Troubleshooting some network issues.

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kristof65
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Troubleshooting some network issues.

Post by kristof65 »

Posting this here, because I'm not even really sure where to begin to look for help. Here's the situation - I have an older HP desktop that I've been using as my primary MT PC. It also acts as a kind of "server" for my various game related documents, our family photos, music collection, etc. Over the last few months, I've begun experiencing some periodic and intermittent access issues when attempting to access data stored on that PC from other PCs in my network. Up until 2-3 sessions ago whatever was causing those problems didn't seem to be affecting my use of Maptools or Ventrilo.

A couple of sessions ago, I began experiencing noticeable lag with both my Ventrilo client (Ventrilo server is run from another PC), and MT. Last session it got unbearable - ping times to the computer were as high as 16k at one point (based on the Ventrilo client).

I've done a bunch of troubleshooting today, and it's definitely this PC. Something is causing the network interface on it to act very slowly. It otherwise seems to act normal, as long as it doesn't have to access the network or the internet. I've defragged the drives, shut down/cleared out as much of the software as I could - basically all of the simple stuff - yet I'm still seeing access issues. To be honest, I didn't really expect any of that to help - but I had to try something. Where I'm stuck is in figuring out if this is a software issue that could be solved by simply reinstalling my OS and starting over, or if it's a hardware issue. I suspect it's hardware, just not sure how to prove it.

It's a Win XP Pro machine, with latest service packs/updates, if that helps someone point me in the right direction.

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wolph42
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Re: Troubleshooting some network issues.

Post by wolph42 »

Well it seems that I would have done exactly the same thing, and I too would also be on the crossroad of 'reinstall OS' or 'hardware issue'?
This is the point where I borrow a network card of someone, exchange it and see what happens.
If that doesn't work, it can of course be another piece of hardware, but then I reinstall OS first.

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jfrazierjr
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Re: Troubleshooting some network issues.

Post by jfrazierjr »

Check your network driver. Windows Update has this bad habit of doing stupid stuff... Last year, I did a windows update and it replaced by wireless card driver (From the manufacturer!!) with a generic one and boom.. no internet connection!!!! Stupid windows... If the driver was updated recently, I would go to the manufacturer's site to get the latest driver to see if that works. However, if it does, it is likely Windows Update might replace it again, in which case, you have to specifically tell windows update to leave this alone.... I forgot how I did that though(am on linux 95% of the time now).
I save all my Campaign Files to DropBox. Not only can I access a campaign file from pretty much any OS that will run Maptool(Win,OSX, linux), but each file is versioned, so if something goes crazy wild, I can always roll back to a previous version of the same file.

Get your Dropbox 2GB via my referral link, and as a bonus, I get an extra 250 MB of space. Even if you don't don't use my link, I still enthusiastically recommend Dropbox..

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Azhrei
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Re: Troubleshooting some network issues.

Post by Azhrei »

wolph42 wrote:This is the point where I borrow a network card of someone, exchange it and see what happens.

+1

jfrazierjr wrote:Check your network driver.

+1

(I guess that makes them +2 total? ;))

The easiest thing to do would be to reinstall the driver since you don't have to muck about inside the machine. If that doesn't work:

1. Try a different port on the router. This is super easy to try so it should be at the top of the list. Something as minor as a power surge can leak to the Ethernet cable and damage a port on either end of the cable. I have had at least three NICs fail in the last few years. Welcome to Tampa, lightning capital of the world! :)

2. Check the cabling. This is also easy to check and easy to replace, and cables are cheap compared to the work involved in pulling out the NIC and putting in a different one. :)

3. Swap out the NIC.

If I need to start replacing components to see where the failure is, I always start with cabling.

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kristof65
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Re: Troubleshooting some network issues.

Post by kristof65 »

Thanks for the suggestions. Turns out I didn't need them - forgot to get back here and post what I found.

Turns out I had forgotten about putting in a network switch while installing another cable run for a Roku settop box long ago. That switch had fallen down behind the desk, and was connected to the computer and the router with the same color and type of cable. It wasn't till I went to use that Roku unit and found I had network problems there as well that I located the problem in this forgotten and hidden switch. Switched it out, and every thing is back to normal.

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Azhrei
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Re: Troubleshooting some network issues.

Post by Azhrei »

kristof65 wrote:That switch had fallen down behind the desk, [...]

ROTFL!!

That's great! Having an extra router in the way certainly would have that effect! (It must've been a router since a switch would not have been blocking packets.)

I'm glad you found it. :)

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kristof65
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Re: Troubleshooting some network issues.

Post by kristof65 »

I know - I was so pissed at myself when I found it I had to laugh myself. All my years of hardware trouble shooting and electronics experience, I should have realized it was there in the first few troubleshooting steps I took.

Azhrei wrote:(It must've been a router since a switch would not have been blocking packets.)


If it's a router, it wasn't sold that way. This is the exact model:

Linkskey LKS-SH5)

They call it a switch, and the product box calls it a switch. Of course, that doesn't mean it isn't a rudimentary router they market as a switch.

It's been in there for at least a year - when I put the Roku player downstairs, I reconfigured my network, and moved it there. I've had it for a couple of years, and it only recently started giving me problems. IIRC, when I bought it, I thought I had ordered another Linksys switch, only to find it was some brand I'd never heard of. So I'm really not surprised it's the device on my network that caused issues.

If I had to make an educated guess, it failed because of cheap capacitors in the power regulation circuitry. Cheap capacitors are the primary reason most bargain electronics fail these days...

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Azhrei
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Re: Troubleshooting some network issues.

Post by Azhrei »

kristof65 wrote:
Azhrei wrote:(It must've been a router since a switch would not have been blocking packets.)

If it's a router, it wasn't sold that way. This is the exact model:

Ah, no -- my mistake. I went back and reread your post. It's a faulty cable/switch causing lag, not a problem with packets not being delivered at all. And yes, it's a switch.

If I had to make an educated guess, it failed because of cheap capacitors in the power regulation circuitry. Cheap capacitors are the primary reason most bargain electronics fail these days...

Yeah, pretty typical. I just had a Samsung repair guy come out to replace the caps in a 40" LCD TV that's about 14 months old. It's a known problem with this brand/model because they bought some off-brand Taiwanese capacitors...

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