Short in my internet
May 20, 2010 5:12 AM   Subscribe

My internet access is driving me crazy. Sometimes pages load and sometimes they don't. Https pages seem to be particularly inconsistent. I recently had to buy a new Zoom DSL modem which has a Linksys wireless router and Vonage running out of the back of it. What tools and troubleshooting techniques can I use to trace down the problem? I have performed an infinite ping on google and the connection is consistently up. My Bittorrent downloads are working just fine. My Vonage which is plugged into the back of the DSL modem is working just fine. Sometimes I can get Gmail, sometimes I can't. Help me track down this problem before I go and buy a new modem / router combo. Help me become a wireless / connectivity sleuth.
posted by jasondigitized to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What OS do you use, and how are your bits and pieces connected to one another?
posted by flabdablet at 6:07 AM on May 20, 2010

Response by poster: Windows 7 -> ( Wireless ) -> Linksys Wireless Router -> ( Ethernet ) -> Zoom DSL Modem -> Phone Line
posted by jasondigitized at 6:23 AM on May 20, 2010

I'll just keep plugging as being an excellent place to start.
(From your symptoms it's likely packet loss on the wireless or a dns problem - try switching to the free google dns at
posted by samj at 6:25 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Do you have a cap on the upload rate in your torrent client? If you don't have a cap that's lower than your total upload bandwidth available you may find that the torrents are to blame. If your upload bandwidth is saturated none of your other connections will work well.
posted by Jupiter Jones at 6:50 AM on May 20, 2010

Response by poster: Not Bittorrent. I have turned it off and am still encountering the same problem.
posted by jasondigitized at 7:03 AM on May 20, 2010

I've had a similar issue that turned out to be DNS - my ISP's servers would get overloaded and not respond. Try switching your DNS from the provider to openDNS or Google DNS.
posted by anti social order at 7:06 AM on May 20, 2010

One of the best ways to diagnose your internet issues is to figure out how to display the "Line Stats" on your modem's interface. You should be able to log in to your modem by typing in your browser's address bar. From there, the default username/password is admin/zoomvoip -- you may need to plug your computer straight into the modem (bypassing the router) to log in.

Your modem's line stats will be able to tell you a lot about the quality of signal going into the modem. If you have bad stats, there may be a few things you can do to improve your internet... you'll need to trouble-shoot by unplugging all the phones and connecting the modem to your demarc (short for demarcation point), or as close as you can get to the main incoming phone line as possible. If your stats improve dramatically, you can slowly add in all the other variables (phones, filters, modem location, etc..) until you isolate what is causing the short.

If there is no significant improvement at the demarc with all the other factors removed, you may need to call your telco and have a technician look at the quality of your incoming line. As long as the problem is outside your house (on the other side of the demarc), it is the telco's responsibility to fix it.

Alternately, if you live a great distance away from the telco's CO, there may be nothing that can be done to fix your internet signal.

Good luck... It's a lot of work to troubleshoot, but last year I used some troubleshooting advice that I found on the forums at to figure out that a bad DSL filter was causing intermittent internet at my father's house... it was a $5 fix.
posted by kaudio at 7:18 AM on May 20, 2010

Sometimes these problems can be fixed by doing some IE adjustments. (I'm assuming your using Internet Explorer).

From the menu bar:
Tools->Internet Options->General Tab->Browsing History->Delete
Tools->Internet Options->Content Tab->Clear SSL State
Press Ok.
Exit and restart IE.
posted by Hilbert at 7:30 AM on May 20, 2010

Response by poster: Using Google Chrome. People who use IE don't know how to do infinite pings :) But you did just spark something. I should be able to use Firebug to do some troubleshooting.
posted by jasondigitized at 8:31 AM on May 20, 2010

The reason for my suggestion was your https connectivity problems. A short time ago I had a similar problem with unreliable connectivity to an https site. It wasn't until I cleared the SSL state that I was able to make the site fully accessible. Interestingly, I run both IE and Chrome and the problem was duplicated in both browsers until I cleared the SSL state. BTW, deleting histories is a traditional fix and has worked for me when I get strange connectivity problems.
posted by Hilbert at 11:20 AM on May 20, 2010

I have had similar experiences with random issues like that. It was my ISP's DNS servers. Pacbell. They are better than they used to be, but DNS seems to be a common problem.

A good general resource, with resources available for more precise analysis can be found at: I am a real cheapskate, but I found the $10 paid membership to be easily worth the money.
posted by Xoebe at 2:08 PM on May 20, 2010

Install Wireshark on the PC that's having trouble, and use it to track down what's actually happening to your packets. Seeing > guessing!
posted by flabdablet at 3:50 AM on May 22, 2010

Side note: doesn't respond to every ping, so it's actually a bad target (in my experience) for measuring connectivity. It throttles responses! Some smaller site (that has good connectivity) can make more sense.
posted by gregglind at 9:52 AM on May 27, 2010

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