Here’s why your router lights are all green, but you don’t have internet and how to fix it:
When this happens, the issue is usually not with the router, but you want to do thorough troubleshooting in order to be sure.
The best way to solve this problem is to isolate the source of the issue on your network and then apply a fix.
So if you want to learn all about how to fix your internet, although your router lights are all green, then you’re in the right place.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- What Do All Green Router Lights Tell You?
- How Many Devices Are Unable to Connect?
- What Other Devices Are in the Network Structure?
- Can You Connect Directly?
- What Do You Do When You Find the Problem?
What Do All Green Router Lights Tell You?
Routers have indicator lights. The order of the lights and what they mean will vary depending on the manufacturer and model. That said, there are some general expectations that are reasonable.
You can bet that your router probably has some or all of the lights listed below. The order will change, but they are usually labeled.
It might sound simple, but you need to know that the device is receiving power to work.
The top light on most routers is a power indicator. You can see at a glance that the router is plugged in properly and receiving enough power to operate.
Any time the power light is off, you know where to start to fix your internet.
There is a light labeled for internet access. Where it is on the column of indicators will depend on the manufacturer. This light does not tell you that your computer (or other device) has internet connectivity.
Instead, it runs an internet test for the router itself. This light lets you know that the router is able to access the world wide web.
The internet test light might be able to tell you a few things. If the light is solid, it usually tells you that the connection is stable.
Blinking typically denotes that there is active communication from the router to internet resources. If the color is different from what you normally see, it usually indicates a bad internet connection. No light means no internet.
This light lets you know that the Wi-Fi radio is on. That means that it is broadcasting a wi-Fi signal and listening for responses. It will usually blink if traffic is moving across the Wi-Fi portion of the network. If it is solid, Wi-Fi should be accessible.
It’s important to note that many modern routers offer two Wi-Fi bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. We can skip what all of this means for now.
What matters is that routers will sometimes have an indicator light for each band. Other designs will have one light for both bands. In either case, every Wi-Fi indicator light should be labeled so you know where to look to be sure that Wi-Fi is working.
Here’s another note. You can have functioning Wi-Fi and no internet access. This light does not test the internet connection at all. It only tests the local Wi-Fi connectivity.
If the Wi-Fi light is solid, you should be able to connect your computer or device to your local network. Whether or not you will then have access depends on the internet test light (and other factors that will be discussed later).
This light is simple. It lets you know if a USB device is connected directly to the router. It should have no impact on your internet connectivity.
If there is no USB device, this light will be off (which is why many routers have an off light while working perfectly). A solid light denotes a connected USB device. A blinking light means the USB device is actively doing something.
Most routers also have Ethernet ports. The indicator light for this function gives information independent from any of the other lights.
If you have an Ethernet cable connecting a device to the router, you should expect this light to be solid. If it is blinking, that usually means that data is moving across the cable.
Just like with the Wi-Fi light, this light can be solid even while you have no internet access. This light only tells you that your device can talk to the router. It says nothing about how the router is connecting to the internet outside of your location.
WPS stands for Wi-Fi protected setup. It makes it easier to connect Wi-Fi-enabled devices that don’t have keyboards for entering passwords. This mechanism lets you skip the normal ID and password part of connecting to Wi-Fi that you are used to on your computer or phone.
The WPS button sends out a signal that a WPS-enabled device can use to find and connect to the network. When the WPS light is off, there is no connection via this method (another light that can be dark while your internet is working perfectly).
If it is blinking, it is actively trying to connect to WPS devices. If the light is solid, the connection was successful and is being maintained.
Now that you know what the devices do, we can get into troubleshooting the network.
How Many Devices Are Unable to Connect?
Before you get too deep into troubleshooting, you should check if the internet outage is only affecting one device.
If only one phone or computer has a problem, then the issue lies with that device rather than the router or the rest of the network.
If multiple devices can’t get internet via Wi-Fi, then you probably have a networking problem.
It’s only in that second case that you should continue with the troubleshooting steps below.
What Other Devices Are in the Network Structure?
At this point, we are assuming that all of the router lights are green. That means things are working as far as the router is concerned, but you clearly can’t connect to anything on your computer (or other device).
When this is the case, the first thing you want to do is take stock of the whole network. How many devices are involved in the setup? Do you run a modem/router all-in-one device, or do you have different boxes linked together?
If you have extra equipment, the goal is to remove as many variables as possible. Try to connect your device directly to the router and not to something attached to the router. That helps you root out complications and issues that can take a long time to resolve.
If you remove an extra switch, repeater, range extender, or other device from the equation and your internet starts working, you know that the issue lies in one of those devices.
If you don’t have extra devices or this method doesn’t help, then you can assume the problem is with the router and/or the modem.
Can You Connect Directly?
This is one of the most important troubleshooting steps. Whenever possible, try to connect to the modem (not the router) with an Ethernet cable. This allows you to simplify the equation as much as possible.
If you can’t connect even with this direct method, then the problem is either with the modem or your internet service provider (ISP). Skip down to troubleshooting modems to address this issue.
If a direct connection does work, then you have isolated the issue to your router. The next step is to use that same Ethernet cable to plug the computer into your router. You’re now determining if the whole router is having an issue or just Wi-Fi.
It’s the same thought process. If the direct connection works with your router, you know you have a Wi-Fi issue.
If the direct connection doesn’t work, then you can assume the router has a more general issue. In either case, solutions are discussed in the router section below.
What Do You Do When You Find the Problem?
Everything above is about isolation. You’re trying to find where the problem is located among the many devices that can exist in a network.
Since you simplified your network to do the isolation steps, there are only three possible problems. You have an issue with your:
- Service provider
You’ll find ways to resolve all three problems below.
At the Router
At this point, you have done good troubleshooting and isolated your internet problem to your router. The first thing you want to try is power cycling the router. It might be a cliche, but this method works for a reason.
Unplug the router and leave it unplugged for a full 30 seconds. This allows all electricity to discharge from the device. When that happens, it forgets everything it was doing before you pulled the plug.
When you plug the router back in, it will have to reset all of its basic operations (this will not cause it to forget its name or the password you set up). This reset resolves a lot of common problems with routers, whether they affect Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or both.
It will take a few minutes for the router to go through its whole process. When it’s done, and the correct lights are green again, test your connection. In most cases, you’ll be good to go. If the internet still isn’t working, there’s another step.
Routers come with a reset button. They are usually hard to find and recessed somewhere on the box. The easiest way to find it is to look up your specific router on your phone (assuming it has a cellular connection).
When you find it, you want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for a reset. In most cases, you simply press and hold the reset button until the lights go off (the router should be plugged in for this step).
Once the rest takes hold, the router will once again go through its whole startup process. It will take a few more minutes, and when it’s done, you can try your internet connection again.
If it still doesn’t work, then you only have one reasonable test left. You want to get your hands on a router that you know is currently functioning (borrowing one from a friend or neighbor usually works). Try it instead of your router.
If this solves the problem, then you know your router needs to be repaired or replaced. If this doesn’t work, then the isolation steps above missed something, and the router isn’t necessarily the problem.
Assuming the known-good router works, you should check your warranty. If it is covered, you can contact the manufacturer to get help. If it is not under warranty, you can look into repairing or replacing the router. Replacement is usually cheaper, faster and easier.
At the Modem
If you isolate the issue to your modem, the steps look a lot like the steps for troubleshooting a router. If you have a router/modem all-in-one device, then you only need to go through these steps once.
First, power cycle the modem. You still need to leave it unplugged for 30 seconds, and it will take a few minutes to fully start back up once you plug it back in. That usually solves the problem.
If power cycling doesn’t work, find and use the reset button. Once again, you want to hold the button until the lights go off (or just blink). Let it go through its whole routine, and when it’s up and running, test your internet.
If the reset doesn’t work, try to test your connection with a known-good modem. If the good modem works, you know that your modem needs to be replaced. If your ISP provides your modem, contact them about the replacement. If not, most electronics stores have good options.
Beyond Your Network
If you were able to determine that your modem and router are not the issues (the known good devices also didn’t work), then the issue is not with your network. Instead, this is a problem with your internet service provider.
Contact your service provider. They will walk you through some troubleshooting steps (some of which will probably overlap with what you have already done). Ultimately, this will guide their path to resolution, and they will be responsible for restoring your internet access.