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Thread: Random, inexplicable network errors

  1. #1
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    Default Random, inexplicable network errors

    I am having constant network problems. I’ve tried to iron them out but to no avail. Therefore, I’m basically posting this on every computer/tech site I frequent in the hopes that someone out there can tell me how to fix this extremely perturbing problem.

    I have a small network consisting of the following:
    - Linksys WRT54G rev. 1 w/DD-WRT firmware preinstalled
    - One desktop hardwired into the router (nForce4 A8N32-SLI using the Marvell Adapter)
    - Anywhere from one (usually) to three (maximum) laptops connected via Wireless-G
    - One university RJ-45 port

    Now, other students in other dorms have similar setups and none experience this problem. I can only describe the symptoms as I have no idea what the problem is. It happens to my desktop and laptop, anywhere on the University’s network (in my dorm, in the music building where I work, in the science building, in the library etc).

    I’m browsing the internet minding my own business when suddenly I get an “Unable to connect” message from Firefox. There’s no indication that anything has gone “wrong,” indeed I am staring at said message on my desktop while my laptop (connected to the same router) has no problems accessing the internet. These messages are very random, but I usually see it at least twice a day in various places at various times. It doesn’t matter what sites I’m browsing, it can be Digg, Maximum PC, [H]ardForum, LegitReviews, Google News, the Economist, my University’s portal…

    The only solution that I’ve found to work 100% of the time is to reboot the computer in question if I absolutely MUST have internet access on that machine. However, this is cumbersome and annoying.

    Solutions I’ve Tried (NONE OF THEM WORK, so please for the love of all that’s holy do not suggest “try X again, just to be sure… if “X” is a solution that I’ve listed as NOT working!)
    1. Reboot the router (when in dorm room)
    2. Wait (usually if I wait at least twenty minutes my internet mysteriously starts working again)
    3. Update drivers on the machines in question (no dice)
    4. Renew IPs (doesn’t work, regardless of router or not, these “outages” always occur when ipconfig /all shows a valid DHCP lease)
    5. Powercycle the offending network adapter by “disabling” it in the Device Manager, and then enabling it again
    6. Reinstalling the router (just a pain for no gain)
    7. Flush DNS Cache (don’t know what that has to do with anything but I tried it anyway)
    8. Log off and log back on
    9. Change MAC addresses via a MAC spoofer (MacMakeUp)
    10. Router firmware is up-to-date, so it cannot be updated
    11. Check Windows Update (nothing found relevant to my problem)
    12. Disabling IPv6 entirely (I have Windows Vista on my computers)
    13. Terminate and restart Explorer.exe
    14. Use built-in Network Diagnostics (they always return a “Windows found a problem that cannot be repaired automatically”)

    Just now, my desktop’s internet reinstated itself. What is notable is what happens when I cannot use Firefox (or Internet Explorer for that matter). That is, even though I cannot “access the web,” any downloads (HTTP) or connections to instant messaging services (e.g. AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk, MSN) that are open before the “outage” occurs remain open and working! Further, I can still ping my router (192.168.1.1) during an “outage.” However, the computer that experiencing the “outage” can see, but not transfer files to or from any other computers on the network, but can be accessed BY other computers, e.g. my desktop has an “outage” and cannot communicate with my laptop. The laptop appears when I click the “Network” option in the Start Menu, but double-clicking results in a network error. I can use my laptop to root around in my desktop’s network shares, but the desktop claims the laptop doesn’t exist even though it shows up on the network map.

    Usually, if one machine (desktop or laptop) experiences an “outage,” the other machine can still browse the internet. These “outages” do not seem to be linked between machines.

    Does anyone have any idea what the heck is going on? I know that someone is going to post a solution that will have me saying “IT WORKS” and then a week later it’s going to stop working. Please, whoever you are who may post this “one-week” solution, take no offense, it is just that my networking equipment hates me…
    [Gaming and Folding]
    Opteron 170 :: 4096MB G.Skill DDR500 :: 2x eVGA 7900GTX "Reloaded" SLI :: A8N32-SLI Deluxe :: 150GB Raptor 10k RPM :: 2x250GB WD Caviar RAID0 :: X-Fi XtremeMusic :: NEC 3550A DVD Burner :: BenQ DVD Combodrive (52x32x52) :: 17" ViewSonic VA721 :: Thermaltake Armor Black

    [Schoolwork Laptop]
    Core Duo @ 1.73GHz :: 2GB DDR2 @ 533MHz :: X1300 Mobility HyperMemory :: Intel 945 Chipset :: 60GB 5400RPM SATA :: Integrated Audio :: Combodrive :: 15.4" WXGA

  2. #2
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    Default

    I run into this sometimes with my old Linksys. But you say you've cycled the power on the router and that DOESN'T help? Odd. That usually works for me.

    I have run into this also with my new laptop, which is Vista, and I can't always resolve the problem unless I reboot. What I've found the problem to be is that another network is picked up and lost, after this happens, the original network isn't automatically picked up again. I find what helps me here is to go into my wireless network list and remove all of the networks on the list and then have it re-search. PITA and definitely a Vista problem as I have no problem with XP on the same network.

  3. #3
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    Default

    I see your point about the laptop, but what about the desktop, which has a wire? It can't be getting confused about wireless networks...
    [Gaming and Folding]
    Opteron 170 :: 4096MB G.Skill DDR500 :: 2x eVGA 7900GTX "Reloaded" SLI :: A8N32-SLI Deluxe :: 150GB Raptor 10k RPM :: 2x250GB WD Caviar RAID0 :: X-Fi XtremeMusic :: NEC 3550A DVD Burner :: BenQ DVD Combodrive (52x32x52) :: 17" ViewSonic VA721 :: Thermaltake Armor Black

    [Schoolwork Laptop]
    Core Duo @ 1.73GHz :: 2GB DDR2 @ 533MHz :: X1300 Mobility HyperMemory :: Intel 945 Chipset :: 60GB 5400RPM SATA :: Integrated Audio :: Combodrive :: 15.4" WXGA

  4. #4
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    Default

    No, I guess not. I haven't seen that with wired networks, then again I haven't used Vista on a wired network.

    Any access to another router to see if it's just the router?

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    Default

    No, unfortunately not. However, I will say the laptop seems to have the problem when using the University's wireless. I also found this in the error log around the time the internet went "out" on my desktop:
    Quote Originally Posted by Windows Vista
    TCP/IP has reached the security limit imposed on the number of concurrent TCP connect attempts.
    That mean anything as far as the internet only dropping on one machine?
    [Gaming and Folding]
    Opteron 170 :: 4096MB G.Skill DDR500 :: 2x eVGA 7900GTX "Reloaded" SLI :: A8N32-SLI Deluxe :: 150GB Raptor 10k RPM :: 2x250GB WD Caviar RAID0 :: X-Fi XtremeMusic :: NEC 3550A DVD Burner :: BenQ DVD Combodrive (52x32x52) :: 17" ViewSonic VA721 :: Thermaltake Armor Black

    [Schoolwork Laptop]
    Core Duo @ 1.73GHz :: 2GB DDR2 @ 533MHz :: X1300 Mobility HyperMemory :: Intel 945 Chipset :: 60GB 5400RPM SATA :: Integrated Audio :: Combodrive :: 15.4" WXGA

  6. #6
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    Default

    It shouldn't drop but slow downs will occur and some programs may have to wait. P2P, music/video streams, IM and browsing all together can cause this sort of problem because of connection limits in MS OSes.

    Although not related to the above explanation,it's a good idea is to use static IPs. This will prevent IP collisions.

    As a third, it could be a DNS issue. However you said that you already checked for DHCP and DNS problems.

    Which version of Vista ?

  7. #7
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    Default

    This is mostly on laptops right? Well turn off the power management features on all of your network adapters on every computer. Vista power management kills wireless adapters on most networks.

    Open up the network connections, bring up the properties page for each adapter, bring up the adapter's hardware properties. On one of the pages there should be power management, disable it. I can't be more specific than that since I don't have a vista computer nearby. Note that even setting a laptop to always on will not fix this, it must be done in the hardware page for the laptop.

    The dd-wrt firmware sometimes gets unstable, it can also be an issue. I've been running it for years, and depending on the network conditions (a university network is probably the worst) it can occasionally crap out until it's rebooted. The problem is if you have any cool features turned on, and it's getting hit with incoming packets, perhaps from a worm, it can get bogged down.

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