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Very, Very weird problem with broadband download - in need of extreme expert

Broadband router - Netgear dg834
Network - Windows 2000 Server Sp4 network with various workstations.
Broadband - Griffin Internet Various speeds on a BT phone line.

Ok heres the problem I have with a couple of sites. (not too sure if I have placed the question in the right area though?)

They have a main site and a branch site. Now the branch sites can connect over VNC\term services 24\7 to the main site- they have absolutley no problems with there connection to the main site or using there own internet. The problem is with the main site. When anyone on the network tries to browse the internet 9 times out of 10 it fails. As if it can't see the internet. There are no virus’s on site and the network is running on fast procurve switches. (even tried PC's directly into the router). I have tried changing the mtu settings on the router and client network cards but no luck. The DG834 router has the latest firmware and the network cards the latest drivers. IE is the latest version and it happens on anything from windows 98 – windows xp or windows 2000 server. Other intenet access programs like Symantec Live update also won't work 9 times out of 10.

I did think noise on the line could be a problem. On 1 site the noise is 54 with a noise margin of 15. On the other the noise is 26 with a noise margin of 35. The first site were on a 2mb 20:1 line so I dropped it down to a 1mb line as I have heard high line noise can cause problems with high speed. Both are on 1mb 20:1 now. I have had BT engineers out to check the line over and they can't decrease the noise. I have set the server and workstations with the primary dns server as the broadband router IP so it looks ahead of the main 2000 DNS server. They have been having this problem since the install date. I have been absolutely pulling my hair out on this one. The broadband line and broadband router must be working ok as the remote site can connect in ok. Its like the upload is ok and the download isn't.

Then yesterday I stumbled on something that seems to have sorted the problem but is very risky. In the netgear managment software there is a "router status" section and in that there is a "connection status" box. If you click on this you get the current connection status e.g line noise and data amounts transmitted and other misc info. By default the window polls for new info to refresh the box with every 5 seconds. Now if I leave this in screen on both sites the broadband works fully all of the time. I really can't imagine whats happening here? I don't like the idea of leaving the broadband router management screen open but I can't find another way. I have never had this problem on other sites. Can anyone PLEASE help me on this one?
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4mmdds
Asked:
4mmdds
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1 Solution
 
4mmddsAuthor Commented:
Just had a slight blip.....I've been testing loading up websites on both sites and they had been working fine...then both stopped working for a few minutes and then both starts working again - - both 100 miles apart.
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4mmddsAuthor Commented:
Turns out I can only get the workstations on the internet if I run a repair on the LAN before connecting to a website although this doesn't seem to last too long. Obviously I can only run this ont he XP machines.
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
Hate to say this, but it sounds to me like a router issue, but I am surprised that Netgear products would give you this much trouble..  Have you any spare routers around for testing purposes?  Maybe a low-end consumer grade Linksys?
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4mmddsAuthor Commented:
I could try a different router but if it was a router problem then wouldn't the remote sites have issues coming in? One site has the dg834 router and the other has the same but version 2 - both latest firmware.
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
Yes, this is strange, but changing out the router would be the first thing I would do in this case, just to see if we could get a solid, permanent connection.
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4mmddsAuthor Commented:
Ok, I will try this when I am on site next. One thing I have just tried that might be working is changing the dns servers. On both sites I have the ip and sub net setup and then the gateway is the lan ip of the broadband router. Then I've tried conbinations of primary and secondary dns servers between the broadband router lan ip and the 2000 dns server ip. Even with the broadband router lan ip as primary it still has problems. One one machine at one site I have setup the primary dns server as the 2000 server ip and the secondary one as the ISP dns server ip not the broadband router IP and it seems to improve things a hell of a lot. I always assumed that it was ok to setup the broadband router as the first\second dns server and this does work well on other sites. Can you see any draw backs to using the ISP dns server instead?
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
Hmm...  You are running a W2K Domain then?  I would definitely use the W2K server as the primary DNS server, with forwarders enabled to your ISP's DNS servers.  I would strongly urge you not to use the ISP's DNS servers as the secondary servers on your Clients, since this will sometimes interfere with Active Directory logon, if the client cannot find the DNS server (best to have a backup DNS server running the Domain, as in a backup Domain Controller).  Also, to use the ISP's servers as forwarders, you must open UDP and TCP Port 53 on the proxy server or firewall.

But I guess I shouls ask another question..  Are you using Domain Controllers at both sites?
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4mmddsAuthor Commented:
yes they are both domain controllers at both sites. So you would suggest the primary as the dns server then a forwarder on the dns server to the isp dns servers. Ok how would I do this in dns management? I can sort the ports out ok, would that be incoming or outgoing because by default all out going ports are open anyway on the netgear routers and all incoming are blocked apart from remote access e.t.c. Would that suffice?
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
Those are outgoing ports, so you should be ok there...  If you are not quite sure what is going on, and how to configure DNS, I usually recommend that admins should dnload and watch the MS training on this:

Training: Understanding and Troubleshooting DNS in Windows 2000

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=330511

Here are some other links that I have for 2K admins:

http://www.rscott.org/dns/

10 DNS Errors That Will Kill Your Network

http://mcpmag.com/features/article.asp?editorialsid=413

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4mmddsAuthor Commented:
I have setup forwarders on the servers ok and modified the clients. I'm wondering whether this might actually sort the problem. Its looking good so far. I'll give you the point smate if all ok early next week. Cheers for the help so far.
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
NP...  Will keep my fingers crossed for you on this one..!!

FE
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4mmddsAuthor Commented:
Seems like those dns forwarders have solved the problem - - cheers mate  - some nice points coming your way
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
Very good...  glad to help..

and thank you..

FE
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