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I'm experiencing intermittent connection errors in our home network from two different computers, normally "Connection Reset" when browsing, but also other issues such as very slow throughput. I have approximately a network setup as below:

ISP->Cable Modem->Dlink DIR 655 Router->(Ethernet)->Fon Router->Mac/Windows laptop

Basically, is there a simple way to monitor the network and detect where issues are coming from? Right now we don't know if it is the Fon router, the Dlink router, the modem or the ISP. As the issue is intermittent, is there a software that regularly traceroutes a set of destinations and tests e.g. throughput, something that can help us figure out where in the chain the errors are introduced? The more automatic network monitor, the better.

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2 Answers 2

The best first step is to go wired to eliminate the wireless connection as a possibility.

It is possible that your wireless is negotiating down to some ridiculously low transfer rate because of radio interference.

On the wireless end, the thing to do is to change channels. You might try a utility like inSSIDer (open source AFAIK) which will help you decide which channel is subject to the least interference.

Finally, some anti-virus packages can hose your internet, often you'd notice a new problem right after they roll out an update.

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Thanks, that is useful info, especially the inSSIDer software. But I was hoping to find a tool that basically can monitor the network over time and report which part of the chain is causing issues, rather than me having to move my laptops around, test different channels etc. It should be technically possible, right? I could sit and to traceroute manually and see if issues are coming before or afte the wireless, but as the error is only intermittent... –  RipperDoc Dec 31 '10 at 2:20
    
If it happens often enough, you can be the monitor. I don't work on macs, but you can make a script which can run from an icon on your desktop that will ping each device in your chain all at once and when the problem happens, you quickly run it. (a traceroute will probably not identify hubs and routers, it doesn't in my setup) –  horatio Dec 31 '10 at 14:56
    
I left out the possibility that the connection resets are caused by your cable company. I have heard stories of comcast purposefully doing this. Another thing I have experienced is where there is a special port on the switch or router. My current switch has one particular port that kills transfer rates. No idea why, since I lost the manual :) –  horatio Dec 31 '10 at 14:59

Change the wireless channel in the router, keep changing occasionally it until you find a stable channel.

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