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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger djmoore's Avatar
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    Internet connectivity monitoring?

    Is there a program around that can monitor a location's internet connectivity? A client's stuck with Comcast and very few alternatives, and their connection is dropped several times a day. Comcast claims it is not on their, yet when we plug in directly to the router (replaced on 11/3) that is hooked directly into their modem, we still get disconnects - yet they claim to have a solid signal for days without interruption. As a result, they claim to never see a drop and won't do anything about it unless they happen to be watching the modem when it goes down - which it hasn't yet ... while they are watching.
    So I'd like to have a way of monitoring the connection, so I can send them a log of what is happening, or at the very least see if there is any kind of pattern to the disconnects.
    Have a cookie -

    Don

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    Re: Internet connectivity monitoring?

    Most routers have a logging capability. It is usually easy to control.

    Joe
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    3 Star Lounger djmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Internet connectivity monitoring?

    Linksys' logs are pretty darn rudimentary. You can see the IP address going out and coming in, and they appear in order - but beyond that it's a crapshoot as to date, time and anything else you'd want to know. I'm looking for something that would, say, ping an external IP and report a disconnect.
    Have a cookie -

    Don

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Internet connectivity monitoring?

    A few months ago, I searched around for freeware or shareware to do this, and I saw lots of instructions for Linux Cron jobs. I don't recall seeing any trustworthy-looking software for Windows that wasn't part of a larger set of utilities. Still, if it's inexpensive, it might be right for the job.

    It is possible to implement your own "pinger" using VBA in a Word document or other VB-compatible host. This headache-inducing article has sample code for the ping part, but you would need to figure out how to loop in a controlled manner. How to ping an IP address with Visual Basic by using ICMP (MSKB 300197). This article uses a completely different function. Perhaps they should be combined for best results? VB Helper: HowTo: See if the computer is connected to the Internet in Visual Basic 6.

    The .Net framework also supports ping, but unless you have a .Net compiler, that doesn't really help much.

    (This is just for future reference, I want to try it later: VB Helper: HowTo: Execute a console program and capture its output.)

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    Re: Internet connectivity monitoring?

    If you looking for something to run on demand why not construct a batch runstream that pipes ping output to a file? You could also schedule the batch runstream using taks scheduler if that was needed.

    Joe
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    Re: Internet connectivity monitoring?

    Years ago we had a similar problem. Turned out to be a kink in the line. As the sun warmed the cable it stretched and the connection was broken. When it cooled down the connection came back. I had a tech pay a visit several times, finally he gave me his personal cell number and I called as soon as it happened. He was in the area and started tracking the line, within 30 minutes he found the kink, it was about a mile from my location. That night the line was patched, the whole neighborhood was happy.

    Check with the other Comcast users in the area, are they having the same issue?

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  7. #7
    3 Star Lounger djmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Internet connectivity monitoring?

    Dave - frankly, the service they receive stinks, but they're in an area with absolutely NO alternatives - no DSL offered, no FIOS availability either. And Satellite is way too cost-prohibitive. I've only been working for this company since April, and even in those 7 months they have had numerous outages and Comcast has had to come out and do line repairs at least twice. This building is literally at the end of the line - their line splits off of the main line and goes between them and the back of a strip mall, and the line terminates right where it splits off to go into our building. Any further and they'd be giving internet service to cow pastures.
    I'll inquire with the folks in the mall next time I'm in the area - it doesn't hurt at all to check,and may even get them all organized to complain if they're having the same problem and think it is just them.
    Comcast is claiming that they see a steady signal from their server all the way to our static IP, one that hasn't been interrupted for 24 hours or more - they say that each time I call. Now, what constitutes a "steady signal" in their book, I don't really know. Maybe if they can verify that nobody has completely severed the cable with a machete, to them that is "steady" - If they ping every 5 minutes, that would NOT be enough to catch the interrupt, as it typically lasts for less than 5 minutes. I don't know what the industry standard is for signal monitoring - so that's just another mystery area.

    I'm not above thinking it might be caused by some issue within our network - that's why I want to be able to monitor such things as signal in and out, IP assignments, traffic volume by internal IP, ideally check cables & NICs for problems - whatever I can monitor to try and isolate the problem. If I can be monitoring and logging these things when an outage occurs, I can rule out our side of the equation - or identify it. Either way, the sooner the problem area is identified, the better off we'll be.

    And you guys make me want to cry, with all your code and skills and code and smart ideas and code. <img src=/S/crybaby.gif border=0 alt=crybaby width=15 height=15>
    Have a cookie -

    Don

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    Re: Internet connectivity monitoring?

    Maybe you want to look at Download details: Microsoft Network Monitor 3.2. There is a link to the Network Monitor blog which tells you more about the product.

    Joe
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    5 Star Lounger ibe98765's Avatar
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    Re: Internet connectivity monitoring?

    I just came across something that might be what you are looking for. Check:

    http://www.ghacks.net/2008/11/07/int...nection-check/

  10. #10
    3 Star Lounger djmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Internet connectivity monitoring?

    Is Microsoft's Network Monitor the app where you have to send the logs to Microsoft to get them analyzed? Hope not.

    And we definitely need something that can run on a server, relatively unmonitored, and provide a clear log that indicates disconnects and (preferably) their cause. Because even if it isn't the ISP we need to know where the problem DOES lie so we can address it.

    And as an example of what happens, just now I was monitoring the server using RDC, and the screen froze; less than a minute later I received the message that I had been disconnected (I know it by heart, at a glance, by now) - but RIGHT AWAY ... before I could even have had a chance to read the disconnect message ... I was reconnected to the server. It happens THAT fast. No chance to read even a simple popup, and less than a minute, so that by the time we are even able to dial the ISP's number, the connection is restored. You'd think the ISP would be able to detect something as minimal as THAT, if it is their main business function, but then who am I to say?
    Have a cookie -

    Don

  11. #11
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    Re: Internet connectivity monitoring?

    Is there a proxy server such as ISA 2006 involved? Are there multiple switches? Is there a hardware firewall? Perhaps you should give a more complete description of the network.

    Joe
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  12. #12
    3 Star Lounger djmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Internet connectivity monitoring?

    The connection comes into the building via a cable modem.

    The modem connects directly to a Linksys cable router.

    The router feeds the following:
    1 - 24-port Netgear switch in the same room as the modem & router. This switch feeds wall ports on that side of the building.
    2 - 2 lines going across the building to the other side (building is divided roughly in half by a huge storage room which, ironically, used to be a state of the art data center)

    On the other side, one line feeds a second 24-port Netgear switch, and from there wall ports on that side of the building, as well as a file server. The other line feeds a SonicWall hardware firewall, which feeds the mail server.

    When the outages occur, both sides of the building lose their connection. Thus both switches are affected at the same time, which indicates a problem at or before the router.
    The router is less than 2 weeks old and was replaced specifically to try and solve this particular problem. The ISP is claiming they have an uninterrupted signal straight from their server to our static IP (the mail server). I have been plugged directly into the router and lost my connection along with everyone else. It's not something I wish to do every day, as the modem, router and switch are situated high in the corner of the janitor's closet, above the floor drain. There is no chair or table, so I have to bring a chair into the room and sit there with my laptop on my lap, waiting for something to happen. Just picture the fun. It's a non-profit, so they make do with what they have, and so must we.
    Have a cookie -

    Don

  13. #13
    3 Star Lounger djmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Internet connectivity monitoring?

    What I've found since my last post:

    I used an applet called IcheckConnection (PCPitStop.com) to ping/tracert out from the server to an external machine - yahoo, amazon, or their own server will do. The packet didn't get out past the router.
    So I checked all the connections (again), looked at how everything was wired, traced lines from one switch to the other and also the lines that bypassed the first switch, and figured that the most likely problem area was the two lines that went from the router straight across to the other side of the building, through that switch and to the servers.
    Bypassed the switch with a small workgroup switch, and lo and behold, everybody is happy.

    I had one of the employees send themselves an email from an external site (Yahoo) and they were able to receive it, whereas before they were getting no email from outside the domain.
    Have a cookie -

    Don

  14. #14
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    Re: Internet connectivity monitoring?

    Wow!!! Nice detective work. Isn't networking wonderful? Thanks for posting back.

    Congratulations again on finding the problem. <img src=/S/clapping.gif border=0 alt=clapping width=19 height=23>

    Joe
    Joe

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