IT Support for Internet Connection Problems

04. October 2011 Internet Support 1

My next three blog entries will talk about things you can do to diagnose Internet connection problems. While we strive to keep our networks stable, problems can crop up. You will find it helpful to first try and determine if the problem originates at Skyway West or if the issue is on your own network. To me, the most obvious place to start is your Internet connection. Without that, nothing else outside of your internal network will work. So:

What to do when you think your Internet connection is down

It’s 4:30 on a Friday night just before a long weekend and you need to send a last report to your client so you can go home and relax and… What happens?… the send function fails. Now what?!! Well, the problem could be your mail client or mail server (we’ll get into this next month), but it is always a good idea to check your Internet connection first.

The quick way to check your Internet connection is to simply bring up your web browser and try to go to a web page you have never gone to before, or try a web search for a topic you wouldn’t normally search. This way you are not getting a result from your cache. If results return then your Internet connection is fine, and you’ll need to investigate your mail client or mail server for the source of your problem. If however, you don’t get any results or a “page not found” error then it is time to start looking a little deeper into your connection.

If you use a PC (MAC instructions are below), you can run Traceroute from the command prompt which will tell you if your connection is down or not. Here is how to run a Traceroute:

In Windows Vista or Windows 7, right mouse click on your start button. Just above the start button is a small box that says “Search programs and file”. In the box type in ‘CMD’ (without the quotes), and press OK. If you are using Windows XP, Click on Start, then on Run and type ‘CMD” (again without the quotes), into the box that pops up and right mouse click on OK. A small black screen should pop up on your desktop.

Right mouse click anywhere inside the black box and you will be ready to go. Type the following from wherever the cursor is sitting:

tracert 216.251.128.8

MAC OSX users select “Applications”, “Utilities”, open “Terminal” and enter “traceroute 216.251.128.8”

It will take a moment but PC and MAC users will soon get a readout that should look something like this. It won’t look exactly the same, as the IP address information for your service is different than this example:

Tracing route to cache01.skywaywest.net [216.251.128.8] over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 <1 ms <1 ms <1 ms 215.251.139.134
2 11 ms 11 ms 17 ms cache01.skywaywest.net [216.251.128.8]
Trace complete.

The above implies a good working ADSL service and you will need to pursue an alternative explanation why your email is not leaving your outbox. Consult your IT support or Skyway West Support.

Should your Traceroute look similar to this:

Tracing route to cache01.skywaywest.net [216.251.128.8] over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 * * * Host unreachable
2 * * * Host unreachable
{…and the above continues to repeat through 30 tries with the same results)
Trace complete.

The above means that you either have a broken router or an internal network issue and will have to consult your IT support or Skyway West Support to determine which.

Lastly, if your Traceroute looks similar to the following it means you are reaching your router but no further. Your Internet connection is broken and you should contact Skyway West Support:

Tracing route to cache01.skywaywest.net [216.251.128.8] over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 <1 ms <1 ms <1 ms 215.251.139.134
2 * * * Host unreachable
{…and line 2 above continues to repeat through 30 tries with the same results)
Trace complete.

So there you have it, a quick way to self-diagnose an Internet connection problem. The time to reach a conclusion should be less than 5 minutes (generally speaking). Once you have determined what your problem is, you can take action by contacting the appropriate person to assist you. One last note, the Support section of the Skyway West website has more information on what to do if the problem is with your Internet connection. These instructions cover checking your cables and the status lights on your ADSL router. Contact Skyway West Support if you need assistance.

Stay tuned for next month’s blog where I will cover diagnosing problems with Internet email. In the following month I will cover FTP problems. As always, I welcome your questions and comments. Feel free to email me at support@skywaywest.com or call into the office at 604-482-1212.

–Wes


1 thought on “IT Support for Internet Connection Problems”

  • 1
    Cam Dainard on October 18, 2011 Reply

    Nice Wes, short sweet and to the point its too bad there are so many “pebcak” errors that lead up to this. I am looking forward to your FTP blog comming up.

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