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Help, help, I'm being repressed! Well, maybe.
August 11, 2011 8:15 AM   Subscribe

Over the last week I have been unable to connect to any websites on the senate.gov domain.

I don't recall trying to connect to senate.gov addresses in the past, so I am not sure when this issue began. Last week I tried to follow links posted on my senator's Facebook page to his Senate website (http://sanders.senate.gov), and have been unable to do so. On any of my machines (ipad, iphone, macbook air, imac, macbook pro). When I take the portable machines to my local co-op and use their wifi I can connect.

With the help of a few more tech-savvy MeFites I have used Terminal to ping the domain and find the IP and still can't connect directly that way. I have tried running a trace and usually it gives up after about 60 hops. I have used "curl -v http://www.senate.gov" and "curl -l http://www.senate.gov" and get "curl: (56) Failure when receiving data from the peer"

I *can* connect to house.gov addresses and I see no evidence that there are other websites to which I can't connect.

I am using Wildblue.net for my ISP because I have no other options in rural Vermont. I asked other friends using Wildblue in my area to try and connect to senate.gov and one neighbour COULD connect and one neighbour could NOT connect.

Wildblue tech support says they are not blocking any websites from me and that as long as I have connectivity there is nothing they can do. They say it is either my computer's settings or senate.gov's server settings. Based on my ability to connect using the portable machines when I take them outside the home I am inclined to think it is either senate.gov having some extreme security settings or Wildblue does in fact have a problem.

Please help me.
posted by terrapin to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Try using Google's Public DNS.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:32 AM on August 11, 2011


Already am using Google DNS.
posted by terrapin at 8:34 AM on August 11, 2011


Where is the traceroute failing? That will tell you which network is causing the problem. Sounds like there is bad routing data somewhere. Maybe try Verizon's public DNS server at 4.2.2.2 as a test?
posted by COD at 8:37 AM on August 11, 2011


Mefite friend said it looked like alter.net was the hangup.

I tried 4.2.2.2 and get the same results.
posted by terrapin at 8:41 AM on August 11, 2011


If you could post a screenshot of the tracert that might be useful.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:44 AM on August 11, 2011


Running it now. Have guests arriving. Will point to the screenshot as soon as I can. Thanks.
posted by terrapin at 8:55 AM on August 11, 2011


In the mean time, there's always Anonymouse.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:52 AM on August 11, 2011


The site I work on is intimately connected to the House and Senate sites, with thousands of links, though I don't work on either of them. I've not heard of anyone else having trouble connecting to senate.gov, and I believe, strongly, that I would have heard. They are completely separate from house.gov, so I'm not surprised that you might have trouble with only one of them.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:54 AM on August 11, 2011


MrMoonPie: I use a satellite internet provider that mostly has rural clients. Many people who use this ISP are used to crap service and may not report the issue. They just assume it is them.

COD and Horselover Phattie: I MeMailed you a link tot he screenshot. Thanks.

Chocolate Pickle: Thanks for the work around. Hopefully I will be able to connect directly soon.
posted by terrapin at 12:23 PM on August 11, 2011


I looked at the traceroute.

Your ping times are horrible across the board. Every single hop after your local router is taking forever. Also, all those 10.x.x.x IP addressees are private IP addresses, which I assume have something to do with the way you connect to your ISP. I think there are two possible problems, but which one is it I don't know.

1. Your router or DSL modem is hosed. I assume you've rebooted multiple times by now, so it could be that something broke. It happens.

2. Your ISP has a routing problem with your account.

You need to get past first level tech support to somebody that understands a traceroute - and email that image to them.

IANANA (I AM Not A Network Admin)
posted by COD at 12:41 PM on August 11, 2011


He's on a satellite connection. Really high ping times are par for the course.
posted by schmod at 12:52 PM on August 11, 2011


Ah, I missed the part about satellite Internet. Yes, the ping times may just be routine in that case. I'm not sure how bad Sat ping times should be these days. Also, ignore my guess about a bad DSL modem. Really, just ignore my entire comment!
posted by COD at 1:01 PM on August 11, 2011


Thanks for the tip, COD. I have called and called and they keep saying the same thing "it is your computer or the website you are trying to reach." They won't pass me on to anyone else up the chain. They say "there is nothing more we can do."

1. This is possible, but I am not sure how to test for it. I can not identify other websites that are giving me problems. Other random traces seem to do fine. I have connected directly from the modem to my iMac bypassing the router and get the same results, at least with senate.gov. http://speakeasy.net/speedtest shows results I expect to see.

2. I used email to my ISP to suggest they contact alter.net/Verizon Business per a suggestion someone else in this thread sent me via MeMail. My guess is my ISP will ignore it.
posted by terrapin at 1:01 PM on August 11, 2011


Storm is rolling in now, so I may lose connection for a bit. Yup, satellite Internet sucks. But many of my neighbors only has dial-up, so I try not to complain. I live in paradise otherwise.

I am starting to think that unless alter.net (Verizon Business) reboots their servers I am just going to have to deal with Anonymouse. alter.net is where the apparent hangup is in the trace. If anyone else needs to see the screen grab of the trace in order to assist me, just say so and I will MeMail the dropbox link.

Thanks again.
posted by terrapin at 1:08 PM on August 11, 2011


General consensus seems to indicate that the problem may be alter.net's servers, which are owned by Verizon Business. They won't listen to me and Wildblue says it's not their problem. So unless alter.net reboots at some point I will have to use anonymouse or the like.

I have called and written Senator Sanders, but not to request his help as much as to point out that this is another problem with the telecoms unwillingness to spend money to build broadband networks in rural states, and ask him to continue to press the telecoms to do the right thing.

Thanks to everyone who spent time trying to help. You did.
posted by terrapin at 8:11 AM on August 12, 2011


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