Can't access internet, despite "connection"

HSPA setup and configuration (for wireless networking, please use the 'Networking issue' forum)
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kreamcheesekat
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Can't access internet, despite "connection"

Post by kreamcheesekat » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:28 pm

Hi,
I have recently set up my HSPA service and have been unable to access the internet using it. My USB modem is connected, the Optus broadband application dials up and says that the connection has been "successful", but when I open my web-browser Safari or Entourage these programs say I am not connected.
I use a MacBook and an E169. Please help! I have been trying to set this thing up for a month now!!!

CoreyPlover
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Re: Can't access internet, despite "connection"

Post by CoreyPlover » Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:45 pm


jubadub
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Re: Can't access internet, despite "connection"

Post by jubadub » Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:48 pm

My system used to work well but has become increasingly bad until last night I had to do maybe 30 disconnects and reconnects before it would see the internet. I have a very strong signal (always over 90%) and it never fails to "connect". Initially (a week or so ago) once it had connected, the internet just worked fine - first time every time. More recently it became the case that although it would still apparently connect perfectly every time, occasionally it would not allow access to the internet and I would have to disconnect and reconnect (or cycle the power or take some other action). Now it has degraded to the point where it is almost impossible to get access to the internet even though the modem is "connected" and showing all the favourable signs of working correctly.

My setup is that I have mounted the E169 in a plastic weatherproof container on the roof and it is connected via a 5m USB cable to a laptop in a cupboard who's only job is to act as an internet server using Microsoft's "internet connection sharing" to provide internet access to half a dozen different computer users (students) in the house. (This is only a temporary measure for the few weeks that it takes for Iinet to disconnect their DSLAM and Optus to connect theirs and run with exetel.) It "connects" just fine - either from a .bat file (using RASDIAL) at power up, or manually using the #99 dial up type of trigger, or using the Optus software app, and even shows a trickle of data going both ways at the start. However after the initial exchange, and despite quite a lot of data being sent in the upload direction, it seems to not receive any significant data in the download direction for the rest of the time it stays connected (which can be as long as desired - I leave it running for days and I have never known it to disconnect by itself).

Any clues as to why it should be connected with a strong signal and yet not be able to access the internet (bearing in mind that it worked well a few days ago)? (I have read viewtopic.php?f=308&t=29418 and it doesn't seem useful to my case)

Is there anything I can do to try and figure out what the problem might be? ie should I check that the DHCP server has setup the correct gateway IP and/or DNS address? Is there some IP I should ping to see how far traffic is reaching?

One thing I did do that might be different to most, is that under Tools/Options/Network I selected WCDMA only - as the WCDMA signal is plenty strong (usually >95%) and yet it seemed to occasionally use GPRS which was much slower. (Maybe I noticed this and selected this option before I mounted the unit on the roof - when the signal was much weaker. I don't remember well).

My students and I would really appreciate having internet access during the Easter break if possible!

jubadub
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Re: Can't access internet, despite "connection"

Post by jubadub » Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:20 pm

I left my system off-line all day because I couldn't get it to talk to the internet this morning (I didn't have long to keep trying before having to leave for work). But this evening I simply booted the laptop (which contains RASDIAL in a .bat file) and everything just up and ran, just as if it had never given any trouble! So maybe some bug in the system has become fixed now? (I'm not going to disconnect and reconnect to see if it works easily though! Once I can get my system working, it usually keeps working for quite a few hours).

CoreyPlover
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Re: Can't access internet, despite "connection"

Post by CoreyPlover » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:12 pm

Selecting "WCDMA only" is probably not a good idea. Perhaps it would be better to leave the choice of network alone and instead run a batch process in the background that is continually PINGing somewhere (i.e. Google). Because I think the networks and devices are configured to drop to GPRS when no activity is detected.

jubadub
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Re: Can't access internet, despite "connection"

Post by jubadub » Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:14 am

Another update: The system still seems to be working as well as it ever did. Seems to connect first time every time, and doesn't drop out for as long as I leave it running (a couple of days now). I left it with "WCDMA only" selected but I am not sure if that selection is active because that selection was made in the little Optus application, and I usually run it without starting that application (ie started using RASDIAL).

CoreyPlover
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Re: Can't access internet, despite "connection"

Post by CoreyPlover » Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:45 am

jubadub wrote:I am not sure if that selection is active because that selection was made in the little Optus application, and I usually run it without starting that application (ie started using RASDIAL).
I think the selection will be active, even when being run from RASDIAL (I think the little Optus application just runs RASDIAL internally too...)

jubadub
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Re: Can't access internet, despite "connection"

Post by jubadub » Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:44 pm

On reading these archives more extensively I came across someone who described an identical problem to mine and found a fix to it:
http://forum.exetel.com.au/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=29691

How come you didn't point me to that one Corey?

However I don't really understand his solution. Here is what he says:
... Not sure if it has been a DNS issue, as I was still using the Optus DNS settings that were loaded automatically. Have changed these settings to 220.233.0.3, 220.233.0.4, which I found in one post of this forum. Can't remember which one. Waiting to see if that fixes the issue. ...
and
Changing the DNS settings seems to have fixed things. One of the pre-loaded DNS addresses even looked like a LAN address (192...)! Perhaps the Exetel DNS addresses should be included in the setup guides?
My problem is that I am not sure where to put these DNS settings - the reason being that I cannot find what DNS settings it is using either when it is working or when it is not. This guy said that he noticed that one of the pre-loaded DNS addresses looked like a local address (192...). So where did he find that address listed!? (Presumably that would be where I should fix the problem by entering the correct 220.233... addresses? No?).

If I open "Network Connections" and right-click on the USB modem one and select "status/details", then no gateway or DNS IPs are listed (in fact the Server IP Address is listed as 0.0.0.0 which seems a bit worrying).

If I look instead at "general/properties/networking/TCPIP/properties" then it has both "Obtain an IP addresses automatically" and "Obtain DNS server address automatically" boxes ticked and no DNS addresses there obviously. There is an "advanced" button there which gives a sheet where some DNS addresses may be entered - but nowhere can I find where the "pre-loaded" DNS addresses appear?

Should I enter the 220.233.0.3 and .4 addresses into this advanced page to avoid problems in the future?

Any clues as to why this problem occurs (from reading this forum it seems to have occurred quite often)?

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Re: Can't access internet, despite "connection"

Post by Gidget » Fri Apr 10, 2009 10:57 pm

jubadub wrote:On reading these archives more extensively I came across someone who described an identical problem to mine and found a fix to it:
http://forum.exetel.com.au/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=29691

How come you didn't point me to that one Corey?
Because he isn't infallible?
If I look instead at "general/properties/networking/TCPIP/properties" then it has both "Obtain an IP addresses automatically" and "Obtain DNS server address automatically" boxes ticked and no DNS addresses there obviously. There is an "advanced" button there which gives a sheet where some DNS addresses may be entered - but nowhere can I find where the "pre-loaded" DNS addresses appear?

Should I enter the 220.233.0.3 and .4 addresses into this advanced page to avoid problems in the future?
Enter the Exetel DNS on the TCP/IP -> Properties -> General tab (they will automatically be copied to the "advanced" section - the advanced section is where you can add additional DNS - more than 2 - if you want to).
Any clues as to why this problem occurs
I always enter DNS in both my modem and TCP/IP settings - I've found over the years that "auto discovery" can be a bit flakey. By the way, the reference in the other post to One of the pre-loaded DNS addresses even looked like a LAN address (192...)! probably means that the modem LAN IP was being used as the primary DNS - this is fairly common.

I don't have an E169 so I can't help you with any specific information on where to enter the DNS details in it, sorry.

Gidget
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or call Exetel VOIP numbers (02) 8030 1000 or 1300 788 141 (log faults 24x7)
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CoreyPlover
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Re: Can't access internet, despite "connection"

Post by CoreyPlover » Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:18 pm

jubadub wrote:My problem is that I am not sure where to put these DNS settings...but nowhere can I find where the "pre-loaded" DNS addresses appear
That thread was someone who previously had Optus DNS, and so they had "pre-loaded" DNS addresses left over on their PC from, perhaps, a cable modem installation?

As Gidget says, you can try hardcoding either 220.233.0.3 / 220.233.0.4 into the "Use the following DNS servers" under the TCP/IP > Properties configuration page of the network adapter. You can even try 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220 (being public DNS servers external to Exetel). Having no DNS address there actually means "obtain DNS Addresses automatically", which usually works for most (all) of the HSPA setup I've dealt with.

You can also configuring the DNS servers in the preloaded (Optus) Wireless Broadband software that comes with the modem. Under Tools > Options > Profile Management > pick the Exetel connection (with APN exetel1) > Edit > Advanced > DNS settings > Static > hardcode the 220.233.0.3 and 220.233.0.4 addresses

jubadub
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Re: Can't access internet, despite "connection"

Post by jubadub » Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:43 pm

Thanks for that - it is greatly appreciated. I will might leave it on automatic for now and if I the problem arises again I will enter these DNS server addresses and see if it cures the problem instantly.

Although my system seldom (maybe never) dropped the "connection", I had plenty of problems with the system "dropping out" after some time of operating correctly. I am guessing that this was caused by bad DNS server addresses being handed down from your DHCP server (or something!) resulting in my internet no longer working?

In any case I would guess that some of the people that have been complaining about "drop-outs" and that have had the suggestion of establishing a ongoing keep-alive pinging, might be experiencing a similar problem? Maybe when some systems discover that they cannot access anything on the internet they automatically disconnect? If this is the case then entering these DNS server addresses should solve their drop-out problem - a lot better than establishing a keep-alive ping!

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Re: Can't access internet, despite "connection"

Post by CoreyPlover » Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:07 am

No. I think these other drop outs are more likely caused by the nature of the wireless / HSPA communications. I don't know much about HSPA, but from experience it can be temperamental at times and it would be similar to having mobile phones calls cut out half way through a conversation: either signal strength suffers a momentary low causing the connection to drop, or the connection doesn't recover properly from a drop from the HSPA to GPRS network. It wouldn't be DNS related; as I said, automatically assigned DNS settings have worked perfectly on every HSPA connection I've used.

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