Figuring out what devices are disconnected from your network can be a frustrating experience. When a device suddenly stops working or connecting to the internet, it often feels like you’re troubleshooting in the dark with no clear solutions. However, there are several straightforward techniques you can use to identify disconnected devices on your home or office network.
Check Your Router Admin Page
The easiest way to see all devices connected to your network is by logging into your router’s admin page. Most modern routers have a web-based interface that shows every device connected to your network. Here’s how it works:
- Start by logging into your router admin page. The address is usually something like “http://192.168.0.1” or “http://192.168.1.1”. If you don’t know the address, look it up in your router manual or Google the make/model.
- Enter your router admin username and password. The default is often “admin/admin” or “admin/password”. Again, check your manual if you’re unsure.
- Once logged in, look for an option like “Connected Devices” or “DHCP Clients”. This will show a list of devices accessing your network.
Compare this list to the devices you expect to see. Anything missing is likely disconnected or turned off. Most routers will show the device name, IP address, MAC address and whether the connection is wired or wireless.
Use IP Scanner Software
If you can’t access your router’s admin screen, the next option is to use IP scanner software. IP scanners probe your network and identify every active device. Here are free options for Windows and Mac:
- Windows – Angry IP Scanner, Advanced IP Scanner
- Mac – Angry IP Scanner, IP Net ScannerX
To use an IP scanner:
- Download, install and open the IP scanning tool.
- Select your network from the dropdown menu (usually the default option).
- Click “Scan”. The tool will probe your network and return a list of devices with IP addresses.
- Compare the scanned devices to the list of expected devices. Anything missing stands out as potentially disconnected.
Check Your Network Map
Many operating systems include built-in network mapping tools that provide an overview of connected devices. Here’s how to access them:
- Windows – Open File Explorer, click “Network” in the left pane.
- Mac – Open Finder, click “Network” in the left pane.
- Linux – Install and open the Nmap tool.
Network maps show all devices communicating on your local network. Scan for any missing devices that should be listed.
Check DHCP Client Lists
DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) manages which IP addresses get assigned to devices on your network. DHCP servers like your router keep track of these connections. You can view DHCP client lists on:
- Windows – Type “CMD” in the search bar, run the Command Prompt, then enter the command “ipconfig /all”.
- Mac/Linux – Open Terminal, enter the command “sudo dhcp-client -l”.
This will output a list of devices that have been assigned IP addresses via DHCP. Any device missing from the list likely has a connection issue.
Check Your Connected WiFi Devices
If you’re trying to troubleshoot a wireless/WiFi issue, check the connected device list in your WiFi settings:
- Windows – Open Settings > Network & Internet > Status > View your network properties.
- Mac – Click the WiFi icon > Open Network Preferences > Advanced > Wi-Fi Clients.
- Smartphones – Open your WiFi settings, there is usually an option called “Connected devices” or “Client list”.
This will display all devices connected to your WiFi network. Note any laptops, phones or other WiFi devices that are missing.
Restart Your Router and Devices
Before troubleshooting further, try restarting your router and the problem device:
- Unplug your router from power, wait 30 seconds, then plug back in.
- Power cycle the disconnected device – turn it off completely, wait a few seconds, turn it back on.
- Once restarted, check if the device reconnects successfully.
Restarting can resolve transient connection issues and is one of the easiest fixes. If the problem persists, you can dive deeper.
Finding disconnected devices doesn’t have to be a painful struggle. Using one of these simple techniques can quickly reveal what’s fallen off your network so you can focus on getting it fixed:
- Check your router admin page
- Run an IP scanner
- Review your network map
- Check DHCP client lists
- View connected WiFi devices
- Restart your router and device
With the right approach, you can identify and troubleshoot connection issues efficiently. Just follow the steps outlined above before you get lost troubleshooting in the dark.
|Router Admin Page||Log into your router admin screen and look for connected devices list|
|IP Scanner||Install and run an IP scanner tool like Angry IP Scanner|
|Network Map||Check your OS network map (File Explorer > Network on Windows)|
|DHCP Client List||Run “ipconfig /all” on Windows or “dhcp-client -l” on Mac/Linux|
|WiFi Connected Devices||View list of connected WiFi clients in your settings|
Having trouble getting a device to reconnect? Here are some more in-depth troubleshooting tips:
Double Check Basic Issues
- Is the device turned on?
- Is WiFi enabled on the device if connecting wirelessly?
- Is the network cable plugged in securely if wired?
- Does the device have the correct network name/password entered?
Renew the IP Address
If a device shows ‘self-assigned’ or ‘169.254.x.x’ IP, it failed to get an IP from the router:
- Windows – Open Command Prompt, enter “ipconfig /renew”
- Mac/Linux – Open Terminal, enter “sudo dhclient”
Flush the DNS Cache
A corrupt DNS cache could prevent connectivity:
- Windows – ipconfig /flushdns
- Mac – sudo dscacheutil flushcache
- Linux – sudo /etc/init.d/nscd restart
Reset Network Settings
Resetting can fix incorrectly configured network settings:
- Windows – Open Network reset under Network & Internet settings
- Mac – Open Network preferences and click “Restore to Default”
Update Network Driver
An outdated network driver may cause connection drops. Update your drivers:
- Windows – Open Device Manager > Network adapters > Update driver
- Mac – Get latest drivers from the manufacturer’s website
Check for Firmware and OS Updates
Keep your router, computer, and other devices updated to fix bugs:
- Router – Log in to admin page and check for firmware updates
- Computer/Mobile – Install latest OS updates
Hopefully with a combination of these troubleshooting tips you can get your disconnected device back online.