Help me keep a connection for ten seconds!
June 28, 2012 8:56 AM   Subscribe

TechSupportFilter: Internet connection drops out after five seconds regardless of whether I'm connected via wireless or ethernet

So, the house has been having internet troubles. Previously - with an older modem and router - devices on the second floor couldn't get reliable wireless access, since the router was in the basement. So, we got a second router from the same brand and put it on the first floor, and we installed a new modem.

Now here's what happens: Computers anywhere in the house can start a connection, and it looks like it's constant - the wireless bars don't get an icon indicating "no internet access" or anything of that sort. However, around five seconds after connecting to the network, the computers lose internet access anyways. So, for instance, I can access MeFi just fine, but if I click on any links the connection will probably decide it's already had enough of me. This happens whether the computer is connected via a wireless connection or an ethernet cable.

I've tried to look this problem up, but the search terms are so vague that it's impossible to find an answer to this particular problem.
posted by LSK to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
When you connect the ethernet cable to your computer, is it connected directly to the modem? Call your Internet Service Provider and get them to help you out. They have tech support for this kind of thing, and it's highly possible that it is a faulty piece of equipment.
posted by 200burritos at 9:37 AM on June 28, 2012

Right. You want to try to eliminate each step in the potential chain of failure. So 1. if you plug a computer directly into the modem (presumably you mean one of today's typically wired cable modems, not an old school dial-up, although I suppose the same rules apply), does this behavior occur? If so, yep call your ISP and tell them.

2. if it doesn't happen when you do this, the problem isn't the cable modem, it's something after the cable modem. Either the router(s) or your network card of choice, although it seems unlikely that all your computers have the same exact brand and model year/month of nic in them.
posted by bitterkitten at 10:19 AM on June 28, 2012

3. You could also have malware (but I hope you don't have malware infections on all of your computers : )
posted by bitterkitten at 10:20 AM on June 28, 2012

You'll want to make sure that all access points (routers) are not sharing the same channel. Download a free program called Wireshark to help with discovering all visible APs that may be causing interference....then reconfigure your APs to be atleast 2-3 channels apart from any others (ideally that is...if there's quite a few atleast make sure yours are on different channels).

That would be my first recommendation. Other than that, connecting directly to the router would be a great help as it would determine if the issue is wireless or modem related. If it is modem/router related and not wireless, you might have considerable luck contacting your ISP for additional support, as they will test up to the modem for you.
posted by samsara at 10:41 AM on June 28, 2012

"This happens whether the computer is connected via a wireless connection or an ethernet cable. "

Oops! Ok I missed this vital piece of information on my first glance. My best guess is the installation of the second modem/router might indeed be the issue. With that in mind we're going to need a little more information:

- Describe how everything is wired up. Are you using two modems and two routers? Or are you tieing two routers to one modem. If so, what ports are you plugging each component in? What brands/models are being used?

- Are you cable or DSL? Did you have the new modem professionally installed? Did they have to make any modifications to your Cable splitter or telephone box?
posted by samsara at 10:50 AM on June 28, 2012

The application I meant to recommend is called InSSIDer. Wireshark is a great product, but would be less helpful for diagnosing wireless (got the two mixed up in my head...)
posted by samsara at 12:40 PM on June 28, 2012

I would check to see which of your devices are configured to run DHCP. You only want one DHCP server running on your network. (make sure the new router has DHCP turned off)

To see if this is what is happening:
(I'm assuming you are running windows here)
On your computer open a command window and type "ipconfig/all"
Make note of the IP Address, Subnet Mask and Gateway values when it is working and not working.. I bet your computer starts off with a working configuration and ends up being reset to a non-working configuration.
posted by TeknoKid at 1:08 PM on June 28, 2012

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