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home network: wireless router/cable modem - time outs.

Hi.  I have a netgear wireless router and a motorola cable modem (with Charter cable broadband service).  When I try to access the Internet through the router 80% of my requests time out.

Here is the dilemma:
1.  When I connect my computer directly to the cable modem, everything works great.

2.  I have tried multiple routers (different brands), all with the same result.  When I try the router on our network at the office, it works great.  So, I know the router is functional.

3.  Charter has informed me that they authenticate on the Cable modem's MAC address, not on the address of anything connected to it, so I should not have to clone the address from my PC to the router.  I have tried cloning the MAC address, and it made no difference.

4.  I have updated the firmware on the router (per the tech's directions).  Also have adjusted the MTU in the config file.  No difference.

5.  I am running no other software (such as firewall, AV, etc.)

The router does receive an IP from the Cable modem when it is plugged in.  I have verified that the DNS it is receiving trough DHCP is correct.  I have been testing the router by plugging directly into the box, NOT THROUGH WIFI - so that isn't the problem.  In fact, the LAN side seems to work great - the 2 XP computers can transfer files very quickly.

The bottom line is I've spent HOURS on the phone with CHarter's tech support, as well as with Netgear's tech support.  Each one is pointing at the other guy, but no one has an answer.
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rappdigital
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rappdigital
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1 Solution
 
digitalwavIT Infrastructure ManagerCommented:
just to be clear- the wireless end of things is the problem. Have you tested the wireless speed in any place other than your home?

Do you have any other wireless devices in the house? Phone? Camera?
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rappdigitalAuthor Commented:
Hi, digitalwav.
actually, I am pulling in directly to the router, so the wireless side is not the problem.  I honestly can't figure out where the problem lies - it's almost like the cable modem does not allow network address translation provided by the router.  Any insights?
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night_monkeyCommented:
Actually, my first instinct was the same as digital's comment. but if that's not it, think about this:

When you unplug a PC from the cable modem and plug a NAT router into it instead (or vice-versa), special procedures are required: see Swapping computers on the cable modem.

If you are going to clone a MAC address into the WAN port of the NAT router, you should do so before first connecting it to the cable modem; otherwise the change of MAC address will require the procedures of Swapping computers on the cable modem.

Swapping computers on the cable modem
Most domestic cable ISPs have the cable modem configured to recognize only one client PC, by the MAC address of its network interface. Once the cable modem has learnt the MAC address of the first PC that talks to it, it will not respond to another MAC address in any way. Thus if you swap one PC for another (or for a router), the new PC (or router) will not work with the cable modem, because the new PC (or router) has a different MAC address to the old one. To reset the cable modem so that it will recognise the new PC, you must power the cable modem off and on again. Once the cable modem has rebooted and gone fully online again (indicator lights settled down), reboot the newly connected PC so that it makes a DHCP request, or manually make it request a new DHCP lease.

With some ISPs, it appears that, although resetting (or power cycling) the cable modem is enough to clear the table of learnt MAC addresses in the cable modem, it is not enough to force the ISP's DHCP server to lease an IP address to the newly connected PC. It is suggested that, before the first PC is disconnected from the cable modem, it should explicitly release its DHCP lease.

If even that is not enough, it might be necessary to wait (with the cable modem powered off) for the expiry time of the original DHCP lease.

With NTL stand-alone cable modems, a simple cable modem power off and on again should permit a swap of connected PC, but there is a limit on the number of MAC address changes which are permitted within one 4-hour period (irrespective of DHCP lease time). No more than 2 different MAC addresses can be served within one 4-hour period, and only one at a time. After having used 2 different MAC addresses within the last 4 hours, if you want to connect a 3rd different MAC address, you might have to wait up to 4 hours with the cable modem powered off.

With NTL digital TV set top boxes, if you change the connected device, then after the power off and on again, you need to register the new client MAC: see First connection to Pace set top box.

With some cable ISPs, including Blueyonder, service will be provided only to known user MAC addresses, which have to be registered in advance with the ISP. This makes swapping to new PCs, or inserting a new NAT router, difficult or tedious. One workaround is to clone a previously registered MAC address into the new network interface card, or NAT router. For instance, most NAT routers provide configuration options for cloning the MAC address of the WAN port. When you swap devices that have MAC addresses cloned to be the same, then neither the cable modem nor the ISP's DHCP system will notice the change. The new device will need to issue a DHCP request.

If both old and new PCs are connected by USB to the cable modem, then these problems do not arise, because the USB driver software emulates an ethernet MAC address, and that emulated MAC address will be the same in both cases, so the cable modem does not notice the change. All that is necessary is to release the DHCP lease on the old PC, change the USB cable to connect the new PC to the cable modem, and request a DHCP lease on the new PC.


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rappdigitalAuthor Commented:
Hey night monkey.
Thanks for the response.  My service provider tells me that they authenticate on the cable modem's MAC address, and not anything else.  I have tried cloning the workstation MAC address to the router with no difference.  the router DOES get an IP everytime I use it.  It just times out when trying to receive info.
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stevenlewisCommented:
this refers to dsl and ICS, but just may fix you up, as I have seen the same problem with routers and cable
adjust the MTU on the client
http://www.annoyances.org/exec/show/article04-107
change MTU on client
use drtcp to change the MTU settings
drtcp (free)
http://www.dslreports.com/front/drtcp.html
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rappdigitalAuthor Commented:
hey steven,
I've tried dropping the MTU to 900 from 1500, made no difference.  Think I should go lower?
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stevenlewisCommented:
no, 1454 should have been low enough
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stevenlewisCommented:
try a tracert
from a prompt type
tracert 206.169.61.185
and
tracert www.experts-exchange.com
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digitalwavIT Infrastructure ManagerCommented:
Ok, this is REALLY dumb, but have you swapped your cables from the PC to the router? How about swapping out the ethernet cards?
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digitalwavIT Infrastructure ManagerCommented:
Another dumb one- you're loosing 80% of your packets to the internet, what happens when you ping the router? I know you can communciate with other devices on the switch, but is the router ping coming back at 100%?

Can we assume it's out of warranty?
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rappdigitalAuthor Commented:
digitalwav-
in answer to your last 2 questions:
I've tried several network cables, no difference.  AND, I've tested the router at my office on their network and it works GREAT.  So, the router itself is fine, there just seemd to be a problem passing data through it to/from the cable modem.
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digitalwavIT Infrastructure ManagerCommented:
I suppose it is possible for the cable modems wan port to ba bad, if that's the case it's just a glorified wi-fi, ethernet switch...
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rappdigitalAuthor Commented:
Hey-
here's an update.  I replaced the cable modem with a different one, and it works great now.  I have no idea how the modem could see the router as something different from the workstation, but regardless, it is working.

I have to award the question to digitalwav, because he got the closest with the last comment, and he was ceratinly very helpful (as was everyone else).

Thanks, eveyrone!
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digitalwavIT Infrastructure ManagerCommented:
Figures, the thing we never thought to check on was the problem...Thanks for the points!
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