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Standard User meditator
(fountain of knowledge) Wed 28-Sep-16 16:08:31
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How can I get a 'no Internet access at all' sorted out?


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I'm on ADSL Broadband with Vispa and on Sept 9th last had cause to report to them that browser access to the Web was becoming very hesitant and looking like it'd fail completely quite soon. They ignored what I said, browsing and pop e-mailing stabilised for the next 9 days, but on Sept 19th all access by me to the Web suddenly died. I was in the middle of browsing Amazon at the time. This time the Web stayed down, in fact for some 3 days!!!

In that time I performed all manner of tests and checks but could find nothing wrong at my end. The Internet and DSL indicators on the router showed that there was still good sync all the time with the exchange, and the results in the router's GUI also confirmed that. But there was no service to/from the Web; neither the browser (my Mac's latest edition of Safari) nor my pop e-mail client (Mac Mail) could find the requisite servers on the Web.

I run an old Windows machine on the same home network, so I tried with that. That too had the same inaccessibility issue. I swapped my router for a spare one I have and re-configured it. Still no Internet. In the router's GUI, there's a BER test and I found that I could send and receive BER Test packets with no problem at all (zero errors; presumably, they only go as far as the exchange?).

Well, what was going on? With the Web completely 'down' I couldn't even contact Vispa Support, normally done by e-mail. I've a landline phone (using the same line) and that was still fully functional but that would have been an expensive, lengthy, long-distance call to Manchester and so was not on my agenda.

I continued to run tests on both machines but merely got error messages from the respective OSs saying that the service was obtainable or that the relevent servers on the Internet weren't available.

I then went into my Mac's Network Utilities and performed some pings and traceroutes on some selected sites. Unsurprisingly, no results were obtained, apart from the utility reporting that it couldn't resolve any of the sites. I could, however, ping either router. Was this a DNS issue, I wondered? But then why, when nothing fundamental has changed in my setup for many, many months, should this have now happened? I checked my DNS settings in the routers; they were fine.

After three days of getting nowhere, I asked one of my neighbours if I could use their computer and Internet account to send a message to Vispa Support. Being on good terms with all my neighbours, this was done.

Vispa's reaction was, as ever, that there were no problems with my linecard at the exchange or with any of the servers in their network, or in the backhaul. I told them that I suspected that either there was an intermittent fault somewhere in the exchange or that the so-called "gateway server" (109.109.190.129) was playing up. But they kept repeating their mantra that no other customer of theirs was experiencing the same problem, even though that particular server forms part of their network, and that all their remote tests showed nothing amiss. It nonetheless struck me that I'd suspected that server when short duration failures had occurred in previous summers and that, with it being the very first traceable router beyond my exchange, clearly no access to the Web will result at all if that router doesn't respond to my modem and/or my exchange.

Several e-mails, awkwardly arranged with my neighbour, continued between myself and Vispa but they insisted that all their monitoring showed that there was neither a problem with the exchange nor with my line to the exchange. To me, this couldn't be anything but sheer nonsense. Sure, my line was still synchronised and good, all the way to the exchange, the phone still worked too (my neighbour even phoned me at one stage), but all access to the Internet was down, despite the Internet indicator on the router being constantly on and there being sync. I told Vispa I could do no more.

Mysteriously, a couple of hours later access returned. I was then able to quickly re-run the pings and traceroutes, and sure enough that gateway server was the first server encountered by the traceroutes, before all others. I copied the traceroute screenshots to Vispa. I also copied the screenshots when, previously, the service had been down. The latter of course had returned zero results and the pings/traceroutings had timed out. But then these are what you'd expect anyway and so there were no clues in them really.

Since then, the 22nd Sept, the service (both browser and pop e-mail) has been stable and constant. But now again, on 28th, there are signs that browsing is becoming ultra-slow again. By that I mean that long delays are creeping in, between it being asked to go to a site and it then acquiring the site. It looks like I'm due for another big outage.

The trouble is that Vispa are reluctant to call in Openeach to go to my exchange and check things out there. And even despite all they've said about my line connection being okay by virtue of their remote tests, they claim that the problem must lie somewhere in my premises wiring. The latter, however, is extremely unlikely, as on my user side of the master socket the line is a simple, short linear one implemented in Cat5e and installed by me with proper tools and the utmost care. Any disconnect in it, anyway, wouldn't leave the line still up and synchronised, would it? So, as far as Vispa's concerned, the problem's mine, not theirs or anything to do with the exchange. It's Molesey Exchange, SW London, incidentally.

Any suggestions as to how this matter can be resolved? Ultimately, I'll give Vispa the big elbow, as in other discourses with them over the years they've been less than convincing.
Standard User ian72
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Wed 28-Sep-16 16:25:44
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Re: How can I get a 'no Internet access at all' sorted out?


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
Based on what you have posted my first inclination is that there is likely no problem in your premises or in the line. My guess is that it is a screw up in the routing in the Vispa network somewhere. Changing ISPs in this situation would most likely resolve the issue.

As far as your traceroute tests have you tried a traceroute to an IP address rather than a hostname? That would rule out DNS as an issue.

You could try a ping to 80.249.99.130 which is TBBs site. Of course, this is only going to really give any good idea once the connection is completely down but might even be interesting now to see if you are getting high packet loss.
Standard User meditator
(fountain of knowledge) Wed 28-Sep-16 19:41:29
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Re: How can I get a 'no Internet access at all' sorted out?


[re: ian72] [link to this post]
 
Regarding an IP address rather than a hostname, yes on many traceroutes during the long downtime I tried with hostnames and then separately with their IP addresses. But it made no difference. Naturally, when the Internet service was down, nothing was returned as a result. I tried three different ping-able sites and there was absolutely zero response from all of them. Bear in mind once again, though, that when the access is not there, pinging or tracerouting is a waste of time; if there's no Internet, how can you expect to get anything?

As you say, changing ISP would be one solution. But what if the cause has instead been something in the Molesey Exchange? I might end up changing ISP all for no good reason, and the problem could remain. Given that I've passed all my evidence to Vispa, IMHO they ought to get an Openreach engineer to visit the Exchange to check things out there. That's the very least they should do. But that'll cost them money, so at present they're saying they won't do it.

Changing ISP - I've had one in mind for quite some time, as it happens - isn't a 5-minute job. It'll take time, and in that period my existing service could well fail again, cutting me off from contacting anyone. So, I'll need another stable period before doing it.

I can recall a time, about 25 years ago, when a stretch of the BT phonecable running down my housewall externally, toward the road and thence exchange, became faulty due to gradual degradation from UV. That short stretch was/is the responsibility of BT and although jacketed, faces south and therefore gets fully exposed to the sun, when the sun's around. At that time the phone had stopped working. I remember calling in BT, and they eventually found that that stretch had deteriorated. They replaced it and then all was well. However, when a couple of years ago I called out Openreach to investigate why my phone kept ringing spuriously, they found nothing wrong with the line and ended up charging me £300 for the call-out! It was later discovered that thieves had cut away some underground copper BT cables in the Borough and as a consequence all manner of residents' phones had rung. I appealed about the charge but Openreach insisted I had to pay. Thus, this time I'm reluctant to call them out, especially as Openreach engineers have no broadband skills. Given that the phoneline currently works 100% and during the downtimes my Internet connection with the exchange remains synchronised and good, the current problem would seem highly unlikely to be due to any external cabling (which would include that down-the-wall stretch) between myself and the Exchange.


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Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Wed 28-Sep-16 19:53:29
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Re: How can I get a 'no Internet access at all' sorted out?


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
If the ADSL/broadband layer to the exchange is up, i.e. sync'd and noise margin and attenuation figures are normall and error counts are not off the chart, then unlikely to be your end of the broadband link, but much more likely something the ISP has under its control.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User meditator
(fountain of knowledge) Wed 28-Sep-16 23:36:31
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Re: How can I get a 'no Internet access at all' sorted out?


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
MrSaffron,

Yes, during the complete outage periods I looked at the line stats in my router and they were all absolutely normal. I've told the ISP this but they still maintain that there's nothing wrong with either the backhaul connectivity or with anything in their network. I think they're just ignorant of the fact that it's possible, for instance, for the functioning of a network resource to be sound at the PHYSICAL layer but nonetheless to be failing or mis-routed at the NETWORK level.

I simply can't get them to investigate, and because the service has been up and running again now for a few days (it nearly disappeared again today, actually; you could see Safari's progress bar in the address field really struggling at times to acquire websites) they're even more disinclined to do so.

In due course, the service is likely to disappear once more. But who knows when? When it happens, again I'll be unable to contact them via the Web and will have to fall back on the goodwill of my neighbour once more. Vispa will keep maintaining that there's nothing wrong at their end or at the exchange.
Standard User ian72
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Thu 29-Sep-16 07:37:54
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Re: How can I get a 'no Internet access at all' sorted out?


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
As I said before it sounds like the ISP network - especially now you have confirmed that DNS has been ruled out. An openreach engineer will be able to do nothing at the ISP end.
Standard User vivaciti
(knowledge is power) Mon 03-Oct-16 09:05:09
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Re: How can I get a 'no Internet access at all' sorted out?


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
Hi,
I can see you replied that the ping done nothing when the service was down, but the suggestion was to perform a tracert as this will show where the packet is stopping (your router, gateway or some other hop) this will help whoever you are speaking to get the issue diagnosed. As for calling them they do offer an 03 number on their web site, this is treated as a local call and may be easier once the tracert is performed to try to get it resolved quicker.

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Standard User meditator
(fountain of knowledge) Mon 03-Oct-16 10:36:20
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Re: How can I get a 'no Internet access at all' sorted out?


[re: vivaciti] [link to this post]
 
Vivaciti,

Long before I posted here I'd performed both pings and traceroutes to ping-able IPs on the Web, and on the handful of occasions when the service (browser and e-mail service) returned for a short while they worked. The traceroutes gave the expected results, all the hops being there and looking A-OK. Conversely, when the service disappeared there were no traceroute results at all; the results caption remained blank and traceroute utility eventually timed out, stating that it couldn't get to the destination IP. This suggested to me that either my traceroute request packets were getting lost somewhere in the backhaul going away from my exchange or the normally first 'gateway' server in the traced route simply wasn't responding.

Throughout, my ISP stated profoundly that they could find nothing wrong with the gateway server, which they declared was within their own network, nor anything amiss with other connections. It was only after I was forced to contact them via my neighbour that the situation then changed for the better some couple of hours later. I don't know what they did but the service then returned and stayed up and running - albeit slow and jittery - for a further week or so, after which the browser service duly failed once more. Because I still had a pop e-mail service on that occasion, however, I was able to contact their support team and they revealed that this latest outage was due to a "Level 3 transit on the Manchester bearer" (whatever that is) and that, as a consequence, "some customers were now without a browser service". They weren't prepared to tell me, however, whether they thought this latest and more-widely affecting outage had any link with the persistent and complete outages I myself had been experiencing, on and off, over some weeks. When later that day I tried again, the browser service had been restored, and for the present it's still running okay. However, I've no idea whether my issue has been solved by them now, and consequently I don't know whether randomly I'll lose service again tomorrow, next week, or whenever. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

My bet is that the problem lies somewhere in the backhaul or in the ISP's own network. Possibly, that gateway server (of known IP) has either a hardware fault on it or has been wrongly configured, as clearly my packets have never been reaching that server when the service disappears, according to the traceroutes.

Thanks for telling me about the 03 no. Do bear in mind, however, that when I lost all service I didn't then have the luxury of being able to go to their website to look for a phone no. If you've no service, you can't do anything! Irrespective of what computers you have and what routers you possess, you're then unable to use the Web.
Standard User vivaciti
(knowledge is power) Mon 03-Oct-16 11:34:03
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Re: How can I get a 'no Internet access at all' sorted out?


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
Hi,
When you do a tracert the first hop should be your router (10.x.x.x or 192.x.x.x etc) if you get this when doing a tracert ok but don't when there is a problem, it may show the problem is more local to you.

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Standard User AdrianPH
(member) Mon 03-Oct-16 11:41:25
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Re: How can I get a 'no Internet access at all' sorted out?


[re: meditator] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by meditator:
Vivaciti,

Conversely, when the service disappeared there were no traceroute results at all; the results caption remained blank and traceroute utility eventually timed out, stating that it couldn't get to the destination IP.


Just read this thread and my immediate thought was a faulty router.

As Vivaciti says , no results / blank pane means a local / router problem.

Try a different router for a week or two to see what happens , there are plenty of cheap units around.

I have a stack of ADSL/2 routers here if you need one.

Edited by AdrianPH (Mon 03-Oct-16 11:42:30)

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