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Intermittent connection issues on 3 seperate computers

Last response: in Networking
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October 6, 2008 3:15:58 PM

At my workplace, I have a broadband DSL connection devoted to 3 different computers. One is a Linux CentOS 5 machine, and the other 2 are Windows XP. The problem I am having is extremely strange, so bear with me..

I will be on a website, speedguide.net for example, on one of the XP boxes. Then out of nowhere, with no apparent reason, speedguide.net will stop working for me. I can open other IE/Firefox/Opera windows and navigate to other sites, but speedguide.net will not work. If I walk to either of the other 2 computers, speedguide.net WILL work. This intermittent loss of connection happens on *all 3 machines* too. As I'm typing this on the Linux machine, the yahoo.com main page wont load in Firefox.

The solution on the XP machines is to right click the Network Connections icon in the system tray and click "Repair Connection." After it goes through and does whatever it does, everything works for a while. There is no apparent timing to the problem, it could happen once in a day or 5 times in an hour. Theres no pattern to the websites that wont come through, and programs like MSN Messenger have never had this problem on those machines, only websites. It happens using all 3 browsers: IE, Firefox 3, and Opera 9.x.

As far as hardware goes, all 3 machines are plugged into the wall at different places, and all 3 connections lead straight to a switch, which is plugged directly into the DSL modem.

Obviously its a hardware problem, happening on 3 different computers and across operating systems, but the IT guy says no, it could still be a software bug. (He lives a few states away so I'm stuck waiting for him to come fix this for a while) I'm not sure how much I believe that though, so if anyone has any insight on this, I would appreciate immensely. What exactly does Windows XP SP2 do when I click on "Repair Connection" anyways? Thanks for any help :) 
October 6, 2008 11:48:01 PM

It pretty much clears DNS entries using ipconfig /flushdns and ipconfig /registerdns commands, it releases and renews it's IP address from DHCP server (that usually resides on router at home networks).

You would have to perform different tests like tracert or ping to see where the connection fails. It may be your router (modem) or something else as well - it is really hard to say. Of course all 3 computer's having the same problem must point to other that pc, os related issue (if it doesn't you should play lotto) ;) 

There is not much you can do with very little knowledge on troubleshooting and walking you through it could be a nightmare.
October 7, 2008 4:04:55 AM

Okay, so it's happening on 3 different sets of hardware running different operating systems... the probability of a HW, OS, or driver problem is not great.

I'd start by focusing my investigation on the switch/router, do you have another unit you can borrow for a test? Is there a Firmware upgrade available for the router? I've had some routers screw up connections before.

Next I'd look into how you've configured your end stations. Is there a basic SW build you can use to verify there isn't some glitch in the firewall or some common SW function that resides on the computers?
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