How to Reboot or Reset a Cable or DSL Modem Properly

by C. Taylor

    You can separate cable and DSL modems into three broad categories: standard modems, voice modems and combined modem/router units. On standard and voice modems, using the modem's reset button triggers a reboot, but on a combined modem/router it restores factory defaults and deletes any user-configured settings. Therefore, using this button should never be the first option for a combined unit. Power cycling a modem also forces a reboot on all cable and DSL modems, but should never be used with voice modems, or you could lose voice capabilities. Before deciding which method to use, verify the type of modem you have. As a general rule, combined units are identified by multiple Ethernet ports on the back, and voice modems have multiple phone line connections.

    Reset Button

    Step 1

    Locate the "Reset" button on the back of your modem. This button is typically recessed to prevent you from accidentally pressing it. If there is no Reset button, you must power cycle the modem.

    Step 2

    Push the button with sharp instrument, such as a pen or paper clip, and hold it for five to 10 seconds.

    Step 3

    Release the button and allow the modem to fully reboot. The modem is fully rebooted when all the front lights become solid.

    Power Cycling

    Step 1

    Shut down your computer.

    Step 2

    Unplug your router, if you have one between the modem and computer.

    Step 3

    Unplug the modem from the wall or surge protector outlet and wait at least 10 seconds.

    Step 4

    Plug the modem back in and wait 30 seconds until all of the front lights are solid.

    Step 5

    Plug in your router, if applicable, and wait 30 seconds for the router to boot.

    Step 6

    Turn on your computer and allow it to fully boot up.

    About the Author

    C. Taylor has been a professional writer since 2009. He has written for online publications and the "Journal of Asian Martial Arts." Taylor specializes in martial arts, traveling, sciences and computer repair. He received a Master of Science in wildlife biology from Clemson University and a Bachelor of Arts in biological sciences from the College of Charleston.

    Photo Credits

    • Hemera Technologies/ Images