Networking problem

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Networking problem

Postby Dave » Mon 19 May 2008 06:46

Something very perplexing happened in the small hours of Sunday morning...

We've got a small Lan running two XPs via Ethernet wired connections direct into the router, and a Mac mini and a Vista laptop via a wireless access point plugged into the router.

Up until Kay went to bed on Sunday morning, all were working nicely together. When she got up a few hours later, her computer couldn't raise a thing - it couldn't even ping the router.

I've been trying all sorts of things, including rolling back the AVG installation, uninstalling and reinstalling the Ethernet controller, disabling the firewall, resetting the TCP/IP settings, and even altering the DHCP node value via RegEdit. The best I've been able to manage so far is that the other computers in the workgroup can be seen (but not accessed) by Kay's, but they can't see it.

Any ideas as to what I can do to fix it? I'm starting to think it may be a hardware problem rather than a software one. But I've tried swapping the cables and the router ports, so that only leaves the Ethernet card... :?
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Postby Dave » Mon 19 May 2008 06:58

Well, I've now also tried running Ubuntu off a LiveCD to see if I can get a connection using that - and failed. The same test using my identical PC worked OK.

It really is starting to look as if it's the Ethernet card - which unfortunately is an integral part of the motherboard. Bu99er.

The box is only three months old, so it's still in warranty, but it's a blasted nuisance all the same.
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Postby Trev » Mon 19 May 2008 13:58

Can you see the green/red flashing light on the NIC?

Probably not if it is integral, may not have one.

To be honest I never use the integral NIC, always put a PCI card in, always had problems with the integral, using a separate card is much simpler, for me anyway. However, probably not a good thing for you to do, opening the case may invalidate the guarantee!

If you know the IP address for the integral, ( run ipconfig ) have you tried pinging that from the others?
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Postby Dave » Mon 19 May 2008 15:38

Yes(ish) to both - there's a green light on the NIC, but I don't think it's flashing; and I've tried pinging, but got nothing back.

I've had a chat with my brother, who does networks for a living - he reckons it sounds as if it's the card. Time to look out the warranty papers, I think (and get a backup done too, before taking the machine back to the shop). :roll:

The frustrating thing is that Kay's PC is usually able to see at least one or two of the other machines, and sometimes all of them - but can't access them.
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Postby Trev » Mon 19 May 2008 19:28

Have you tried another cable, one that is currently working with another PC?

However it does sound like a duff NIC, what is the motherboard, I could look it up and see what the leds are supposed to do.
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Postby Dave » Tue 20 May 2008 04:51

Thanks, Trev. Yes - I've tried a cable that's known to work (both before and after using it on Kay's machine) and checked the router port with a different machine too. :(

The machine's an Acer Aspire M1610. I'm not sure what the motherboard is, but the Ethernet controller's an SiS 191, if that helps at all.
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Postby Trev » Tue 20 May 2008 06:33

Looks like it is a SIS motherboard as well, but cannot get confirmation for that at the Acer site.

Here is a link to an updated SiS191 Gigabit LAN & SiS190 LAN Driver...

http://www.sis.com/download/download_step1.php

If you don't have this version it might be worth downloading it and see if that improves things, could be a corrupted file.

Talking of corruption, this PC wouldn't start this morning, multi error messages, so ran Scandisk from dos (98SE -I'm a ludite), telling it to fix all problems, and now it works. Aint computers funny old things :) Will have to investigate further when I have more time.

Apart from that Dave, reckon it is a hardware failure.
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Postby Dave » Tue 20 May 2008 16:01

Just seen this, Trev - thanks. I'm downloading it now and will give it a spin...
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Postby Dave » Tue 20 May 2008 21:30

Well, the good news is that it worked - though perhaps not in the way you might expect...

I downloaded the driver, saved it onto an SD card, shut down my machine and put Kay's onto the network in place of mine. (By this time I'd got Kay's old machine up and running, so she was using that.)

I installed the new driver. Bingo! All of a sudden I could browse other machines on the network.

Great, I thought. Now perhaps I can roll back the setup changes to a suitable System Restore point when I know everything was working fine. So I chose one on 16 May. (All was fine on 18 May, but I left a bit of leeway.)

Rollback: everything OK (apart from a bit of waiting time to get my keyboard and mouse recognised. I expect it'll be the same when I put Kay's PC back onto her mouse and keyboard... :-?). Machine still sees the network and the great big wide world out there...

...but when I come to check on it, it turns out to be on the old NIC driver.

Hmm, I think... let's try running the setup again.

Nope - it tells me that the Ethernet controller doesn't exist.

Bizarre!

Oh well, at least it's working again. Thanks, Trev - have a beer on us. :lol:

The acid test will be whether Kay's machine still works once mine is back on the network - no reasonable reason why it shouldn't, but networks is funny things... :?

(BTW, this was posted from Kay's current PC, running from my desk - I s'pose I'd better shut it down and get back onto my own one now. :lol: )
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Postby Dave » Tue 20 May 2008 21:56

Well, I swapped out Kay's old PC for her new one, with mine up and running on the network, and all seemed fine....

Odd, because I'd already tried deleting and reinstalling Kay's NIC driver - and as far as the system is concerned, it's currently running on the old one, not the updated version.

Still, if it's working, don't knock it! Thanks, Trev. :D Saves me having to take Kay's base unit back to the shop - and Kay having to make do with an old machine in the meantime. :lol:
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Postby Trev » Tue 20 May 2008 22:33

Glad it is working. Bet Kay is as well!

Could still be a duff NIC though, with an intermittent fault. :cry:

I hate these integrated boards, give me a handful of PCI cards to fault find. Much easier. Also, problems after guarantee runs out you only have to replace a card, not the whole MOBO. Told you I was a ludite.

I've still got an old Compaq 486 I sometimes use on the internet, very minimal spec, but it still does the job when required.

Until recently I was using a 15 year old 24 port HP hub (probably cost 1000 quid when it was new) for Internet Connection Sharing, 3 computers on the same cable modem, it stopped working last week so had to replace it with a new hub, 8 ports, unknown name, made in PRC, 5 quid.
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Postby Dave » Wed 21 May 2008 05:50

Funny how these things go in waves. It's only been a couple of weeks since our Linksys hub gave up the ghost. That was only nine years old, mind - and probably more like £20 rather than £1,000. :lol:

Kay's computer is still working this morning... erm, afternoon. (We had a bit of a late-nighter yesterday.) But next time I'm in our local electronics mall I'm going to get a USB network card as a backup, just in case.

Thanks again for your help!
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Postby ruggie » Sat 24 May 2008 21:22

Saw this too late to join in. Glad it's all working again. I installed AVG Free version 8 this morning, and now my PC hangs occasionally...
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