Networking & Wireless forum


Intermittent network packet loss

by tate1711 / December 18, 2012 10:17 AM PST

Here's my setup. I have tried this with regular cable internet, business class and DSL, all with the same results. I have internet into the house in the basement which goes into the modem. Modem feeds to my N900 router, where addresses are handed out to the machines, phones, tvs, etc, everything on the network, which then plugs into a netgear 24 port switch. From there, I have about 1600 feet of cable strewn to wire each room in the house.

From the start, I had intermittent packet loss. Pinging my router has never been an issue, it's getting beyond that. Sometimes I can go 12 hours and not lose a packet, sometimes I can go 12 hours and lose every other one. The ISP (both of them) are stumped. I've replaced the modem 6 times. I think it's safe to rule out the modem. The ISP can see drops on the outside of the house at times, but at other times, cannot. I use VPN for work, which is very sensitive to packet loss, and I do quite a bit of online gaming when I'm not working, again it's noticed. It seems to also be 'triggered' by activity on the network. Meaning I click on a link or fire up pandora or download a file and bam...packet loss. Otherwise idle pinging with ping plotter shows very little loss (<1%) which I believe is normal. Tonight, I had DSL hooked up, ran some errands, came home and found it erroring out every other packet. I plugged the router into the cable modem which is still hooked up with the same results. I rebooted the router and it went away...for about 10 minutes, then it's back again where I have intermittent packet loss. I'm seeing this on all my pcs throughout the house. These are wired PCs. In every case, rebooting the router (which has already been replaced) fixes the issue, at least temporarily. So it's a router or switch issue. Are there settings that I'm missing? I'd rather not (re)invest in a new switch and router if the one I have needs to just be tweaked. The switch is a simple Netgear unmanaged 24 port switch. Any suggestions would be helpful.


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All Answers

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Small world.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 18, 2012 10:32 AM PST

My Netgear was updated to its latest and problems ensued. A little research on the web found folk rolling back a version. You should look into that.

About the switch. Seems overkill. For testing reduce complexity and no WiFi till it's working.

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Just gave that a shot
by tate1711 / December 18, 2012 10:40 AM PST
In reply to: Small world.

Didn't seem to work. Router is Linksys N900. Two wired connections are plugged directly into the router in order to cut down on possible switch issues. I have two pcs, one on the router, and one on the switch running pingplotter, both losing connection simultaneously.

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Keep shooting.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 18, 2012 10:43 AM PST
In reply to: Just gave that a shot

Disable WiFi and ask Netgear about their latest firmware issues. If you research this you learn about iPad/phone connection issues but here it extended to PCs as well.

I was this close to returning this Netgear.

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The netgear is a switch
by tate1711 / December 18, 2012 10:47 AM PST
In reply to: Keep shooting.
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by tate1711 / December 18, 2012 11:08 AM PST

I just realized that I had my 2.4 ghz and 5ghz using the same network name...thinking this royally confused the router when anyone sent wireless signals. Would this account for it? Just the first 20 minutes with wireless off seems better, time will tell.

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Sorry but
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 18, 2012 2:24 PM PST
In reply to: wireless

I didn't see that router in your posts. The issue is sadly being copied it seems to other routers so when I look into this I bring another router.

As to you suspicion I can't tell you if that hurts. The most common issue I encounter is moochers. Before that were routers that the old Vista Broadcast Flag issue would cause issues. The moochers still are out there and the broadcast flag is easy to research and resolve. BUT if you find a router that has that issue you update it or toss it (in my opinion.)

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by tate1711 / December 18, 2012 9:01 PM PST
In reply to: Sorry but

I've also had these issues when I bypass the router completely, any chance at all this is the switch?

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what about the MAC address
by tate1711 / December 19, 2012 12:45 AM PST
In reply to: but...

Do I need to put the MAC address for the modem somewhere in the router software?

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Two answers.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 19, 2012 12:56 AM PST

If you are still having issues with less gear, then you haven't found it. As to the MAC address, that's well discussed so I will be short. Only required if your ISP locks the connection to a MAC address. Otherwise I leave it "stock."

Let me share another story of a person with dropping connections (cable and DSL). Turns out they were running torrent software. Even I walked out. No one can support that.

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by tate1711 / December 19, 2012 12:59 AM PST
In reply to: Two answers.

Not running torrents. I will ask ISP if they lock down address. Also - replacing the router still seems like best alternative, would you agree? I don't suppose an 8 lb sledgehammer will resolve the issue, at least favorably.

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The lockdown of the MAC is a non-issue.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 19, 2012 1:08 AM PST
In reply to: torrents

Can you supply an article that said it was?

Since we don't need a router to connect a PC and test, why isn't that done?

I supplied a little detail about router issues I hit last year. Netgear was my personal experience and my shop buddies tell me of the others. It doesn't mean this model has the issue but I keep an eye open for it.

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by tate1711 / December 19, 2012 1:12 AM PST
In reply to: torrents

OK - they do not lock to a MAC. Ready to go out any buy a new router if you believe it will help.

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connecting directly to modem
by tate1711 / December 19, 2012 1:29 AM PST
In reply to: MAC

I have had it directly connected to the modem in the past with the same issues, but they (the ISP) cannot see them on the outside. However, with wireless turned off, it hasn't been tested this way. I think this may be a muti-tiered issue. I'm going to hook direct into the modem (both cable and DSL) and see what I can see... Regarding an article about the sledgehammer being helpful to other than my sanity. I haven't been able to locate yet and will spend my time resolving, and not destroying, the router.

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even worse from modem
by tate1711 / December 19, 2012 2:36 AM PST

Now, I'm totally puzzled. Hooked up the pingplotter to the modem and it's significantly worse. Right now, loss of a packet every 30 - 60 minutes - not significant, at the modem level, losing packets every 2-3 minutes - pretty significant. Same with the DSL. So two different connections both with the same issues, would suggest a wiring issue coming into the least I think. How can it be worse on the modem than the router, is the router 'cleaning up' the signal? Workign through this in my head, the problem is before modem, after modem or in modem. I've ruled out after modem (switch, router ok) ISP has ruled out modem and before modem remotely. Any ideas?

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by tate1711 / December 19, 2012 2:48 AM PST
In reply to: even worse from modem

There apparently was an area problem with DSL so that's cleared up now and I get a clean signal, but why would cable be so bad. Is error correction that good in the router?

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What a mess.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 19, 2012 4:22 AM PST
In reply to: DSL

I can discuss how cable can be a problem. Unlike DSL where each house gets their own connection to a DSLAM (I'm just an electronics engineer and software author) cable is more like a LAN. So what your neighbors are doing can impact this area's network performance.

Put poor programming practices that can't survive a drop in the connection and you have a recipe for complaints.

While slower DSL is painful to some, it's usually the one with less drops.

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a mess indeed
by tate1711 / December 19, 2012 6:57 AM PST
In reply to: What a mess.

I get this, but why am I losing connection when my neighbors stay on? Wouldn't that root back to my property? The cable company is watching both of my neighbors connections to be sure it's not a regional issue, they stay on when I drop. Any chance at all that something in the modem and/or switch causes the internet to drop even at the modem level?

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 19, 2012 7:06 AM PST
In reply to: a mess indeed

If you are getting drops from dsl/cable with just their gear on all your computers, then you are pretty much done.

If the owner can't remove gear to find the cause then you give them more time.

There are odd houses with power issues but usually the owner knows the lights flicker and you might spot it on your call.

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Here's what I don't get
by tate1711 / December 19, 2012 8:52 PM PST
In reply to: Sorry.

I have a pingplotter going and it very rarely drops, if ever when I'm not using. But when I push traffic at times it goes down, but never while it's idle. It's almost like the modem is 'overwhelmed', but it's not like Im pushing form every pc at once, generally it's just one, I click on a file to download and it goes down almost instantly. That's why I keep thinking it's something on my end.

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To test if it's on the customer end.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 19, 2012 11:25 PM PST

I bring my laptop. We plug directly into the ISP's supplied gear. If that drops, it's an ISP issue and we are done. If it's fine, then you try their PC plugged directly into the gear. You might have to go back and forth a few times but if the line drops on the client's PC then you have a very odd issue.

Since it is possible to tell a device to reset or drop you pull out a bootable OS such as UBUNTU to load up and download a file. That test is crucial to tell if the PC has some odd issue.

The neat part about this sort of work is the pay is good. You get to be nice as possible and the meter runs all the time. I've seen the meter exceed two thousand bucks on such a call.

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