How to Fix the ‘Unidentified network’ Ethernet Issue Causing No Internet on Windows 10


The ‘Unidentified network’ issue predominantly affects Ethernet users and can be very frustrating. Imagine your device not recognizing the working internet connection on your home network, even though other devices are having no issues connecting to it.

This guide covers 12 solutions with in-depth explanations and directions for you to follow. Continue reading to learn more about what causes the ‘Unidentified network’ issue, determine if that’s what’s going on, and resolve the issue quickly. 

What Causes the ‘Unidentified network’ Ethernet Issue?

The ‘Unidentified network’ Ethernet issues are most commonly attributed to incorrect IP configuration or network settings. It’s an annoying error because the internet connection is there, but you cannot use it. Both Windows 10 and 11 users have reported this issue, but this guide focuses more on the Windows 10 operating system. 

To determine if your computer is experiencing the ‘Unidentified network’ issue, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the Start Menu and select Control Panel from the menu. 
Go to Control panel to solve "unidentified network" ethernet issue
  1. Once the Control Panel window opens, select Network and Sharing Center
network and sharing center in control panel
  1. Check the list of active networks to see if both networks are properly listed or if you see ‘Unidentified network.’ If you do, then continue reading this guide to learn how to resolve this problem.
unidentified network found in network and sharing center

Most users have reported one of these four causes as the primary trigger for the ‘Unidentified network’ error:

  1. Third-Party Apps, especially antivirus software, can negatively interact with the Windows network settings and cause the ‘unidentified network error.
  2. Network Adapter Driver – if the network adapter’s driver is outdated, there can be unusual effects.
  3. IP configuration is incorrect – IP configuration errors will prevent your computer from interacting with your home network properly. Command-line utility commands like ipconfig can help resolve this issue. 
  4. Network settings – network settings play a major role in how your computer interacts with your home network, if your settings are incorrect, you may be unable to make a connection. Command-line utility commands like netsh can help. 

How to fix the ‘Unidentified network’ Ethernet issues

Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward path to resolving the ‘Unidentified network’ problem. Windows 10 users that have experienced this problem themselves report several solutions (sometimes even a combination of solutions) that have fixed this error. Fixing network issues often feels like a wild goose chase, even without so many possible solutions. 

The 12 solutions outlined below have been ordered with increasing difficulty to solve the ‘Unidentified network’ error as straightforwardly as possible. This will help you quickly work through some of the simpler solutions, and hopefully, you’ll get lucky, and one of them will fix the problem. If not, you’ll continue on to the more involved solutions until you find the right one to restore your internet connection.

1. Turn Off Airplane Mode

Airplane Mode prevents your computer from connecting to the internet. If you have a laptop with a dedicated Airplane Mode button located along the top function keys, it’s easy to accidentally turn Airplane Mode on. If your computer is plugged into Ethernet, it may not be obvious that you’ve accidentally turned Airplane Mode on because your computer may still display the Ethernet symbol on the taskbar. To check if Airplane Mode is on, follow these steps to turn it off:

  1. Find the Notifications icon (text box) in the right-hand corner of the taskbar. Click to open and then expand to view all options.
turn off the airport mode - solution for unidentified network issue
  1. If Airplane Mode is toggled on (will be blue), click the box to toggle it back off. There is no confirmation window. 
toggle airplane mode

2. Change Ethernet Cable

This ‘Unidentified network’ error is an Ethernet-only problem, so it is reasonable to assume that sometimes the issue might be due to an old or damaged Ethernet cable. If your internet connection has been dropping randomly or runs slower than expected, these are other signs your Ethernet cable is going bad. Unplug your cable from your computer and modem/router and look closely for any signs of wear-and-tear or weak points in your cable. 

change damaged ethernet cable to solve internet connectivity issues including unidentified network

If the cable has been stored and wrapped up tightly, this can lead to early failure. Buy a new CAT 5e cable if your ISP plan provides more than 200 Mbps (up to 1000 Mbps). Swap the new cable out for the old one and check to see if the ‘Unidentified network’ error is resolved. 

3. Use External Network Adapter

This solution requires you to purchase another piece of hardware, known as an external network adapter. More specifically, since you are using a wired connection, you want to use a wired NIC (network interface controller) USB ethernet adapter. You can plug this adapter into a USB port and then connect an ethernet cable to the other end.

If this resolves your issue, then the primary cause behind the ‘Unidentified network’ error is likely a failure of the onboard NIC card OR outdated drivers. You can continue to use the external network adapter or buy a replacement NIC card. 

4. Restart Modem and Router

Before delving into firmware updates in a later solution, you should restart your +modem and router. The router is a single unified device that provides Ethernet and wireless connection that is coming into your home through your ISP’s cables. Your ISP may provide a router, or you may purchase one yourself. A modem connects your ISP and home network together.

Your router and modem stay on all day and night to provide you with internet access, often for months at a time. All computer hardware performs best when it is regularly rebooted to clear out the memory and reset any errors.       

Simply unplug the power cord to reboot your router and/or modem. Wait 30 seconds for the best results. You want to flush the memory, so you must allow adequate time for the capacitors to drain fully. Plug the devices back in and wait for your router and modem to fully boot and reconnect to your ISP. 

5. Temporarily Disable Antivirus Software

Antivirus software is a third-party application that closely interacts with your network settings. Antivirus programs often cause internet connection issues because of obtrusive firewall settings or other incorrect configurations. 

The best course of action is to temporarily disable any antivirus software you have running on your computer. Usually, you must launch the software and check that each security feature is disabled. If this resolves the ‘Unidentified network’ issue, you may need to do some further digging to try and isolate which features are triggering the problem.

6. Disable Fast Startup

The purpose of the Fast Startup feature is to streamline the startup process, so it takes your computer less time to boot when restarted. Fast Startup works by putting your computer into a state of hibernation instead of a complete system shutdown. This prevents your system from clearing errors and other issues for an extended period of time, including network errors that might trigger the ‘Unidentified network’ error. To disable Fast Startup, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Windows key + R to start the Run program. Within the Run dialog box, enter powercfg.cpl into the search box and press Enter.
disable fast startup to solve unidentified network error
  1. This method quickly brings up the Power Options window. Click Choose what the power buttons do from the options pane on the left-hand side.
  1. Find the section for Shutdown settings and uncheck the Turn on fast startup box. If these selections are greyed out, you must first click the Change settings currently unavailable under the Define power buttons and turn on the password protection heading
turn on password protection
  1. Click Save changes and then close the window. Check to see if internet service has been restored to your computer. 

7. Update Network Adapter Drivers

In the third solution, we discussed the failure of the internal network adapter but also mentioned it may be due to outdated network adapter drivers. To check if the network adapter has outdated drivers, you’ll need to navigate through the Device Manager:

  1. Right-click on the Windows icon/ Start button on the Taskbar. From the menu, select Device Manager
  1. Within the Device Manager window, find Network adapters from the list of hardware and click to expand.
find network adapters in device manager
  1. Right-click each adapter and select Update Driver Software from the drop-down menu.
update driver software
  1. A new window will open, asking How do you want to search for driver software? From the options, select Search automatically for updated driver software.
update driver software ethernet connection
  1. Follow the prompts and then restart your computer to ensure all changes are fully applied.

8. Run Network Troubleshooter

Now that you’ve made it this far, it’s time to use Windows 10’s (also available with Windows 11) network troubleshooting utility. This utility will perform a series of checks, looking for issues with your network settings or other reasons your computer may have issues connecting to the internet. If any specific issues are found, the troubleshooter will briefly offer some steps to remedy the problem. To run the troubleshooter, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the Windows icon/ Start button on the Taskbar. From the menu, select Network Connections.
select network connections
  1. From the list of Network Connections, find and right-click on your Ethernet connection. From the drop-down menu, select Diagnose. The Windows 10 troubleshooter will now open and begin diagnosing any issues.
diagnose network connections

If the troubleshooter reveals that it has found no issues, continue to the next solution.

using troubleshooter to solve internet connections

9. Disable Virtual Network Adapters

A virtual network adapter is software that acts like a physical network adapter for your operating system. Virtual adapters can sometimes interfere with traditional hardware adapters in problematic ways and might induce the ‘Unidentified network’ error. You can disable all virtual network adapters from the Device Manager:

  1. Right-click on the Windows icon/ Start button on the Taskbar. From the menu, select Device Manager
selecting device manager
  1. Within the Device Manager window, find Network adapters from the list of hardware and click to expand.
  2. Locate any virtual adapters denoted by the term virtual as part of their name. Right-click on each virtual adapter, and click Disable from the drop-down menu.
device manager
  1. Restart your computer and check if the ‘Unidentified network’ issue is resolved.

9. Try a New DNS Server

Usually, your computer automatically uses the DNS server provided by your ISP. This isn’t always ideal, and sometimes ISP DNS servers are too slow or bloated. If you want to try a new DNS server, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the Windows icon/ Start button on the Taskbar. From the menu, select Network Connections.
selecting network connections to change DNS server
  1. From the list of Network Connections, find and right-click on your Ethernet connection. From the drop-down menu, select Properties.
selecting ethernet in network connections
  1. In the new Properties window, search through the list in the center of the window to find Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4). Double-click to open another Properties window for this feature specifically. 
selecting TCP/IPv4 to change DNS server
  1. From this new window, find Use the following DNS server addresses and enter a new preferred and alternate DNS server address. The Google Public DNS is a great stable option:

Preferred DNS server: 8.8.8.8

Alternate DNS server: 8.8.4.4

using Google public DNS server

10. Set Static IP Address

Dynamic IP addresses don’t usually pose a problem for most home internet setups. But some users have found that their dynamic IP address causes connection issues and have found stability by switching to a static IP address. A static IP address will stick around even after a router reset. If you want to set a static IP address for your computer, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the Windows icon/ Start button on the Taskbar. From the menu, select Network Connections.
selecting network connections
  1. From the list of Network Connections, find and right-click on your Ethernet connection. From the drop-down menu, select Properties.
  2. In the new Properties window, search through the list in the center of the window to find Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4). Double-click to open another Properties window for this feature specifically. This is the same set of steps for changing the DNS server from the previous solution.
  1. Now in the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) Properties window, click Use the following IP address. Now you want to enter a new IP address. If you don’t know what address to use, check the public IP address for other devices within your home. Your ISP may be having issues applying the correct IP address to your device but not others. 
TCP/IPv4 properties
  1. Click OK and then restart your computer. When the startup is complete, check if your internet service is restored and the ‘Unidentified network’ issue is resolved. 

11. Use Command Prompt to Execute Ipconfig and Netsh Commands

Ipconfig is a command-line utility available on Windows 10 for viewing and managing all IP addresses assigned to your computer, while Netsh is a command-line utility for viewing and managing the network configuration of your computer. 

Several helpful commands can help fix network issues using these two utilities. Continue reading to learn how to use Command Prompt to execute ten commands:

  1. Press the Windows key + R to start the Run program. Within the Run dialog box, enter cmd into the search box and press Enter.
using command prompt to solve unidentified network  issue
  1. Once the Command Prompt is open, you can start entering each of the commands listed below, but ensure that you are only entering one command at a time and pressing Enter to execute:

NOTE: only enter the bolded text, the text surrounded by * is just information for you.

NOTE: if the static IP address solution didn’t work, you should revert back to Obtaining IP Address Automatically for this solution to work properly

ipconfig /release

*discards the IP address of all adapters. All disables TCP/IP if your computer is set to obtain ip address automatically*

ipconfig /renew

*renews DHCP configuration for all adapters*

netsh winsock reset

*any winsock errors are reset*

netsh int ip reset

*resets TCP/IP*

ipconfig /flushdns

*flushes contents of DNS client resolver cache*

ipconfig /registerdns

*manual dynamic registration of IP addresses and DNS names is initiated*

netsh int tcp set heuristics disabled

netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

netsh int tcp set global rss=enabled

netsh int tcp show global

ipconfig in cmd.exe

12. Upgrade Router Firmware

We placed this solution at the bottom of the list because it requires a bit more research and involvement. Every router manufacturer has a slightly different process for updating router firmware, so we can’t cover all of them here. Instead, we will provide the website for the most popular router brands, with a basic breakdown of how to locate your specific model’s firmware.

You need to locate your router’s specific model (usually located somewhere on the router itself) and enter this into the manufacturer’s website. Then you’ll need to look into the specific process for upgrading the firmware.

  • Asus – Navigate to Networking Support and Services and then Select your Product. Select Driver & Utility and then prepare to be redirected to a model-specific site for downloading Drivers, Tools, BIOS, and Firmware.
asus bios and firmware setting
  • Netgear – Enter the Product Name/Model Number, then select the most updated firmware version under the Firmware/Software heading.
neatgear firmware setting
  • TP-Link – select the Type of device (optional) and enter the Model Number. Select the correct option from the resulting list. Then you’ll be redirected to a model-specific website where you can download the updated Firmware.
TP-link firmware setting

“Unidentified Network” Issue Resolved!

If you’ve followed along with this guide, you’ve learned a ton about network troubleshooting. When working with the ‘Unidentified network’ ethernet issue, it’s a bit difficult to determine the exact cause behind why your computer can’t identify a network, but it is often due to incorrect IP configuration or incorrect network settings. 

We provided 12 solutions within this guide, including turning Airplane mode off, changing DNS servers, and executing several network and IP address commands into the Command Prompt. Many of these solutions are very effective and are used daily by IT admins. Hopefully, now your computer correctly identifies your Ethernet connection, and you can access the internet without limits!

We create websites that stand-out in the crowd by making the optimum use of the WordPress features.

Contact

Company Name

Address