How to Fix: The Internet on My Phone Doesn't Work
By Andy Walton
Cell phone Internet use is booming, with a 2012 Pew Internet study showing that 55 percent of American cell phone owners use their device to go online. Mobile Web use may be convenient, but a dropping connection is no less frustrating on a phone as it is on a regular computer. Troubleshooting your phone's Web access will help you and your business stay connected and limit lost productivity from Internet downtime.
If you are trying to use your cell provider's data service, begin your troubleshooting by moving to a different location. Signal strength varies from place to place, and you may be in an area that does not have good data service. You should also try calling a friend to see if you still have regular phone signal. If you can't make voice calls, or if you know you should be able to get a data service in the area you are in, contact your cell provider.
If your network service looks okay, the issue may lie with your phone itself. Begin by turning your phone off and turning it back on again, then retest. If your phone has an option to disable cellular data, ensure that this option is not selected. You could also try restarting your phone's data connection by toggling this option on and off. Next, check your phone's Wi-Fi connection to see if it has unexpectedly connected to an unknown Wi-Fi network. If it has, remove this network and retest your connection.
If you are trying to connect your phone to a Wi-Fi network, ensure that your router is switched on. Routers can power down if they overheat, so avoid setting your router in sunlight or letting debris clog its air vents. See if other devices can connect to and use your router's Wi-Fi network. If no devices can use the Web through it, the issue could be a router fault or Internet Service Provider (ISP) issue. Try turning your router on and off, and if this doesn't work, contact your ISP's help desk.
Wireless interference happens when the radio waves sent by your router are reflected or absorbed in transit, which could cause your phone's Internet connection to not work correctly. This is usually caused by the signal passing through certain types of materials, such as metal or concrete, or being blocked by other electromagnetic radiation. Microwave ovens and LCD monitors are among the devices that can interfere with Wi-Fi signals. Try adjusting your router's position to avoid these potential obstacles.
Andy Walton has been a technology writer since 2009, specializing in networking and mobile communications. He was previously an IT technician and product manager. Walton is based in Leicester, England, and holds a bachelor's degree in information systems from the University of Leeds.