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How to troubleshoot internet connection dropping -- wireless or wired issue?

Posted on 2010-01-09
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I've been having trouble the last several weeks with my internet connection dropping off for a several seconds, then coming back.  I have DSL, with a wired DSL modem connection to one desktop system (that I'm rarely on).  I also have a wireless router (D-Link Gaming Router) attached to the DSL modem that I and my family use with our laptops.  

Often (several times a day), two of us will be on laptops at the same time, and have the internet connection drop (can't get to any web pages, not connected to wifi).  It will only last a short time (10 secs or so), then will come back on itsown.

I want to determine the cause of the drop.  I can't tell whether the problem is with the wireless router, or with the DSL itself.  How can I tell which is the source of the problem?  If I knew it was the wifi router, I would replace it with a new one, but I don't want to waste my money if it isn't that.  I am running the latest firmware on that router, and have powered off then on both the DSL modem and wifi router to reset the connection.

I just need some guidance on how to tell which one is the culprit.  Thanks!
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Question by:sah18
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4 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:MrVoid
ID: 26272955
You say that you are "Not connected to wifi" when it happens, if this is true I do not think it would be loss of the DSL connection. You would still be connected to the wifi just not able to get to the internet. So suspect the wireless.
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Accepted Solution

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Jon500 earned 500 total points
ID: 26272970
Take the router out of the loop and connect a computer directly to the DSL modem. Then run a ping overnight to a ping-able server, such as google.com:

ping google.com -t

After a few hours, click Ctrl-C and look at the Lost value and see if it is anything other than 0%. You can then reconnect the wireless router and try that wired (if you have that option) or wireless and do the same test.

If the DSL modem shows 0% loss then it is not necessarily your wireless router. You said that this happens when two people are connected, so it is possible that there is an IP-address conflict between the two computers (although this should not be the case).

Please do the above test(s) and let's take things from there.

Regards,
Jon
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Assisted Solution

by:Rick_O_Shay
Rick_O_Shay earned 300 total points
ID: 26274070
If you load up one of the wireless network tools like xirrus wifi inspector or inssider you should be able to see a line graph of the signal for your connection and see if it drops or something during the issue. That would help you determine if it is on the wifi side or not.
Also the tool will show if there are other devices in the area that may be causing interference of some kind. Especially if there are other relatively high signal devices on the same channel you are on which can cause drops etc.
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Author Closing Comment

by:sah18
ID: 31674978
I appreciate your suggestions & will give them a try!
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