Any Internet connection troubleshooting software recomendations?

Edit: Crap I screwed up the title. Connectin should be connection, of course.

Yeah, I know, I ask a lot of networking questions.

Anyway, over the years my wife and I have had problems with our Internet connection. A couple of times it was on the ISP’s end and they fixed it. The last time it was because I had a crapy older modem and our problems disappeared for a while after I bought a new one.

Now we’re having minor problems again. As stated in a GQ thread I thought it might be our IP’s DNS servers but using new addresses hasn’t eliminated the problem. And a few nights ago when I chatted with a tech support person they couldn’t find anything wrong on the line.

We lose our Internet for only a minute or two and then get it back. In order for tech support to work I’d have to call them while the Internet connection is down, and most of the time we don’t know it’s down until I either notice that Web pages are loading very slowly, or not at all, or my wife says she got dropped from Second Life.

So, is there any monitoring software for Windows that, when we have our temporary Internet loss, will be able to help me determine what the problem is, or at the very least, if the problem is on my end or the ISP’s?


Open a dos box (command line) and do the following command:


That will display each step the request goes through to get to a Google server, and how long each step takes. If it fails to get past a certain point it should be clear where. You can paste the output in here if you need help interpreting it; it’d be an idea to get such a trace when things are OK, as a baseline to compare a problematic one to.

Actually, I already thought of that a couple days ago and I have a CMD box open ready to do just that, but I’m not at my computer 24/7 and the few times I’ve started to notice something all I get is that there’s a pause, but the trace always goes through.

I need something that will be active when the problem occurs instead of relying on me to catch it.

Have you checked the event logs?

If not, right click on my computer, choose mange then open up event viewer. Check system, application and Internet Explorer for the times that you lose connection. If the logs are long you can right click on each log and choose clear all events (say yes to save them somewhere like your desktop). Of course, if you clear the events you’ll have to wait until it happens again.

To make it easier to filter you can right click on each event log, choose properties then click on the Filter tab. Uncheck everything except for warning and error.

If you see stuff in there you can either google for the error or post it here and I will check it out.

How are you connected? Computer -> (wireless) router -> cable modem? Dial up?


34 Instances of DNS client events.

Name resolution for the name (various URLs named) timed out after none of the configured DNS servers responded.

But I hardly use IE and use Firefox 99% of the time. I’ll check my wife’s computer later and see what she has.

Oh, and even though I have gotten DNS errors from the Windows log and Modem log, I’m not entirely convinced that that’s the source of the problem. I think it’s a symptom.

And almost forgot. I have…well, actually 3 computers connected via Ethernet cable to a DSL modem/router combo plugged into a phone jack.

And what DNS server(s) are you using? But at this stage it seems to me fairly clearly an ISP issue.

That’s just it, I’ve put in a few different DNS servers.

Also, it may be an ISP issue, but a couple of days ago I got to thinking. The power to some of the outlets fluctuates sometimes. There are a number of reasons, but I wondered if power to the modem was fluctuating and screwing it up, so today I bought a fairly inexpensive UPS and am giving it a try.

If we still have problems then I’ll be confident that I have done everything at my end and it’s a problem that my ISP will need to fix.

Probably not your problem, but…

I’d been having internet connection drops for months. Sometimes it would go down for a few seconds, minutes, sometimes 2-4 hours. I had Brighthouse on the phone, in my house, etc. I was sure there was a problem with the line signal, but of course they first said it had to be my computer or my router. Then it must be the cable modem. Then it must be a splitter. All have been replaced. Still, the problem keeps getting worse and worse.

This afternoon another tech came out and I insisted he check the line and not focus on the modem, router, splitter, etc. Turned out there’s an external junction box that gets hit by the neighbors sprinklers every other night. It’s reclaimed water, which is nasty, minerally stuff. It’s corroded as all get out. So they replaced it and voila, no more problems.

I’ll keep this in mind, thanks.

Click on Start then go run. Type in CMD.

at the dos prompt type in

ipconfig /all

That will list your DNS servers. When this occurs check what is listed for DNS.

Then type in

ping IP

Where IP == the DNS address.

If it failed (destination host unreachable) then that is your problem. It cannot find the DNS server. If the address starts out 192.168.x.x then it is your router. If it an address that starts out with a non 192.168. then it is probably your service provider.

Also you can PM me the event log messages and I can take a look.

Side note, most ISPs run DHCP and automagically obtain DNS. I would be surprised if yours assigned static IPs and DNS.

To check, go to start, settings, control panel and double click on network connections. Highlight your Local Area Connection, right click on it and choose properties. Find Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), highlight it and choose properties. When that comes up does it have obtain IP automatically and obtain DNS automatically? If not, try setting the obtain DNS automatically (note the IP before you change this).

Thank you for the information you provided but just to let you know, four months ago I graduated with an Associate’s degree in Networking and I have my CCNA certification, so I’m familiar with networking concepts. Most of the questions I’m asking are because in my classes we focused on Cisco business equipment and working with corporate type networks and didn’t really go into consumer grade equipment or home Internet connections

Anyway, I am convinced that I’ve done everything on my end and that it’s a problem my ISP has to to fix.

My only problem is I’ll have to call when we’re experiencing trouble because it only lasts a minute or two, and if I call when things are fine then they won’t find a problem. I know because I chatted on-line with a tech support person who couldn’t find anything wrong. And when I notice a slowdown I tracert to (Google) and it goes through. Sure, the milliseconds are usually over 1500, but it still goes through.

Looks like I’m babbling, so I’ll just leave you with this. Here are three line tests I ran from a web site dslreports.

The first was when I was experiencing a problem Test 1

The other two from when things are running OK: Test 2 Test 3

Sorry, my default assumption is that the person I am giving advice to doesn’t know much about computers, it is nothing personal. I do this because I’ve been working in I.T. for 15 years and have found that most people don’t know what the hell a trace route is. Or DHCP. Or DNS. If you are lucky they might find the start button. :eek:

It appears that something between Level3 and Qwest may be having a problem. The problem is that, as you probably know, you can block ICMP which shows as a timeout on the trace.

To find out if the site that is timing out is the issue, try googling for TCP Traceroute and running that. It’ll send TCP packets instead of UDP/ICMP.

On the chart where it wasn’t working your addresses worst ping time is awfully high. How exactly is your connection set up? From the traces it appears to be your modem but it would be good to know what is between the modem and your computer.

Side note, if you are a Cisco guy you would absolutely love the network where I work. It is brilliant. We’ve got the most complex network in Vegas. We’ve got 24 Vlans for the back of house stuff. The slot floor is port-channeled and has a crap load of DHCP scopes for the machines (4000+). Though configuring all the switches and the 6509s for the slot floor took a damned long time*.

I haven’t gotten around to my CCNA yet. Hope to finally take the tests this spring.


*We recently upgraded the slot floor to Cisco, which used to run serial from the games to a thing called a DPU, which aggregated the data and sent to a server via a bunch of serial connections. As far as I know we are the first ones to do this. It was a hell of a lot of work. Each slot bank has a 2950 plus all the back end Cisco config. Oh, and it was damned expensive.

Thanks, I’ll give TCP Traceroute a try. I think I’ve said this before, but I’m using an Actiontec GT724R modem/router combo and the computers attached to it are attached via Ethernet cables.

It’s funny, because even though Cisco has a huge market share in the US, the college that was offering the Cisco Accademy moved away from Cisco because they’re so expensive. And somebody I talked to who’s working on a wireless ISP company only has two Cisco devices and plans to grow using equipment from other vendors. But I guess a casino has more than enough money to pay Cisco’s prices.

Cisco is costly but they are damned reliable. And some of the functionality that Cisco has you cannot get with other vendors. Our shop is 24 x 7 and has to be up all the time so we go with the most reliable.


Well, that was frustrating. My wife gets fed up with the constant connectivity losses, so she calls customer support. After a few minutes she can’t hold the phone any more (she’s disabled) so she gives it to me.

The solution, power cycle the modem, upgrade the firmware and power cycle again. If I have more problems go to their (QWest) Internet Help home page and follow the instructions. “What if the problem isn’t on my end? What if it’s on your end?” I ask. “Just go through the steps we went through and that will fix it.” :rolleyes:

Anyway, if it happens again tonight, or tomorrow night I’m going to demand somebody come out here and check the lines. And frankly, if updating the firmware fixed the problem I’ll be very surprised.

And to wrap things up, after losing our Internet connection AGAIN, I finally wrote an E-mail demanding that somebody come out and got this in reply:

I understand you have a question regarding your DSL connection. I have thoroughly reviewed your DSL circuit and find it to be degraded and below company standards. This problem is not related to your modem and I apologize that this was misdiagnosed. I have made appropriate changes to your connection to resolve this problem. You should notice significant improvements to your signal and quality within 24 hours of the receipt of this email. You may need to power cycle your modem for these changes to take effect.

About freaking time.

Glad they did something but…

Sounds to me like all they have done is changed your connection profile, trading data rate for reliability. I would check your throughput to ensure that it has not dropped too significantly.


The rest of the E-mail, which I didn’t post, gave me “some steps you can follow to resolve general issues that may arise.” One of them is using QWests speed test. Guess I’ll give it a quick look-see…

Disconnected the other computers…run test…
1.336 Download
.682 Upload

A little slower than my 1.5/.896 potential, but a little variation is to be expected.