TechSpot

Win XP Internet Dropouts

By grain
Oct 9, 2008
  1. Hi.

    My internet connection regularly drops, and I'm pretty sure its a windows issue.
    Probably about every hour or two. Only thing that seems to get reconnection is restarting windows.

    I have contacted my ISP and they tell me that my connection has been uninterrupted for months. I have XP SP2, a 3MB broadband connection, and the cable runs directly to the terminal in the wall (no wireless router). I have McAfee security and firewall and antivrus are on. I sometimes download torrents but haven't in quite a while and the problem is the same.

    Any ideas what the issue might be? Thanks.
     
  2. pcaceit

    pcaceit TS Rookie Posts: 405

    Hi!
    what sort of connection to your computer?

    Usb modem?
    Ethernet cable from Access point or Router?
     
  3. grain

    grain TS Rookie Topic Starter

    erm.. bit of an amateur when it comes to network connections. It goes from the pc directly into the same box on the wall as the TV cable. Its the same providers as our cable TV. (NTL)
     
  4. pcaceit

    pcaceit TS Rookie Posts: 405

    OK Ethernet cable Direct to ISP

    If you know how! you can read the system Event logs to see what errors it shows.

    does IE give an error and ask you to diagnose and repair the connection problem?

    This Tool (Network Magic) will monitor your connection and give good diagnosis as to why your connection is getting dropped: http://www.networkmagic.com/download/

    IT gives you 7 days free trial at pro version then reverts to free version if you wnt to give it a try.

    I cant be certain But ISP's can't always be trusted I have Troubleshooted many problems that are down to them but they tell the customers its their computer.

    you'll probably get more advise on this shortly
     
  5. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,446   +324

    your network can be logically shown as
    Code:
    modem----system
    
    where the modem is your cable device.

    While this is a simple network, there are multiple issues for you to consider:
    1. without a router, your system is directly connected to the Internet
    2. your system will be impacted by every ISP issue

    I recommend to everyone that they use a simple router to protect their systems:
    Code:
    modem---router--- one or more systems
    
    The router will now isolate your system(s) from (1-2) above and provide protection
    from direct attacks. It also 'buffers' the tcp settings from every little tweak on the ISP side.
    EG: Your connection will frequently get reset with a release/renew cycle
    which can change your public IP address OR the DNS addresses.
    With a router in the link, it will see these changes, but not pass them on to your system (ergo buffered).
    Your systems will not need to respond to such changes (ergo isolated).

    If you go with the router, be sure to update the firmware, as the issue of handling a
    release/renew cycle has caused difficulties without the updates.
     
  6. grain

    grain TS Rookie Topic Starter

    pcaceit
    thank you very much. Will give the network magic thing a try. I use Firefox not IE - should that give me a message? What I get is a blank page, or if I'm on a page it just stays there when I try navigate to something else, and a little message in the bottom left that says 'done' (which is a lie of course!)

    Joebeard, very interesting and informative explanation. Thank you. I will definitely consider a router now. but I'm a bit confused...
    you say

    modem---system. and you suggest

    modem---router---system.

    but my modem is housed inside the box that is my system ... how do I put a router in-between the modem and the system.?? Is it a case of some internal wiring, or do I need to get an external modem?
     
  7. grain

    grain TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ahhh... Network Magic only works if you have a router. =(

    Looks like I'll need one so. Actually, they gave me a wireless router I think when we got the connection first but it was terrible, and always had to be reconnected. way more than since getting rid of it and just plugging straight into the wall. In fact, the drop out problems didn't start for a long time after that.

    I threw fecking router away though! ... Doh!

    Tell me this - does a wireless router not slow down the connection speed? That one seemed to.
     
  8. pcaceit

    pcaceit TS Rookie Posts: 405

    Wireless routers Can slow down connection speed if the range is not good or there are obstacles in the way (walls and other objects that signals don't pass through very well).

    If you got good signal and connection speed of 11Mbps to 56Mbps or higher then wireless networks work really well.

    Like jobeard says if you have a router (does not have to be wireless, it can be connected to your pc with ethernet cable like yours is now) between your cable modem and your pc, the router will have built in firewall and will block attacks and hacking traffic, and will manage the connection to your isp so when they rewnew your ip etc you wont have to reboot your pc to get reconnected
     
  9. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,446   +324

    hum; don't think so. The part inside is a Network Interface Card (NIC) and gives the
    system ethernet access. It can be a Wired NIC or a Wireless adaptor, or even BOTH.

    The modem is closely associated with the cable adaptor. You have one wire from the
    service coming to the house. That goes directly to the Cable Control Box.
    Depending upon how the ISP setup there service for Internet, there can be
    a splitter before the cable attaches to the Cable box OR a second cable can come
    from the cable box to the system.

    In my setup it looks like
    Code:
     
    cable----splitter---CableBox---TV
                    |
                    + modem --- router --- systems
     
    A wired connection would be 100mps and currently NO WiFi can hit that performance. In addition, there's never a security issue for wired connections.
     
  10. rf6647

    rf6647 TS Maniac Posts: 931

    Firewalls can cause problems like this. Is your service DSL or cable? Some providers throw extra software at you. Please remember ONLY ONE assemblage of "realtime" protection software creating internet security (firewall + antivirus + antispy ).

    When the connection disappears use command window & use message #3 in this thread
    Jobeard can better explain this.

    Firewall software may have better performance behind a router. For example, ZA (zone alarm) appears to have fewer problems in the "trusted zone". A router makes it easier to make this distinction. Direct connection to broadband modem may be different - I do not know this for certain.

    I believe that some DSL broadband providers supply diagnostic tools that may help look at this problem. In addition to checking Windows events logs, the modem may have status & error logs, as well.

    A HJT log or output from "process viewer" software may answer if there are conflicting programs running.
     
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