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Verizon USB wireless interface on Windows 8.1 computers

Posted on 2015-01-08
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Last Modified: 2015-01-22
One of our users is trying to use a Verizon wireless / USB interface on a couple of Windows 8.1 laptops. We're getting strange results:
- when connected to the Verizon interface, most often, web pages won't load.  The connection is there but the pages won't load.  They do load using other connections.
- It appears that the Windows firewall is involved as if it's turned on or even if it's turned off, as long as it's the only firewall installed then the problem occurs.
- If we install the Kaspersky firewall then the problem goes away.
- If we install the Comodo firewall then the problem goes away.

So, it would seem that whatever gets shut off when a 3rd party firewall is installed does something to allow the connections to fully work.  After all, they do "disable" the Windows firewall somehow, yes?  And this appears to be different than turning off the Windows firewall by itself.

I'm not satisfied with having to install another firewall and would like to get the Windows firewall working.
But I have NO idea what to consider.
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Question by:Fred Marshall
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Expert Comment

by:Jason Johanknecht
ID: 40539400
I would recommend a 3rd party firewall like Kaspersky over Windows firewall any day.  What are the reasons you don't want Kaspersky or Comodo?

With Windows firewall only, can you ping 8.8.8.8 ?
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Author Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40539626
I've not had the opportunity to run any diagnostic tests but that's surely a good idea.  Like ping 8.8.8.8.

The problem with other firewalls is that then you have all sorts of firewalls installed here and there and you have to know what *their* vagaries are.  Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know.
I really hate it when a user says: "well, I can't access other computers and, oh yes, I'm using the xyz firewall".  For example, I've seen the Symantec firewalls totally mess up network communications.  etc. etc.

I'm rather impressed by the Windows firewall starting in Windows 7 as there are plenty of settings that you can get at, change and add.  And, after all, firewalls are in some sense rather straightforward - perhaps more so than antivirus programs ,etc.
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Assisted Solution

by:Jason Johanknecht
Jason Johanknecht earned 1500 total points
ID: 40540424
I do agree stick with one firewall across the board will make life much easier for you.  You may be interested in Symantec - Norton Security now though.  I have not had an issue in years with any of Symantec products, and the 2015 version allows 5 ($80) - 10 ($90).  The 10 user version is currently on sale for $60 at www.Symantec.com   It is a powerful yet easy to understand firewall.

For other testing with Windows firewall, you can be sure it is not responsible by actually stopping the service in Windows services.
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Author Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40540846
The thing is, I don't get to choose all the time what's installed/used.  Influence yes and sometimes decide by default.  

Good idea about stopping the service.  I'll try that.

Any other theories?
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Author Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40540958
I'm narrowing it down.  
I removed Kaspersky and have killed the Windows firewall service (which was still running initially!)
Now I'm connected using Verizon and my remote connection remains OK.
I can ping 8.8.8.8 but can't open web pages.
Lo and behold, there is no DNS service... aha!
The Verizon interface is showing a couple of DNS server addresses but using nslookup and one of those DNS addresses seems to not work.
Even using 8.8.8.8 via nslookup does not work.
But, I can still ping IP addresses such as those DNS servers...
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Expert Comment

by:Jason Johanknecht
ID: 40540996
My opinion, standardize the antivirus and firewalls.  Much easier to support.  Let me know on the ping results.  You could also verify DNS using NSLOOKUP and the sites you are trying to view.
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by:Jason Johanknecht
ID: 40541016
The Windows firewall service running with it disabled is not an issue.  In NSLOOKUP it reports responses from 8.8.8.8 not a different server, correct?  Was there ever another firewall installed before all of these issues, or another antivirus?  If so find the removal tool from that company to remove all remnants of that past AV.  I would run ccleaner on this computer most important is the registry part.... Make sure you select YES to making a backup to registry changes before you remove anything.
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Expert Comment

by:Jason Johanknecht
ID: 40541035
What make & model are the laptops?  Example Lenovo Thinkpads have Access Connections software.  
Also check the network and sharing to make sure that has set the type as either Public, Work, or Home.  Until that is selected nothing will work.  I have seen where you never get that option on some wireless adapters and therefore cannot use the connection.  
Also make sure you have the latest drivers for the Verizon adapter.  
Do you have the windows updates installed up to date?
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Author Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40541218
I have read a lot about Windows 8.1 updates and DNS issues with various connections.
But, I've not found a solution yet.
I've tried the netsh resets, etc.
I tried to use Wireshark but it seems to not see the PPP Verizon wireless connection.

I wish now I'd entitled this question: "Windows 8.1 DNS with Verizon PPP Wireless Connection"
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Expert Comment

by:Jason Johanknecht
ID: 40541447
What make & Model laptops are these?
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Author Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40542623
In NSLOOKUP it reports responses from 8.8.8.8 not a different server, correct?
No, not correct.  It doesn't generate any results from nslookup no matter which DNS server IP address is specified.  
What it *can* do is ping 8.8.8.8 which leads me to a local DNS issue (i.e. on this computer).

I'm getting the other info....
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Author Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40544802
X-240 Thinkpad
Verizon software is the latest.
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Expert Comment

by:Jason Johanknecht
ID: 40551141
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Accepted Solution

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Fred Marshall earned 0 total points
ID: 40555666
This issue has been haunting the user since June 2014.  MANY discussions with Verizon ensued with no resolution.
Finally, someone at Verizon acknowledged that the particular modem is NOT compatible with Windows 8.1.
A new modem is on the way.
Argggghhhhh!!
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Author Closing Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40563905
It is what it is.   Thank you for the suggestions!
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