What is wrong with my Internet connection?
August 22, 2009 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Every few minutes, my Internet connection drops out. It is a shared DSL connection that I connect to in my apartment (I have no access to the router). If I click the "Renew DHCP Lease" button in my Mac's preferences, it will work just fine for a few more minutes until it just stops again. What is the reasoning behind this, and how can I fix it so I don't have to "renew" my "lease" all the time?
posted by Houyhnhnm to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If this is a shared connection, is someone else swamping the router? Ordinarily that wouldn't necessarily contribute to premature lease expiration, but different routers handle connection glut in different ways.
posted by Sutekh at 5:06 PM on August 22, 2009

Is your Mac for some reason not set to get its IP address automatically? If you don't want to have to renew the lease all the time, you'll have to set up a static IP for your computer in the router, which will require you to know your computer's MAC address; your router's web interface should display that.
posted by sinfony at 5:30 PM on August 22, 2009

If your connection is encrypted with a protocol like WEP, WPA or WPA2, the router and your machine may be trying to re-exchange new encryption keys every few minutes. The connection doesn't so much "die," as become unresponsive while this is happening, and you might find that if you let it do this to completion, the connection would be usable again. Some routers have a better "seeding" algorithm than others, for kicking off this renegotiation.

If that is the cause of the situation, not much you can do about it directly, without access to the router. "Fixes" include extending the encryption key exchange interval, to something still under an hour (many routers try to do this every 5 minutes, which is security overkill for most users), upgrading the router software, or choosing another encryption method.
posted by paulsc at 6:22 PM on August 22, 2009

When you say you have no access to the router, does this mean you're leeching your connection from an unknown neighbor? By which I mean you turned on your computer and it told you it had found a Wifi connection, and so you've been using it?

Because the real owner of that router may have gotten tired of having you steal their bandwidth and made some setting changes with the deliberate purpose of making your life miserable.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:29 PM on August 22, 2009

I once had a problem where my PC and router were set to different time zones and WPA2 was set to key renewal hourly, but with the time difference that meant always. I set the fixed the time zone in the router and things improved. I don't know if that's your problem, just something you might consider.
posted by forthright at 8:42 PM on August 22, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you all for your responses.

I am not leeching from a neighbor. I am connecting via the ethernet port in my apartment. The Internet is included in our rent and provided to us by the landlord. I have no access to the router because I am not the administrator.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 7:42 AM on August 23, 2009

If it's ethernet you could possibly set a static IP.

on most home networks that would work just fine.

for example.

if the network is assigning you an IP of and your gateway is

you could configure you computer as and likely not have any conflicts.
posted by Megafly at 5:49 PM on August 24, 2009

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