Why Is the Wireless Light Just Blinking?

By Lou Martin

When a wireless router’s light keeps blinking and you are able to use it to access the Web, it means the device is working properly. However, if blinking is all the device does, there may be a problem. You can fix most of the problems associated with a router by employing a few simple troubleshooting tips, but in the end, you might need to seek the help of an electronics repair professional.


Like a modem's lights, a wireless router’s lights blink when transmitting data to a Wi-Fi device, such as a computer or mobile phone. As long as the Wi-Fi device is able to receive and send data over its wireless connection to the router, the blinking light can be ignored. The router’s lights blink when the device sends and receives data transmissions, indicating the data has been properly processed and sent to either the Wi-Fi device or the modem.

Constant Blinking

A wireless router’s lights blink even when a Wi-Fi device is not wirelessly connected. This happens because the modem, to which the router is connected, constantly processes data transmissions from the Internet. This process, known as Address Resolution Protocol, involves the modem converting 32-bit Internet provider Web addresses into 48-bit Ethernet addresses. The Ethernet consists of all devices that are connected to a modem via a wire or cable, including a wireless router. The router’s lights blink whenever it sends or receives data, including those produced by the ARP.


When the router processes data from the ARP, its lights blink intermittently. When the router processes data while a Wi-Fi device is connected, the blinking happens more quickly. If you are unable to access the router with a Wi-Fi device, but the router’s lights continue blinking quickly, there may be a problem with the device’s connection. Making a wireless connection to a router requires that you activate the Wi-Fi device’s wireless connectivity function. For instance, if you attempt to connect a mobile phone to the router, be sure to activate the phone’s Wi-Fi network function in the device’s settings to ensure proper connection.


Most wireless routers are able to support wireless connections for up to five Wi-Fi devices at a time. With each connected device, the rate at which the router’s lights blink increases. When the router’s support limit is reached, the blinking lights may remain constantly lit because it is sending and receiving transmissions at a much faster rate than when fewer devices are connected. A telltale sign that the router is not working properly is when no blinking lights appear. If this happens, check the router’s wires to ensure they are properly connected to the modem and a power outlet. If all troubleshooting efforts fail to get the router working, seek the assistance of an electronics repair professional.