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"Network Cable is (not) unplugged" and "Limited or no connectivity"

By FredF ยท 15 replies
Sep 25, 2006
  1. I've spent the last two or so weeks attempting to fix this problem. I'll explain it to the best of my ability. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to help you help me.

    My problem started about 10 days ago. Prior to this date, my service would drop, not predictably, but enough that I can remember it. Comcast has insisted there is no problem and no other computers on the network experienced this problem, so I assumed it was something local. I never made a real attempt to fix it, however, because it wasn't a big enough problem to bother me. A simple reboot would fix the problem. The error would occur most often when I was downloading media and running another program that was accessing the internet. The problem would still occur without both happening at the same time, however, so I assumed that it was a coincidence.

    10 days ago, I was on the internet, browsing. I left for an hour and upon my return, found the internet was disconnected. I rebooted and, instead of connecting, an error came up. "Limited or no connectivity." After several more restarts, I was connected, but it dropped out again, with the same error. I connected looked my Wireless card up and it connected to the network.

    After several days, the wireless card came up with the same error. In addition, the error was still happening with the LAN connection and it would say the network cable is unplugged, when it is clearly plugged in. I would have assumed it was an error with the router, but three other laptops were able to connect to the network, as well as my desktop.

    The LAN cable refuses to connect at all and when it says it is connected, I still receive the "Limited or no connectivity error." The wireless card will connect, but often goes out with the same error. Right now, I'm using the Wireless card. Doing an IPConfig, the Wireless adapter is receiving all settings. The LAN connection doesn't see DHCP enabled, although it is. I'm unsure if this is an error or it doesn't see DHCP because it doesn't see the cable as connected (right now it is disabled and won't re-enable because it thinks the cable is unplugged).

    I've looked through many different webpages and attempted the fixes suggested, but nothing has helped. The cable is still functional and I changed no settings between the time that it worked and suddenly stopped working. I'm going to retest this by plugging the the cable directly into the modem and seeing what happens. I don't believe the NIC has gone bad, but in either case, I am unsure why this would affect the wireless card.

    I've disabled any firewalls, incase that was causing the issue, but it didn't help. Whenever the wireless card isn't working, I've noticed it still receives the signel strength as 100%. I've also noted that, whenever I get the "Limited or no connectivity error", the Wireless card nor the LAN connection is getting an IP from the router. This lead me to believe something was conflicting with my computer and the router, but I am confused as to why it would only affect the wireless card sometimes.

    I'm using an Inspiron 8500 running WinXP, using Comcast High Speed Internet with a Linksys router and Linksys Wireless G card. My onboard card is a Broadcom 440x 10/100 Integrated Controller. I have my computer docked in a docking station with the LAN connection going through the hub. Even connected directly into the computer, I still receive the "Limited or no connectivity error."

    I've contacted Comcast to see if they made any changes that may have only affected my computer. After I got through the bull**** of a recording asking me questions and got to a real person, I was told everything was "green across the board". When I questioned him further, he insisted it was the router, even if the router worked for me and is still working for the other computers and I changed no settings when the problem occured. (A logical reason is not the router in a case where it is working for other computers, nor does it explain why my computer dropped the connection prior to this while the other computers did not.)

    Any help you can offer is appriciated.
  2. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    just one statement, I used to have a wireless network and my computer although the closest to the router would have slow or no connetion and the others would be conected and working fine. I changed to wired on everthing for that reason...
  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    First. Since you are connecting your computers to your router, leave Comcast alone - they have nothing to do with your problems. It is something with your router, the mediaum, or your computer.

    Second, even though you are having problems with both wired and wireless, the cause doesn't have to be the same.

    Now. Is your ethernet cable OK? If you connect another computer using the same cable, does it work?

    Is your NIC OK? If you connect your computer using another ethernet cable, does that work? Do you see a link light on your NIC or on the relevant router port?

    This is pretty obvious, but have you scanned your computer for viruses and malware? Using a decent tool and the latest updates?

    Instead of disabling the firewalls, uninstall them. Remove the firewall device drivers too in Device Manager. Remove any other fancy software like VPN and packet capture too, if you happen to have any. SInce you have a router and other people connecting to it are hopefully not infected with anything, you can live without a firewall for a while.
  4. FredF

    FredF TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Like I said, I know the current issue is something locally, but that doesn't explain past problems (I was mostly releasing some frustration towards Comcast, we recently got HDTV from them and it took them weeks and countless techs to attempt to fix the problem, and they ended up giving us a faulty box this last time, so I was already annoyed by certain services).

    Right, but a logical explantion for having the same error was the same problem. My initial reaction was two separate problems, one with the connection, the other with the NIC or ethernet port. I wasn't able to replicate the error through testing, so I came to a single error manifesting in multiple areas.

    The ethernet cable does work.

    Using another cable didn't change anything. The link light does flash on the router port and the NIC, but only when the computer recognizes the cable as plugged in (obviously). Right now, the computer doesn't see the cable, the router light is not on, and only the orange light is on (on my computer, green will flash when connecting).

    That was the first thing I tried, nothing was found.

    When I said I disabled them, I had meant to say uninstalled. I often blame many of my issues on my Firewall software, so any reason to get rid of it was good enough for me.

    This computer is the one closest to the router also, but wired or not, it experiences the same (or similar) issues.

    EDIT: Abit of an update. After uninstalling a few remnants of things I found sitting around, the computer detected the cable being plugged in, as did the router. The lights were lit, but no connection would occur. The computer had the status of the connection as "Connected". It has moved back to "Network cable unplugged" as of this posting.
  5. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    It probably is your NIC..

    Is it a gigabit one? The link auto-negotiation is notoriously poor in gigabit cards. Try forcing the link speed and duplex to 10Mbit half - this is the most basic version and just has to work even across the poorest cables.
  6. FredF

    FredF TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Already tried forcing the speed to 10MB half and full. The setup I was using worked for nearly three years until it went out one afternoon. I thought it might be something like the NIC, but I never had trouble with it before, and I was hoping if it went bad, it would go totally bad, not this half not working/full not working.
  7. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    This might sound simplistic, but I'd like to narrow the equation by suggesting you connect the computer directly to your cable modem via network cable.

    As I understand, your wireless and wired connections both act up with no real perceivable correlation between each other... And only on that computer.

    Connecting your computer directly to the modem instead of the router eliminates your router from the equation. If it works consistently with just the modem, then we can be fairly certain it is router related. If it continues to drop connections, then we can reasonably assume your computer is to blame.

    I understand it may look like your computer is to blame at the moment since the others seem unaffected, but I want to make sure. At this point, none of it really adds up so I think it is worth verifying.
  8. FredF

    FredF TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I thought I had mentioned this at some point, but when I connect the laptop to the modem, the same problem occurs. The computer insists that the network cable is unplugged. The link lights on the laptop appear to be active, but there is no "PC activity" on the modem.

    The wireless hasn't had a problem in a few days now. That isn't to say the problem has been fixed, however. The wireless connection worked for a week or so after the LAN connection appeared to die before it began experiencing the issue.

    When I first got the problem with the cable, the wireless card was having no problem. At that point, I assumed the problem was with the cable/NIC/router port. Whenever the wirless card started acting up and changing the cable/router port didn't fix the issue, I believed there were two problems. One being the limited or no connectivity, most likely caused by some program on my computer, even though the issue started in a small timeframe (less than an hour) without anything running, and the network cable unplugged, which could be hardware related. I had assumed that something was blocking both connections and by sheer coincidence, the second "unplugged" problem happened around the same time. That would require an amazing coincidence, however (some hardware going bad, then a week later the same issue appearing on the wireless card).

    Just sitting here, there will be times the "unplugged" message will go away and it will say "Status: Connected" "Speed: 100 Mbps", but it won't actually be connecting. Most of the time it stays as "unplugged" and I haven't found anything specific I do that makes the status change.
  9. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Since you are still reluctant to admit that the NIC is bad, let's rule out the OS.

    Download a CD Linux like Knoppix or INSERT or SuSE LiveCD or whatever. Burn the CD, boot from it. See if your wired connection works in Linux. If it doesn't, then you are most certainly having hardware problems.
  10. FredF

    FredF TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm not reluctant to admit that it has gone bad; it very well might have. I just had no way of testing it outside of what I have already done.
  11. Sinplystik

    Sinplystik TS Rookie

    Still having this issue

    Fred, are you still having this problem? someone asked, if i'm not mistaken, if when you hook the modem directly to a laptop if you get the same problem...and your answer was yes the problem persists, yet the cable is good? (dont' quote me, i'm not quoting you lol)

    if you hook the same modem and the same cable up to a different computer and the problem is still occuring, i'd first try replacing that ethernet cable...it may very well be a bad cable if wireless works and wired does not...

    if you try a brand new cable and the problem persists, than it in all likelyhood is your NIC...they're inexpensive so it may be more economically sound for you to replace the NIC than to delve into deeper possiblities when in reality it may very well be something much less expensive or time consuming to troubleshoot

    surprised i haven't seen anyone mention replacing the cable...if i get limited/no conn messages...that's usually where i start...give it a try...:)

    EDIT - forgot to mention...there is a way to internally test your NIC...go to Start -- Run -- type CMD -- "OK"...once in the command prompt (cmd) enter the command PING ... this is what's called the Internal LoopBack Address and is used specifically to check the connectivity and functionality of your NIC...if you get reply's w/ no lost packets...your NIC is functioning as it should...if you lose packets...it is not..:)
  12. mikescorpio81

    mikescorpio81 TS Rookie Posts: 293

    Is the problem still occuring? Limited or no connectivity simply means a DHCP server cannot be contacted. When you receive this message, do an ipconfig /all in a command prompt and you should see that you have a 169.254.*.* ip address. Try the following in a command prompt:

    1. ipconfig /release
    2. ipconfig /renew (if you receive a 169.254 again keep going with the steps!)
    3. ipconfig /flushdns
    4. Try assisning yourself a static ip address within the range of your old DHCP scope, giving yourself a known DNS server ( if in AUS)
    5. Log into your router and copy its DNS Servers, then try pinging them
    6. Un-install your NIC through device manager, reboot and let it re-install itself

    If all else fails you need to re-assess the situation. "Can I ping the router with a static ip address?" should be one of the first things you try and do because if you cant reach the router, you cant reach anything else!

    If you are stuck, and you have your interent details, factory reset your router and start again. Reply back if you require further assistance.

    Please let us know how you go! :grinthumb
  13. FredF

    FredF TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I've been using my Wireless card without issue since my last post (save one instance where it wouldn't connect, but a restart fixed). I can PING my NIC without losing packets. Whenever I plugged the Network cable directly into my computer, I was having the same issue (I believe I mentioned that). At the time, however, there were problems with the Wireless and the LAN. I'll be trying to plug it in directly again later today.
  14. jtutan

    jtutan TS Rookie

    I bought 3 refurbished Inspiron 8600 which are equipped with the same Broadcom/Truemobile NICs. I'm experiencing the exact problem on all 3 computers as Fred.

    At my wits end..
  15. Angrysmoker

    Angrysmoker TS Rookie

    I had the same problems for a few months with comcast. After I went bald from frustration, and several comcast 'tech' guys later... the cable guy came by and said that the cable connection was loose in the box outside.
  16. courtney1545

    courtney1545 TS Rookie


    Limited or no connectivity is what I get when I connect computer A with computer B. Both have XP/sp2. Computer A can read off of computer B, but
    com. B gets the Limited or no connectivity.
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