Distance learning nightmare: What to do when your Wi-Fi goes out

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With instruction entirely online this semester, there is one scenario that is absolutely terrifying: having the Wi-Fi go out. When that happens, your ability to get schoolwork done and attend class is incredibly hampered or even outright impossible. It isn’t the end of the world, though. There are plenty of ways to get through it. Here are some of the steps you should take if you’ve lost connection. 

Don’t panic

First, try to keep yourself from panicking. Take a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Remind yourself that no matter what has gone wrong, it won’t be permanent. There are ways to get through it. And it will only get worse if you end up freaking out. So take deep breaths until you feel calm again. Once you’ve reached that point, you’ll be able to tackle the problem head-on and with a clear mind. Remember: You’re taking college classes remotely during a pandemic. Be easy on yourself.

Power cycle the router

The simplest piece of advice for when you are having problems with any piece of technology is to turn it off and then back on again. Same thing goes for your internet router. Unplug it, let it sit for 10 seconds, then plug it back in. Give it time for all the important lights to be flashing (there should be one called “internet,” which is the most important). Wait a few more moments to give your laptop time to reconnect. You may just find that you’re back online.

Check for internet outages in your area

Sometimes, there is nothing wrong on your end. When that’s the case, there’s nothing you can do, but it at least means you did nothing wrong. There are websites (sometimes even run by your internet provider) that show if the problem is on the provider’s end. Just look for Wi-Fi outages in your area — using your phone, given that your home internet is down. If there is one, then you might even be able to find out when the internet should come back on. If not, then you should probably call or message your internet provider and get a technician to come and investigate.

Use your phone to sign into class and do homework

All these steps are good, but they may not immediately solve the problem of having no connectivity if class is starting soon. If you’re in that position, use your phone to either email your professor and explain the situation, or sign in to the digital portal for class (if used to take attendance) on your phone and watch the lecture later. You may also be able to do your homework on your phone or use your phone as a hotspot for your homework. If you close out all of your other apps, you should avoid using too much data.

Hopefully, you never have to deal with an internet outage this semester or any semester. But chances are, you will. If — or when — your Wi-Fi goes out, these tips will help you get through it.

Contact Zachariah Nash at [email protected] .