware problem. If you still don't have an internet connection after restarting your modem and router, try the next step.

    4. Run the Windows Network Troubleshooter

    If the connection problem is with multiple devices, this step will not be necessary. However, if it's just with your Windows computer, there may be a problem with your network settings.

    • apri Settings> Network and Internet.
    • click on State.
    • Select Network troubleshooting and follow the steps to diagnose and fix the problem. It might not fix everything, but it will fix most network-related problems.

    5. Check the IP address

    You can connect to the wireless router and not yet have an Internet connection.


    This happens when there is a problem with the router connection to your ISP, so it will work on the network but will not have a valid public IP address as it cannot reach the internet. As a result, it is not possible to send or request data over the Internet.


    • Log into your router and go up Settings> Status (or Network Status) to check if the IP address is valid. If the status indicates Disabled o Disabled and there are no numbers for the IP address, the router does not get an IP address from your ISP.
    • You can request a new IP address using the button Renew (or similar). If that doesn't work, call your ISP for further guidance as the problem could stem from their demise.

    Another way to change your IP address is to get one automatically. This helps when your device is configured to use a static IP address but the router won't allow it on the network or the address is for the wrong network.

    • If you use Windows, go at Control Panel> Network and Internet. If you are in icon view, click Network and Sharing Center.
    • click on Network and Sharing Center> Change adapter settings and double-click the connection. Depending on how you connect to the internet, click on Ethernet or Wi-Fi.
    • Select Property and then double-click on Internet Protocol version 4 or IPv4
    • At this point you can change the IP address (but it will remain static), or choose Obtain an IP address automatically in so that the router automatically assigns one to the computer.

    6. If your PC can't connect to the internet why not check your network card

    Your network card may also be causing internet connectivity issues, so you can fix that to rule out any issues.

    • Right-click on Start> Device Manager
    • Expand the category Network cards and check for a yellow exclamation point next to the network card. If there isn't one, the network card is working fine, but if you see the exclamation point, right-click on it and select Disable device.
    • Wait about two minutes, then right-click Network adapter> Enable device. Check if the sign is gone, then try connecting to the internet again.

    If the sign is still there, there may be a problem with the network card. In this case, restart your computer or take it to a professional computer technician to have it repaired or replaced.

    7. Check MAC address filtering

    If your router has MAC address filter set up, you may not have access to the internet. This setting prevents devices from connecting to the router if they do not have a specific MAC address. 

    The easiest way to fix this is to add your MAC address to the approved list.

    8. Reset TCP / IP

    TCP / IP is a set of protocols that connect network devices on the Internet and specify how data is exchanged. Resetting TCP / IP involves entering some commands at the command prompt.

    • Type cmd in the search bar and select Command Prompt> Run as administrator.
    • Type netsh int ip reset and hit enter. Allow this to complete and then exit the command prompt. Restart your computer when done.

    9. WiFi connected but not surfing, clear DNS

    This method also involves using a command prompt. 

    • Type CMD in the search bar and click with the right click on Command Prompt> Run as administrator.
    • Enter ipconfig / flushdns to update and reset the DNS settings of the computer and restart the PC to check if the Internet connection is back.

    10. Disable the security software

     

    Your computer's firewall and antivirus can prevent you from going online.

    Firewalls prevent unwanted network traffic from disrupting normal computer functions, but they can also malfunction and block real traffic. Likewise, if you have two firewalls on one computer, they can conflict and block Internet traffic.

    To fix this, disable any third-party antivirus or temporarily disable your computer's firewall and check if the connection is restored. You can also run a malware scan just to rule out any malware that may have interrupted your internet connection.

    11. Update wireless driver and network card driver

    Device drivers provide information about how the operating system and other software interact with particular hardware on the computer. If you don't have an internet connection yet, check for driver updates on your computer. 

    • Right-click on Start> Device Manager, then right-click the wireless driver and select Update Driver.
    • Select to search automatically an updated driver o browse your computer for driver software and then click Browse.

    You can also uninstall the driver and reinstall the correct drivers from the device manufacturer's site. Restart your computer when done and test your internet connection to see if it works.

    12. If the PC does not connect to the Internet, update the modem firmware

    Updating the modem firmware varies by router, but you need to perform a few similar steps. However, it is recommended that you check the device manufacturer's user manual that came with your router or go online and check the instructions specific to the make and model of the router.

    • Download the correct firmware from the manufacturer's website. Go to download page of the hardware version of the router and choose the right file.
    • Most of the newer routers have a page in the admin interface that will check for firmware updates and allow you to perform the update directly as shown below. If not, download the firmware file and continue.
    • Access the administration console of the router and locate the firmware section in the settings, usually Management o Advanced. Verify that the router firmware version you downloaded is the latest version of the one you are using.
    • Move the firmware file to the router. You can look up instructions for this from the user manual or instructions on the website. Let the installation continue without interruption.
    • Restart the router once the process is complete.

    13. Reset the router

    You can reset the router by pressing the physical reset button (usually a small recessed pinhole) on the router and holding it for about 15 seconds. At this point, the lights on the router will flash and the router will reboot. 

    If your router doesn't have this button, log into the router and run the restoration of the settings factory from the settings panel.

    14. Reset your network if the internet fails

    If your PC still doesn't connect to the internet, reset your network settings.

    • apri Settings> Network and Internet> Status.
    • click on Network reset> Reset now to remove all network adapters and restore the default network settings. This means you'll need to set it up again, but it may help you reset your internet connection.

    If your PC does not connect to the Internet after resetting the modem and network, the equipment is likely faulty. If it's your router, you can try using a USB network adapter, contact your ISP provider, or replace it altogether.

    The WiFi adapter or related hardware may be defective, or your computer needs service. Likewise, your computer's operating system may be damaged, in which case you may have to erase everything and reinstall it, but this should be done as a last resort.

    We hope the steps described here will help you solve your connection problem. Hopefully, you won't have to resort to factory resets, as most of the above steps tend to fix it.

    Further Reading:

    • How to reset your modem / router with ease
    • What to do when Windows 11 does not connect to the Internet
    • Here's how to change WiFi passwords
    • Phone does not connect to WiFi, 8 solutions
    • What to do if Nintendo Switch does not connect to Wi-Fi
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