Internet Broken-- Please Help Computer-Illiterate

Sorry for the boring, uncreative GQ. My computer (obviously not the one I’m typing from) says it’s connected but it won’t actually use the Internet. When I click on “repair connection”, it gives me an error that it couldn’t “clear the ARP cache”. Google has shown me a lot of other people with this problem, but none with the solution. This doesn’t seem to be a hardware problem. I have (I think?) a modem and a router (?), but nothing changed between last night, when the Internet was working, and this morning, when it wasn’t. And I’ve tried power-cycling.

Any help? Please? :frowning:

Hmm, I’d have to think about it a little more. But here’s the things I’d try:

  • I assume by power cycling, you mean you’ve restarted both your router and your DSL or cable modem, not just your computer. If not, go ahead and do that. For good measure, be sure to leave them unplugged for a good 30 seconds before turning back on.

  • On the off chance it’s a software/OS issue, you could try using System Restore (if you’re using Windows XP) to “go back in time” to a couple days ago in case there were some system settings that had changed (spyware?)

  • Bring up the command prompt (START BUTTON > RUN > type “cmd” [no quotes]). At the prompt, type in (no quotes) “ipconfig /all” and see what it says. It should show your primary ethernet connection, and it should show a valid ip address for it, perhaps something like 192.168.X.X. You can also try “ipconfig /release” and/or “ipconfig /renew”. This is somewhat the same as “repairing” a connection. Then do a reboot.
    Of course someone will hopefully come along, having seen this exact problem, with a perfect fix. But those are a couple easy things you can try just in case (that won’t hurt anything).

If you are on Comcast cable, then try this:

Power off to all equip.

Power up the Comcast cable modem only and let sit for a few minutes until stable.

Then power up the router and wait a few minutes.

Then power up the computer.

Have a sister in Annapolis on Comcast and that is what she has to do if there is a ‘glitch’. The Comcast tech that came out showed her this protocol.


Thanks, Jayrot. I tried all three but no dice.

I’m working on Gus’ at the moment.

I’ve also tried doing things that allegedly manually clear the ARP cache but they haven’t worked.

The weirdest thing is my computer insists it’s connected, at 100mbps, but the Internet won’t work.

I also don’t suppose that the internet is down at the moment, is it?

I know I’ve pulled my hair out troubleshooting a problem like this, only to have a friend call me (who uses the same cable ISP) saying “Is your internet down right now?”

A long shot, I know.

I’m willing to help out a little futher, but it’d be helpful to know:

Your operating system (patched or not?)
Your type of internet connection (cable, DSL)
Type/model of router
Exact text of the error message you get when you try to repair
Is that the only computer on the network? If not, can you “see” the other computers?

My next step would be to probably get into the router settings page and check to the settings to see if it’s getting a valid IP address from your internet connection.

Try this page on diagnosing and repairing WINSOCK issues. The symptoms you describe are similar to what I’ve experienced with WINSOCK problems. You don’t say what OS you’re using; that will help narrow things down.

Jarrot, I’m on Windows XP, RCN cable internet. Router is Belkin. The error message says I have an error “clearing the ARP cache” (verbatim).

I noticed that the ‘cable’ light on my modem is flashing…is that of interest?

Q.E.D., thanks for the link but I don’t know if I have the XP CD around.

Thanks so much for the help so far, y’all.

Next time you are shut down, go check all the actual cable connections you access… Easy stuff first…

But with the error message… Hummmmmm

I have to leave the house now, so I can’t respond to anything for a while. Maybe when I get back, the problem will have been magically fixed!

Depends. Did it always flash? On some modems, a light will flash during data transfer and remain lit to indicate the connection is good. Other modems use flashing lights to indicate an error condition. Without knowing the specifics like what modem it is, I can’t say for sure. I know on my old Surfboard modem, a flashing “cable” light meant no data signal detected. If that’s the case, you’ll need to call your ISP and report an outage.

Aha! I just found this:

“When connected to your computer correctly and operating normally, your Toshiba PX1100U cable modem will have its Power, Cable, and PC lights lit solid green.”

Flashing Fast for registration in progress”. What does registration in progress actually mean?

Also, I just noticed that our cable TV, which is also RCN, is currently down (though it does that from time to time). However, our phone (RCN) is working.

Why do I have the sneaking suspicion I’m in the running for the Dumbest Person Ever contest?

If you’ve got some time to spare, call the cable company tech support line. Even though the phone is working it doesn’t mean the internet or tv would be working too. Many times I’ve called my cable company and found out there was an area-wide problem and the tv connection was working just fine.

Since the “cable” light is flashing on the modem, it really sounds like a problem the cable company does/should know about.

Well, the TV suddenly started working, and so I power-cycled the computer again and now it’s working!

Thanks so much for your help, everyone. :slight_smile: I really appreciate it.

Ah, great!

I’ve learned from experience when have connection problems, before calling tech support, to turn on the TV. If it’s down too, there’s the problem.

However, there have been a couple of times when the TV was OK, but it still was something wrong with the Inernet cable, which they fixed.

Just so you’ll know next time, double check now to see if the Cable light on the modem is steady now that it’s working. On my modem steady means OK, blinking or out means trouble.

Actually, there are a couple other people in my building who have the same ISP as I do and also run (unsecured) wireless networks. The first thing I do is hop on their network to see if their internet is up. :slight_smile: