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Help - Built a New Computer For Family and It Won't Network!

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  • Windows XP
  • Computers
  • Networking
Last response: in Networking
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May 3, 2006 12:06:07 PM

I just built a couple gaming-class computers for my family installing Windows XP Pro on both of them. They use a D-Link router and tried to plug ethernet cords from the router to the computers and they wouldn't link up. So then he tried directly connecting a computer to the modem and it still wouldn't work.

They have computers around the house that have Win '98 and 2000 and XP Home that all wirelessly connect to the router, so I can't understand why it isn't working. The only difference I can think of is that they're using DSL whereas I connected the computers using Cable (which connected fine, btw).

We tried restarting the entire network by bringing everything down and offline (including the computers) and restarting everything, but it had no effect. Is there some difference between DSL and Cable that I'm unaware of?

So, to sum it up, here's how it looks:
1. Two computers, XP Pro
2. Two computers, Win '98
3. One computer, XP Home
4. One computer Win 2000
5. 2, 3 and 4 work fine on the network, no.1 doesn't

Thanks for any help anyone can give!

More about : built computer family network

May 3, 2006 4:08:45 PM

Are the correct drivers installed for the NIC? Do you get link lights on the NIC when connected? Have you tried swapping the CAT5 cable? Have you tried switching to a different port on the router?
May 3, 2006 9:37:04 PM

I'm unsure if there are correct drivers installed for the NIC - I assumed that if the right drivers were installed to connect to the internet using a Cable connection, then a DSL should just follow suit.

When the ethernet cable is connected to the router, it blinks furiously acknowledging that there is something. But what's strange is that it does that even if the computer is off. If we pull the CAT6 out of the back of the computer, the lights stop blinking on the router (even if the computer's off).

We have tried swapping the cabling with different ones and they all do the same thing.

I haven't tried switching to a different port on the router, so I'll give that a go.

Thanks for all your help! I'll try what you suggested.
May 3, 2006 10:49:47 PM

Is it possible that since it's an older router that might be a problem? We tried switching places to put the CAT6 in the router but it didn't do anything.
May 3, 2006 11:59:52 PM

A couple of things to check.

Are you getting connection info for the port? (IP, sub, DNS)

Is a firewall included on the MB? (disable)

Did you install software firewall? (Included with some suites)

Are you runing MAC filtering or other authenication on the router?
May 4, 2006 1:24:26 AM

I thought I'd lay out the details that NoHitHair is discussing. He built up a pair of computers and brought them over. Other than the networking, they seem to work okay.

Our network is based on a D-Link DI-713P router. We've been using this router for about 5 years or so. It has been used in conjunction with a cable modem, but when we moved here 3 years ago cable wasn't available and we've since been using it with Verizon DSL. No problems in using the router with either a cable modem or a DSL modem, so far as I'm aware.

The router includes both wireless and wired links. We've used both in the past, but we are currently only hard-linking a network printer. The other computers here are wireless to the router. We have Win2000Pro, Win98SE, and WinXPHome systems all using this router. As well as the Sharp network laser printer. All of this works without a problem right now.

Whenever we've needed to use one of the hard links to the router, we've had no problems. For example, when the Sharp printer was bought a few months back, I simply used an older cable that I'd fished through the walls and used with a computer some time ago. Hooked it to the printer and there were no problems. Worked right away.

All of this stuff has been working together for years here.

Enter a new computer some days ago. It has two RJ-45 connectors on the back, but I've focused on using the one that NoHitHair told me he'd used with his own network before. I built my own cable (I have professional tools for the purpose) out of CAT6 cable and two RJ-45 connectors from Fry's. NoHitHair bought the bag of connectors and I cannot speak for their quality, but I've no reason to believe that they cannot be used at 10/100 rates. I wired up the cable because I didn't have any commercial ones long enough. However, when that cable didn't appear to be working I also moved the computer up next to the router and used three different commercial cables I happened to have. All of them exhibit the same behaviors, which I will now describe. But the key here is that I don't have any reason right now to believe that the one I wired up is bad, but in any case the commercial cables didn't help and showed the same effects.

Our D-Link has LED pairs that indicate traffic on the hard links. Our printer, for example, shows one light lit normally (when not being spooled to.) When physically connecting this problematic computer to the D-Link, the LEDs blink in short bursts (both of them.) When I pull the cable out, the lights show no activity. When I move the cable from one hard link to the next one on the D-Link, the short bursts follow the cable around. (These bursts are a few tenths of a second long followed by almost a second when they are off. This repeats.)

When I shut down the computer and turn it off, the LED blinking process continues unabated, though. This seems odd to me. I then pulled the cable out from the PC's RJ-45 connector and the lights stop blinking on the D-Link router. So the lights blink when the cable is connected to the computer system, regardless of whether or not the computer is powered up. I don't know why. I would imagine that it could be a grounding thing, but the D-Link is powered by a wall-wart -- which means it is isolated by a transformer. It is hard to imagine that ground currents are a problem, then.

I cannot even use the new computer with the D-Link's own IP number, 192.168.0.1. No DNS required for this. Normally, the D-Link router serves up a nice login page with this IP. Even if the Verizon modem isn't connected up, I can still talk to the D-Link router. But this new computer won't even achieve that much. And the software driver reports that there is no cable attached, at all.

Which gets me to the drivers. I've not changed them and NoHitHair says he used them earlier with success. And the drivers report that the hardware is working and so are they.

So it appears that we have a computer system that NoHitHair was able to use with success on a cable-based network before bring it over here. We have a DSL modem and router that we've been using without problem for years. We cannot connect the two. Yet this is the first time I've ever experienced being unable to even talk to the D-Link's IP, assuming that cables and network cards were up and running. But I know from NoHitHair's assurances that it worked elsewhere that the network connector should have good hardware behind it and that the same drivers were working elsewhere.

I've tried four different network cables, only one of them I made myself.

Which is very confusing indeed.

There is firewall software that NoHitHair used before. I turned it off without gaining any success at talking to the D-Link router.

I have another, newer D-Link router that has been sitting in a box for a while. I'm a bit loathe to use it because I'm not sure what I may need to do in configuring it for the Verizon DSL. In the early days a few years ago when I was setting up the old D-Link from my old home to my new one with Verizon, I spent some time on the phone with Verizon getting the kinks worked out and I'm not looking forward to another bout on the phone with Verizon, should there be some new password issue that I have long since forgotten about and yet need to inform the new D-Link box about. On the other hand, I'll do it if need be.

I also have a SOHO Hub. Unusued as yet.

Well, that's everything. Oh, except that the D-Link router I'm currently using is wide-open. There are no MAC numbers or number ranges that are blocked or filtered on it. There is no authentication required.

One thing that crosses my mind is that there _is_ a NETWORK name for the D-Link router. This name is NOT the default name. As far as my experience goes, this has only affected the wireless links and not the wired ones, though. So I don't think this is something hindering me with the hard wired link. But it is a detail that I already know I must get right with the wireless links or else nothing happens.

That's my brain dump.
May 4, 2006 3:04:43 AM

That is more info than I needed.

You did not answer the port info. So I assume NO IP, sub, wan or dns. Lights blinking do not qualify for working if no info is recorded in the port info.

Which says the nic card is not working. Look at your device manager, and see if it is showing any error. Try the other port.

Try a static setup and see if it will allow connection.
May 4, 2006 4:36:36 AM

I didn't include the port info because I'm not sure what that is. Under Win98SE, I'd run something called WINIPCFG and that would show a fair amount of useful stuff -- including, if memory serves, the DNS and adapter MAC and DHCP. However, that program doesn't appear to exist under NT 5.1 (WinXP). Is there an equivalent I'm not aware of here? Is that the kind of port info you are looking for?

Regarding the drivers themselves, I had already popped over to the HARDWARE tab, selected DEVICE MANAGER, and noted the network adapters section. I'm informed that the hardware is working and the driver is enabled. It reports no problems. I can (and did, just for fun) disable it. I see the little 'x' appear, as I'd expect. Then I re-enabled it. The 'x' went away. Said it was working fine, once again, when re-enabled.

I suppose I could get a magnifier and see if there is any damage to the RJ-45 connector jack in the system. It's possible something is awry there.

By the way, there is a 2nd RJ-45 and the device manager shows that its driver is disabled. I think it is reported as being part of a different hardware block -- a multimedia thing (I could look both it and the original one up, if that helps.) I tried enabling that driver, too. It also enabled just fine and reported that the hardware and driver were working. I then tried plugging the cable into either of these with the same results -- no network, the drivers telling me that the "cable is disconnected," and no ability to even talk to the D-Link directly. I have alternately disabled one, the other, enabled both, disabled both. No useful effect at any time. I returned things back to the way they were when the machine arrived and that is how it is now -- one driver enabled, the other disabled.

I am positive about which of the external plugs NoHitHair had been using, because when the machine was delivered the thin metal cover over the various plugs included a metal finger that covered over the hole for one of the jacks -- the one that NoHitHair couldn't possibly have been using. So I've focused primarily on the one that NoHitHair must have been using (and tells me he was using, too.) However, I did remove the obstruction so that I could test it.

One thought -- my D-Link is 10/100. I think I'm informed that the boards in this machine are 10/100/1000. That could be a loading difference, I suppose. (I'm thinking here about the toroids or inductors used just prior to the PHY's IC.) It doesn't seem sensible to me that a 10/100/1000 might not be backward compatible with a 10/100, but I have to call it out because of my ignorance on this. Just in case.
May 4, 2006 2:02:11 PM

the 10/100/1000 is backward compatable, so thats not the problem.

if you get to your network connections and rt click on the local area connection, select status, support then details will give you the vitals.

If its not picking up a connection. Make sure the router is NOT DOING ANY MAC FILTERING. Also check the rules.

Record any settings in your router that you will need for connecting to your isp. Some are tied to a mac address, so see if you have a cloned mac. Then reset the router back to factory settings. Do your setup. Lan IP, password, and any connection info required to conect to your ISP.

Then see what happens. I think something is blocking your port. Internal Firewall. Check you BIOS settings see if one exist, if so kill it.
May 4, 2006 4:07:30 PM

Let me start out this time by saying thanks for the thoughtful consideration. I do appreciate it, a lot.

Quote:
the 10/100/1000 is backward compatable, so thats not the problem.
Understood. It was a long shot, anyway.

Quote:
if you get to your network connections and rt click on the local area connection, select status, support then details will give you the vitals.
Okay. That symbol in the tray shows an 'x', so I was almost certain what I'd see there before I even started looking. And sure enough, that's what I saw: "network cable unplugged." The status entry in the dialog is grayed out, as well. So I can't even select it.

Quote:
If its not picking up a connection. Make sure the router is NOT DOING ANY MAC FILTERING. Also check the rules.
The router is not doing any MAC filtering. The "Access Control" panel is empty and the "MAC Address Control" is likewise empty. I can also examine the DHCP clients and this system does not show up on the list.

Quote:
Record any settings in your router that you will need for connecting to your isp. Some are tied to a mac address, so see if you have a cloned mac. Then reset the router back to factory settings. Do your setup. Lan IP, password, and any connection info required to conect to your ISP.
This one will take me more time because I want to be absolutely sure I don't break what is already working for me. So the timing of this experiment will have to be later on, I think. Another option I might prefer here is to use the other router I have. It is new, never has been used before, still in its box. So using the factory defaults would be much less worrying for me. I could set aside my existing box and just plug it back in after the experiment without worrying about upsetting anything because I failed to copy some important detail. If that sounds like it would test what you are considering, to you.

Quote:
Then see what happens. I think something is blocking your port. Internal Firewall. Check you BIOS settings see if one exist, if so kill it.
Well, I hadn't considered the possibility of the BIOS interfering -- I figured that since WinXP is a plug and play O/S, that it would reconfigure pretty much everything no matter what the BIOS did before. But you could be right. Worth some looking at. And if there is a firewall or some other disabling feature for the network in the BIOS, I'll see about stopping it.
May 4, 2006 5:19:07 PM

You will need to concentrate on getting the port working. I suspect a firewall may be blocking it. Since it is not getting the IP info.

But using another router is a good idea. Most users don't have spares.

Do you know what MB is in your computer?

May use CPU-z to get info.
May 4, 2006 7:26:54 PM

Quote:
You will need to concentrate on getting the port working. I suspect a firewall may be blocking it. Since it is not getting the IP info.
I'm thinking that must be right, too. I have _never_ used a firewall before and NoHitHair installed one on this computer before bringing it over here. So this is a completely new experience for me. However, I did make a small attempt at closing down the firewall and rebooting. But it is quite possible that since this is a new experience and a new firewall that I know nothing about either specifically or generally, that I may have missed some detail in turning it off and didn't really do so.

Quote:
But using another router is a good idea. Most users don't have spares.
I just happened to be lucky in this case, I suppose. I can test it easily.

Quote:
Do you know what MB is in your computer?
A ridiculous amount - 1Gb. I remember the days when I built two 4k dynamic RAM cards and considered that combined 8kbyte to be high cotton. I could fit in a complete BASIC interpreter along with a decent amount of application code in that vast space. I also wrote a complete timeshared operating system with support for 32 users and both BASIC and assembly coding, all of it running in 16kbyte. Days have changed.

Quote:
May use CPU-z to get info.
Thanks. I'll look it up.

Jon
May 4, 2006 9:20:59 PM

Okay.

(1) I removed the DI-713P router and powered it off. I then set up the DI-524 router and hooked the various cables over to it and powered it up.

(2) The system I've been having trouble with immediately said that it had a connection. The 'x' disappeared.

(3) I then attempted to connect to 192.168.0.1, successfully. I was presented with a logon page. I did so and was able to start a 'wizard' to begin entering connection info.

(4) After entering everything and rebooting the router, I still couldn't get an IP from Verizon.

(5) I shut down the firewall software on the computer again (yes, it started up.) I didn't think it would be the problem, but shut it down anyway.

(6) I unchecked the dynamic IP choice and checked off the PPPoE option on the new router and tried that and entered the host name I took from the old router. Reboot, no dice.

(7) I went back to the dynamic IP, entered the host name there. Reboot. No dice. All this still with the firewall software shut off.

(8) So I fired up the old router and read out the MAC address from it. I then put back the new router and told it to use that MAC address. Reboot. Got an IP!!

(9) System looking good, so tried something that would need a DNS. Worked fine. I was able to get out onto the internet with the new router.

(10) Ran around to the other systems and they all seem to be working just fine. In fact, I'm typing this on one of the other PCs.

I still haven't fired up the firewall software on that machine to see if things will continue to work. But since the new router includes a firewall and seems easier for me, I may just use that one -- if at all. It will also then apply to all the systems we have around here (6).

...

I have NO IDEA why the old router wouldn't connect up with the hard link. I have other computers that work just fine with it and a network printer, too. None of them have any difficulties.

Yet I cannot escape the fact that the new router appears to work just fine.

Oh, well.
May 4, 2006 10:16:14 PM

Thats good news.

MB = motherboard

If you activate the the NAT or SPI firewall in the router, the mb is not required. The nat are good enough for normal use. But if you get infected with a virus or spyware/adware it will use the free connection. Just make sure your router does not respond to ping. That way they sniffers will not find you. If this was a notebook I would recommend keeping it loaded.

I ran a test a couple of years ago. With both active. After 9 months with both on, There was not a single entry in the Software log. So I unstalled the software firewall. Made the computer run a little faster.

As for connection problem. Most PPoE are tied to the MAC Address of the computer used to set the service up, and the User/PW.
!