A Netgear wireless router attaches multiple devices to your Internet connection, either by ethernet cable or wirelessly. If you can't connect to the Internet, the problem can be anywhere along the chain of devices and technologies that connect your computer to the Internet. Knowing how to troubleshoot your Netgear or other wireless router is an essential part of determining where the problem is and fixing it.
Click your "Start" button, and choose "Run." Type "cmd" in the text box (without quotation marks), and click "OK." A command prompt will open. Type the following: ipconfig /all. Press your "Enter" key. A list of numbers and other networking configuration information will display.
Find your network adapter in this list of headers. If you use your computer wirelessly in many different places, you may have to scroll through a lot of different options to find your adapter. If you connect to the Internet using a cable, look for a header that begins with "Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection." If you connect wirelessly, look for a header that begins with "Ethernet adapter Wireless Connection." You will usually only see an IP address displayed under one header in either category.
Record your IP address and default gateway on a piece of paper or in a text file. If your IP address is 0.0.0.0 or begins with 169.254, unplug your Netgear router from its power source. Unplug your cable or DSL modem as well. Be sure to unplug both devices; turning them off with a power switch may not have the same effect. Wait 20 seconds before plugging the modem in again. Wait for the lights on the modem to light up. Plug in your Netgear wireless router again. Wait for two minutes. Use "ipconfig /all" again. You should have a different IP address now.
Ping your default gateway. At the command prompt, type "ping 192.168.1.1" (substituting your default gateway address for 192.168.1.1). You should receive four responses, all of which will begin with either "Reply from" or "Request timed out." If you receive "Request timed out," unplug your Netgear wireless router from the power source for 20 seconds, and plug it in again. Wait two minutes before using "ping" again. If you receive "Reply from" responses, check to see if your Internet connection is working again.
Open a Web browser. In the address bar, type "http://192.168.1.1" (substituting your default gateway address for 192.168.1.1). Press "Enter." If you have password-protected your Netgear router, you will be prompted for a username and password. The default username for a Netgear router is "admin." When you have successfully entered the username and password, your Web browser will show you the configuration page for your Netgear wireless router. If your Web browser never loads a Web page or prompts for a username and password, you're not communicating with your Netgear router. Double-check the address you typed into your address bar. If you've typed it correctly and your connection is wireless, either your wireless card has a problem or your Netgear router is not correctly sending a wireless signal. Make sure your wireless card is enabled (using Windows' built-in Network Connections applet or the third-party software that came with your wireless card). Make sure your connection settings (SSID, security type, and key or passphrase) are correct for your network. Look at the lights on your Netgear wireless router. The wireless indicator light should be green. If it's orange or not on at all, your router is not sending a wireless signal.
Make sure all the settings on your Netgear configuration page are correct. Most Internet providers use a dynamic IP address and DNS server addresses. Some Internet providers require a login, and some do not. To be sure, refer to the configuration information your Internet provider gave you when your Internet access was installed, or call your Internet provider's technical support number.
Click on "Wireless Settings" on the navigation bar on the left-hand side of the page. If you were not able to reach the configuration page wirelessly and had to connect to your Netgear router with an ethernet cable, make sure these settings are still as you defined them when setting up your network. If not, either change the settings to suit you, or change the configuration of your wireless card to match these settings. Be sure to click the "Apply" button if you make any changes.
Click "Router Status" on the navigation bar on the left-hand side of the page. Under "Internet Port," check your IP address. If the address begins with 169.254, you're not communicating with your cable or DSL modem. Unplug your cable or DSL modem from its power source for 20 seconds, and plug it back in. Wait two minutes, and refresh this page. If your IP address still begins with 169.254, there is a problem either with the cable connecting your Netgear wireless router to your cable or DSL modem, or with the modem itself. If your IP address is 0.0.0.0, there is a problem with your Internet connection, and you should call your Internet provider's technical support.
Record all your configuration information before trying to reset your Netgear wireless router to the factory defaults. Resetting may fix your problem, but it will wipe out all your configuration information, and you will have to reconfigure your Netgear router from scratch afterward. To reset most Netgear routers, use the tip of a pen or an unbent paperclip to press and hold the reset button on the back of the router until the test light blinks. Release the button, and wait two or three minutes. Connect to the router's configuration page in a Web browser. Log in with the default username and password, and configure your router. You may have to connect to the router with an ethernet cable to perform this initial configuration.
You can use the "ipconfig /all" command on almost any computer that connects to a network or the Internet. If "cmd" doesn't open a command prompt, you can use any method your operating system allows to open the prompt or shell. If your Netgear wireless router is not sending a wireless signal even after you've powered it off, waited 20 seconds and powered it back on, you can use an ethernet cable to attach a computer directly to the router to continue troubleshooting.