Help diagnose an Internet connection problem?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave Falasco, Apr 22, 2002.

  1. Dave Falasco

    Dave Falasco Screenwriter

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    Hey, all. I was hoping maybe someone could help troubleshoot a problem I am having with my internet connection?
    Up until a few days ago, I was using a dial-up connection to my ISP (SNET), and I was consistently plagued with a problem whereby every 5 minutes or so, my connection would freeze up. It wouldn't drop, but it would neither send nor receive anything for anywhere from 40 seconds to a minute or so. Then it would resume activity as normal for another 5 minutes, and then lock up again, etc. (Which made playing Diablo online real fun, let me tell you...[​IMG] ). During these "freeze" periods, my computer seemed to be working fine otherwise; I could open and close applications and perform other functions normally. I therefore attributed the problem to SNET's dial-up servers. I figured maybe they were overburdened and my requests were being queued up or something.
    However, this past Friday I got a DSL connection (again, from SNET). And the problem persists. Every five minutes or so, the connection seems to lock up. If I leave it alone, it frees itself after about 45 seconds or so, and if I keep clicking "send", sometimes it kind of jars itself free a little earlier. So it had nothing to do with the dial-up, after all... I tried everything I could to remedy it, I downloaded the latest version of IE, I tried shouting at it, I tried banging it, and I tried both shouting at it and banging it at the same time, but to no avail.
    I know I need to get on the horn with tech support at SNET to ultimately resolve this, but from past experience I'm not sure they will be able to solve this kind of problem. Does anyone out there have any clue where the problem might lie? Anyone experienced something similar? Any feedback or advice at all would really be appreciated.
    Thanks!
     
  2. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    What O/S are you running? You might want to reinstall the TCP/IP stack, this might help. Go into your networking properties, and remove TCP/IP, then reinstall it (you may need the Windows CD at this point).
     
  3. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    First, make sure you installed the microfilters on all your phone outlets.
    It sounds like you could be getting packet loss. When the stall occurs, open up a DOS prompt and ping www.yahoo.com. See if you get any response.
     
  4. Dave Falasco

    Dave Falasco Screenwriter

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    Thanks, fellas. I am running Win98 (sorry I should have mentioned that). And I did install the line filters on my other phones, but thanks for the suggestion.
    I'm at work now, but I will try reinstalling TCP/IP when I get home. Matt, I have ping'ed IP addresses before, but never WWW addresses. Do I just type "ping www.yahoo.com" from the DOS prompt? (Damn, I wish I was home now so I could try these out... [​IMG] )
     
  5. Shayne Lebrun

    Shayne Lebrun Screenwriter

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    Make sure that you don't have any network protocols installed that you don't actually need; netbios and ipx often find their way into Windows.
     
  6. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    You should check your system for viruses as well. Some viruses can insert themselves into the IP stack and intercept email addresses and then email itself to those addresses; the Hybris worm is a common example of this.

    KJP
     
  7. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    Yes, thats all you need to type. The DNS server will resolve the address.
    Packet loss itself isn't a problem, its a symptom of a problem. I would also scan for the previously mentioned viruses, especially Nimbda.
    You can also use Sam Spade (http://www.samspade.org) and download the toolkit. It will give you a couple more tools to test your connection.
     
  8. Dave Falasco

    Dave Falasco Screenwriter

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    Okay, I tried some of your suggestions, the results are below. Bear with me, guys, this is all kind of new to me, so please excuse any obvious mistakes or misconceptions...

    I tried Matt's suggestion that I ping yahoo.com during a lock-up. During normal connectivity, I got a normal response back after about 10 seconds or less. During the freeze period, nothing happened when I hit "Enter" after typing the ping command, and then 40 seconds to a minute later when connectivity was restored, I would get back a similar response (with similar response times in ms). Twice I got back responses after the long waiting period with the 3rd packet timed out, but several more times I got back all four packets as normal (just a minute after I hit the enter key instead of a few seconds).

    I also checked my network connection properties, and I have TCP/IP and IPX-SPX installed (no NetBeui). I am hesitant to uninstall IPX because it is bound to my Client for MS and File/Print sharing and TCP/IP is not. It was recommended by the Shields Up website that I unbind all clients from TCP/IP for security reasons, so I did.

    I also have three pieces of hardware set up, the Dial-up, DSL, and an Ethernet adapter, and all three are bound to both TCP/IP and IPX. I'm not sure what the Ethernet adapter is for, but I am hesitant to disconnect it without knowing a little more about it. I guess I could uninstall the dial-up adapter, since I am using the DSL now.

    One more thing (sorry this is so long), I tried to traceroute yahoo.com on the Sam Spade website that Matt suggested during a lock-up, and after 40 seconds or so, it returned a display with 11 normal line entries and one that said "DNS error". When I clicked on that, it told me that the "cust-int.level3.net could not be resolved". I have no idea what that means, or if it is related...

    I also scanned for viruses and (thankfully) came up clean. So I'm not sure what my next step should be. Should I re-bind my network stuff to TCP/IP and delete the IPX protocol? (I can install NetBEUI and bind the services to it if that works, but I don't want to leave them bound to TCP/IP). Should I delete the Dial-up and/or the Ethernet adaptors? Is there something else I should do?

    I should probably just go ahead and start trying stuff, but I'm afraid I am not confident enough in my abilities not to screw something up. :b Any advice, guys?

    Thanks so much...
     
  9. JustinW

    JustinW Extra

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    Not sure about the DSL but in my experience with Dial-Up (I work in Dial Up tech support for an ISP), these sort of issues are generally caused by phone line conditions. When the line becomes too noisy the modem must re-negotiate it's speed with the server and during this time which usually lasts between 30 sec and a minute you will lose all dataflow.

    As I mentioned I have no idea about DSL but on Dial-Up I would suggest first replacing the line from the wall outlet to the computer, test it and if you've still got the same problem then try a different outlet, failing all of that the next step would be to get the line checked.

    Hope this helps.
     
  10. Dave Falasco

    Dave Falasco Screenwriter

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    Okay, one more update for today. I screwed my courage to the sticking place and uninstalled the IPX protocol. I didn't get any serious lag, but it's an intermittent thing so it's tough to tell if that was it or not. Because I didn't want to leave my TCP/IP bound to my file and print sharing, I installed NetBEUI and bound it to that. I am not sure if it did anything, but so far I haven't noticed any lag. I'll let everyone know if I do encounter it.
    And Justin, that is an excellent suggestion--I have had problems with the phone lines in my house in the past with respect to line noise, so I would not be surprised to hear that was it. AFAIK, DSL uses the analog phone line just like dial-up does, so if line noise causes dial-up to choke, I'm sure it does the same for DSL. You may be onto something there, mate! [​IMG]
    Thanks again guys.
     

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