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Since this weekend my internet has been randomly dropping out for 10-20 seconds. There doesn't seem to be any fixed interval to it, but it usually occurs every 30-60 minutes.

At work, I have my computer set up to use a SOCKS proxy through an SSH tunnel to my home network. Now when the dropouts occur I know about them at work because I lose all connectivity in the applications using the SSH tunnel (chat & web, essentially), and I have to kill the SSH process and restart it to regain a connection.

From work, I can connect to my router's interface before and after the dropouts, but not during. After the dropout occurs I can see that my connectivity uptime clock has reset to 00:00:00 connection uptime.

The fact that I can't connect to the router from work while the dropout is occurring leads me to believe that the problem is the router. If it were the ISP I'd be able to connect to the router, I just wouldn't be able to load any pages (right?). Are there any more conclusive ways to determine whether the problem is my router or the ISP?

I'm using a Mac, if that makes any difference.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Well if the Router itself was dropping out you wouldn't be able to hit it when the dropouts occur. I'd say you're safe saying it's either ISP or router, to test this can you directly connect your computer to your modem for a day and see if the dropouts still occur? This will be the most decisive test, if they continue then you know for a fact it is not your router. However if they do not continue you'll be able to conclude that you are having issues with your router.

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you're right, connecting to the modem would be the definitive test, though i'd like to avoid it if there are other diagnostic tools available, just because the router serves my roommates as well. – michaelmichael Oct 6 '10 at 18:34
In that case, could use the network utility to send and unlimited number of pings to the router. Check this when you get home and look for any timeouts that would be concurrent with the dropouts. – jon3laze Oct 6 '10 at 18:59
For monitoring the router from the inside (as well as monitoring an external host), have a look at the Code Review question Network Downtime. – Michael Kjörling Apr 10 '15 at 16:24

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