My Wireless Says "Connected" But I Can't Connect to the Internet

By Eoghan McCloskey

Wireless networks have become an increasingly popular way to access the Internet. Connecting to a wireless network allows you to browse the Internet without having to physically connect any cords to your computer. Troubleshooting wireless connectivity can sometimes be confusing, because even if a wireless network is not able to bring you to any web pages, often your computer's wireless card will still connect to the wireless network that is being broadcast. In other words, a wireless network will read "connected" even if it is not connected to the Internet.

Step 1

Connect to a different wireless network. If there is an alternate wireless network within range of your computer that you legally are able to use (a free public Wi-Fi rather than your neighbor's wireless network, for instance), try connecting to it and browsing the Internet. If the same issue occurs on the alternate wireless network, you may have an issue with your computer's wireless card or with your Internet browser. If you are able to connect to the alternate network but still not able to connect to your own, the problem is most likely localized to the wireless network you use at home.

Step 2

Reset all devices. The great majority of Internet connection issues can be resolved by a simple reset of all the devices in your home network. Locate the power cords of both your modem and your wireless router and unplug them (if you use a modem/router combination, simply unplug its power cord) for a full 30 seconds. Plug them back in and restart your computer. Try to connect to the Internet using your wireless network after your computer has booted back up. If the connection still fails, some further troubleshooting is required.

Step 3

Bypass your wireless router. If your computer's wireless card is connecting to your wireless network of choice yet you are still not able to access any websites, there may be a connection issue on either your modem or router. The easiest way to locate the problem is to temporarily eliminate the router from the network. Locate the Ethernet cable that connects your modem to your router and unplug it from the router. Plug the cable directly into one of the Ethernet ports on your computer and reset the modem in the manner described above. Now try your Internet connection again. If there is still no Internet access, the problem is most likely with your modem or your computer; contact the technical support department of your Internet service provider (ISP) for further assistance. If the modem goes online directly connected, your router is causing the problem and may need to be reconfigured. Contact the router manufacturer for further assistance.

Tips & Warnings

  • This article assumes that you use some type of wireless access point with your home Internet connection. If you do not have your own wireless router yet are still trying to connect to a wireless network, make sure that you are authorized to use that wireless network, and that you are not connecting without permission to a wireless network owned by someone else. Unauthorized connections to someone else's wireless network are both illegal and dangerous.