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Software to monitor internet connection

Posted on 2012-04-09
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Last Modified: 2012-04-16
i'm having problems with my internet connection.  My ISP says everything is fine but that's because they've checked it only when it's actually working.  It will go down eventually, usually within 1 hour but sometimes I can go several hours without a problem.  It usually goes down for 5 or 10 minutes and then everything is fine again.

Can you recommend software that would allow me to check the cable modem connectivity every minute or so over the course of 5 to 10 hours?

I'm running Vista.  I've tried PTLogger but it didn't work (it would try to Ping google and just sit there even though I had a good connection at the time).

thanks,
Darin
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Question by:DarinOBrien
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19 Comments
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:IT-Monkey-Dave
ID: 37825623
PingPlotter Free

Note that some targets may periodically fail to respond to frequent pings.  Maybe set up multiple targets and only consider it a "drop" if both of them fail.  I would suggest pinging your ISP's gateway, and some other random public server.  If the gateway IP fails, the other server should also fail, and it's a pretty good indication of a dropped line.
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Expert Comment

by:kronovide
ID: 37825630
an easy way is to simply run a command prompt START>>RUN>>CMD
then use ping by typing it in the command shell. you can ping an external address like yahoo.com

"ping yahoo.com -t "

you can leave it running and it will tell you when yahoo.com stops responding

a better solution is to run a batch file that writes the current time, pings, and outputs the response to a text file

try the code below by saving it as a text file with the name "testping.bat"
---------------------------------
@ECHO OFF

:LOOPSTART

time /T
ping www.google.com -n 4
sleep -m 3000

remember this command will not end until you hit CONTROL-C on the command window it is running in.

GOTO LOOPSTART
----------------------------

then make the batch file output to a text file by doing

"testping.bat > pingresults.txt"
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Expert Comment

by:kanalQko
ID: 37825718
maybe you could check logs im your cable modem, please write name/vendor of your cable modem. Almost all cable modems have hidden webinterface
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Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 37826010
We need more information from you... Intermittent network connectivity is one of my favorites to track and resolve.

All clients and servers on the network having this problem?
Is it ONE client computer having this problem?

If it's one computer, does it have multiple Network interfaces on it?
-If it's multiple computers, we might check your DNS server settings on the client as well as the server.

Do you have problems with internal communications between computers?

Do you support wireless on the network?
------------------------------------------
These problems can be caused by MANY reasons: (take your pick)
DNS misconfiguration (DCdiag /test:DNS) <<MOST OFTEN THE PROBLEM
Service pack 1 on a 2003 server (install SP2)
Duplex settings on Cisco switches and routers are mismatched (switch port configurations and router running configurations will tell you this)
spanning tree with multiple L2 connections between switches (switch port configurations and router configs will tell you this)
spanning tree with wireless L2 connection and a hardwire connection
duplex settings on the client computers mismatch the switch (client's device manager>>NIC properties>>Advanced settings>>duplex settings compared to switch port config settings)
a rogue DHCP server- (run DHCPloc.exe on the domain controller and see who is offering DHCP)
A rogue router or a conflicting IP to the router
multihomed computers
multihomed server (s)
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Author Comment

by:DarinOBrien
ID: 37826085
to:  IT-Monkey-Dave.  PingPlotterFree is the right concept but I realize now that I just want to know when the connection drops and for how long.  PingPlotterFree provides a graph of the last 1,000 datapoints sampled and returns the average trip times for each of the IP addresses being pinged.  I don't think it will actually tell me when (exact data and time) that the connection is dropped.  

it looks like the other solutions give similar results to that of PingPlotterFree with the same limitation.  Sorry, I should have been more specific when I posted the question.

TO: chiefIT.  Some of your questions are probably going to be over my head (I'm not an IT guy).  This is a small home network with a Cable Modem from Mediacom (cisco dpq2160) connected to a Cisco Lyksys E4200 wireless router.  Also connected to the router is one Dell Optiplex PC and one 60" LG TV (for Netflix mainly).  One iPad and one Dell laptop access the router via wireless connection.  It's an all or none problem; i.e. everything is connected to the internet or nothing can connect.

I've connected the cable modem directly to the Dell Optiplex to try to rule out a problem with the router (which is only a few months old).  I got the same problem with that configuration.  

thanks!
darin
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Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 37826137
OK,

The ISP has the ability to perform loopback testing TO your modem. Since they say there is no problem, it's pretty safe to assume the problem exists between the router and modem configs.

Let's first start with the Modem:

ARE YOU SURE- there is a phone filter to your DSL modem. If not, your DSL modem will get a 115VAC for ringing the phone when the phone rings and it will usually knock down the modem for about 5 minutes. Yes, your DSL and phone line run on the same wires. This is the reason for the filters you can by at any Best Buy or Radio Shack for about 3 dollars. Make sure these filters exist and are plugged in. There is a "phone" ... or "Network" marking for these filters. So, you almost can't go wrong if you follow the markings.

Next we will talk about the router's configuration of the WAN IP and WAN DNS Servers.
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Expert Comment

by:Darr247
ID: 37826192
You could sign up for a SamKnows router... it tests your connection at random times throughout the day and generates daily reports.
It takes a couple months to go through the signup process, though...
http://www.samknows.com/broadband/index.php
http://www.samknows.com/testmyisp/index.php

https://fcc.samknows.com/faq.html
http://www.samknows.com/broadband/faq/about

They keep saying they're going to sell the routers, too, or at least release their firmware...
the source is GPL, and here are the WNR3500L files - https://files.samknows.com/~support/firmware/
but I don't think they will generate reports that you can access without having an account.
I've written them an email asking about it, but I just don't know at this time.
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Expert Comment

by:kanalQko
ID: 37826397
via some browser (iexpolorer/chrome) go to http://192.168.100.1/, there u`ll find some more information/log files/signal strenght, etc...

in past i had similar issue with dropping connection, technician from ISP`d found out that it was caused due to low signal.
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Author Comment

by:DarinOBrien
ID: 37827258
TO:  chiefIT.  This is a CABLE modem (not DSL modem) so I'm not aware of any filters.  Maybe there are filters.  For what it's worth, I have no land phone line.

Also, I've got a technician coming out tomorrow to test again.  Maybe it's a signal strength problem.

Can you give me more guidance on the LAN IP and WAN DNS settings that may be causing a problem.  Again, I think the problem happens even when I take the router out and connect the modem directly to the Dell Optiplex.

thanks!
darin

The 192.168.100.1 link was somewhat useful.  Unfortunately, the "Signal", "Status" and "Log" features are not enabled.  Is that something my ISP has to enable?
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:kanalQko
ID: 37827871
to enable such features, go to "http://192.168.100.1/_aslvl.asp" enter username and password, from drop-down menu select "access level 2" enter username and password again and press submit. Then refresh "http://192.168.100.1/", all feautures should be enabled.

The login information is the following:
Username: admin
Password: W2402
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LVL 38

Assisted Solution

by:ChiefIT
ChiefIT earned 150 total points
ID: 37828366
OK, since it's broadband cable, it's most likely the levels that is configured in the Cable repeaters. ONLY a technician can adjust that, your responsibility STOPS at the LAN side jack of the modem and the rest is up to the ISP. It could also be rain in the outside plant wiring. These days, they can configure the RF levels at the central office of the ISP. But, it's best to have a tech check the levels for the run you have.

You also asked about How the WAN IP and DNS servers are configured. These are configured through a dynamic IP, much in the same way a DHCP server hosts IP addresses for enterprise environments.

The ISP will give your modem a dynamic IP through DHCP that also give your modem a set of WAN DNS servers that usually the ISP hosts. The Broadband modem also usually performs NAT (meaning, it's also a sort of router). The internal IP address is often a private IP. BUT, it will provide a dynamic WAN IP to your wireless router, and that modem can become your preferred DNS server. I would suggest logging onto the router and configuring the WAN side DNS servers manually to your ISP's DNS servers or to public servers (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 for google DNS servers). This will reach more root servers and you could potentially have better luck obtaining DNS on obscure sites.

Nevertheless, your problem is probably levels for your broadband repeaters are not set. The Tech will figure that out and adjust the levels, (just like Kanal suggested above).
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Darr247
ID: 37828679
When the tech is there tomorrow, if they say they don't find anything wrong, ask them to replace the modem.
 
They should not have any problem with that, and should be able to swap it for one on the truck in about a minute.

I would write down the MAC address and/or serial number on its label now, then you can double check to make sure it was actually replaced.
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Author Comment

by:DarinOBrien
ID: 37830431
TO:  kanalOko.  I was able to logon to the cable modem with the password you gave me.  I captured part of the log (see attached PDF...not sure how best to capture the log) and it looks like a lot of error messages to me.  

Interesting, the cable modem user interface only lets me see the secure tabs for a few seconds before locking me out.  I then have to login again.

I'll ask the technician to replace the modem tomorrow.

thanks,
darin
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Expert Comment

by:kanalQko
ID: 37830446
yes, ISP is enforcing their settings, therefore you are able to see log and other tabs for a while, no attachments is here
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Author Comment

by:DarinOBrien
ID: 37832188
Sorry, let me try that attachment again.

thanks,
darin
Cable-Modem-Log.pdf
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Accepted Solution

by:
kanalQko earned 350 total points
ID: 37832347
According to log it seems that you have an issue with signal, I cannot guarantee this information, off course there could be some other issue.
Ask for the errors technician from ISP and let us know. Thanks
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Expert Comment

by:Darr247
ID: 37833064
Finally heard back from SamKnows, and they said currently the only way to generate reports on their web site is still going through the application process, which can take a couple months before you get the 'whitebox' router with their firmware on it.  :-(
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Author Closing Comment

by:DarinOBrien
ID: 37852755
The ISP (Mediacom) found that the signal strength was way too HIGH.  Looks like that has solved the problem.

Thanks to everyone who commented...much appreciated!
darin
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by:kanalQko
ID: 37852777
you`re welcome ;-)
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