Unfortunately it is often not as simple as identifying a network device that seems to be completely dead, and then just rebooting just that one device. I’ve seen problems where a router seems to be functioning but just does not seem to be talking to one single device on the network for some reason. That is, the router did not seem to be completely hung; it was working. However, restarting the router re-established communication to the device that previously didn’t seem to be working. Also, a common procedure when I lose internet connection at my house is to unplug both the cable modem and the router, then power up the cable modem until it is ready, and then power up the router. I know a lot of other people that do the same thing. That is, I need to power cycle both the modem and the router. Just doing one or the other often doesn’t fix the problem.
The above examples point out that it might be necessary to restart the whole network. That is, if you want to be really sure of fixing any smart device malfunction, you need to shut down everything on your network, including your cable modem, router, all computers, and all peripherals. Then:
1. First power up your cable modem and make sure it is connected and “ready” or “online”.
2. Then power up your router until it is “ready”.
3. Then power up any switches or hubs you might have.
4. Then power up your computers and peripherals.
It may not be necessary to power down and restart everything. Sometimes just power cycling the router fixes things. However, sometimes it doesn’t, and there are reasons why power cycling the router without power cycling other devices on the network might even create problems that were not there before. So the safest thing is to restart everything and follow the above procedure for powering them back up in the right order.
I’ve seen lots of “mysterious” problems where either I or someone else just couldn’t figure out what was causing the problem, and the problem just disappeared when one device or the entire network was powered down and restarted.
As home networks and home network products become more mature, they seem to be more reliable too. I first set up my home network about 10 years ago, and when I first started I power cycled things a lot – once a month or more. I don’t seem to need to do that very often now that I have more recently made equipment. Things are getting better. Also, network equipment does have electronic parts that fail over time; they don’t exactly wear out but they do tend to break after a lot of use. So although I wouldn’t recommend running to the store to buy all new equipment whenever you encounter a problem, if you have old equipment and run into problems, especially frequent problems that just disappear after restarting your network, upgrading that old equipment might not be a bad idea.