5 first aid tips for an Internet disruption at home

When the internet goes down at home, it’s annoying. Especially for those who are dependent on stable management due to home office and / or homeschooling. TECHNOLOGY BUTTON reveals what you should do in the event of an Internet failure to get back online as quickly as possible.

There are many reasons for an Internet failure. Sometimes it is due to the hardware or the settings of the user. In these cases you can usually fix the errors yourself. However, if the Internet disruption is network-related, it is usually necessary to wait until the provider has rectified the cause. But here too, users can speed up the process. We give tips on how to best proceed in the event of an Internet malfunction.

Also interesting: Many Android smartphones will soon have internet problems

First aid in the event of a complete failure

If you can no longer access the Internet at all, it is a complete failure. This can be due to defective hardware, maintenance work or a major malfunction in the network. You should therefore check the following points on the checklist:

1. Check your router

The first look should be to the router in the event of an Internet failure. The device uses its LEDs to indicate whether everything is OK. If the indicator lights are steady green, the router is working. If, on the other hand, an indicator flashes or does not light up at all, the router is not receiving a signal and cannot dial into the Internet. There is a fault. Red LEDs on the router, however, indicate a fault in the device.

A first helpful measure here is to disconnect the router from the power for at least one minute. It is best to pull the power plug. The router then boots up completely, which in most cases already helps to get the WLAN up and running again. This step is also requested by the customer support staff at your provider in order to rule out possible errors in the hardware.

If the restart does not change anything, try to dial into the user interface of your router. For example, enter fritz.box for a Fritzbox, speedport.ip for a Telekom router or o2.box for a Homebox from O2 in the address window of your browser. If you get to the router interface, there is at least one connection with the exchange – a good sign. You can now initiate a diagnosis in the settings in order to find any errors in the home network. Also, make sure to keep your router’s firmware as up-to-date as possible. If you do not even get to the router interface, the device has no connection to the network – a sign of a major Internet failure.


Disconnect the VPN connection

Before you start checking your router, you should disconnect any existing VPN connection. If it is busy, it can be the reason for the Internet disruption. In any case, it prevents you from dialing into your router’s interface.

2. Check the connection to the end device

It is best to restart the router even if its control lamps light up normally and do not indicate any errors. Because in addition to the connection between the router and the Internet, the connection between the router and end device, i.e. your laptop, smart TV or smartphone, can also be disturbed. Therefore, check whether you can still access the Internet with other devices.

If your device is connected to the Internet via WLAN, switch the connection off once in the settings and then on again after a few seconds. This forces the device to reconnect. If, on the other hand, your device is connected to the Internet by cable, check the connection on both the end device and the router. To do this, briefly pull out the Ethernet cable and plug it back into the LAN socket. If available, replace the LAN cable as a test to rule out a fault within the cable.

3. Change DNS

In the past, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone had to struggle more frequently with Internet failures that were caused by a DNS (Domain Name System) problem. A DNS is responsible for ensuring that a domain name is assigned to an IP address. In the event of a failure, you may not be able to surf the affected websites. Fortunately, users can solve such an Internet malfunction independently by changing the DNS.

The DNS can be changed with just a few clicks via the router. The corresponding setting can be found in the Fritzbox, for example, under “Internet” – “Access data” – “DNS server”. Activate the option “Use other DNSv4 server” and enter the IP “” under “Alternative DNSv4 server”. This is Google’s DNS server, which can be used as an alternative.

4. Are other users affected by the Internet failure?

If restarting the router and checking your end devices did not help, there is probably a major Internet failure. You should now check whether other users are affected. On the one hand, you can ask family, friends and neighbors whether they too have internet problems – provided they are on the same network. You can use the mobile Internet of your cell phone to find out about reported Internet failures on the usual fault websites. An independent portal on which those affected usually report their network problems very quickly is Allestören.de, for example. Here you can find out whether there is currently a power failure in your region.

You can also obtain information directly from your provider. Networks also have to be maintained regularly and the providers usually announce the corresponding work on their website or on Facebook or Twitter. If there is an Internet failure due to maintenance work, there is usually a time window in which the work can be carried out. It is therefore foreseeable when the fault will be eliminated.

If, on the other hand, it is an unplanned Internet failure, you can check whether your provider has already been informed of the malfunction. The major network operators in Germany are all represented on Twitter. Under “Tweets and replies” you can check whether other customers have already reported an Internet failure. Perhaps the provider has already confirmed the failure there and provides further information.

Also read: Fritzbox update makes websites load faster and corrects errors

5. Report the Internet failure to the provider

You should have your contract data, including your customer number, to hand when reporting a fault. If you contact us by phone, expect longer waiting times, since in the event of an Internet failure, many customers usually try to reach support at the same time.

Note: If you make calls using VoIP (Voice over IP), the telephony is implemented over the Internet. In the event of an Internet failure, calls will not be possible and you will have to switch to your mobile phone. However, you should check the costs of the hotline beforehand, as sometimes only landline connections are free.

Complete failure or just a lame line?

If your internet connection is just slow or you have problems with individual programs, your line has not completely failed. But even such a disturbance is annoying in the long run and can affect smooth video streaming in the evening or the video conference.

Choppy or sluggish websites and long loading times can have several causes. If only individual programs are affected, the provider’s servers may be overloaded. Vendors of video chat portals are often struggling with this at the moment. For example, if a particularly large number of people around the world use Zoom or Microsoft Teams at a certain point in time, the connection can sometimes get stuck. An overloaded VPN line can also cause a slow Internet connection.

However, the problems may also be with your internet connection. Cable customers, for example, are often surprised that they only receive a fraction of the top speed set in the contract. This is because the Internet is a shared medium via cable and the providers have won a relatively large number of customers in a short time, whereas the networks are being expanded much more slowly. It happens that a relatively large number of users are connected via a cable line (or a cluster). The line offers maximum bandwidth shared by all customers. Especially now, when several residents of a house are on the network at the same time due to home office and homeschooling, the lines are therefore heavily used. As a result, the bandwidth per customer can shrink to a few megabits per second.

Remedying such an overload problem is not easy. Basically, the only thing that helps here is further expansion of the cable network, which is, however, time-consuming. Nevertheless, affected customers should inform their provider about a constantly occurring undersupply and, if necessary, set deadlines for rectification. If the provider cannot comply with these, the only thing that helps is an extraordinary termination and a change to another Internet provider.

Right to compensation in the event of an Internet failure?

On December 16, 2020, the amendment to the Telecommunications Act was passed  by the Federal Cabinet. The revised law gives consumers more rights in the future. For example, you now have a right to fast internet. If the provider cannot deliver the contractually guaranteed speed permanently and to a considerable extent, customers can reduce the basic fee for an Internet connection. If the provider does not manage to permanently eliminate the problem, an extraordinary termination is even possible in individual cases.

Thanks to the TKG amendment, customers now have more options in the event of an Internet failure. Providers are obliged to rectify faults within 24 hours. If the provider cannot eliminate the disruption within one working day after receipt of the fault report, he is obliged to inform the consumer within the following working day at the latest about which measures he has taken and when the disruption is expected to be eliminated. 

In the event of a longer power failure (at least three working days after receipt of the fault report), customers are also entitled to compensation. The law sets the amount of compensation at 5 euros or 10 percent on the third and fourth day and from the fifth day at 10 euros or 20 percent of the contractually agreed monthly salary.

Internet customers will also be able to demand compensation for a technician’s appointment that is not kept. This amounts to 10 euros or 20 percent of the monthly fee of the contract.

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