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Why are My Modem Lights on But I Have No Internet?

Understanding the lights on your modem or gateway device for either NBN or ADSL can help you understand what is going on with your internet service. Most of the time you should have 6 main lights on your modem.

  1. WAN / SYNC / LINK
  3. WIFI
  5. POWER
  6. PHONE

When it comes to troubleshooting internet problems, the first indicator of trouble besides not having internet, will usually be that the lights on the modem will have either changed colour, they are blinking, or they are not on at all.

WAN Light

WAN (Wide Area Network) will be lit when you have a good connection with the exchange or node. This will indicate that the internet is flowing from the outside world and into your modem. You will find this called different things such as Link – Sync – ADSL. It will depend on the type of modem you are using and the technology that your service is being delivered in.

This will usually be the first or second light that should come on after the power and WIFI lights are on. This will be the first light that will allow you to know if you will have a good connection to the outside world or not.

If this light doesn’t come on it could mean several things. Firstly, it could be straight up a network fault on your service out in the street somewhere. It could also mean that the lead connecting your modem to the socket could be faulty. This can be tested by swapping it out for another lead to see if that makes a difference. It could also be a faulty socket or cabling inside your home. If you suspect this is the problem, you can book one of our NBN trained technicians to come and fix up your internal wiring issues. But the first thing you should probably do is call your ISP and have them run some tests on your line.

Internet Light

The next light in the chain you will need to come on will be the internet light. When this light is either blinking or on solid it means that your ISP and security settings have been validated, and now the internet can flow through and into your modem for a fully functional service.

There could be a few reasons for this light not working, the most common reason will be because you don’t have your ISP settings entered into the modem. Most modems that come from your ISP should be preconfigured with all your settings so it should be plug and play.

If you have bought your modem and need to set it up, you can simply call your ISP tech support and follow their instructions for setting it up. For this light to come on, firstly you will need to have the WAN light also on. There is a start-up protocol your modem will run through, firstly it will connect with the node, or exchange to pass your internet signal through into the device. After it has made this connection, you should see your  WAN light come on. Then it will check your ISP settings and authenticate your service. After this has been authenticated you should see your internet light come on.

WIFI Light

Your WIFI light should be solid when you have the WIFI enabled on your modem. If you don’t see a WIFI light on your modem, then usually there is a switch or a button that you can enable. The WIFI light will let you know that your modem is now sending out a WIFI signal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the internet is being transmitted.

You can access other things on that WIFI network such as your modem, a NAS for files and documents, printers and all other devices connected to that network, but if the internet light is not on you will not have any internet.

Ethernet Light

This light will only be on if you have an ethernet cable plugged into one of the yellow switch ports located on the back of your modem. Ethernet is a fast and secure way to transmit data across a network. Generally, a Cat6 cable will be run inside your home with rj45 sockets at each end, this allows a device to connect directly into the switch ports of your modem. Want to find out about data cabling

Power Light

Yeah, I think you guessed this one already. But I will say it anyway. The power light lets you know that your connection to mains power is functional.

Phone Light

Some of you may not have a phone light on your modem, but I will put money on it that will all change very soon. VOIP is here. When you now move over to NBN your phone lines will now work through your modem. You will connect your home phones directly to your modem, and not your existing phone sockets as you did with PSTN line services. When you plug a phone into one of the phone ports on the back of your modem, you will see the light go solid.

If this doesn’t happen it could be a couple of things. Firstly, it could be the phone you are plugging in is not NBN compatible. Pop up to the local shops and buy yourself a new phone. Another reason could be a porting issue, for this, you will need to call your ISP.

Now, when we said you can’t use your old sockets again, well, that’s not totally true. NBN will not connect them for you, but we can. We have been providing this service to our customers, so we know it works perfectly. To find out more about multiple NBN phone sockets.

I hoped this helped in some way why you might have modem lights but no internet.

Switch It Off and Turn It On

Some modems for some reason can choke up at times, the first thing you should do if you think it could be a modem issue is turning it off for 15 sec then switch it back on again. This will send it back to its start-up protocol and might fix something up that just may have been a bug in the system. So turn your modem off and then turn it back on again. If this still does nothing after you have tried everything else you can reset the modem to factory default by looking for the reset hole. Use a pin and hold it inside the hole for 5 seconds until the power light flashes. Then re-enter your settings and hopefully, you will gain a good internet connection


If you need help because your internet is dropping out or not working we are ACMA technician who can help you with all of your internet problems. If your problem is specifically related to NBN we have the best private NBN technician in Sydney working for our company. Get in touch to find out how we can help.

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