Connection Failure: tracing the problem

At times I have severe problems browsing the web. I click on a link, wait forever, and nothing happens until I finally get a message that there was no response (duh).

Is there any way to tell just where the problem is? It could be that Netscape is locked up; or my modem isn’t working; or I’m getting so much line noise that nothing can get through (a strong possibility, the phone lines here are shitty); or my ISP is overloaded; or the site at the other end isn’t responding.

So how do I track the problem? Is there some sort of connection manager that can ping my ISP and confirm I’ve at least got a stable connection?

Hard to say, really.

But you might find a ping plotter useful - I like the shareware version from (search for “ping plotter”, as if I needed to tell you) - it gives you an idea of where the delays are and what interfaces might be dropping packets.

Please remember that this is just a device for testing response times, not throughput. So while an interface might be responding nicely to your pings, it might at the same time drop all the big IP packets needed to download a file, for instance.

Best of luck!


I’m an internet technician…I do tech support for an ISP. I get your very same question all the time. I deal with it in several different ways. The first thing I usually try that works the most often is to restrict modem speed. Now I know that sounds like slowing it down…but it actually may end up inreasing your speed. to do this:

go into the control panel

go into modems

click the first properties button(not dialing properties)

then go down till you see “Maximum Speed”

set that down to 57600 and click ok

Try that and see if that helps.

if not…try deleted your cache in netscape prefernces …under advanced…thats helps sometimes too.

Updateing your modem driver may help you too.

I hope this info helps you…and if you ahve any mroe questions you are welcome to e-mail me…it is part of my job so I’m used to it :slight_smile:

Here’s an article I found basic, helpful, and easy to understand (hey, I understood it!): Resolving Web Bottlenecks - Tips for diagnosing behind-the-scenes slowdowns between your ISP and the site you’re trying to reach

I’ll let someone else explain the cool way tracert works.

A good alternative to tracert is a shareware program called Neotrace. It also plots the nodes on a map if their location is known. There are many other good programs that have similar functions.

half the web are the newsgroups. I use a free reader from

Sometimes the web is slow but the news is fast. When the web is slow, I read the news & viceversa.

You could get IE 5.5, its free. Sometimes when NEtscape is slow I use IE. You can have them both on your machine.

I use a Traceroute program if it happens for more than a few days straight that lets me know what computer is slow.

Purely out of idle curiosity, how is this going to help? The fastest real world landline connection a v.90 modem is capable of is around 53K. Why would a maximum speed downshift that is still in excess of anything the modem will ever see on it’s best day affect the integrity of the connection.

I don’t think the problem is on the web, it’s probably either my computer or the phone line. I say this because sometimes it finally does respond, only gawdawful slow; and I get messages at the bottom of my screen saying something like “transfering 27K at 158 bytes per second”. I was wondering if there’s anywhere in Netscape/Win98 where you can moniter the status of the dialup connection itself, so I could check if it is line noise.

What I did was just get some phone wiring & connect it to the phone box outside & also disconnect ANY other wires, in case there is a short on a phone line inside, but of course keep those lines that come from the phone pole. If I get a perfect speed then, I put in a new jack & clean those wires etc. Cost? About $2.50

In the serial port control center of Windows the serial ports are usually set to 9600 data rate. How very slow, you can change them to 56000 or whatever you want to get more speed.

lumpy…did you try what I sugested?

Yes, that was what it was already on.