Why don't I have internet?
April 20, 2013 4:32 PM   Subscribe

My DSL internet connection went kaput on Thursday. I rebooted my modem with the help of my ISP and all was well for a few hours. I figured it was my ancient modem that finally died. So, I pick up a new modem and plug it in and nothing happens. All the lights light up, my ipod touch and laptop see my wireless network but there's connection. I plug directly into the modem via ethernet cable and still nothing.

My ISP guy (who was helpful and nice and felt bad he couldn't fix the problem) said that there were no issues between them and Centurylink and that I was only getting a "one way connection." So, the internet is going toward me but nothing coming back? They say to call Centurylink to see if there's an outage in their line or if I've been slammed. Centurylink says "everything is perfect on their end." (frankly, the person I talked to did not inspire confidence or make me feel they actually checked anything since they kept saying things like "we're waiting for your ISP to authenticate your modem" and according to my ISP this isn't true since I have a static IP with them.)

So, what could it be? a problem with my phone wiring inside the house, a short somewhere? Should I have Centurylink come out and look at my house wiring or hire an electrician? Is Centurylink lying about everything being cool with their line? Does my ISP guy need to do something else?
posted by vespabelle to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
I don't get why you have an ISP (and the name of it may be helpful) and Centurylink. The actual owner of the phone line (in NYC it would be Verizon even if we were on Earthlink service) may need to be involved. For something like this I'd try a conference call with all the parties.
posted by Sophont at 5:09 PM on April 20, 2013

You having a static IP doesn't have anything to do with your modem being authenticated.

Most internet accounts require you to put a username and password into your modem's settings, which it then transmits to your ISP, authenticating and saying 'yes, vespabelle is trying to use the internet.' Have you done this?

Most of the time when I've seen this happen, someone's typed the wrong username and password in, so double check that too. Especially if it could be of the form something@isp.com, and you forget the @isp.com. If you're not absolutely 100% on what your details are, call the ISP guy and get them to help you set your modem up and check them!
posted by Ashlyth at 5:09 PM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

If your wifi is showing, but you cannot connect to the internet, then it is your internet not your modem.

If you have an ethernet cable (even the short one that goes from the modem to your wifi router) plug it directly into your computer and see if you get internet. If you are NOT getting internet through the ethernet, directly connected to the modem, then it is your internet.

You can also try through the wifi router (they usually have an OUT for additional ethernet cables on the back.)

Also running a diagnostic can help. For instance when something like "assist me" comes up when you cannot connect to the internet through wifi. That will go through the steps and tell you where the break is happening in the connection chain.

Also, did they tell you what lights should be blinking for your model of modem? Some should stay on, sometimes they are different colors, and others should be blinking. If you weren't confident with the answer they gave you, get someone up the chain at the call center. Be a little rude if you have to.
posted by Crystalinne at 5:10 PM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ashlyth is right. You need to set-up the modem with your credentials. I think Step 5 (pdf) is the important one here. It seems you must use a Ethernet cable for the initial installation which is understandable for security.
posted by johnpowell at 5:22 PM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Sophont, in a lot of places including my area centurylink owns the lines now. And if you have an ISP over their lines, they won't even talk to you. They'll only talk to the ISP.

That said, I maintain multiple DSL lines at work and have dealt with this issue before.

Is your modem in bridge mode or doing some kind of NAT? As in, do you have the modem connected to a router, and is the router getting an external IP or some kind of 192.168.x.x or 10.0.x.x variation as an ip where it indicates "WAN address?". If it just shows an external ip(ie, anything but those basically) and you have a static ip, you may not even need to provide any login details to the modem. We don't on most of the static ip DSL lines I work with.

If you're using a modem/wireless router combo log in and check the "dsl status" or "modem status" page(these vary so much from modem to modem and ISPs cust firmwares that I can't even begin to guess what it would exactly be called). Also check any kind of "settings" or "setup" page under dsl and look for something like "PPP USERNAME" and it's accompanying password box. These boxes can't be blank, and id call and directly ask for the username/password for that.

Other than a failed modem(which does happen pretty often) or not having a login, I can't think of anything else that would cause this if it genuinely isn't on their end.

I'll also add though, that centurylink is the worst ISP I have ever dealt with, and problems like this are incredibly common with them. It may very well be on their end when they empathically claim otherwise. Ugh.
posted by emptythought at 5:25 PM on April 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

If you have a static IP, you may not have a PPPOE connection, and instead of login information you'll have to put in your IP information. That's kind of rare these days, though.
posted by zsazsa at 7:44 PM on April 20, 2013

If I understand you correctly, your modem stopped working, so you bought a new modem... with a wireless connection? Are you sure you bought a modem, or a wireless router? If you bought a wireless router, is it a router/modem combo, or is it only a router? Because if you just bought a router that might be why you're not getting internet access.
posted by Qberting at 10:12 PM on April 20, 2013

Most likely, your modem will need to be authenticated by your ISP. You'll need to call their support line, probably get bounced around a few times, then speak to the person who will do it.

They will need the new device's MAC address (nothing to do with Macintosh computers) It's a long string of numbers, usually on a sticker on the underside of the modem.

Once they have that, they will attempt to authenticate and reset your modem remotely. (Takes about 2 or 3 minutes) When that's done, you should be good to go.
posted by ShutterBun at 11:01 PM on April 20, 2013

Static IP assignments are relatively rare these days; is it possible your new modem needs some extra setup in order to know your assigned IP address (and upstream router and netmask)?
posted by hattifattener at 11:34 PM on April 20, 2013

Best answer: Sounds like your ISP doesn't know what they're doing. If they're reselling from centurylink, THEY deal with Centurylink, not you. You should never have to deal with two different companies. Call your ISP back and tell them to handle it.
posted by empath at 3:54 AM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ok, if you have a static IP with CenturyLink internet service you WILL have to configure your modem to the correct static IP information to get online. If you don't have a CenturyLink branded modem, you may also need to configure the VPI/VCI settings as well. Call the CenturyLink tech support line and tell them you have a new modem and have a static IP. They will give you all the settings you need to configure the modem, and if it's CenturyLink branded, how to set it up.

Disclaimer: I work for CenturyLink.
posted by BZWingZero at 1:13 PM on April 21, 2013

Response by poster: well, mysteriously enough the internet is back without changing anything. Well, I did plug it into a different phone jack, but I had done that yesterday without it working. so, who the hell knows. I'm inclined to blame Centurylink (sorry BZWingZero!) unless it is the rain that's made the net come back!
posted by vespabelle at 8:06 PM on April 21, 2013

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