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Can't get network connection

Posted on 2009-07-01
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
Dell Optiplex GX150 and Windows xp sp2. Cannot get network cable to work. No nic card lights. Have tried 3 different machines and 3 different cat5 cables. IT insists port is live, and a wired laptop does connect okay. Have tried internet search fixes including registry changes, installing netbui, etc. to no avail. Have reinstalled driver. Have also tried changing media types for nic. Help!
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Question by:mzimerman
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John Hurst earned 335 total points
ID: 24757368
There is no reason why a Dell machine would not connect in general. You have eliminated cable problems and a separate laptop connects OK.

So two possibilities come to mind:
1. The other end of the network employs MAC filtering and the laptop is allowed but the Dell's are not allowed.
2. You have installed some common piece of software (possibly including malware) on all 3 Dell's that is precluding connection.

Troubleshooting steps:
1. Bring in another laptop and see if if connects.
2. Take the Dell to a different connection to see if it works.

One thing I never have to do to get a wired connection is to muck about with the registry, so something there may have gone wrong.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:astrochimp
ID: 24757385
So you've tried 3 different machines, meaning 3 other computers but then a laptop did connect? In other words, did you get something to work on the network drop?
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by:mzimerman
ID: 24757417
A separate dell laptop worked fine. None of the dell gx 150s worked.
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by:astrochimp
ID: 24757477
Maybe the Dells have the NIC disabled in the BIOS since you're not getting link lights on any of them.
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 335 total points
ID: 24757480
I would refer to my first post here. Try the steps as I outlined and report back.
... Thinkpads_User


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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 335 total points
ID: 24757568
Except for mucking around with Dell's (that is, doing silly things with them), why would 3 Dell's all have their NIC's disabled in BIOS. I suppose their is always a first time.

Do take one Dell somewhere else and determine if it works on a separate and different connection (or not). ... Thiinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:mzimerman
ID: 24757783
nic is not disabled in bios. Connected a 25' to pc and inserted in a known good jack and behold the lights came on. I now have a bone to pick with the it guy. They insisted that the jack was functional. Any guesses as to what's wrong with the jack?
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 335 total points
ID: 24757812
Thanks for following some of the troubleshooting steps. It is now within reason that the jack is mis-wired in such a way that a common setup (3 Dell's) cannot connect but one other machine can. Maybe the laptop has a slightly different network connection setup. It is not supposed to be this way, but stranger things have happened.

I would insist the jack be removed and replaced properly with a known good jack.
... Thinkpads_User
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by:Darr247
Darr247 earned 110 total points
ID: 24765353
> Any guesses as to what's wrong with the jack?

In my opinion, thinkpads_user is on the right track.

Possibly the laptop has a (gigabit?) port with auto MDI/X, so if the port you're connecting to is wired wrong the laptop's port straightens it out and works correctly.
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by:mzimerman
ID: 24854858
The jack is good. I even had them replace it. Works for a dell laptop but not my gx-150. Now trying a separate nic card (3c905b-tx) after disabling onboard nic. still no luck and can't find good driver. computer recognizes nic, but still will not connect.
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 335 total points
ID: 24854890
The jack could be good, but the wire in the wall connects to a patch panel somewhere (and at a different point than where you plugged in the 25' cable. It could be misconnected at the patch panel. And although it is much less likely, the wire could have been pulled badly and may have a break or other defect.
... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:mzimerman
ID: 24855079
wouldn't the cable testers (x2, one was the it guy's tester and one was the jack installation guy) show a malfunctioning cable setup?
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Author Comment

by:mzimerman
ID: 24855087
any good drivers for xp for the (3c905b-tx)?
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 335 total points
ID: 24855110
You would think so, but I am reflecting on Darr247's comment back on July 2 that autosense on the laptop could allow connection where the gx150 cannot.

So back to the beginning: 3 different machines and 3 changed cables, and you can take one of these and plug it in to a different connection and it works.

I wonder if the cable tester machine is missing the same thing.

Just so you know I am only partly nuts, my trains (in the basement) use 6-wire DigiTrax to run. It is possible to screw up cable connections so that the trains won't run but the (25 cent) cable tester tells me the cable is OK.

At this point, it really does appear to be the connection in the wall.
... Thinkpads_User
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by:Darr247
Darr247 earned 110 total points
ID: 24855233
> any good drivers for xp for the (3c905b-tx)?


Are you sure it's not just "3c905b-tx compatible" ?
The way I find unknown drivers is look up the vendor and device IDs from the Device Instance ID on the details tab in Device Manager. e.g. that part of the string for the 3c920 (3c905c-tx compatible) controller in the Dell I'm typing on is PCI\VEN_10B7&DEV_9200. That and the word 'driver' in google gives me a few likely looking hits near the top.
That dialog in Device Manager doesn't have the usual context menu, so all you can do is click on the line and use Crtl+C to copy it.

If they don't install correctly, sometimes you have to uninstall them from device manager numerous times and refresh or reboot before it finally straightens out. I know I've had that problem with a dock before and it had the exact same controller in it that the laptop did.
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Assisted Solution

by:samwick
samwick earned 55 total points
ID: 24879656
Try to find the port number of the wall jack and then in the switch (If its manageble switch) see the setting of the port causes this problem.
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Author Comment

by:mzimerman
ID: 25253520
I managed to get connectivity on the same machine at a known network capable connection by inserting a nic card and updating the driver. Now I need to convince them (IT) to either rerun the cable to the original location or at least checking the connector at the patch panel end.
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Author Comment

by:mzimerman
ID: 25369778
still waiting for it to check cable at panel end.
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Author Comment

by:mzimerman
ID: 25491881
still waiting for cable pull.
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Author Closing Comment

by:mzimerman
ID: 31598913
new cable pull resolved problem
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by:John Hurst
ID: 25533669
Thank you. Glad to hear that a new cable pull resolved problem.  ... Thinkpads_User
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