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Internet Connectivity issues

Last response: in Networking
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June 19, 2008 4:09:06 AM

Ok, this is a weird situation, but bear with me. My landlord decided to offer free internet to everyone in my apartment complex, about 7 units. Sounds great, worked fine for over a year.

In the past 2 months, it's started having weird issues. It will go down, then come back up, go down, come back up. You get the idea. Sometimes you may get no connection for days, then it may work perfectly for a while, then go back down.

Here's the really crazy part. I think he has 1 router set up, and runs 1 cable for each unit from it. Simple enough right? I know people in this complex have routers of their own. I do, my neighbor does, don't know how many more people do. But not much a problem before until the last couple of months.

Again, it will come up for a while, then go down and you can't use it, or you'll be able to get on for a minute or 2, and then it's completely down. The weird part is when it goes down, most of the time I can still log into a dos command prompt, ping a random address like yahoo.com, and get a response. This is quite frustrating. I am fairly certain my own stuff is set correctly. I told my own router not to act as a dhcp server. In fact, I completely unplugged from my own router, and will still many times get this issue. What baffles me is that I can ping out to random web addresses and get sometimes no packet loss, but yet if I open say Firefox or IE, or a mail app, I can get no response from servers through those apps.

Also, it is not just my machine, I am actually a computer tech by trade, and so I carry a Macbook laptop that I use at work, plugged that in, same thing. Can ping many times, but sometimes, just no connection. Also checked DNS issues. Tried assigning my own DNS specs in the router and in my network preferences, doesn't help. The DNS servers I specify by the way are actually for the state in the US where I live, so I know those are going to be fairly reliable.

Anyone got any ideas? I'm thinking maybe the router the guy has is either just not up to this big of a job, or perhaps it's one that when more than one person is trying to surf, it is not able to handle all that traffic at once. I believe it's a Linksys from my quick research. Also, I do not know how true this is, but I've heard the possibility that this same connection is being shared by a couple of other buildings in town. It's a wireless connection of some type that is being brought into the router from what I know of it. Any ideas? I'm about to the point where I'm thinking about just seeing if I can get DSL or something on my own. Just kinda hate to when this is free and it worked great for a long time.
June 19, 2008 4:13:21 AM

Oh, by the way, I'm pretty sure it's not my NIC card. I had problems, not nearly this bad though, previously, and put in a PCI NIC card to try, and seemed to have far less issues until now.

One more note. Sometimes when it is down, if you change a setting on the network preferences, on your own router, could be anything. Sometimes it will start to work for a few minutes, long enough to make you think it's fixed, then you go down again.
June 22, 2008 5:49:41 AM

i highly doubt its something on your end. To be sure you could check with other people using it. Would help tremendously if you had access to the router.
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June 25, 2008 5:39:10 PM

No kidding. Seems to work ok now, though the guy next door claims his doesn't work all the time. But I'm kinda thinking it may have been DNS issues of some kind.
June 25, 2008 9:57:20 PM

Download wireshark, do some taping of your line, this will give you a precise picture of the packets. Router may be losing packets. Wireshark will display which computers are not accepting handshak. 'Well your at it' grab Net Tools Mini and check the dns or alternately any dns resolver.
If you are getten OK with all diagnostics then its possible the router needs replacing or Ethernet card, not enough power for the amount of computers connected with the internet package, poor wiring, groundin. Or could be as simple as packet scheduling needs to be setup
June 25, 2008 10:27:16 PM

I think the guy who put it in place really just tossed it in there and called it good enough. As long as it works I guess. Who knows. It's free though, so can't complain too much I guess.
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