What the Lights and Symbols on Your Modem and Router Mean (2022)

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Modem symbols and LED lights can have a variety of meanings and styles

By

Brad Stephenson

What the Lights and Symbols on Your Modem and Router Mean (1)

Brad Stephenson

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  • Western Sydney University

Brad Stephenson is a freelance tech and geek culture writer with 12+ years' experience. He writes about Windows 10, Xbox One, and cryptocurrency.

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Video: Understanding Your Modem Lights

Updated on September 24, 2021

Reviewed by

Jerrick Leger

What the Lights and Symbols on Your Modem and Router Mean (2)

Reviewed byJerrick Leger

Jerrick Leger is a CompTIA-certified IT Specialist with more than 10 years' experience in technical support and IT fields. He is also a systems administrator for an IT firm in Texas serving small businesses.

In This Article

Jump to a Section

Video: What do your cable modem lights mean? | Start.ca Support Videos
  • Modem Light Colors Explained

  • Modem Lights Meaning

  • Modem Symbol Meanings

  • Resources For Deciphering Modem Symbols

  • Frequently Asked Questions

Internet modems feature a wide variety of symbols and LED lights whose meanings can change depending on their color and activity. For example, modem lights blinking fast can mean something completely different than a light that’s stable or not on at all.

This article will break down what modem light colors mean, how to read the symbols on a modem and provide additional resource links to popular internet provider modem manuals and support documents.

The information in this article applies to both modem and modem/router hybrid devices.

Modem Light Colors Explained

The LED lights on modems communicate the functionality and activity on the internet device. Specific colors can show which aspects of the device or internet service work, if there’s an error or if something is broken or offline.

The meaning of modem light colors varies greatly depending on the specific modem model and the internet service provider used. The list below is a guide for basic understanding only.

Here are some of the more common modem light colors and what they can mean.

Video: What do the lights on a Netgear router mean?

  • Green: A green modem light usually indicates modem power, an active internet connection, a confirmed pairing with another device, an active phone line, or a strong internet signal.
  • Blue: Blue modem lights can show a firmware update is in progress, the modem is connecting to another device for pairing, a provider has been detected, and the connection process has begun, the connection process has been completed, and a phone call is in progress.
  • Orange: An orange modem light sometimes indicates a good (but not great) internet connection, the early stages of the connection process after turning a modem on, when phone service is disconnected, but emergency calls are still possible, and the pairing process has begun.
  • Red: Red modem light meanings can mean an overheated modem, there being a service error, a weak internet connection, no internet connection, PPP authentication failed, setup failure, and phone service being completely disconnected.
  • White: A white LED light is typically used on modems to indicate power, the pairing process has begun, the modem trying to detect a service provider and connect to the internet, and a firmware upgrade being in progress.

Modem Lights Meaning

As with the LED colors, modem lights blinking rapidly or shining a stable light can also have different meanings.

  • Stable Modem Lights: Usually, a steady modem light that isn’t blinking means its associated function is working correctly or has finished. However, a steady red or orange modem light, as mentioned above, could indicate something is wrong or needs fixing.
  • Modem Lights Blinking: A blinking or flickering modem light, depending on its color, could indicate functioning internet activity, a connecting or pairing activity in progress, or a phone handset that’s picked up or off the hook. Sometimes moderate modem light blinking can mean the beginning of a process, while faster blinking can indicate the end phase of a process.
  • Off/No Light: If a modem’s LED light is completely off, this usually means a lack of power, complete disconnection from a provider or one of its services, or a feature has been disabled. While it sounds counterintuitive, no lights sometimes indicate the modem is working correctly.

An off modem light isn’t always a bad thing, though. For example, if you don’t need to use an Ethernet cable and don’t have one connected, it would make sense for the Ethernet light to be off. Similarly, if you don’t have a landline phone service through your internet provider, you don’t need to worry about the phone line indicator light.

Modem Symbol Meanings

Some modems and modem-router hybrids feature text labels above lights and icons to make understanding their meanings easier. Many, however, don’t, which can make them ambiguous and confusing.

What the Lights and Symbols on Your Modem and Router Mean (3)

Modem and router symbols will vary from device to device though they usually resemble those shown in the image above. Here’s what each modem symbol means from left to right.

  • Power. This symbol is pretty universal and is on most modems and a variety of other products.
  • Wi-Fi and Internet: The meaning of the second and third symbols can vary depending on your modem model. If you have just one of these types of symbols, it’s usually for your internet signal or connection. Two slightly different versions can refer to your internet signal and its Wi-Fi connection to other devices or separate 2.5 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi signals.
  • Internet: The fourth symbol, which looks like a planet with a ring around it, typically refers to internet connectivity. Sometimes this symbol is used to represent the WAN connection as well. The @ symbol is also commonly used for this purpose.
  • Ethernet: This fifth symbol represents a wired connection to the modem or router. Usually, an empty square refers to a WAN connection, while a box with a line striking through its bottom side, as shown above, refers to a LAN connection. A symbol of three squares connected by a line can also represent a LAN connection.
  • USB: The sixth symbol, a trident-like icon with the middle line ending in a point, represents a USB connection. There are various versions of the USB icon, but they usually resemble this format.
  • WPS: Often, two arrows forming a circle represent WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup). WAP is a way to quickly connect devices to your Wi-Fi by pushing a button at the rear of your router. The LED light will turn on briefly during this process.

Resources For Deciphering Modem Symbols

Modem models vary greatly, and most manufacturers use their own custom icons and symbols. If you’ve been stuck trying to understand your Spectrum modem lights or don’t understand the Arris modem lights’ meaning, this is probably why.

Here are the links to the official modem light guides for several of the most popular internet providers to help you further understand your modem lights.

FAQ

  • What if all my modem lights are green, but I have no internet connection?

    The first step is to turn off and unplug your modem. Then, wait 15 minutes before hooking everything back up. If all the lights turn green again, troubleshoot your device's settings.

  • What lights should be on if my modem is operating correctly?

    Modem indicators vary by manufacturer, but typically, a router with a good internet and Wi-Fi connection will show solid green or blue lights near the power, internet, and Wi-Fi symbols. Your modem might show additional lights, depending on its connections and functions.

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Video: What do the lights on your DSL modem mean? | Start.ca Support Videos

FAQs

What do the lights on my modem router mean?

A blinking light means you are having difficulty connecting to the internet. Ensure all telephone cable connections are tight and secure and reboot the modem and router (if applicable). POWER: A solid green light indicates the unit is properly connected to power. A blinking red light indicates a possible modem failure.

What lights should be on on a WIFI modem?

Should all the lights on my modem be green? The power light, downstream indicator, upstream indicator, online indicator, and link light on your modem should all be green. If your power light is yellow, it may be upgrading, so leave the modem on and give it a little time to do its thing.

How do I read my modem lights?

How to Read the Lights on My Cable Modem
  1. Find the light marked "Power." This light is lit if the modem is connected to its power source. ...
  2. Find the light marked "Receive." If it is on, the modem is receiving data from the network. ...
  3. Find the light marked "Send." This light is lit if the modem can send data to the network.

What should lights on modem look like?

What lights should be on if my modem is operating correctly? Modem indicators vary by manufacturer, but typically, a router with a good internet and Wi-Fi connection will show solid green or blue lights near the power, internet, and Wi-Fi symbols.

How many lights should be on my modem?

Most of the time you should have 6 main lights on your modem. 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.

Why is my router not connecting to the internet?

the first thing you'll want to do is try and restart your router. Sometimes, routers just seem to need to be rebooted occasionally to keep working well. It is quick and easy to reboot your router. Usually, you just unplug the power cable, give it a couple of seconds, and then plug it back in.

Should my router be blinking?

Flashing lights is a good sign. It means data is travelling through your connection into your device. If there are no lights, or they appear static in a “on” capacity, try restarting your router to see if this may improve your connection.

How do I fix my Wi-Fi connection?

  1. Open your phone's Settings app.
  2. Tap System Reset options Reset Wi-Fi, mobile & Bluetooth. If you don't see "Advanced," tap Network & internet More. Reset Wi-Fi, mobile & Bluetooth.
  3. At the bottom, tap Reset settings.

How do I know if my modem is working?

Check the lights on your modem. The lights on the side of your modem can tell you whether or not your modem is connected to your router and the internet. If none of the lights on your modem are glowing, then your modem isn't turn on, so you should check the power cable. Check the power supply and coax cables.

Why is my router blinking orange?

A malfunctioning or damaged splitter may be a reason for the blinking orange light on your router. It inhibits the internet connection from working as expected. This issue can be resolved by connecting the internet cable directly to the router. Once you're done, check whether the blinking orange light is still present.

How do I reset my modem and router?

Step 1: Unplug the modem and router from the power outlet. Step 2: Wait at least 15 seconds. Step 3: Plug the modem back into the power outlet first, wait 1-2 minutes, then it's time to power on the router. Step 4: Wait for all panel lights on your cable modem to become green on before testing your internet connection.

How do I reboot my router?

Should you reboot?
  1. Press the power button or unplug the power cord to your router.
  2. Turn it back on or plug it back into the electrical outlet and wait 30 seconds. Note: Always keep your router plugged in and turned on so that your TV can function properly. Rebooting is the only time to turn it off.

What lights should be on my router spectrum?

If the light is on and green, the port has detected a link with a 100 megabits per second (Mbps) device. If the light is blinking green, data is being transmitted or received at 100 Mbps. If the light is on and yellow, the port has detected link with a 10 Mbps device.

What is the difference between a router and a modem?

Your modem is a box that connects your home network to the wider Internet. A router is a box that lets all of your wired and wireless devices use that Internet connection at once and also allows them to talk to one another without having to do so over the Internet.

How do I know if my router is connected to the Internet?

Check Router Lights
  1. Check the "Power" light on the router. ...
  2. Check the "Internet" light on the router. ...
  3. Check the "Wireless" light on the router if Wi-Fi is enabled and active on the device. ...
  4. Check the "Ethernet Port" lights only if your computer is connected to the router with an Ethernet cable.

Why do I have Wi-Fi but no internet?

When there is no internet connection, yet your internet service or router isn't the problem, then there may be a problem with your network permissions. Every home WiFi network has “Media Access Control” (MAC) identifiers that allow certain machines access to your network.

Why is my router Wi-Fi light blinking?

Like a modem's lights, a wireless router's lights blink when transmitting data to a Wi-Fi device, such as a computer or mobile phone. As long as the Wi-Fi device is able to receive and send data over its wireless connection to the router, the blinking light can be ignored.

Why is my modem blinking white?

The flashing white or blue light on the modem generally means that there is a problem with your modem. It might also be due to damaged coaxial cables. Many users don't notice when the coaxial wire gets damaged.

Why does my modem keep blinking?

The send light on a cable modem indicates your uplink status. When the send light is solid, there is a solid uplink connection between you and your ISP. If it is continually blinking without ever going solid, in most cases it means there is an outage in your area.

How do you diagnose Wi-Fi problems?

Try this: Plug an ethernet cable directly into your router and test your internet speeds using our speed test tool. Next, test your speeds on the Wi-Fi connection. If they're both slow, the issue is likely with your service provider and not your equipment. Give them a call.

How do I test my modem and router?

If you have a modem/router combo (wireless gateway), you may have to open a web browser, log in to your device's interface, and place it in bridge mode, which turns off Wi-Fi and routing functions. After that, run a speed test to check the baseline internet speeds your home is getting.

What are the symptoms of a bad modem?

5 Warning Signs Your Cable Modem is Dying
  • Connection indicator lights have turned off even if you can still surf the web.
  • Data transfers/downloads are slow.
  • The connection speeds are slow.
  • The modem is making a lot of loud or weird noises.
  • The modem turns off or stops functioning.
Feb 9, 2021

How do I know if my internet is down?

5 Ways of Checking Internet Connection | How to Get Started in IT

How do I fix the orange light on my modem?

How To Fix The Orange Light On Your Router?
  1. Check The Cables And Connections. ...
  2. Power-Cycle The Router. ...
  3. Check If An Outage Is Causing The Problem. ...
  4. Reconnect Everything. ...
  5. Update The Router Firmware. ...
  6. Reset The Router To Factory Settings.
Dec 25, 2021

What does the green and orange light mean on my Ethernet port?

The steady orange or green light on your Ethernet port signals a valid connection between devices on the network.

How do I fix my orange Ethernet light?

Check The Cables, Especially The Ethernet Cable

Checking the Ethernet cable is the first thing we should do. It is normal since we have to plug it into the Ethernet port. If the connection is loose, it may trigger the orange light. Therefore we recommend disconnecting this cable first.

Is my router or modem the problem?

If your modem doesn't respond and all lights are on, this is a sign your modem is dead. The symptoms of a non-responsive modem include: No internet access when you connect via Wi-Fi or with an ethernet cable. Inability to connect to Wi-Fi (if it's a dual modem/router)

Will I lose internet connection if I reset my router?

It's important to note that when you reset your home router you will lose all of your current network settings, like the name of the Wi-Fi network, its password, etc. (So don't do this just for fun!)

What does pressing the reset button on a modem do?

A reset restores your modem to its factory default settings. It will also erase any customized settings you may have changed, including static IP address setup, DNS, personalized password, WiFi settings, routing and DHCP settings.

Should all lights on modem be solid?

On a modem (or a router/modem combo)

Under normal conditions, this light should be solid green (or amber).

Should lights be blinking on router?

Flashing lights is a good sign. It means data is travelling through your connection into your device. If there are no lights, or they appear static in a “on” capacity, try restarting your router to see if this may improve your connection.

How do I know if my modem is working?

Check the lights on your modem. The lights on the side of your modem can tell you whether or not your modem is connected to your router and the internet. If none of the lights on your modem are glowing, then your modem isn't turn on, so you should check the power cable. Check the power supply and coax cables.

Why is my router blinking green?

WHY IS MY ROUTER BLINKING GREEN? A blinking green light on the router indicates that your device is trying to connect. This connection can be via the USB or the Ethernet. The blinking should stop in a minute or two.

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