As a small ISP and IT service company we manage networks that handle everything from two people and a PlayStation to hundreds of users at a call center, and a lot in-between. One of the most common issues we come across sounds like this:

 

“My internet is slow”

“Things go fast one day, then they go slow the next”

“It was working yesterday”

 

These complaints can be a host of issues, but more often than not the problem is traced back to their network. When we say “network” what we mean is everything that is not your computer or your Internet provider. For most small businesses and homes the “network” consists of one device, a router. This device is the traffic cop for your Internet travels. Everything (and I mean everything) that you do on the internet moves through routers, and the first router in line is the one sitting on the floor under the couch, next to the TV, or on a shelf that was put there two years ago and hasn’t been thought of since. Not being power-cycled in YEARS can cause strange and intermittent problems that usually get blamed on the Internet company, us!

 

What a lot of people have been led to believe is that technology should work all the time without fail. The reality is that when a digital electronic device like a router is left on and used continuously for months or even years at a time, several things can happen. It might overheat, it can become occupied with tasks or services related to equipment no longer connected (your friends at that party you had last month begging you for your wifi password) etc. Another problem with leaving these kind of devices plugged in all the time is that the power they are plugged into is not always reliable. Brownout and black-outs can damage or destroy a standard consumer router.  These conditions can cause a router to forget what it was supposed to do, which can lead to bad video streaming, slow browsing and our phrase of the day, “my internet is slow.” Think of your router as having a hangover, it blacked out and now needs to sleep it off.

 

The first thing you can do is unplug the router, let it sit for a few minutes, then plug it back in. (Note: make sure you do not RESET the router, that is usually a small button you press, this will set it back to factory settings.) Usually, not always, this clears things up and allows the router to start from zero. If after normal use over the next few hours the problem persists, you may have other issues that may or may not include a bad computer, bad wiring, or other common issues. So give it a try and remember if you still have issues, you can always call the guys who know, Tekwerks!