Geek troubleshooting: Having trouble reconnecting to the Internet after a power outage?

Due to a heavy storm this weekend, the power was out in my San Francisco neighborhood for much of the day today.

Luckily, thanks to a battery backup system, I didn’t lose any documents I was working on on my computer, but after the third outage recovery of the day, I found I was no longer able to connect to the Internet. Grrr! So of course, the first thing I thought to do was to go to and check for the status of their network. Oops… d’oh, no Internet! So I realized, of course, that I’d actually have to *call* Earthlink to get information on their network status, and I fired up Firefox to do a search for “Earthlink 800 number” and… d’oh again! Damn, it’s amazing how second nature Internet info lookups are!

Anyway, lame admissions aside, I figured I could share with you the resolution that could ultimately save YOU a lot of time in the future!

As it turns out, after waiting quite a bit on hold, I found out that there WAS no Earthlink network outage.

Now of course, as any self-respecting geek, I had already tried the whole power-cycling bit (turning off the modem & router & computer, turning them back on, blah blah blah, to no avail).

But when the Earthlink rep suggested that I try hooking up my DSL modem directly to the computer (bypassing my wireless router), that’s when I had an ah-ha moment!

Duh, it’s the router!
I discovered that, lo and behold, I *could* connect to the Internet directly. Whew!

Okay, so then what?
First, I worried about a worst case scenario: was my router fried? It wasn’t just an issue of me being able to lazily surf the Web from my couch using my laptop; my roommate depended upon my wireless connection for her work using her own laptop, so I HAD to get this working.

I stuck a pin in the reset slot, but still no Internet juice.

That’s when it finally dawned on me…

Somehow my router’s config had reverted back to the factory default
So, after more than an hour of agonizing and troubleshooting (cables all tight? Modem working? etc…), I finally solved the problem in 3 minutes by simply re-adding my Earthlink info into my router’s config screens, and — voila — blissfully connected once again!

* * *

Anyway, I decided to blog about this tale not to highlight the cracks in my geek cred, but rather to help others whose routers might in the future get reset due to a power spike or other related issue following a power outage.






5 responses to “Geek troubleshooting: Having trouble reconnecting to the Internet after a power outage?”

  1. Christine Avatar

    Thank god you did post this!
    It did indeed reset to factory defaults, but I have no idea how to get my wireless up and running again.
    Any ideas on what to do?

  2. Adam Avatar

    Hey Christine,

    Unfortunately, I don’t have any special words of wisdom for you about that, but I expect and hope that your ISP might be able to give you the correct settings.  Or, perhaps, you could call your ISP to get the settings, then contact the company that makes your router for further instructions (or check out their web site).

    Good luck!

  3. Christine Avatar

    Hey, thanks for replying.
    I figured it out, and just copied my mac and voila! internet access. It took me about 2 hours, being computer-illiterate, but once I found out, I pretty much pranced around the room. 😉

  4. Adam Avatar

    Glad it worked out! 🙂

  5. joe blogs Avatar
    joe blogs

    hate to point out the obvious 2 years to late,
    but hay can’t resist.

    you said you put a pin in the rest slot this in fact is what factory reset your router and not the storm.

    you state you plugged the laptop direct into the modem and where able to get on line thus the connection details where present ant this time.

    it was the reset that actually resolved you issue.

What do you think?