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Intermittent internet connection

by Grapefruit76 / August 8, 2008 2:03 AM PDT

Hi. Thank you for letting this newbie join and for taking the time to read my story and possibly offer me some suggestions. I am very grateful for this and thank you again.

We have a Netgear Rangemax Wireless Modem Router DG834PN. We use Norton Internet Security 2008. We are with PlusNet as the broadband provider. We are running Windows XP home edition with service pack 2. The pc is connected to the router via the Ethernet port.

We were previously with Talk Talk (Cancelled 27th May) in a LLU bundle deal for phone and Internet but got out within the 30 day trial period. We were with Orange broadband for over 2 years prior to going with Talk Talk (unbeknown to me-I didn?t sort that bill out!, we hadn?t actually cancelled with Orange, but were still paying them even though Talk Talk took the line from them, and so cancelled with Orange officially on 30th May while still with Talk Talk) this year. As we were in a bundle deal, we had to have our phone line changed from LLU back to a standard BT line. This went through on June 11th. We started with PlusNet officially on June 18th.

We had no real problems until 18th July when the ADSL ?chain? link on the router (as was my understanding the broadband supply) went off permanently. I rang PlusNet and the Tech support guy was very helpful; unbelievably, Orange had stolen our broadband line back (this was confirmed by adviser with BT wholesale). I rang Orange who apologised, and said they don?t know how, but, yes indeed, they had temporarily taken the line back (even though as I say, we weren?t actually getting any ADSL supply to the router). They said all records of us would be out of their system by midnight that night and so we shouldn?t have any further problems. I then argued and managed to get a MAC code from them. So I rang back PlusNet and they started the migration process (even though we were with PlusNet, but this had to be done as for some inexplicable reason-I established it was NOT financial-i.e., due to unpaid bills with Orange, just a fault on their part).

The process took a full week. The Broadband started again on 25th July. However, since then, there have been enormous problems. Basically, the ADSL ?Chain? link keeps going off, or if it?s on the internet would be ridiculously slow or ?cannot connect to server?. It would then be fine and then repeat the process. This has gotten worse and worse. We tried several things-making sure the connection was no more than 10m from the main BT input to the house, re-setting the router (and trying a Friend?s router that is the exact same model), changing the filter box, turning off the firewall, intrusion prevention, spyware etc etc on the Norton Anti-virus. Nothing helps. You can get it to work again for a bit by switching the router on or off again, then after maybe 2 mins, the ADSL chain link eventually comes back on. Then the slowness, unable to connect, ADSL chain link disappearing happens again. Switching the computer on and off did sometimes help, but not now.

So I have contacted PlusNet again. They did Broadband line checks yesterday. The results of which were ?inconclusive?. But Tech Support have told me I can do little more my end and that there appears to be a fault on the line and they are ?liaising with BT? (who own PlusNet I?m told-and so they may get things sorted quicker PlusNet said). I have been told today that they don?t know what the fault is, but that it can take from 5 working days-3 weeks to sort out and that they have raised this again now with their faults team. They said not to switch the computer or router off while they are testing things so I didn?t yesterday. The ADSL ?chain? link was permanently off, more or less, since then. However, by switching the router off now and back on again (he said it was OK to do this quickly before tests started again), the ADSL link is back on . This seems to happen most if not everytime: if I switch the router off then on, the ADSL link takes approx 2 mins to come back on, but when it does, the internet seems to be fine for a bit, before it all happens again.

Even PlusNet agree that it seems too much of a coincidence for there not to have been any problems prior to the line been taken away by Orange, then loads of problems since re-connecting with PlusNet. PlusNet have also said it isn?t a problem our end. Has anyone else had similar experiences, or can anyone shed any light on this? Offer suggestions etc? Even PlusNet agree that it seems too much of a coincidence for there not to have been any problems prior to the line been taken away by Orange, then loads of problems since re-connecting with PlusNet. PlusNet have also said it isn?t a problem our end. Thank you very much for taking the time to read my story! Apologies for how long it is; I am a newbie and not that technical (as you will no doubt tell :o)). Any help at all is appreciated. Thank you again for reading/listening.

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by Jimmy Greystone / August 8, 2008 2:29 AM PDT

Well, I would say the bulk of your problems sound like they're the fault of the DSL provider. I don't exactly know how things operate on your side of the pond, but I went through kind of a similar ordeal here. One of the big cable Internet providers, Comcast, has taken to disconnecting the local phone lines at the house junction box when you order VoIP service through them. Was chatting with a nice AT&T service tech who was telling me about how he was sent out once to a place where someone was just renting a room, ordered Comcast cable Internet, and Comcast came out and disconnected the landlord's phone lines. So it took me about an extra week, and lots of time on hold, to get my DSL service established.

What I would consider doing, is keep working your way up the hierarchy until you can get someone who can authorize someone to come out and look at the physical phone connection outside your house. Like I said, I don't know if when Orange took control of the line, that meant they sent someone out to physically mess with the wires, or not, but that seems the most likely scenario to me.

Now, there are three other things I see, completely unrelated to your problem, that you might want to sort out.

First, Netgear anything tends to be junk. Second, Norton anything tends to be junk. Third, you really should install SP3 for XP. None of these are likely going to help your problem, since it sounds like there's something wrong at the phone company end. Like someone didn't do a very good job of switching the line from Orange back to BT.

One comment I will make, is that security suite programs are generally LESS secure than individual components. There's typically so much shared code in security suites, that if you topple one app, you can topple the rest with ease. So I would ditch Norton Internet Security. What you replace it with is up to you, but I would just avoid McAfee, unless you want to add slow system performance to your slow Internet access.

In any case, be polite but firm, and get BT or PlusNet to send someone round to check both the neighborhood switching box, and the house termination box. It probably also couldn't hurt to ring Orange again, and make sure that the record purge actually went through. Many things will be claimed by phone reps, and often times, very few will turn out to be true. It might have been an innocent administrative snafu that resulted in Orange taking the line back that first time, or it might be evidence of some shady business practices a la Comcast's disconnecting the local phone lines from the house.

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by Grapefruit76 / August 9, 2008 12:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Well

Hi Jimmy

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to me and for providing me with this information.

When (if!) I get this internet connection problem sorted, you have also given me some things to think about for the future too. Thank you again

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Yip, it's very likely at their end...
by ahtoi / August 8, 2008 5:24 AM PDT

in which case there's not much you can do about it. I have netzero dsl; I also gets disconnected once or twice per day and number of hours off varies but I can live with it. Of coarse when I can't live with it then I will determine what my course of action will be. As long as they they know the situation..that's all you can do. Good luck.

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Thanks too Ahtoi
by Grapefruit76 / August 9, 2008 12:37 AM PDT

Hi Ahtoi

Don't know if my reply came through-just in case: thank you very much for your response

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