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9:20am on Thursday, 27th April, 2006:



I've been having problems with my Internet connection of late. It's taken to disconnecting for a moment every 5 minutes for an hour or so, usually in the evenings, which means my router has to reinitialise. This is bad enough, in itself, but it's also stopped accepting uploads larger than 64K in size — it just times out instead. This means I can't send large email attachments, and I can't ftp stuff either. QBlog is affected, in that the archive list is over 64K in length, so I can only upload an updated version if I'm lucky (and if I'm unlucky, it deletes the old version).

I suspected a hardware probem with my router, so yesterday I bought a new one. Annoyingly, though, I can't get it to talk to my network hub: the router recognises it's on a LAN, but can't/won't talk to the hub. This means I can't even ping it, let alone route through it. Great. I've had to switch back to the old one.

Another possibility is that it's an ISP issue. I found yesterday that I can send attachments if I do so via web mail, rather than via Outlook. This suggests that there's some kind of protocol prioritisation going on somewhere. The first 64K of an email or ftp block get shot up the line instantly, but the rest has to wait (so long that it times out). If I've hit some kind of a traffic limit, this ought to disappear at the end of the month; upgrading to a better package would then sort it out.

A third possibility is that it's a software issue at my end, with some strange interaction between virus-checkers and firewalls leading to deadlock. I've tried switching off the obvious candidates, but to no avail. It may be that something I installed recently changed a setting somewhere, but scooting around I haven't found it. My wife also uses the line and can upload files with no problem, but she does so over a VPN so that's probably a factor. I'd experiment with using my laptop, except I haven't set it up for Outlook and kinda like it that way...

If only my being a professor in an Electronics department about to merge with a Computing department equipped me to deal with this kind of thing.

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Copyright © 2006 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).