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Thread: Intermittent Internet Disconnects (DSL)

  1. #1
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    Intermittent Internet Disconnects (DSL)

    Hey all-

    I've been having some regular network issues over the last few months that have got to go. They go away briefly, lull me into thinking things are fine, then come rearing their ugly head once more when I'm not watching them. So, here's some background:

    About 3 months ago we moved the computers (wife and I who both play) to a new room. Wireless connectivity was not good with the router on the other side of the house, so I moved the modem/router as well. There was no phone jack in that room so I ran a new one on the outside of the house, drilled through the brick with a masonry bit, and run the line down and through the hole. Originally I cut another room's phone line on the back of the house and spliced into the line there but when the connection first started acting up I ran all new line from the transfer box to the new computer room. Simple faceplate on the inside wall, caulked the hole on the outside, and everything SHOULD be good as far as I can tell. As a note, we're not using wireless any more and are running on cat5 from the router to both PCs.

    The problem happens on both computers simultaneously, and I've tried bypassing the router and running from modem to a single computer without seeing the problem go away.

    What happens... On some nights, seemingly at random, our internet will drop repeatedly. It's typically not once a night, every other night, but six times in a night, every fifth or sixth night. We'll be playing WoW, fiddling about on the internet, or whatever. Network speeds will be humming along nicely, and then someone will start doing the "360 degree spin" and that will persist for 15-20 seconds until we get kicked. Curiously, on very rare occasions I don't always get kicked. Occasionally it'll just be a 30-40 second lag spike followed by everything catching up in a rush. She always disconnects and 95% the time I do as well.

    During the time when the game lags up and/or kicks us, we cannot connect to outside network either.

    To troubleshoot, I've run four command windows simultaneous with pings (-t) going- one to the router, one to the modem, one to another computer on the network, and one to an outside IP (either something in my work's server farm, or espn, or a wow server, or whatever- it doesn't really matter much. I've used the next step after my router (determined with tracert) and all behave the same). The outside IP always times out, the inside do not. So I think it's safe to say that the issue is from the modem out. And it appears to be at that step between the modem and the outside network.

    What is my next step? Should I look into the wires I've run some more? They seem fine. I don't have any way to test, really, but if they work some of the time without fail- some nights at a time- and then act up only occasionally...? It shouldn't be those. Any other ideas?

    Provider: ATT-SWBell DSL.
    Modem: I've used both a speedstream, and an old 2-wire clunker that came with the DSL.
    Router: Linksys WRT54gs wireless router


    Now, this may be outside of the expertise of this community but, hey, it's a tech central forum right??

    And you all can probably understand THIS point: When I'm playing my hunter, going into an instance on a night where we've been disconnect free is fine. But with WotLK, I'll be back to raid tanking raids (We stopped raiding 4-5 months ago when we had a child and only began working our way back into the game 1-2 months ago) and there's no way I'm going to let a raid depend on me if I cannot depend on my connection.


    I thought I'd post it here and just see if anyone had any ideas. I think maybe it's time to break down and call the phone company. Anyone have other ideas?

  2. #2
    What exactly does your DSL modem do when this happens? Does it act like it got shut off and then turned back on? Does it happen more frequently when you're both using the internet at the same time?

    That's the problem and symptoms I had a while ago, and it turned out despite every shred of common sense I had left, the problem was that the DSL modem's power supply was going bad and couldn't sustain the constant traffic. Fought with the ISP for almost a month, replaced the modem twice (although I always just used the same power supply cuz I didn't want to dig around behind my desk), before I realized that it was the only thing I hadn't changed.
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  3. #3
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    I've seen this issue alot as well, sometimes at my own home, sometimes in my old work place. We used to have the problem alot with our old modem. It would randomly sputter and choke until we finally just had to up and replace it. Before doing that, however, I would call your DSL company, have them run tests on your lines, both while on the phone and if they dont find any errors have them come to your place of residence and check the lines as well. A MAJOR issue we have had in the past with many of the DSLs we used to support were that somewhere along the line a tech had installed a bridge tap on one of the DSL lines much further down the cables themselves, and it would mess with signal strength.

    Another thing. I have almost the same identical router as you and I have noticed that when our wireless connection is enabled, the connection itself while both connected via cables or not, gets flaky. I dont know if its just my router, or an issue with the model itself. Try turning off the entire wireless connection on the router itself if you no longer use it. That fixed alot of our problems with our connection.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lore View Post
    What exactly does your DSL modem do when this happens? Does it act like it got shut off and then turned back on? Does it happen more frequently when you're both using the internet at the same time?
    The Modem has lights for Power, Internet, DSL and something else- I forget which. The only one that changes is DSL, which will go red (to indicate it's not connected).

  5. #5
    Ah ok, sounds like something other than the problem I had then.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by klor View Post
    I have almost the same identical router as you and I have noticed that when our wireless connection is enabled, the connection itself while both connected via cables or not, gets flaky. I dont know if its just my router, or an issue with the model itself. Try turning off the entire wireless connection on the router itself if you no longer use it. That fixed alot of our problems with our connection.
    This is an excellent suggestion that I can't believe I've not yet tried. Sometimes the old brain doesn't get as deep into the troubleshooting method as one would like. :P

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lore View Post
    Ah ok, sounds like something other than the problem I had then.
    I thought of something along the lines you're saying early on- well, not entirely. I didn't think of it being the power supply itself as much as jsut the modem in general- but it occurs on both modems I own.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ont View Post
    This is an excellent suggestion that I can't believe I've not yet tried. Sometimes the old brain doesn't get as deep into the troubleshooting method as one would like. :P
    Too many nights of bad raid experiences due to flaky internet makes one really wonder what the issue is
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  9. #9
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    First thing i would do is test the line starting at the box outside your house, IF the line tested good from there, i would then test from where the line splits inside the house. If that tests good, Then most likely your wire going from the old line to the new room has an issue. make sure you have filters on all the lines around the house. If that still happens, are you running the phone line near a Fridge, microwave, florescent lights, or anything else that generates larges amounts of EM interference?

    Also other random things that might help, How long is the cable from the modem to the wall jack? how long is the cable from the Jack to the junction box? The shorter in both cases the better.

    Have you tried enableing DMZ on the router and the modem to allow for unfiltered traffic in? When your net cuts out, plug in a phone into a jack without a filter, see if you hear static? How far are you from the repeater station? How far down the line are you from it? Are your neighbors having the same issue. Do you have a old model tivo or a home security system? Do you have the Modem pluged into a UPS or the phone line into a surge protector?

    Any and all of these can lead to issues as you have described.

  10. #10
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    Great ideas, Lizana. I'm going to italicize the parts of your post I'm answering instead of using quotes as it ought to condense what promises to be a long response!


    1. First thing i would do is test the line starting at the box outside your house, IF the line tested good from there, i would then test from where the line splits inside the house. If that tests good, Then most likely your wire going from the old line to the new room has an issue.

    Good ideas- but I'm not quite sure how to go about this. I don't have a continuity tester or a line tester of any sort.

    Make sure you have filters on all the lines around the house. If that still happens, are you running the phone line near a Fridge, microwave, florescent lights, or anything else that generates larges amounts of EM interference?

    Filters, check. The lines are all running in pretty safe locations.


    Also other random things that might help, How long is the cable from the modem to the wall jack? how long is the cable from the Jack to the junction box? The shorter in both cases the better.


    The cable from the jack to the junction box is about 20'. From the jack to the modem, 6'.


    Have you tried enableing DMZ on the router and the modem to allow for unfiltered traffic in?


    I tried this last night, with no apparant improvement.

    When your net cuts out, plug in a phone into a jack without a filter, see if you hear static?

    Good idea. I'll try this tonight if I can get there in time. The outages are usually 10-15 seconds, and there's only one jack in the room.


    How far are you from the repeater station? How far down the line are you from it?

    I'm not certain where the repeater station is at- I'll check with the phone company. But I am inclined to think this is not the issue as I had rock solid connectivity on the other side of the house for, oh, 4-5 years.

    Are your neighbors having the same issue. Do you have a old model tivo or a home security system? Do you have the Modem pluged into a UPS or the phone line into a surge protector?


    No to all of these- though I do have directtv which uses a phone connection for some reason that's never been entirely clear to me. The line is filtered.

    Further notes:

    Again: The connection is dropping between my modem and the first network device outside of my home network. This is, obviously, not 100% proof that it's an issue between those two points but I think it seems likely. If I am wrong, and there are more settings you'd recommend I check (I remember a long time back a very small selection of people with tcp checksum offloading enabled occasionally had trouble with WoW) on the local network or the local machines please let me know.

  11. #11
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    Testing with out a actual tester can be an issue since you cant replicate when its going to happen. I cheat and just put the modem where i am testing and run network cable or use a laptop and replicate the issue.

    This is a simple step, just to make sure you have tried it, have you tried using different phone cord?

    Also, if you move the modem back to the old room does it still have these issues?

    The more and more i think about your problem my initial post is mostly invalid, if i had more than 2 hours of sleep i would have been more clear headed.

    What you really want to do, is keep a log of when this happens. I personally use bellsouth dsl as well, and i found that the majority of spikes happen at predetermined times. Like i know every other day at 11:34 CST, my net will shut off for 40 or so seconds. After about 5 hours on the phone i finally found out that at that time my connection point goes though a reset of its logs and that causes my net timeout of Wow and vent.

    It seamed random for the longest time till i kept track of it. Also once you know times and dates its happening, you can start to look for things that might be causing it. Going though the connection log of your router and modem at those times.

    Oh and just also to make sure, you are using a filter on your dsl line to filter out voice interference arent you? Spent an hour at a case one time, the guy put phone filters on every line but for the one his modem was on. You should have a Y split filter for the modem.

    And on a side note, your Satellite uses the phone connection for PPV and on demand ordering. Thats all its used for for it

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lizana View Post
    Oh and just also to make sure, you are using a filter on your dsl line to filter out voice interference arent you? Spent an hour at a case one time, the guy put phone filters on every line but for the one his modem was on. You should have a Y split filter for the modem.
    >.> No?

    SWBell (then, now ATT) installer's specifically told me not to on that one line. I am guessing this was not correct? >.<

    Yet, for four years, I had none and it worked fine.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ont View Post
    >.> No?

    SWBell (then, now ATT) installer's specifically told me not to on that one line. I am guessing this was not correct? >.<

    Yet, for four years, I had none and it worked fine.
    You dont want a regular filter, but you should have one thats made for the modem to be plugged into. Something like Suttle In-Line DSL Filter 2 Line Splitter - DSL Filters - Suttle 900LCCS-2F-50 comes standard with bellsouth dsl as far as i know. so you can have a voice box there as well. Also make sure that you tightened the wire connectors in the wall unit. I ran a wire once and didnt screw the connection wire in well, that was a fun 30 min doing line tests for no reason

  14. #14
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    So, we had a technician out yesterday. He ran some tests, was seeing good numbers up and down most of the time- though it would occasionally drop from being able to handle 8mb both ways to 6.

    He went to the box where the phone lines come into the house and filtered the DSL out so it goes only to the phone jack in the office where we have the modem- and phones go only to the other side of the house.

    This did not fix the problem, so we're back at square one with another appointment tomorrow morning. Sigh.

  15. #15
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    Dude,

    I just skimmed over your thread so i may have missed something. But I was miserable for a year with DSL. If I had a nickle for every curse word or phone call to Bombay I made during that year I would be rolling in cash

    If you have the option go cable. It just works better. I have had Comcast since Thanksgiving of 2007 and have never have had an outage of any kind since.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brucimus View Post
    Dude,

    I just skimmed over your thread so i may have missed something. But I was miserable for a year with DSL. If I had a nickle for every curse word or phone call to Bombay I made during that year I would be rolling in cash

    If you have the option go cable. It just works better. I have had Comcast since Thanksgiving of 2007 and have never have had an outage of any kind since.

    it really depends on region. I know my old guild was mostly comcast and we had a phrase for anytime anyone DCed that they just got "comcastrated". I live in new york and have never had issues with DSL but Time Warner has been just as reliable for my neighbors.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brucimus View Post
    Dude,

    I just skimmed over your thread so i may have missed something. But I was miserable for a year with DSL. If I had a nickle for every curse word or phone call to Bombay I made during that year I would be rolling in cash

    If you have the option go cable. It just works better. I have had Comcast since Thanksgiving of 2007 and have never have had an outage of any kind since.
    My DSL dropps out for about 3 min every 3-4 days for about 3 min... I would rather have that than cable any day of the week. The main issue with cable your dependent on everyone around you for your speed. My Neighbor has cable, and durring peak useage times, he comes over to my house with his flash drive for me to download things for him. His connection is supposted to be 10 Mbps, my dsl is 6 Mbps. He actualy downloads from the same sites at 100-200 kbps i normally hit 600-700.

    Haveing the same speed all the time no matter what your neighbors are doing is a wonderful thing.

  18. #18
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    Ah you said the magic word. WRT54G, these routers are notorious for dropping connections due to the rather limited routing table. These router's work great for normal internet usage but I have found that with games that require a steady bandwidth transfer the routing table fills and the connection gets unpredictable.

    You can fix this by either buying a new router, pressing the "reset" key everytime it does it to reset the table (no a simple power off power on does not reset the routing table). I dont believe there is a way to enlarge it with the regular firmware on the device so there is this: DD-WRT :: News
    which allows you to change your firmware and open up the router to do whatever you want. This is linux based so you know its good

    I had this problem for years before I realized that the WRT54G is cheap for a reason, they suck. But I still use mine because im lazy and dont want to buy another one.
    You do realize why the Borg are so bad at making dimmer switches don't you?
    Resistance is futile.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shifthappens View Post
    I had this problem for years before I realized that the WRT54G is cheap for a reason, they suck. But I still use mine because im lazy and dont want to buy another one.
    Yeah, they're cheap routers but they're a pretty decent bargain all the same. Good suggestion, and I'm going to look into implementing it. Thanks!

    Nevertheless! Router was not the problem (as problem occurred with three different modems and the router removed).

    The third visit from ATT Techs found the problem to be in the line. There is a junction in my alley, then a larger one about three blocks away, and from there to their network hardware. The line from the second junction back was bad. They switched it and my network hasn't dropped since.

    Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions.

  20. #20
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    Nice, at least you found the problem. I get to deal with that all day lol troubleshooting network stuff, so I know it can be frustrating when your the end user of a problem you cant fix yourself.
    You do realize why the Borg are so bad at making dimmer switches don't you?
    Resistance is futile.



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