Yes, I am ranting. Why? I’ll tell you why, but please don’t bother reading any further if you’re faint-of-heart or if you love your bureaucratic, manipulative, highway-robbing Internet Service Provider!
Now let’s explain why I suddenly have major problems with Internet Service Providers, namely Charter Communications. All was well in my happy neighborhood, until a day ago: August 15th, 2012. The problem began when I realized my wireless router won’t connect to the Internet after months of successful browsing!
“Why,” I asked? “Everything was just fine a few minutes ago and my bill is paid!” I decided to call Charter in a fit of rage, to find out why I’m getting the dreaded “page not found” error on all of my home computers; my router was correctly set, I had a
connection coming into my home, and none of my computers were infected with malware–no trojans, no viruses.
To make a long story short, my conversation with my Internet Service Provider did nothing to solve the problem of why my wireless router won’t connect to the Internet. But, before I stir up the pot by explaining that pointless conversation, I will describe what the problem was and how I fixed it. By the way…
How can you tell if this is the case for your connection problem? Here’s the best possible hint I can give you:
If your PC can connect and browse just fine when hard-wired into the modem itself, but your wifi router won’t provide an Internet connection to your computers when it’s connected to the modem, you may have a blocked MAC address.
FACT: All hardware devices contain a MAC address; a number assigned to all devices that is unique to each device, and used as a “homing” device, for a lack of better words.
If your wireless router won’t connect to the Internet but you know your service is just fine, you can “trick” your router into getting a connection. First of all, you may be asking, “why in the heck would our ISP block our wifi router?” Well, the truth is because they are greedy.
Take my situation for example, Charter blocked my MAC address but told me the problem was my router; it was old and not working properly. They obviously blocked the MAC address of my router to prevent it from connecting to the Internet, so I would have no choice but to lease their expensive monthly wireless router. Little did they know that I am not easily defeated!
Here’s how to fix the problem when your wireless router won’t connect to the Internet:
1.) Connect your WiFi router to the computer that actually gets an Internet connection and unplug/disconnect your modem.
2.) Find the MAC address of the computer that can make a successful direct connection to the Internet
3.) After getting the MAC address write it down and open up your WiFi router admin.
4.) Find the setting in the router’s admin panel which allows changing which MAC address to use; this setting will vary depending on your router manufacturer and model (click the thumbnail for more info)
5.) Change the MAC address of that setting to the one you wrote down in step two
6.) Apply the changes, then power down your router or unplug it
7.) Reconnect your router to your modem and then connect the computer(s) respectively
8.) After everything is connected, power on the modem (do not power it on until everything else is completed)
9.) The Internet connection should now work on the PCs connected via Wifi
The reason this trick works is because your ISP was blocking your MAC address used by that router. They can filter out MAC addresses on their end; if you connect a device that doesn’t have the allowed MAC address, they will not allow that device to get an IP address, thus no Internet connection.
So what we effectively did was to “trick” the modem into thinking your Wifi router is the computer with a MAC address that was allowed by your ISP. So the modem allowed the computer/router to connect, and the router then received an IP address by the modem’s DHCP (a server that gives IP addresses to connected devices) and all is well!
I hope this helps and less people are fooled into purchasing unnecessary hardware or spending exorbitant fees on monthly equipment leases from unscrupulous ISPs. Any questions, feel free to ask and comment.
Oh, if you are a defensive or disgruntled ISP employee, please feel free to chime in, we’d love to hear from you!