Channel 4 in the UK produced a fabulous comedy series called “The IT Crowd” which follows the internal exploits of an IT Help Desk. Whenever they answered a support call, they would say, “Hello IT Help Desk, have you turned it off and on?” This immediately came to mind recently when I had issues with my home Internet connection. After speaking with a consultant from my ISP, who wasn’t getting anywhere fast, I was left with this ambiguous answer at the end of the hour long phone call, “Can I have your phone number please? We will get back to you once we’ve figured this out.”
Not wanting to wait a week for an answer, I decided to try and figure it out myself. After an hour or so of trying to fix my Internet connection by fumbling around with my Airport Extreme Base Station, I really did have to turn it off and on to work (more or less). Maybe my ISP support guy should have asked me that question in the first place!
If you own an Airport Extreme and you see a flashing amber light instead of a green one, you are obviously not connected. However, don’t automatically assume that your ISP is having problems, even if your Internet connection seems to be working one minute but not the next. I found for some reason that the base station started flashing amber in the morning, but went green by the afternoon each day over the course of a week, even though it had been working just fine for a year up until that point. Very puzzling. This is why I called the Help Desk because if it was working at one point during the day instead of another, then it must be the ISP’s problem. No! It turned out that resetting the router and going through the laborious process of inputting user names, passwords and settings all over again restored it back to good health. Do you think it would be too cheeky to ask my ISP for a discount on the next bill for providing my own IT support? I guess that wouldn’t fly!
So if you’re having any sort of computer problem, especially a problem with your Internet connection, stick with the old chest-nut: Turn it off and on. 99% of the time it solves the issue. This works for computers, tablets, smartphones, multi-function devices and any other technological device in your stable!