Connection to cable constantly lost

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I have a whole-house surge suppressor built into my circuit box, and I also have all electronic equipment attached to separate surge suppressor. My CPU and monitor are connected to an APC back-up UBS.
I recently had technicians from the cable company (SuddenLink, formerly Cox) at the house twice. He solved one problem but not the other. I was not getting some channels on the TV that I have in the computer room, and the reception on the channels I did receive was terrible. He solved that problem. However, he was not able to do anything about the other one. That is, I frequently (several times a day) lose connection to cable and to the Internet. This happens regularly immediately after I send a fairly large e-mail (using Eudora), but it also happens at other times without any warning and without any real pattern -- I could be surfing the Internet, reading newsgroups, sending mail, etc., and access is suddenly gone. When I check the little connectivity icon in the task bar, it will then show "Local access" only instead of "Local and Internet access." I can usually (but not always) regain connection if I turn off the surge suppressor that is connected to everything *except* the CPU and monitor. As I said, they are on a separate UBS. The CPU, monitor, and Zoom modem are all new. Only the router (LinkSys Wireless-G) is older. This problem has been occurring with increasing frequency for more than a year, so it started while I had my older computer but has continued with the new equipment.
The cable company technician changed the splitters "just in case," with no noticeable effect on the system. He suspects that the router is at fault. However, he tested the router and it responded correctly. Moreover, the cable company was able to "ping" it from the home office. Does anyone have any ideas? I can replace the router, of course, but that will involve more expense than just the router because I had a networking rep come out to set up some of the equipment because I wanted to make sure that my laptop was not vulnerable to "drive-by hackers." They supposedly set a type of security that is better than what I had done through Control Panel. So, I really hate to do that unless I can be fairly certain that the router is at fault. Incidentally, I have a lot of experience with several types of software, but I have absolutely no knowledge of hardware and would not even be comfortable with software that involved editing the Registry.
One thing the SuddenLink technician said surprised and confused me: He said that they "preferred" that homeowners not use *any type* of surge suppressor. He did not request that I disconnect mine, but I don't understand that statement. Does anyone know why the cable company would take that position. He also said, "They don't do any good anyway." Actually, I had a small surge suppressor that proved its worth a few years ago. My microwave would not work after a major thunderstorm, and I thought it was ruined. It turned out that the surge suppressor had been destroyed, but it had done its job -- the microwave worked perfectly after I discarded that surge suppressor.
MaryL
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wrote:

There is no reason you need a network tech at your house to set up a wireless router. Millions do it right out of the box. There is no security that a network tech is going to enable beyond that which comes with the equipment and the std setup can be used to enabe. The key is to make sure you put security keys into the wireless router and any wireless connected PC's and make sure the encryption is turned on.
So, I

First question is what exactly goes through the surge protector. Does it include the coax cable from the cable modem, or just the power? For protection against surges, both should go through the same surge protector. I have not heard of any issues related to surge protectors and cable performance. Also, since the cable folks were out there, they should have been able to measure the signal strength at the cable modem. Actually, that can be done right from the PC or remotely as well.
In any case, if you want to rule out that it has anything to do with the surge protection, just temporarily eliminate the one you may have the cable modem routed through. For that matter, you could just eliminate all the ones connected to any of the PC, router, etc.
Also, cable modems have status lights on the front. What do they show when you're having this problem? If there is a signal problem between the cable modem and the cable network, the online, send, receive ligts wlll generally go out. Then the modem recovers and you'll see the receive, transmit, then online lights come back on in that order. If that is happening, then something is wrong either with the signal from the cable system to the modem or the modem itself. If it's not happening, then it suggest it's probably not the modem and something could be wrong with the router.
Also, look in the manual for the cable modem, their website or google online. The cable modems have an IP address that you can just put into your browser and pull up the internals for the modem. That will show you many things, including it's error log. The error log will show what time it lost signal, last rebooted, etc. This is also accessible remotely, so the folks at the cable company should be able to tell you if the modem shows hickup when you're seeing the connection loss at your PC.
Consider how many splits you have on the cable signal coming in. Where possible it's recommended that the incoming signal be divided once, with one leg then going to the cable modem, the other gets split as needed for TV.
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Far from an expert on the subject but will share the little I know more or less as random comments.
Wireless routers are subject to interference from 2.4 GHz phones and some microwaves. Really from any device in that general bandwidth.
Routers are generally the failure or problem point in a lost cable connection. Try a direct connect to a single computer and see if the problem goes away. I don't use wireless I have wired. even so I have to reboot the router every now and then.
I can't see where an AC surge protector would affect anything. Running the cable connection through a suppressor might.
Newer wireless routers are fairly easy to lockdown if you can read and follow directions. There are in fact two different levels of encryption I do not recall the names. (/?wep and wap?)
Colbyt
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MaryL wrote:

Well, there you are. Your microwave worked after you discarded the surge suppressor. Obviously surge suppressors can fail.
So ditch the surge suppressors on your computer equipment and see if the problem goes away.
If the problem disappears, add the surge suppressors back, one at a time, until the problem reappears.
If you have the "cheap" surge suppressors (less than about $30), they will degrade.
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The surge suppressor on the microwave did its job. It "absorbed" the shock during the storm (obviously, not a direct hit), so the suppressor was then burned out but the microwave still worked.
As for the computer equipment, it's definitely not the surge suppressors unless there is some reasonable explanation for why the cable company would prefer that we not use *any* surge suppressors. I have one surge suppressor (Philips) for the laser printer, Zoom modem, phone, router, and small TV. I have an APC backup USP for the CPU, monitor, and cable connection. Both of those units are new, and the problems I described pre-date them. In fact, the only thing on my current system that is *not* new is the router. So, it does seem likely that the router is the problem, and I am willing to buy another one. However, I am concerned because the technician tested it when he was here, and it was fine. The cable company could also "ping" it when I called them. Nevertheless, the technician suspects the router. I am going to follow the advice of one of the people on this group and try to call LinkSys before I try to change out the router.
MaryL
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That plug-in protector did nothing useful. It failed. A grossly undersized surge protector that does nothing useful also fails so that the naive will promote it.
How many other appliances in the kitchen were destroyed by that surge. If the surge protector did anything useful, then the blender and dishwasher (without protectors) were damage. Why were each not damaged? Because protection inside a microwave, dishwasher, and blender protected themselves. A grossly undersized and obscenely overpriced protector was so pathetic as to be destroyed by a surge that could not even damage other appliances? So how many GFCIs in the bathrooms and kitchen were destroyed. Where is surge protection that protected those electronics? Even GFCIs are more robust than that grossly undersized protector?
Cable guy was 100% correct. This from an engineer who also did this stuff. That protector did nothing useful but may degrade TV signals. Cable companies constantly recommend removing those obscenely overpriced protectors that ... do not even claim to protect from a type of surge that typically causes damage. Dont take my word for it. Post numeric specs where the protector manufacturer actually claims protection. Little hint. You cannot. The manufacturer does not make those protection claims in numbers. The honest claim comes with numbers.
Those protectors do reduce TV and computer signals. Reduced signals mean some channels and internet may drop out periodically. Are those your symptoms? Well, your cable signals may still be weak also due to protectors that dont even claim to provide surge protection.
Does that UPS provides protection? Where does it also list each type of surge and protection from that surge? Again, massive profits when they get you to *know* without first learning facts. The informed consumer always needs numbers. APC claims what protection in its manufacturer specs? Post those numbers here. Again, you cant because APC does not make those claims.
One number that the UPS is required to provide is joules. How many joules? Your reasoning assumes a surge protector or UPS stops or absorbs surges. Fine. How many joules? 300 joules? Lets see. Surges are tens or hundreds of thousands of joules. Why did that power strip fail? It was so grossly undersized (but probably not as undersized as APC UPSes) as to provide ineffective protection. With numbers provided by that manufacture, you again know why the surge protector failed. So grossly undersized as to not provide protection. So grossly undersized that a surge too small to harm a microwave, instead, destroyed a grossly undersized protector.
Why do they grossly undersize that protector in a power strip or UPS (both contain the same protector circuit)? Less joules means an even greater profit. And a failed protector will get the naive to recommend more ineffective protectors. Even here, the grossly undersized protector got recommended.
Where is a spec number that claims protection from a typically destructive type surge? Never posted above. Where is a joules number sufficiently sized to absorb that surge? Does not exist. Where is the manufacturer spec that even claims to provide protection from typically destructive surges? Does not exist. Even the cable guy accurately recommended removing that protector because properly installed cables already have superior and effective surge protection - installed for free.
Review what you have posted. You have assumed your power strip (or a UPS) will stop or absorb what even three miles of sky could not stop. Effective protectors don't claim to stop or absorb surges. Effective protection means a surge does not enter a building. Effective protectors cost about $1 per protected appliance.
You have a 'whole house' protector and still had a damaged plug-in protector? Canary in the coalmine. A most easily failed item was damaged by a surge that should have never been inside the building. What any protector must connect to may be improperly installed, missing, or insufficient. Protection is not a magic box - a concept even understood 100 years ago. Protection is earth ground a concept that plug-in protectors and APC will do anything to avoid. An effective protector connects surge energy short to earth. Follow that wire from that 'whole house' protector (from fuse box) to earth ground. It should be less than 10 feet. No sharp bends. If that bare copper wire goes up over the foundation and down to earth, then that wire is installed improperly - too long and too many sharp bends. If your earthing violates those principles, then that would explain why grossly undersized protector was damaged.
Cable must also make a short (ie less than 10 foot) connection to the same earth ground. Why? What must absorb surge energy? What dissipates hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly - without damage? Earth ground. That required common connection from both fuse box and cable may also make your TV and computer connections more reliable.
Why was a grossly undersized (and obscenely overpriced) plug-in protectors damaged? Your installation let a surge into the house. That correction might (not likely but might) also correct a cable problem. But moreso, that correction provides massive and superior surge protection for tens or 100 times less money per protected appliance.
The APC is for temporary power when AC power is lost nothing more. It claims surge protection. But again, look at its numbers. Nothing is known without numbers. It has near zero joules. Well, it is not zero joules. Therefore it can claim surge protection on color glossy sales brochures - to intentionally deceive the naive. Near zero joules means all but no surge protection inside that APC.
Two suggestions to make your cable more reliable. Verify earthing is correct where that cable enters the building. Improper earthing can be one reason for signal loss. Disconnect those obscenly overpriced plug-in protectors, as all cable companies recommend, because those protectors degrade cable signals.
wrote:

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Once the peripheral problem (see other post) is removed as a reason for your problem (earthing is properly connected to a common ground electrode and protectors removed everywhere from the cable), then we move on to solving the problem using facts rather than speculation.
For example, do you have multiple computers on the same router? Then setup a task so that both ping each other continuously. Ask if you don't know how to do this. (ie ping -t 192.168.1. x) When internet is lost, do both machines still see (ping) each other? Do ping response times remains constant?
I am not completely sure what you do and do not have. For example, I assume your Linksys connects to a cable mode which in turn connects to the cable. So how is each box setup? Is the cable modem operating as a router or only as a bridge? That gets answered by how the Linksys is setup. Even Linksys will need those facts before saying anything, so you may as well get those facts (especially the numbers) now. To answer the above question, information such as the Linksys in PPPoE mode (or what other setting) is necessary to get anything other than wild speculation (it could be this or could be that).
Did the cable guy come with a meter to measure signal strength? Cable companies should provide that $5000 device to every tech. Many do not leaving the tech to also swap splitters without first learning where the signal is diminished. In fact some cable guys buy their own $5000 meter because without it, they too can only wildly speculate (no numbers).
Well, you can also get useful information doing a tracert (which means trace route). For example, tracert wwww.suddenlink.com or tracert www.cox.com provides a list of IP addresses (numbers) and response times so that the better informed know what exists (rather than speculating).
Cable TV is actually frequencies all over the place. Specifically which channels (which numbers) do and do not work during the intermittent failure. Again, numbers that would say which frequencies do and do not cut out.
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On Sun, 16 Nov 2008 16:32:05 -0600, "MaryL"

Look into FLASH [ing] the EPROM, updated software. Know what you are doing when you do this. Do not kill the device.
EPROMS loose memory and the router fails.
Install the router software, is a good - first start.
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MaryL wrote:

The microwave didn't work until you removed the surge suppressor, did it? Doesn't that tell you that a problematic surge protector can interfere with the proper operation of that which is connected to it?

There IS a good reason, goddamnit! Evidently you belong to that fairly large group of blonde non-electrical-engineers.
Cheap surge suppressors contain two or three MOVs (metallic oxide varistors). These act like reverse fuses: when the detected potential is greater than the nominal voltage, they short the two conductors to which they are connected. MOVs fail in several ways: If the surge is large enough or long enough, they will simply melt, smoke, and heat up. At that point, they have acted exactly like a reverse fuse - they no longer work and will provide no further protection. The other way they fail is they degrade such that they "leak" voltage from one conductor to another. This generates "noise" on the line and other undesirable things.
Further, the complete and catastrophic failure of a cheap surge suppressor - as was the case with your microwave - is abnormal. Usually cheap surge suppressors weaken or simply fail to do their job.

Sounds like something you can do to keep busy. When you eventually get around to removing or swapping out the dodgy surge suppressors, check back. Maybe we can find something else to try.
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Look, it's obvious that you enjoy being rude. I simply don't have the technical knowledge to follow through with some of the information that has been given on this group (most, with good intentions, I believe). However, have you not noticed that I said this problem *pre-dates* both of the surge suppressors. So, it began before I had the regular surge suppressor and the backup USB, and the same problem continues with them in place!
MaryL
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MaryL wrote: .

I apologize for sounding rude - I only meant to be impatient.
If you refuse to try the most obvious diagnostic (swapping or removing the surge suppressors), you are, frankly, incapable of accepting help. The only legitimate excuse you can have is lack of sufficient technical knowledge to operate a plug. I admit that is possible.
Do you know any 12-year old males?
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Haven't *you* listened? This all started *before* I had the surge suppressors. It continued through one set of surge suppressors, and these two are *new* -- with the same problem. The SuddenLink tech did not suggest that they were at fault. He was responding to one of my own questions and simply said that the cable company prefers that *no* surge suppressors be used. But he is primarily suspicious of the router. Finally, I have swapped all of the cables on directions from their tech support -- disconnecting from the wall, disconnecting from the surge suppressors, bypassing the router, etc. I was worn out from all the connecting and disconnecting because it is extremely difficult to get to the back of my computer. I even labeled each cord simply because it was so difficult to find the various ends. Nothing worked!
MaryL
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On Sun, 16 Nov 2008 23:57:59 -0600, "MaryL"

Anyone that says the surge suppressor is the problem is a complete idiot who has no knowledge of networks. Replace your dodgy router and be done with the problems.
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"MCSE" wrote in message wrote:

I think that's what I am going to have to try, but that does take me back to my original question - setting up security that I had paid for originally. I know one responder said that's "easy," and I will call LinkSys if the manual doesn't help. The "manual" with my current router was simply a leaflet that showed how to connect it, but there was no information on security. Of course, the router is several years old. Ironically, it is the only component that is not new -- so, the "weak link," I suppose.
Thanks, MaryL
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wrote:

I did not see a response to something I said earlier:
If, as you stated, you are losing your cable connection also, how could it be your LinkSys router?
Your Cable TV does not go through the LinkSys.
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wrote:

I did not see a response to something I said earlier:
If, as you stated, you are losing your cable connection also, how could it be your LinkSys router?
Your Cable TV does not go through the LinkSys.
Sorry, I did not mean my cable TV. I meant that I lose the Internet and also lose capability to send or receive e-mail. I use Eudora for e-mail, and of course that needs access to the Internet to function -- so I did not describe it correctly. I go directly to Eudora from the desktop, and I didn't think about the fact that it was really "one and the same" when I wrote that statement. The TV continues to function during those periods.
MaryL
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news:4921b009$0$5482

I have revived one router by re-flashing its memory as someone else suggested. You will have to re-configure it after this process. There should be clear instructions for each of these processes on the manufacturer's website.
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wrote in message

instruction for configuring it securely.
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Bob F wrote:

Internet. The TV worked but The Internet was fouled up. The cure was to replace about 70' of cable.
TDD
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MaryL wrote:

I had similar problems at my last house. The cable TV connection was fine, even for HD, but the Internet connection kept dropping.
My 25 years in the IT business gave me a good background for doing my own troubleshooting, and I eliminated all my own equipment as the cause of the trouble, but tech support at the cable company had to run me through their scripts every time I called. Even telling them I was a pro and used to run helpdesks myself didn't cut any mustard, so don't be frustrated by the endless rechecking when you call. It's just the way they have to do it.
My problem turned out to be cable company equipment faults.
Here's a handwaving description: You know that router you have in your closet? If you follow your cable wire through the wall and down the block, you'll find that the cable company has a bigger router in a metal box somewhere in your neighborhood, and it controls Internet access for you and your several hundred closest neighbors. It does more than split one line 500 ways, but for your needs, that's all you have to think about.
If you follow the big wire out the back of the bigger router, you'll find that it goes to an even bigger router that handles your whole chunk of town. This scheme continues in multiple levels until the wire gets back to headquarters where there're many racks of routers that connect everybody in the region to the Internet backbone.
In my case, one of the upstream devices was faulty and dropped off line regularly. I had to keep turning in complaints and having techs come to my house until one of them could justify kicking the problem up the chain to the next level of techs who were authorized to look at the upstream equipment.
The techs on the phone could do remote diagnostics on my cable modem, but they couldn't look at the other equipment. Only the authorized techs could do that, and they couldn't do anything until there were enough trouble tickets to justify it. (Yeah, I know. It's stupid, but that's corporate rules for ya.) Keep after the cable company.
By the way, I had really poor throughput when I lived in Michigan. After many complaints, a tech figured out that the buried line to my house had water in it. A contractor buried a new line from my house all the way to the big green box at the end of the block, putting in a metal-jacketed cable as big as my thumb. (I'm sure somebody will jump in here and tell us the code name for the stuff.) I was the second guy in the neighborhood to get data service, and the first guy thanked me for the improvement--he didn't know he was having a problem until it went away.
--
Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
  Click to see the full signature.
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