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2015 Update on losing wireless connection . . .

I upgraded my Wowway service last summer by adding cable TV to my Internet and cable phone package, and in choosing the "Ultra TV" package, I finally went wireless, which will be wonderful when I buy the tablet I want now. 

But now when I get the "LAN wireless not connected" message it may mean that I still have an Internet connection but my Windows 7 computer just can't "see" the Gateway wireless connection. (I can always tell by turning on my flat-screen TV set, which won't function without an Internet connection.)

To get the computer back online, I usually reboot first, and if that doesn't work, I unplug the Gateway modem,  wait a minute or two, and plug it back in. (Don't do this is you happen to be taping a show on TV, however.)

If that doesn't work, I do the stick-the-pin-in routine. But I was recently advised that I should never hold this for more than FIVE seconds, otherwise it will completely reset the modem to original factory settings and then I'd have to call Wowway and ask them to send a new signal to the Gateway.

A Note about Internet Explorer

I have stopped using Internet Explorer as my main browser because I've been told that Google Chrome is much less prone to hackers; also because I cannot get Windows 7 to install IE 11 after repeated attempts. (Some research on the Web said I had to download another program to do this and I said the heck with that.)

So for now I'm stuck with IE 10 which runs in the background for all Microsoft programs, my anti-virus software, and so on.

It is what it is. Life used to be so simple . . .

How to Solve Your
Internet Connection Problem

Proven tips for what to do when you lose your Internet connection and get a message saying "Local area connection, a cable is unplugged."

by Barbara Brabec

NOTE: See left if you have a wireless connection, as I wrote this article while still working on my XP computer.

IF YOU DO A SEARCH on Google for (in quotes) "local area connection, a cable is unplugged," youíll find more than 1100 pages of discussion on this problem. A search for "Internet connection problems" (without the quotation marks) brings up 33 MILLION results. That adds up to a lot of frustration for computer users everywhere.

I donít have time to spend in forum discussions, but after reading a few of them, I see that most ISPs generally tell their customers such things as:

1) Your cables arenít hooked up correctly;
2) You may need to replace your modem cable;
3) You may need to update a driver for your network card;
4) You may need to replace the Ethernet cable;
5) A technician needs to come and fix the problem, etc.

I did not find my solution to this problem in the few discussions I checked, so I decided to publish this article figuring that anyone searching for "a cable is unplugged" might find this page and perhaps also a solution to their own Internet connection problem. I have a very simple computer system, do not use a router, and have no other computers tied to my office computer, so what works for me may or may not work for you, but I figure itís worth a shot.

Whenever there is a severe thunder-and-lightning storm, I always shut off my computer and unplug it from the surge protector (click here to see why you should do this, too). I wrote this article after going through a period when my area was experiencing several lightning storms and I felt it prudent to unplug my system each time a new storm moved in.

To my aggravation, each time I plugged back in and booted up, I had no Internet connection. Although the cords were properly plugged back in, the message persisted: "Local Area Connection, a cable is unplugged." Occasionally, a simple reboot solved the problem, but more often than not, I had to call for support.

Answers from my ISP

My ISP provider is WowWay, which serves a limited area in the Midwest. I wouldnít think of changing my ISP because I love the high-speed I get with WowWay and the cable phone service I have with them. I particularly like the friendly and very helpful support technicians who are always there when I need them. Sometimes my Internet connection problem was fixed when WowWay reset the modem on their end, but when that didnít work, I was advised to do the following "exercise" to get reconnected:

1) Unplug the modem from the power source (including the cable cord) and then wait a bit before plugging everything back again;

2) Wait ten minutes and then stick a pin in the "reset hole" and hold it for 15 seconds; (see 2015 sidebar update at left)

3) Wait another ten minutes before rebooting.

This usually worked, but I found it very aggravating to have to go through this exercise all the time. After telling one technician that I lost my Internet connection only after I had unplugged the system, he said:

"Aha! Personally, Iíve found it makes a difference in the order that the cords are plugged back in. You should always plug the modem in first, and then the computer system. That should force the computer to find the modem again."

The first time I tried this, it didnít work for me, but what did work that day was a new feature on Internet Explorer 8, which I had recently downloaded. Hoping for the best—and thinking that maybe IE could force the computer to see the modem—I clicked to open IE 8 and as usual got the message saying the page couldnít be displayed. But thatís when I noticed that IE 8 had a new feature: An Internet connection diagnostic tool built into its "sorry-canít-connect" page. After clicking it, IE fiddled around for a while until a box opened with a message saying now I needed to unplug the modem, plug it back in and wait three minutes. Before three minutes had passed, I was back up and running. Internet Explorer is nowhere near as good a browser as Mozilla, but I need two browsers and now see Internet Explorer 8 as my "Open Sesame" for getting my Internet connectivity back if I happen to lose it again. (See 2015 IE sidebar note at left.)

The following morning, when everything was working fine, I pursued this a bit further by calling WowWay once more to ask if there was anything else I could do to avoid losing my Internet connection the next time I felt forced to unplug the system. After telling my story to a very savvy gal, she said the solution to my problem might be very simple:

"When you get a message about a cable being unplugged," she said, "it means that port on the computer is not seeing the connection. So donít confuse the computer. Unplug it if you want to, but do NOT unplug the modem. That should do it."

And that DID do it for me. I hope one of these tips also works for you.

If this article has been helpful to you, please link others to it, and drop me a line if youíd like me to publish your own Internet connection story as a postscript to the article.

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