Diagnose Connection Problem?

shaxhomeApril 10, 2014

I'm at my wits' end here, and open to any and all suggestions.
I've been living here in Bhutan for the last few years, best described as a "developing" nation.
The broadband internet connection has steadily improved to the point where it'll be connected for 90% of the time.
However, EVERY evening at around 6.30pm, the connection drops and disappears until I log in the next morning at around 8am. I'd understand if this was random, but it's as regular as clockwork. (I don't know at what time during the early hours it reconnects.)
I've had visits from the ADSL line installers, taken my modem to the technical support team at Bhutan Telecom for diagnosis, discussed it with their engineers, met with the manager there...no-one knows why or how this happens. I can't find any settings on the modem or my laptop that may be responsible.
Any gurus here want to take a stab at a cause of this frustrating problem?

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Is there another device (laptop-tablet-phone) that you can use to confirm it is actually the internet connection that is failing? Can you connect the laptop to the modem with a cable to see if internet works or not? Does the laptop get turned on/off at the same time every day? Is it on for long periods? When the failure occurs, can you even log in to the modem to view it's stats (usually it's but yours could be different)?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 4:30AM
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All the diagnostics show that my laptop to modem connection is fine, but that the modem to ISP is broken. The laptop isn't turned on or off at the same time any 2 days running, so the problem is either at their server or with the incoming phone line.

The phone lines here get strung up in trees, over balconies etc. They do break from time to time, and are always fixed within a couple of hours, but the precise timing of the disconnect is what's stumping me (and the Telco!)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 5:53AM
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If you're sure there is no problem with the modem or the phone lines, then there is nothing to diagnose. It could be a problem with the telco's backbone connection the the Internet and possibly out of their control. Maybe it gets taken down for maintenance at the same time every day and the traffic isn't being rerouted properly. That would probably affect multiple users, though. I still think a laptop /wireless problem is possible which is why I asked if you can test your network with another device. Can you? Is it possible someone else is using your wireless connection? My wireless sometimes goes wrong because the router tries to hand out the same IP address to more than one device and that won't work either.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 6:20AM
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Azinoh, no, not a regular maintenance issue...that was my 1st question to them. And I'm not wireless, but phone line cable into a modem router, then cable out to laptop. Don't know if it's possible for someone else to hook into my IP address through that. I did change my password just in case, but no difference. Maybe I'll ask for a new phone line in...baffling!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 6:38AM
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Tell you ISP to get a repair tech. to the main hub or in my case the guys call it the tunnel because it is underground, and I bet you they will find the problem. In my case they phoned me and thanked me and ran a new line just to me or new connection, no problems for me losing connection no mo!!!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 10:38AM
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Shaxhome, recognize that you're asking home users about what may be an infrastructure problem that I'd guess none of the regulars here (myself included) have the background to know much about.

With that as a start, I have a thought to share. There's no hocus pocus involved - you need a signal coming down the wire into your house and then your hardware needs to connect and properly deal with the signal. You need to have a tech present in your home when the connection drops, so that s/he can start and the end (the PC) and work backwards along the signal path

Is it the wiring in your house? Is it the drop to your house? How about the lines leading to your house? Or the hardware in the neighborhood equipment box? Etc, etc, all need to be checked. It's easily done, I've had it done twice before, once with a prior DSL subscription, once with cable internet service. Both times (coincidently) the problems were caused by failing equipment in the neighborhood that hadn't sent problem messages to the central station.

This is like having a water leak of unknown location, you need to trace the path to find the problem.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 1:16PM
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So your phone is still working but the internet on the same line is out?

Have you tried to "ping" their server?

I don't know your OS but if you can get to a command prompt .. hmmm how to explain ..

I'll assume you are running windows.. can you get to the run command? Do you know the name of your provider?

if so go to Run and type cmd
A black box should appear with a line of white text beginning
This is called the C prompt..

When you have internet access, get to that point and type

ping www.(name of your provider)

ping www.roadrunner.com

when you are connected you will receive a reply .. using roadrunner as an example the reply reads

Pinging www.rr.com [] with 32 bytes of data...
Reply from bytes=32 time =42ms

write down both the name that follows the word "Pinging" since it may be different than what you typed and the IP address (the numbers), finally the time

You may receive a line reading
request timed out
rather than the Reply from line, not to worry if that happens use roadrunner (Sorry RoadRunner!) in the next part.

next time you connection is down get to the C prompt and Type
Ping the.name you wrote.down

if you get no reply try to ping the IP Address
(this is RR's)

IF NEITHER of these work and you've also tried RoadRunner, you have a physical connection problem.
IF Both work check the time = field, if the times are excessive your browser may be giving up before you get a connection or "timing out". This can have a number of causes but the most likely are that either their server is too busy or there is a lot of static on the line.

if ONLY the IP address works then they have a problem at their end with their DNS server.. the internet doesn't understand names it understands numbers your ISP maintains a server that is responsible for looking up the name you type and directing it to the correct number.

for example if you type into your browsers address bar you will get gardenweb

Let us know what happens

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 6:04PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions...
Snidely, I do realise the technical expertise required here, but I'm not getting it locally, so thought I'd give it a try! I'd love to have one of their techs standing beside me @ 6.38pm to observe the switch-off, but not going to happen, I suspect.

ajames54...I'm running W7. I've pinged them and written down as per your instructions, now just have to wait 10 hours until the expected shutdown occurs...

We shall see.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 10:24PM
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If it happens at same minute everyday.. start looking through your event logs for that time. Or maybe set your computer clock up in advanced to 6;35 and see if at 6;38 computer clock time, the connection goes away.

Maybe its a flock of birds nesting on a wire somewhere and stressing a wired connection - at precisely the same time every evening, or a young lad with a screwdriver making a phone tap connection every night to talk to his girl friend :)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 8:02AM
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Well, Mikie...it's 6.34pm here right now, so I'll be off again shortly!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 8:34AM
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PKponder TX

Do your neighbors also lose connection? I agree it appears to be an infrastructure issue, maybe the local Telco is forbidden from telling you that the local government 'liberates' all of the signal at a specific time. It's impossible to know without local knowledge or insight into the Telco network.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 11:43AM
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Neighbours don't lose connection regularly like I do, although everyone in the country loses it from time to time.

After last night's usual disconnection, I tried the pinging, and got the expected "Ping request could not find host" message.

Took a screen shot of the event log entry, which tells me nothing surprising.

Think I'm just going to have to live with this until someone at the Telco miraculously repairs my connection during some other unrelated service call. That's how it works here. Bit of a bug though, as I need connection at odd hours to fit in with 4 different time-zones my work involves.

Edited to add...just found a page about Event ID 1014. Linked below. Way beyond my abilities.

Here is a link that might be useful: Event ID

This post was edited by shaxhome on Sat, Apr 12, 14 at 23:42

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 11:24PM
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PKponder TX

Oh, the DNS servers are not responding. Try opening a command prompt (click start, type cmd and press enter) now type in ipconfig /flushdns and press enter I actually thought by your description that you were losing your IP address.

The DNS server converts the URL (www.google.com) into an IP address utilizing a DNS table. Flushing your DNS table may be helpful, hard to say.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 10:34AM
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Just a musing........

Some ISPs have been known to close down their service to conserve bandwidth or for other provider issues during non peak usage hours. It's not entirely impossible that this could be the cause of your problem...even though you've discussed your problem with them. Not all ISPs are open about their actions. Many moons ago, when my broadband ISP was beginning to expand...I discovered quite by accident that they were doing this to my connection. But, they were doing it after midnight and only an inveterate night owl like myself would have discovered it. They never informed their public that they were doing it.

If possible, you might consider discussing your problem with a neighbor or other user who is connected to this same ISP to see if they have the same issue.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 12:59PM
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Might try using google DNS servers ? Or OpenDNS .

Actually I use one of each.
Rare occasion it might cause a slower download from some sites far far away in unpopulated locations.

Here is a link that might be useful: google dns

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 5:13PM
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If it is just the DNS server getting shut down pinging by IP address should have returned a result.

google DNS or OPEN DNS is a good idea anyway, especially for someone in a more problematic area (or someone in an area where the government is trying to censor the interweb).

The change to add them has to be made in the config page of the ADSL router/modem

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 6:39PM
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The change to add them has to be made in the config page of the ADSL router/modem

Im dsl and just changing DNS in browser works fine. I occasionally get the OpenDNS.. page not found search engine as proof.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 6:47PM
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Are you on a mac ( I don't know macs)?

I don't know a browser for windows that lets you do that but I'm not all that current either..

The Link Below includes instructions on how to change the settings for the four most common router brands.

As a word of warning, For someone not in North America Google or Open DNS should be the last entry in the DNS search list. For someone in Bhutan they will be excruciatingly slow and should only be a last resort.

Here is a link that might be useful: About.com

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 7:36PM
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Maybe I shouldn't have said browser.. Windows ... Control Panel / Networking / Change adapter settings / Right click the adapter ,,, Properties / highlight the tcpip4 and do properties ... you'll see. You can sset dns in all versions of windows I think.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 9:40PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions, but I'm too timid to go changing DNS settings, figuring I may make the problem worse. I'll just continue to work within my given parameters. At least I have SOME connection!

I suspect that Anne may be correct about the ISP shutting down to save bandwidth, but it's another thing to get them to admit it...

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 11:10PM
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The suggestion that the cause could be a planned non-peak time or just general shutdown doesn't seem like a fit:

- evening hours for a residential customer are not non-peak time.

-shaxhome says neighbors aren't losing their connection as frequently.

If neighbors have more regular service, that suggests the problem is somewhere in-between the pole and the PC.

shaxhome, would you be comfortable borrowing a modem from a neighbor or friend, re-enter your log in, and see if that improves the connection. Also, buy a new or borrow a different network cable and see if that helps.

Good luck

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 12:26AM
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Snidely, yep, have borrowed a friend's modem/router (together with his ethernet cable), and got exactly the same drop-out at the same time. I also took my modem to the Bhutan Telecom office, where a swarm of techs and engineers tested it as okay. It must be my phone line.

My diagnostic reads that the connection between my laptop and modem is fine, but modem to server is broken. So yes, it may be my phone to pole connection, or pole to server. It's just odd to me that it occurs at exactly the same time every evening.

This isn't a technologically sophisticated kingdom, so I have learned to be patient.

Thanks for all help...

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 2:26AM
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For anyone who may be interested in an update to my problem...

I finally managed to get a Bhutan Telecom engineer to stand by my computer and actually see it disconnect from the internet. He hooked up his own very high-tech looking box to my cables and verified that the problem was theirs, not my modem/router. And from the very next night, I had continuous, 24 hour connection.

I rang him to ask what the problem was, and he said that they dug up and replaced the old cable down the road (narrow diameter and many old repair joins). They replaced it with a new, larger diameter cable.

So now, I only get a drop-out every couple of hours, and that for only a couple of minutes before it automatically reconnects. A pain when I'm on Skype, but pretty standard here.

But he still cannot explain why it used to disconnect punctually at the identical time every night.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 2:25AM
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In the end --- I guess some of the regulars here did know what the problem was.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 8:32AM
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Well, it was an interesting thread for we lurkers. A frustration for Shax no doubt about it.

I doubt narrow diameter and many old repair joins were the cause but at least you have an improved if not perfect situation now Shax.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 12:38PM
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"I doubt narrow diameter and many old repair joins were the cause"

These words from a non-native speaker of English plausibly could describe (in an approximate way) many possible problems with the existing line to account for poor bandwidth, connectivity or interference. Don't you think?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 6:16PM
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Followed this thread from the beginning and happy you did at last get a solution. Still a mystery about the exact timing of the shutdown.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 11:06PM
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