26 Nov 2008 08:16 UTCWed 26 Nov 2008 - 8:16 am UTC
We lose our Internet connection for about 30 to 60 minutes during roughly the same time period every night. This has been going on for the better part of a year and has become extremely annoying.
The behavior is not always exactly the same. Sometimes it goes down hard and does not come up for an hour or more. Sometimes it flaps for 15 or 20 minutes and then settles back on. Most typically, it goes down around 8:30 or 9:00, and after a while it comes back.
There may or may not be a parallel phenomenon in the morning; rarely is anyone up at dawn around here. But it is often down when I power up at about 9 a.m.
For some time it seemed to occur at about sunset, so that we thought it was due to some physical, external cause, probably thermal in nature. But at this season, most nights sundown is well past when it happens.
The question is simply this: why?
There have been endless tech support calls, usually beginning with the same relentless round of questions about whether we've changed equipment, etc. (No.) Tech. support has even sent technicians to try to diagnose the problem locally, but both interior and exterior checks and tests have turned up nothing.
For the sake of the question, let's assume our installed equipment is fine. What else could account for this pattern of loss of connection?
26 Nov 2008 09:03 UTCWed 26 Nov 2008 - 9:03 am UTC
Can I assume you have a cable modem?
Please see my second clarification on this Google Answers question:
The part about the age of your modem and the necessity to have an older modem "reprovisioned" by your ISP may be especially useful.
Let me know if this helps...
26 Nov 2008 19:54 UTCWed 26 Nov 2008 - 7:54 pm UTC
Here's my best guess...
Your ISP leases your IP address to your machine. Most cable providers that I know do this on a 24-hour renewal cycle, so, for a theoretically short time every 24 hours, your IP address is rescinded and renegotiatied. While this should take only a short time, I've noticed it take longer for some unknown reason.
Additionally, I've noticed this happen on my system at around the 12 hour mark, as well, even though the IP address is not due for renewal. What usually works is going to the router's IP address in a browser and clicking the link to restart the router. Depending on the brand, you may also be able to see how long your lease has been held, or how long you have left on your lease, before you restart it.
On rare occasions, that alone is not sufficient, even when there is a good cable signal coming in, so then I will unplug both the modem and my firewall router from the wall (or shut off the surge protector that feeds them both), wait fifteen seconds and start them both back up. It sometimes speeds the reconnection if I go to the modem's IP address in the browser and verify when it is operational, and then go to the router and restart it.
As to why this occurs, I can't really say. There was a time some months ago when this was almost a daily occurrence - about every 12 hours. Since I had them reprovision my modem, it is a rare event, and is usually resolved just by restarting the router.
Let me know where this takes you...
26 Nov 2008 23:09 UTCWed 26 Nov 2008 - 11:09 pm UTC
I wonder if the hard outages aren't simply due to a degraded connection due to a larger number of users accessing the internet through the ISP at those times. During those outages, you should be able to look at your modem page and see if you have a solid connection or if it's seeking one (the lights on the front of the modem can tell you, as well). If that's the case, it's just a limitation on the part of your provider. You might be at such a distance from the main connection that the signal degrades during periods of maximum usage. Making sure that your primary router is at the very first cable input to the house and on as few, high-quality splitters as possible, is about all you can do with that. If the primary router is on a splitter with, say, a TV, you might experiment with using a direct connector and eliminating the splitter (and the TV connection) during the next outage, and see if your connection improves. In rare cases, it might even be due to a common connection with a neighbor whose system somehow degrades your signal when they go online.
As for the renewal time, on the router page, you should be able to see, again, either the number of hours since the last renewal or until the next renewal. You can reset the clock by simply restarting the router at the time you would prefer the cycle to begin, but first, check that same page about an hour before your usual outage time and see how many hours your timer says are left before your next renewal. If you check it at 7:30 and it says you have an hour left before renewal, then you can surmise that the problem coincides with the upcoming renewal.
Otherwise, it seems likely that you're just having signal strength problems at times of peak local activity, or a neighbor's system degrading your signal around the same time everyday.
27 Nov 2008 06:31 UTCThu 27 Nov 2008 - 6:31 am UTC
Thanks very much for that added input. That also briefly crossed my mind and I forgot to mention it as a very real possibility.
2 Dec 2008 06:01 UTCTue 2 Dec 2008 - 6:01 am UTC
I hope your lack of response doesn't mean you've somehow lost your connection on a more permanent basis.
I'm naturally wondering if I've provided you with sufficient information to constitute a satisfactory answer.