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Baffling Internet Connectivity Problem

 
 
Dave Hardenbrook
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      10-06-2007
I'm having a problem that has me stumped:

I built a custom Windows XP Home system for a home user a few weeks ago.
She has dial-up Internet using an external modem (holdover from her old
system) connected to the 9-pin COM1 port. Her ISP is AT&T.

Ever since I set the system up, she's had intermittent connectivity
problems. She can always dial in to her ISP okay, but once online, she
has periods -- sometimes days on end -- where no web pages will come up,
either on IE or Firefox. If I do an NSLOOKUP on random web pages during
these "outages", I get errors saying the DNS server timed out, but when
I ping the DNS servers directly, they seem to be okay.

Her ISP has been AT&T, but she tried switching to PeoplePC -- Same
problem: Sometimes the web pages are reachable, sometimes not. But she
can always dial-in and get a connection, so that rules out the modem --
Or does it?

I suggested testing her modem and phone line, but she insists that's not
the problem because she gets great reception when she calls someone on
the phone, and besides she can always dial-in to her ISP, as I said.
It's just that once dialed in, no Internet resources are reachable, as
if the DNS servers were all on vacation.

If it was just the ISP, I might think they were having "issues" they
won't admit to (she's spent hours on the phone with their unhelpful tech
support). But PeoplePC shows the exact same symptoms. And I don't know
what settings in Windows might be at fault, since the problem is
intermittent. BTW, she also tried disabling and even uninstalling her
virus/firewall suite (McAfee), but it made no difference.

I'm really stuck -- I don't know how to proceed. Any suggestions?

Dave
 
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middle_class_warrior
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      10-06-2007
Dave Hardenbrook wrote:
> I'm having a problem that has me stumped:
>
> I built a custom Windows XP Home system for a home user a few weeks ago.
> She has dial-up Internet using an external modem (holdover from her old
> system) connected to the 9-pin COM1 port. Her ISP is AT&T.
>
> Ever since I set the system up, she's had intermittent connectivity
> problems. She can always dial in to her ISP okay, but once online, she
> has periods -- sometimes days on end -- where no web pages will come up,
> either on IE or Firefox. If I do an NSLOOKUP on random web pages during
> these "outages", I get errors saying the DNS server timed out, but when
> I ping the DNS servers directly, they seem to be okay.
>
> Her ISP has been AT&T, but she tried switching to PeoplePC -- Same
> problem: Sometimes the web pages are reachable, sometimes not. But she
> can always dial-in and get a connection, so that rules out the modem --
> Or does it?
>
> I suggested testing her modem and phone line, but she insists that's not
> the problem because she gets great reception when she calls someone on
> the phone, and besides she can always dial-in to her ISP, as I said.
> It's just that once dialed in, no Internet resources are reachable, as
> if the DNS servers were all on vacation.
>
> If it was just the ISP, I might think they were having "issues" they
> won't admit to (she's spent hours on the phone with their unhelpful tech
> support). But PeoplePC shows the exact same symptoms. And I don't know
> what settings in Windows might be at fault, since the problem is
> intermittent. BTW, she also tried disabling and even uninstalling her
> virus/firewall suite (McAfee), but it made no difference.
>
> I'm really stuck -- I don't know how to proceed. Any suggestions?
>
> Dave


Try another modem preferably with a USB port. It could also be the phone
line.
 
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Patty
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-06-2007
On Fri, 5 Oct 2007 18:40:30 -0700, Dave Hardenbrook wrote:

> I suggested testing her modem and phone line, but she insists that's not
> the problem because she gets great reception when she calls someone on
> the phone, and besides she can always dial-in to her ISP, as I said.
> It's just that once dialed in, no Internet resources are reachable, as
> if the DNS servers were all on vacation.


Just because she can talk with no problems on the phone line, it doesn't
mean there's not "noise" there that can be affecting the digital signals.
Analog voice signals and digital internet signals are not the same. Also,
if the modem has intermittent problems with converting analog to digital
and vice-versa, it could also be problematic. I agree with
middle_class_warrier, try a different modem, preferably a newer one, and
see if she still has the same problems. Btw, internal modem cards are so
cheap, I don't know why you skimped on that to use an old external modem
when building her new system.

Patty
 
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Mister
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-07-2007
On Fri, 5 Oct 2007 18:40:30 -0700, Dave Hardenbrook
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>I'm having a problem that has me stumped:
>
>I built a custom Windows XP Home system for a home user a few weeks ago.
>She has dial-up Internet using an external modem (holdover from her old
>system) connected to the 9-pin COM1 port. Her ISP is AT&T.
>
>Ever since I set the system up, she's had intermittent connectivity
>problems. She can always dial in to her ISP okay, but once online, she
>has periods -- sometimes days on end -- where no web pages will come up,
>either on IE or Firefox. If I do an NSLOOKUP on random web pages during
>these "outages", I get errors saying the DNS server timed out, but when
>I ping the DNS servers directly, they seem to be okay.
>
>Her ISP has been AT&T, but she tried switching to PeoplePC -- Same
>problem: Sometimes the web pages are reachable, sometimes not. But she
>can always dial-in and get a connection, so that rules out the modem --
>Or does it?
>
>I suggested testing her modem and phone line, but she insists that's not
>the problem because she gets great reception when she calls someone on
>the phone, and besides she can always dial-in to her ISP, as I said.
>It's just that once dialed in, no Internet resources are reachable, as
>if the DNS servers were all on vacation.
>
>If it was just the ISP, I might think they were having "issues" they
>won't admit to (she's spent hours on the phone with their unhelpful tech
>support). But PeoplePC shows the exact same symptoms. And I don't know
>what settings in Windows might be at fault, since the problem is
>intermittent. BTW, she also tried disabling and even uninstalling her
>virus/firewall suite (McAfee), but it made no difference.
>
>I'm really stuck -- I don't know how to proceed. Any suggestions?
>
>Dave



I just replaced a modem that would connect but do nothing else. Now
the PC works works fine with the new modem. And get this, they are
even using AOhelL.

 
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Dave Hardenbrook
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-08-2007
In article <19j8t8zh0ofq8.o7tktyqqp5d0$(E-Mail Removed)>,
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) says...
> Btw, internal modem cards are so
> cheap, I don't know why you skimped on that to use an old external modem
> when building her new system.


It was her money -- She didn't want to spend money to replace any part
of her old system that *seemingly* worked okay.

Dave

 
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Patty
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-09-2007
On Mon, 8 Oct 2007 09:17:21 -0700, Dave Hardenbrook wrote:

> In article <19j8t8zh0ofq8.o7tktyqqp5d0$(E-Mail Removed)>,
> (E-Mail Removed) says...
>> Btw, internal modem cards are so
>> cheap, I don't know why you skimped on that to use an old external modem
>> when building her new system.

>
> It was her money -- She didn't want to spend money to replace any part
> of her old system that *seemingly* worked okay.
>
> Dave


Well, she may have wasted your time and her money, all in all, since she
now has a system that does not work in getting her on the internet. A new
internal modem costs anywhere from $4 to $10, a paltry sum. So, she saved
a couple bucks and now can't get her internet to work. Tsk, tsk. Guess
she got what she paid for, huh?

Patty
 
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Zac
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-09-2007
Have you tried using the "museum piece" modem on another machine? Process
of elimination - if it works, then the problem is on her machine (unless its
the COM1 port configuration, and you set it up the same way on both
machines), if not, try resetting the modem and configuring from scratch, or
replacing it with the $8 job from the computer fair or compusa.

Zac

"Dave Hardenbrook" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) k.net...
> I'm having a problem that has me stumped:
>
> I built a custom Windows XP Home system for a home user a few weeks ago.
> She has dial-up Internet using an external modem (holdover from her old
> system) connected to the 9-pin COM1 port. Her ISP is AT&T.
>
> Ever since I set the system up, she's had intermittent connectivity
> problems. She can always dial in to her ISP okay, but once online, she
> has periods -- sometimes days on end -- where no web pages will come up,
> either on IE or Firefox. If I do an NSLOOKUP on random web pages during
> these "outages", I get errors saying the DNS server timed out, but when
> I ping the DNS servers directly, they seem to be okay.
>
> Her ISP has been AT&T, but she tried switching to PeoplePC -- Same
> problem: Sometimes the web pages are reachable, sometimes not. But she
> can always dial-in and get a connection, so that rules out the modem --
> Or does it?
>
> I suggested testing her modem and phone line, but she insists that's not
> the problem because she gets great reception when she calls someone on
> the phone, and besides she can always dial-in to her ISP, as I said.
> It's just that once dialed in, no Internet resources are reachable, as
> if the DNS servers were all on vacation.
>
> If it was just the ISP, I might think they were having "issues" they
> won't admit to (she's spent hours on the phone with their unhelpful tech
> support). But PeoplePC shows the exact same symptoms. And I don't know
> what settings in Windows might be at fault, since the problem is
> intermittent. BTW, she also tried disabling and even uninstalling her
> virus/firewall suite (McAfee), but it made no difference.
>
> I'm really stuck -- I don't know how to proceed. Any suggestions?
>
> Dave
>



 
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Tony
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-19-2007

>I suggested testing her modem and phone line, but she insists that's not
>the problem because she gets great reception when she calls someone on
>the phone, and besides she can always dial-in to her ISP, as I said.
>It's just that once dialed in, no Internet resources are reachable, as
>if the DNS servers were all on vacation.


That is a ridiculous statement. It holds as much water as the woman telling the auto mechanic that
the battery is perfect (even though her car does not start in the mornings) because she bought a new
one last week. You are the professional. She knows nothing. You need to try a different modem.
Internet is far more sensitive to line noise than a conversation. If it gets too noisy, the
connection drops. When talking, you can keep talking and maybe the noise is there and does not cause
it to disconnect.

Install a PCI modem and it will probably work. It's a $10 solution. I had a woman like this once and
as soon as I changed the modem, all was fine.

Tony

 
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