Why Is ATT Broadband Light Red On My Router? How To Fix?

It can be a bit unsettling to look at your AT&T Broadband router and see the red light on or flashing. It can be particularly disconcerting if you rely on your internet connection for work and stay in touch with people.

Everything relies on the internet today. We use the internet to order food from Uber Eats, go shopping on Amazon, talk with friends via Zoom or WhatsApp, find out information by browsing Google, and a lot more.

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Alternatively, if you are in the middle of watching a live baseball game you have been looking forward to seeing and the red light on your router starts flashing, it can be pretty annoying.

So, just what does it mean when the red light is flashing on your router and is there any way to fix it? Should you do something or should you leave it alone — and will your internet still work?

Also Read: Top Routers Under $100

What A Red Light On Your AT&T Internet Router Means?

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The exact meaning of the red light can vary by the exact model and device you have. However, it usually means that there is some sort of problem with the router or the internet connection.

If the internet connection and the router were working fine, there wouldn’t be a red light. Nevertheless, it might be a small issue and not require any major fix; we’ll talk about ways to fix the red light a bit later.

For now, let’s focus on figuring out what exactly the red light means. First, however, you have to make sure the red light is on your router and not on your modem or gateway.

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Router vs Modem vs Gateway: What’s The Difference?

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The router and the modem are two separate devices that serve separate purposes; as such, a red light on one of them can indicate a different problem than a red light on the other. There are also router/modem combos.

So, what is a router, and what is a modem?

A modem connects your house to the worldwide web — the global internet. It allows you to get internet in your home.

That might be enough for some people, especially if you only have one device you need to connect to the internet. However, if you want to connect multiple devices, or if you want to connect your device or devices to the internet wirelessly, you’ll need a router.

In other words, a router takes the internet from the modem and makes it accessible wirelessly — it gives you WiFi.

Some devices combine the router and modem into one, so you don’t need two devices. These are called gateways.

Why Does My Router Have A Red Light?

If you have both a router and a modem, and the router is the one with the red light, it might mean the cable is not properly connected.

The router’s internet port needs to be connected to the modem so that it can supply internet to your house wirelessly.

Usually, a router has only one light, and it should be green. The light might be labeled WAN or have an internet symbol, but it means the same thing — it indicates internet connectivity.

If it’s red, check to see if the cable that connects the router’s internet port to the modem is plugged in correctly and is not loose. If it is plugged in just fine, there might be a problem with the cable or the router itself — they might be broken.

Another possibility is that you have no internet connection. Now, if the router was off, without power, there wouldn’t be a red light; there would be no light at all.

On the other hand, a red light can mean that the router is turned on, and a broadband signal has been detected, but there is no connection. Here are some reasons why that might be:

  • There is some hardware problem with the modem, so you are not getting internet in the house
  • There is a problem with the internet cables
  • There is some problem with the router
  • AT&T has cut off your internet, whether because you are behind on bills or due to another reason
  • There is inclement weather, such as a blizzard or a hurricane, that is interfering with your internet connectivity, or there is a service outage due to any other reason

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Solid Red vs Flashing Red Light

What’s the difference between a solid red light and a flashing red light?

As explained above, a solid red light means a broadband signal has been detected, but there is no internet connectivity. On the other hand, a flashing red light might mean that there is an unstable connection as opposed to no connection at all.

The cable might be broken here too, so the router might be constantly connecting to and disconnecting from the modem.

Why Is There A Red Light On My Modem Or Gateway?

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What if the red light is on your modem and gateway and not on your router? In that case, it can mean a few different things; again, it depends on the exact model you have.

Some possible explanations for a red light include:

  • There is a signal detected, but there is no internet connection. This can happen due to problems with inclement weather, your ISP (in this case, AT&T) cutting off your internet, and so on.
  • There is some hardware failure or device malfunction — in this case, it’s a problem with the modem, not AT&T.
  • There is a security issue
  • The batter is low
  • There is a power issue

A modem often has several lights, as opposed to a router, which usually only has one light to indicate internet connectivity. That’s why it is important to differentiate between the different lights on your modem and see which one is red; keep in mind that not all modems will have the same number of lights.

If the power light is red, whether it’s solid or flashing, that might mean there is a problem with the actual modem itself. If there’s some sort of hardware failure, you might need a new modem.

Alternatively, a red or flashing red power light could mean there is a power supply issue.

There might also be a WPS light on your modem. If the WPS light is red, it’s probably not a device malfunction, but an issue with the WPS (WiFi Protected Setup).

It could simply mean that it was unable to find a partner to connect to or that WPS is disabled. In that case, it would probably be solid red, but it wouldn’t stay red for more than a few minutes.

On the other hand, if it is flashing red, it usually indicates a more serious issue, such as a security issue.

If your modem has a battery light, a flashing red light might indicate that it is time to replace the battery.

AT&T has a helpful page where you can find the exact model of your modem or gateway and see what different types of red lights mean.

If you are unsure of the exact model of your modem or gateway, take a good look at it, including all sides and the bottom, as the model number is usually there somewhere.

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How To Fix A Red Light On Your Router, Modem, Or Gateway

If there is a red light on your router, modem, or gateway, there are several steps you can take to fix it without necessarily calling a professional.

1. Turn Your Router Or Modem Off And On

Power cycling your router or modem can often do the trick. To do that, turn them off and unplug the gateway.

Before plugging them back in and turning them back on, wait a few minutes. Turn on the modem first, and then turn on the router.

2. Move The Router

If the red light is related to some internet connectivity issue, moving the router can help. That’s because if it is improperly positioned, it might not be able to maintain a steady internet connection.

Try repositioning it and moving it to a few new places before moving on to the next step.

3. Check The Cables

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The cables between the router and modem might be broken or not connected properly. Plugging them out and back in again may fix the issue if you don’t see any obvious looseness, but they might need to be replaced.

4. Check AT&T’s Service Outage Map

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AT&T has a map that displays service connectivity across the country. If you are unsure whether the issue is related to the internet connection or the actual router or modem, simply go to this map and see if there are any outages in your area by entering your zip code.

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There are also third-party resources that can help you figure out whether AT&T is experiencing an outage.

For example, Down Detector is a good site to check, as you can see user-generated reports and comments. If you have social media, you can search to see if anyone is commenting about outages in your area or if any news sites have mentioned such an outage.

If there is a service outage, there’s not much you can do. You just have to wait until AT&T solves the issue and gets things working again; just be patient.

If you have unlimited mobile data, whether from AT&T or another provider, consider using your phone to set up a mobile hotspot while you wait. You can connect your other devices, such as your laptop, to your phone’s hotspot.

5. Call AT&T

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If simply powering the router and modem off and on again, moving the router, and checking the cables don’t work, consider placing a call to AT&T. There might be an issue with your internet plan — perhaps you forgot to renew it or your payment didn’t go through.

AT&T can usually help you figure out if there is a problem with your account, if there is an outage in your area (even if it doesn’t show up on the map), or if there might be an issue with your router or modem.

They might also be able to give you some troubleshooting advice on how to reset your router or modem or fix them. They may ask you for the company and model of the modem you are using, so have that on hand before calling them.

6. Reset Your Modem Or Router

You may be able to reset your modem or router by pressing and holding the reset button if you can find it. Depending on the model, holding the power button down for half a minute may allow you to reset it, too.

However, keep in mind that resetting your device to factory settings means you will lose all settings, including the WIfi passwords you have set up. Although it can be a very effective solution to the red light problem, you should try other methods first, unless you don’t mind going through the hassle of setting everything up again.

7. Replace The Modem, Gateway, Or Router

If there is a hardware problem, you might need to replace the device, whether it’s your modem, router, or gateway that is displaying a red light. Yes, it will cost you a bit of money, but it’s worth it to have a stable internet connection that doesn’t go out on you.

8. Call A Professional Technician

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When all else fails, you can call a technician to figure out what is going wrong. As an AT&T customer, you can set up an appointment for a repair on this page.

Before setting up your appointment, however, consider checking out the troubleshooting articles on that page to see if you can figure out what is wrong with your modem or router. You might not have to go through the trouble of getting a technician down to your house; it might be something more simple.

Wrapping It Up: If There Is A Red Light On Your Router, Don’t Panic

If the light on your router is red, don’t worry. It doesn’t indicate anything that is dangerous.

Usually, it’s a minor issue that can be repaired easily. Try out methods such as power cycling your router or resetting it first before making an appointment with a technician.

However, if the problem keeps recurring and you keep needing to power cycle your router to get it working again, it’s best to replace your router or call a technician. Otherwise, there may come a day when a power cycle doesn’t fix it anymore.

About Author

Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.