Problems Connecting Your Mac to the Internet?

May 18, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Getting online and checking emails, reading the latest news on the World Wide Web and visiting social networks and online stores is one of the great pastimes of the 21st century. Thanks to advanced connectivity options, your Mac is designed to get you connected to the Internet in a matter of seconds, whether you have a wireless router or a wired Ethernet cable connection.

In theory, everything should work “out of the box” – but if you have any previous experience with computers you will know that it isn’t always the case.

If you are experiencing problems connecting your Mac to the Internet, there are various steps you can take.

Do you experience problems connecting your Mac to the Internet?

Making Basic Checks

The first thing to check is whether or not your router is switched on and receiving data from the net. This is a pretty quick visual check – you’re typically looking for green flashing lights, and a quick read of your router manual should reveal exactly what lights mean what. If things seem wrong in some way, a reboot of the router is always a good idea, and again is something that you might do following instructions from the device manual.

If your router is switched on and apparently OK, check any other Internet-able devices such as smartphones, games consoles or TVs to see if they are able to connect. Should these other devices be connected to your home network, the problem is likely with your Mac; if not, contact your ISP.

Mac OS X Network Diagnostics

Issues with your network can be addressed with the diagnostics tool, which can be opened via System Preferences > Internet & Wireless > Network > Assist me… > Diagnostics…. Here you are able to check the various settings for your network, displaying the IP addresses for your Mac and the router.

An Apple AirPort router will normally appear in the AirPort Utility, and you can use this find the IP address on a wireless system. On a wired connection, go to System Preferences > Internet & Wireless > Network > Ethernet to find the IP address. With this to hand, enter it into the address bar in a new Safari window and you should also be able to force your Mac to communicate directly with the router.

This will display the router’s console and is a great way of finding out if there are any problems which you were unaware of. For instance, if the console displays then you have already established that your Mac and your router are communicating, so perhaps the issue lays between the router and the Internet. Most router consoles have a status screen that will inform you of any connection or data issues.

You will also find that the router has a setup tool – if you find that none of your hardware is able to connect to the web, you should perhaps start from scratch with the router, whether it is an Apple AirPort or one provided by your ISP. Meanwhile, it is also worth deleting the current connection in System Preferences > Internet & Wireless > Network > Ethernet/AirPort (depending on your connection type) and starting again on your Mac with a new connection.

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