How to Troubleshoot Your Internet Connection for DSL or Cable Service

One of the common problems among internet users is testing their

internet connection to pinpoint the exact problem. There is a big number of internet users who use DSL, and cable modem service.

You set us your connection the way your ISP (internet service provider)instruct you to. Sometimes, it doesn’t work for numerous reasons.

You service is not ready, your hardware in not connected properly, or your ISP is having problems.

Whatever the cause of the problem maybe, there are some diagnostic tools you can use in Windows XP, in order to identify the problem.

If you are not exact in your diagnostic, you will get a good idea at least.

Before we get to the diagnostic tools, let us discuss what is involved in an internet connection.

The information travels over the internet to your computer through your ISP service. This is done through a High speed modem then to a network card installed in your computer.

Your computer is called a host, your service provider will give

you the DNS IP address, and you get your login and password. That is all what you have from your ISP.

Sometimes, your internet connection fails, and you want to find

out the problem. You may be able to fix it, or at least get some

information about the problem to advise your isp for help.

You will start by accessing the command prompt by going in sequence to:

Start menu, program, accessories, then command prompt. A window

will open where you type commands from the prompt.

At the command prompt, you type: IPCONFIG. This command will give you the active network connection on your computer. Here is an example:

PPP adapter Copy :

Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :

IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 68.239.158.45

Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.255

Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 68.239.158.45

The above output was produced when I ran the Ipconfig command on my own computer running Window XP OS, and A DSL connection. The IP address is my computer address assigned by the ISP.

Please note, you can add an option to this command, in order to get more detailed information about your connection. Here is the output, when I ran the same command with the

“all” option.

Ipconfig /ALL

PPP adapter Copy :

Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :

Description . . . . . . . . . . . : WAN (PPP/SLIP) Interface

Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-53-45-00-00-00

Dhcp Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : No

IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 68.239.158.45

Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.255

Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 68.239.158.45

DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 151.198.0.39

151.197.0.39

NetBIOS over TCP/IP. . . . . . . . : Disabled

Notice now, the output includes the phisycal address of the network interface card installed in my computer. Also, you see the DNS IP addresses. With the above information, I didn’t have any problems.

Supposed ,I disconnect my DSL connection and ran the command again, this is the new result:

Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:

Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :

IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.0.1

Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0

Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . :

Notice in this case, where I disconnected my connection, you don’t get a DNS server. This tells you that I am not connected to the internet.

Also, notice the IP address starts with 192.168, which is the default address whenever your computer is not connected to the internet.

Another command is the ping command. It will allow to check if a computer is connected to the network and ready to communicate, whether intranet,

or internet.

Once you run it,it will sent a packet to the computer specified and gives the time it took for the packet to travel. This is an a output when I tried to ping [http://www.yahoo.com:]

C:>ping [http://www.yahoo.com]

Pinging www.yahoo.akadns.net [216.109.118.66] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 216.109.118.66: bytes=32 time=35ms TTL=55

Reply from 216.109.118.66: bytes=32 time=39ms TTL=55

Ping statistics for 216.109.118.66:

Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),

Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:

Minimum = 35ms, Maximum = 39ms, Average = 38ms.

That shows that the host was reachable, and connected to the internet.

A very important command is the Nslookup. This will let you check if DNS (domain name server) is working properly. The function of the DNS server is to translate ip addresses to domain name of the networked computer. Here is an example:

C:> nslookup [http://www.yahoo.com]

Server: home5.bellatlantic.net

Address: 151.198.0.39

Non-authoritative answer:

Name: [http://www.yahoo.akadns.net]

Addresses: 216.109.118.67

Aliases: [http://www.yahoo.com]

So, you enter the name after Nslookup, it will give you IP addresses and vice versa.

In summary, there more commands in Windows Xp, but using the three above commands should give you a good idea about your internet connection problems. You can find where the problem is occurring. Is it your machine, or the ISP.

Thanks,

George Chamoun

How to Test Your DSL and Cable Internet Connection Speed

There are two measured elements that determine your internet connection speed. They are: The download rate, and the upload rate of data measured in bits per seconds. Usually, it is expressed in Kilobits per second.

A bit is the smallest piece of data that can be stored in a computer. The bit can be either “0” or “1”. The byte is eight bits. Example of a byte and bits are the following:

bit= 0 or 1

byte=8 bits

1 byte=10011101 (eight bits)

A single charcter needs one byte or eight bits to be stored in a computer. So, when the data rate is 1 byte/sec, that means one character per second is the rate at which data is transferred through your connection.

This is very slow, and only intended for an example. In order to browse the internet, you must have at least a dial up access with a 56kb/s modem, in order to get a meaningful and practical result.

There are different types of internet connection. First they introduced the dialup connection using your phone line, then the broadband was introduced.

The broadband internet connections are DSL, Cable, or Satellite internet services. They are widely used and expanding due to the high bandwidth.

When you get an internet service, your provider states that your speed will be a certain numbers. They usually give you a good idea, but not an exact one. The common asked questions

among internet users is:

How do I know what is my connection speed, and if I am getting what I was promised?.

If there anyway I can test my connection, and do I need to buy expensive software to test it?.

The answer is simple. There are two ways to test your internet connection speed:

1- The manual simple calculation test that you can do yourself without any software or third party services.

2- You can find a service that lets you run a test through their servers, and get your numbers displayed at their webpage.

1-The manual method:

Since I mentioned that the connection speed consist of two numbers, the download and upload speed. So, what you do is download from the internet any free software, and watch the result box with the result that show the size of the file and how many seconds it tool to download.

When you are done recording the download speed, upload a file of a specific size (1 Mb, 2 Mb), and time your watch when you start. When the file is uploaded, check your watch and record the time it took for the task. Then divide your file size by the seconds it took.

If you file was 2 Mb. that took 5 minutes to upload, then your upload speed is 2 Mb./300 sec. or 6.826 Kbits/sec.You can run the above test couple times, and then take the average for a better result.

2-The automated test at a third party service:

This is my preferred one, where you get to a website where the test is done for you. It is done using a script installed on their server, and letting you download and upload to their server a test file (invisible to you). Then, the result is displayed on their webpage. You just have to register for free using your email. It is free. This is a website address where they offer you a free internet connection test:

http://www.visualware.com.

In summary, don’t settle for numbers given to you by your services, do the tests whenever you can. You enjoy it, and feel that you are getting your money worth. This is because some servcies charges you 35 dollars or more for a high speed internet service.

Thanks,

George Chamoun

Is Your’ Internet Connection or Wireless Network Letting You Down?

My business relies on the Internet; my phone is an IP phone, it uses the Internet. If the Internet goes down so does most of my business until it comes back up in maybe hours or days. It doesn’t stop there though because even my TV uses the Internet these days and then there’s all those cloud services which means some of my data may not be on any of my computers. I’m running a cable Internet connection and it’s pretty fast especially when it comes to downloads. The faster the broadband the more we can do with it and the more we rely on it. And… it doesn’t even stop there either! Laptops, mobile phones, tablets, TV’s, set top boxes, NAS drives, stereo systems, cameras etc. use wireless so wireless is really important too.

If you are running an Internet dependent business or would really miss your Internet connection at home you won’t want it to go down ever! Well, maybe when you are on holiday… uh oh, got a remote security camera linked to your phone through the Internet or some other device, maybe a remote Internet linked pet feeder or something.

I think most of us want reliable all the 9’s uptime for our Internet but of course that’s not always easy to achieve. Making it 100% reliable I cannot promise in fact even all the 9’s is not that easy but I can probably show you how to make your Internet faster, have a higher capacity, make it more reliable and improve your wireless whilst keeping costs reasonable!

A Common Problem

Most homes and small businesses have 1 Internet connection, 1 line and 1 router that functions as a router a switch and a wireless access point… true? If any of those elements go down then so might your Internet access. You could go ask the neighbour if you could sling a wire through to your business from their supply or ask for their wireless password and maybe sometimes this is OK, it’s a temporary solution of a sort. If you want to be self-reliant though you’ll probably need a better solution.

What happens if…

Your router fails

Simple, go get another router, configure it up (hope you know where your broadband login details are) or better still, have another router on standby, just in case! From my experience most people or businesses don’t have a spare. Your current router might be a bit special but anything will do to get you back up and running if a direct replacement is not to hand.

Your Internet connection fails

It could be your ISP, a fault on the line or a JCB digging outside. Either way it’s down to the service level agreements of your provider. You’ll probably be down for a few hours, maybe a few days and if you are really unlucky, a few weeks, it happens, especially if the road needs digging up.

Flaky Wireless

Wireless has come a long way but it’s still a flaky service. It depends on lots of things, how many people are already connected, what’s in your building, atmospheric conditions, the type of wireless network you have and the capabilities of the devices you are trying to connect to it etc.

It’s also not so great when you have more than 1 wireless access point but your device stays connected to the access point you were near 2 minutes ago and which is now nearly out of range. You could be standing next to another access point on the same network but still not connect to it unless you manually do so.

Does all or some of this sound familiar?

A Solution

There are very fast Internet connections with high up-times and excellent service level agreements that mean if your Internet connection does go down it gets fixed quickly but of course that can cost a lot of money and a JCB going through the cable is probably going to scupper even that plan for a while. There’s WiMax, line of site links and even satellite connections but, well, it’s a bit expensive and maybe a bit over the top for many.

My suggested solution below is not new but it has improved over time and costs less than it used to. Not all brands and/or models will let you do this but the right devices are readily available and affordable.

More than 1

Broadband is pretty cheap so how about 2 supplies over different networks so that if it’s the ISP or just 1line that fails then the other is likely to continue to work. Just to make it belt and braces how about feeding in a mobile broadband supply just in case that clumsy JCB comes your way and cuts all the cables to your premises (don’t laugh, this happened to a company I worked for).

In this case you should have 2 broadband feeds going into the same router which will balance all your Internet traffic using the 2 services giving you more speed and capacity. If 1broadband service fails then the other carries on until the failed service comes back up. If both services fail then the mobile broadband cuts in.

The mobile broadband does depend on the mobile signal you can get where your router is located and whether it’s 3G or 4G but at least it will let you access the Internet. If it’s 4G this could be pretty good! You will need to watch your mobile broadband use depending on the tariff you are using but at least you are still up and running.

What if the router fails? Well of course this can happen so for the cost of it I would keep a second router as a backup. You can backup the configuration of the router in use and load it onto the second router. You can backup the configuration each time you change it and either load it onto the second router or at least have it ready. For some devices, there are extended warranties available where they will replace your failed device the next working day with no quibbling. You could even use the second router as a second modem if you configure it correctly but that’s a subject for another day.

Improving Wireless Connectivity

Wireless or WiFi has improved over time. The range is greater, it’s more reliable and easier to connect to than it used to be but it’s still a variable and sometimes quirky technology. If you need a consistent service over a defined area then you’ll probably need to overdo it with wireless coverage.

Many routers are not just routers; they are routers, switches, modems and wireless access points. The wireless part of your main router will provide all you need in a small space but as an operating space gets bigger you will need further wireless access points to cover the area. Wireless access points can be obtained for both indoor and outdoor environments and can work well in a campus environment.

Two Variants

There are two main variants which we can call push and pull systems. To use a couple of techy terms, the wireless system we’ll call the server and your mobile phone, laptop tablet or other wireless device the client.

Pull

Most domestic or small office wireless systems are pull systems which means you manually connect your client device to a wireless server. For example, an office or house has 2 access points, 1is a wireless router downstairs and the other is a wireless access point upstairs. When your client device is connected to the downstairs router (the server) it stays connected to it until it goes out of range so if you walk upstairs you may need to manually disconnect from the downstairs router and connect to the upstairs wireless access point. It works but it’s clunky and moving smoothly from 1wireless zone to another does not occur. Both wireless access points are part of the same system but the connection to them isn’t managed automatically. You could say that you have to pull connections.

Push

Using the same scenario now the wireless system is being managed and pushing connections. The effect is that when you walk up the stairs the wireless management software built into the system monitors it’s connections and as the signal from 1wireless access point becomes weaker and another stronger it pushes connection to the stronger wireless access point to your client device such as your phone.

Another great thing about Managed Wireless is that it will share the load so if several devices are in range of more than 1access point those access points can be made to share the wireless traffic instead of 1being overloaded and the other hardly used.

Now you can walk up and down stairs with your client device and stay connected without having to think about it. Where two or more access points are located to manage a lot of wireless traffic they can look after the traffic loads so the user gets a good solid wireless service throughout the operating area.

Sounds Expensive

Managed Wireless used to be expensive but it’s not now. It does cost more than pull wireless but not much more and is well within credible cost for domestic or small business users. If you need it it’s well worth the modest extra cost.

You will need routers and wireless access points that can all function as part of a Managed Wireless system and you will need 2 x broadband supplies which can be a mixture of ADSL max, ADSL2+, Fibre known as FTTC or some other suitable broadband/Ethernet supply. You can use cable broadband. 2 lines carrying BT like broadband will give you 2 lines of voice as well.