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Old 12-26-2013, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,047 posts, read 26,541,956 times
Reputation: 9406

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Ok, so I have an odd one I'm hoping someone can chime in on.

My internet at home is behaving very strangely.

We have 4 computers, 3 are hard wired, one is wireless. We use a variety of browsers, IE, Chrome, Firefox. The problem is happening on all computers and browsers.

We can stream Netflix on our TVs with no issue. We can play online games with no issue. Our connection speed tests what it should.

The problem comes in when we try to visit a website. Any website. All websites we have tried for the last few days have been a problem, so it isn't just one site. When we try to visit a site, about 50% of the time, it times out and we get an error message that the page isn't currently available. Sometimes when this happens, the icon in my taskbar changes to an ! saying no connection is available. I can then try again immediately and have it work. Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 tries to get to a website. When it does work, it usually loads very slowly, and sometimes part of the page still fails to load.

I pinged google.com and got 0% packet loss, so my connection isn't going up and down, even though my icon shows that it is.

I thought at first this was just a temporary problem, but it has been happening for 3 days now.

We have scanned all the computers for virus/malware using avast antivirus and malwarebytes and found no issues.

Oh, internet is with CenturyLink. Had the service for several years now, this is a new problem. Haven't changed any hardware, except I did buy a new computer last week, but this problem is on ALL computers, not just my new one, so I think that is just a coincidence. The problem didn't start until nearly a week after hooking up the new computer.

I would appreciate any thoughts anyone might have on this.
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Old 12-26-2013, 11:50 AM
 
455 posts, read 836,977 times
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Just to rule it out, I would try specifying a DNS server in your IP config on one of the computers while this is happening. You can use any public DNS for this. I believe Google's is 8.8.8.8
What this will do is rule out whether there's an intermittent DNS issue on your ISP's end. Although you would not be resolving web pages if DNS was completely down, it's still a thing to rule out in your troubleshooting adventure.

Once you either confirm or rule that out, and since you've already ruled out the connection flapping (which you may want to test again, except with the -t switch to let it go for a while so you get a better picture of your connection stability over a longer period of time), you may want to look at the router itself. If you can get a hold of another router temporarily, you may want to use it to rule out a general router issue.

Further into the router, we might be looking at a collision issue in the switching aspect of the router, or it could be bandwidth saturation if all your computers are online with the new computer being added to the mix on an already low-bandwidth connection, if applicable.

As a test, I would disconnect all but one computer from the router and see what happens. If there are no issues, begin connecting the other computers one-by-one. If you can consistently start having issues with a certain number of connected machines, irrelevant of which machines, I'd look more at the router.
However, if you notice that a specific machine being connected causes the issue, I'd look at the computer.
If the problem is there with even a single connected computer, irrelevant of which computer, then back to the router we go.

Overall, I would just go through the process of elimination until you confront the culprit.
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Old 12-26-2013, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,047 posts, read 26,541,956 times
Reputation: 9406
I did use the -t when I ran it. I let it go for about 5 minutes and had 0% loss, so I think I was fine there.

I didn't 100% understand your first suggestion, but my husband will, I'm ok with computers, he's better, so I will have him take a look at that one.

We didn't add a computer to the mix, we already had 4. I got a new one, my old one replaced an even older one we were using as a media host for videos and we got rid of that oldest one. So we have mine, hubby's, the media hosting computer, and a laptop, plus the 2 tv hookups (I think one is through a Plex and one is through a Playstation). Been that way for a while now. We've never had a bandwidth issue in the past, but it could be a possibility. I'll definitely try your suggestion.

My gut was something with the router as well. I hate replacing routers and having to set everything back up again, so I was hoping it wouldn't be that.

Thank you for your suggestions.
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Old 12-26-2013, 12:29 PM
 
455 posts, read 836,977 times
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Thanks for the clarification.

Regarding the DNS thing, your husband should know how to do it, but if he doesn't, assuming you have Windows 7, you'll just:
- Right-click the square connection icon in the system tray/notification area
- Open Network and Sharing Center
- Click "Local Area Connection"
- Click "Properties"
- Select the "TCP/IPv4" option and hit "Properties"
- Select the "Use the following DNS server..." radio button, then key in 8.8.8.8
- OK everything out.

This will tell your computer to use Google's DNS server instead of your ISP's that you get dynamically. Doing this is a way to rule out a problem with your ISP's DNS servers.
And, just for a little "The More You Know" lesson, DNS is simply a mechanism that translates domain names to IP addresses (among other things), so you don't have to remember IP addresses to visit websites. When this mechanism is not functioning, web pages will fail to load.

Regarding your connected devices, if they're not clogging things up, then you definitely might be looking at the router. Still, I think it's worth it to try the disconnect thing if only for curiosity's sake.
What's your average upload/download on the speed sites?
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Old 12-26-2013, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,047 posts, read 26,541,956 times
Reputation: 9406
Very helpful, thank you

I tested on a couple different sites and got 9-13 DL and .6-.8 UL speeds. I think we pay for 12/1, so we are in the ballpark. Took me 3 tries to load one of the pages, and 2 tries for the other, but once they successfully loaded, the speeds looked ok to me.

Regarding the dns, does that mean that if that WERE the problem, if I know the IP address for a website and type it in directly, it should load? Not saying that's a solution, just curious if that would work.
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:13 PM
 
Location: London
70 posts, read 62,009 times
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The DNS issue is very likely. I doubt that such a DNS issue would be for too long, you may check with somebody that has same ISP and see if he/she experiences same issue. One other DNS related issue is the fact that your own router is used for DNS which in turn uses your ISP name server. In case that the DNS service of your router malfunctions a simple reboot of the router should help, in case you didn't do that already. Most of the times rebooting a router shouldn't cause other issues related with dialing, if any, and so on. One way to know if this is a DNS problem is to ping websites you didn't use lately and see how long it takes for ping to display their IP address.

One other possibility is that you have the WEB traffic redirected to a proxy server. Such proxy server can be on your router, enabled maybe by some advanced security options for URL filtering or on your ISP. One way to check if your ISP redirects you through a proxy is to visit a website like:

What is my ip address | Show my ip

and it should show same public IP you know for sure you have at home.

It's not 100% certain that their proxy detection worked.
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,047 posts, read 26,541,956 times
Reputation: 9406
Definitely isn't the router. We unplugged each computer in succession and plugged them directly into the cable modem. Still had the same problem. So it still does it with no router connected.

Tried the IP site you linked AKAdragon, it says no proxy is detected.

Trying the DNS thing now that hubby is home. Our cable modem is saying "DNS Resolve" is failing when he is running a diagnostic test. So it sounds like you are probably both right. Now we just have to figure out how to fix it.
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Old 12-26-2013, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,047 posts, read 26,541,956 times
Reputation: 9406
Think we have it fixed using OpenDNS. Pages are now loading basically instantly with no errors. We'll see if it lasts. Thanks for your help, both of you.
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Old 12-27-2013, 07:42 AM
 
455 posts, read 836,977 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lacerta View Post
Think we have it fixed using OpenDNS. Pages are now loading basically instantly with no errors. We'll see if it lasts. Thanks for your help, both of you.
Sweet!
So your ISP is having DNS issues then.

Regarding your earlier question about inputting the IP address to resolve websites, in a lot of cases, yes, this will work. However, it usually means that a web server will only have one web site on it with the IP address mapped only to that site. If multiple sites are on a single server with a single IP address, then the web server will not know which web site you're looking for unless the site has a port binding, in which case you'd need to know the port number, OR, the website will have a host binding that will relate to whatever host you type for the domain (like mail.yahoo.com), which wouldn't help you if DNS was down and you're only typing in an IP address, and not a Fully Qualified Domain Name.

So the short answer to that question is: it depends.

Good luck!
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Southern California
4,453 posts, read 6,112,908 times
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You can change the dns setting on your router so you only have to do it in one place. I haven't used my ISP dns for over 10 years.
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