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I need a way to generate reports or logs that prove that my Internet connection is flaky. My Comcast connection is very flaky but if I ask their support to send someone over it will probably work fine while the guy is here.

I found and tried "Connection Monitor" from CSGWare Corp but it does not create the kind of reports or graphs I'd need to be able to convince my ISP that their link is intermittent.

What I need to be able to do is have the software monitor my connection and produce a record of when the connection dies or when, for example, ping time climbs dramatically.

Can I get Connection Monitor to do this or is there another program that does?

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What OS? Is it a direct connect from computer to whatever you use as a connection? Giving more details will help people trying to help you. –  David Thornley Sep 9 '09 at 20:38
    
Sorry, I should have known enough to do that. I'm in Windows XP Pro and it is a connection through my router to a cable modem. –  Jay Sep 9 '09 at 20:41
    
If your connection is dropping off intermittently they'll be able to tell on their side if it's their problem. It might be dropping off locally. Prove it's their problem first –  Ciaran Sep 9 '09 at 21:28
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Jay, while running whatever tool you choose, make sure your computer is connected directly to the cable modem or results won't count for anything. –  Joel Coehoorn Feb 13 '11 at 3:04
    
There are scripts online that you can use to generate a small script that will continuously, every five minutes or whatever you specify, ping a specified IP address and write the results to a log file. I added tracert. The $10 program mentioned in Dave's answer is one of a number of such utilities that pretty much does the same thing. –  Dora Smith Jun 11 at 16:54
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10 Answers 10

ping -t comcast.net > log.txt

Show him the log.txt file.

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+1 operating system neutral –  shufler Sep 9 '09 at 20:47
    
Sorry but that went over my head. Are you saying to use the Dos window to issue a ping command or are you saying there is a log.txt file out there that I can open and read and offer as proof? Thanks –  Jay Sep 9 '09 at 20:48
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Jay: Type that command into a DOS / Shell prompt. When he shows up, use ctrl-c to abort it. It will generate a file called log.txt which will show the ping results. The log.txt file will appear in the directory your DOS prompt was started in. –  tsilb Sep 9 '09 at 20:50
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Just remember to hook that specific computer directly to the Internet, otherwise he may say it's your router –  Canadian Luke Dec 28 '11 at 16:06
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@shufler: not for mac: ping: invalid timeout: `google.com' –  CharlesB Dec 9 '13 at 21:12
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You might want to try DUMeter. There's a 30 day trial version available. Or use Pingdom and let it monitor the availability of your IP address, given that you have a (sort of) fixed IP. Pingdom has a free plan. I'm using Pingdom myself for a number of websites and it proved to be very helpful.

Other uptime monitoring services are mentioned here.

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I'm running Pingdom now - beginning to receive results from it. Might be a big help. Thanks for the lead. –  Jay Sep 9 '09 at 21:34
    
DUMeter does not report ping times or connectivity issues. It reports bandwidth usage only. It is not suitable for the OPs use-case. –  Andris Aug 8 '13 at 11:45
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Complain to a Consumer Protection authority. Let them monitor it.

Complaining to an ISP and showing it a ping log file? Come on, guys, you must be kidding. How would you prove the authenticity of a simple text file? How would you prove you didn't write it up yourself?

If you want to monitor your connection, you can set up mrtg. You can even point your ISP to it. But I doubt that'll help. If your provider doesn't treat you fair as a consumer, just quit using its services if you have alternatives.

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It may not prove that the connection is dropping to them, but it will give them an exact time to check their logs which will make them more likely to actually check them compared to if they have to hunt through their logs looking for an "uh... my connection keeps dropping". –  Hello71 Feb 13 '11 at 2:59
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There is a simple tool which checks if it can access an internet site and logs results with time stamps. It is written in Java and will work on any platform.
http://code.google.com/p/internetconnectivitymonitor/

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It doesn't log response time, if the connection drops for tens of seconds you won't notice it. –  CharlesB Dec 9 '13 at 21:11
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My cable modem for Time Warner is accessible at a particular address 192.168.xxx.yyy similar to the way a home router is. If I point my browser to that address there is an interface that allows me to see some diagnostic pages including a log of recent activity.

If your connection is dying, it may be that the log will show something that happened at that time. Mine did when I was having a problem: lots of "timeout" and "re-establishing DHCP connection" messages.

Find out the make and model of your cable modem and then try a web search to find out how to access the configurations screens.

I suspect that any cable repair person will check those logs anyway. If there's a discrepancy between the cable modem log and the logs you get from a third-party app, who will they believe?

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Both of the Comcast boxes I had responded on 192.168.100.1. –  ultrasawblade Feb 13 '11 at 3:45
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Use the following command to generate a few different log files to a few different sites.

tracert -d comcast.net > log.txt

this will generate a traceroute and you/they can identify if the flakiness is local to you, on their network, or the backbone network.

Comcast is probably unaware of your service issue. Provided you find a decent contact with their support, they might be able to resolve your issue.

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I'd try to describe the problem more precisely than: "My Comcast connection is very flaky"

Does the connection go away altogether? Assuming that there's some kind of "Connected" indicator LED on your modem, does it stay lit or not? Is there a pattern to when it comes and goes?

Or is it that you appear to have connectivity but you can't seem to connect to anything ... web sites, mail servers and the like? In that case, next time it's working right, look up the IP address for a site, then next time the service seems to be out, try connecting to the IP address rather than the www.whatever.xyz address. If it works with the IP address but not with the "friendly" name, it's likely a DNS problem at the ISP end. There are alternate DNS providers you could try in your internet settings to get around this one, at least temporarily.

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I had a problem with a Comcast connection that lasted three years - dozens of dropouts every day. Finally I wrote a program that continuously tests an internet connection and writes a log of any outages. I showed Comcast the logs and they finally took me seriously and fixed it!

I'm selling the program (free trial, $10 for a license) to help others resolve their problems with their ISP. It's called Net Uptime Monitor - http://www.netuptimemonitor.com. It's a simple program that does exactly what you want - continuously monitors your internet connection and writes a plain text log of every failure that occurs, including the start time and length of the outage.

There's no complicated configuration or anything - it's really a single purpose program, just install it and run it. The logs it generates will help your ISP figure out the problem.

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Try running this web-app: http://isp-monitor.appspot.com/

It tests your internet connection every 10 seconds. If you login, it can aggregate results and you can generate a report with connectivity % for the last days or month.

No install. Free to use.

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Bash script, with timestamp, so when you show it to Comcast, you can point to exact times when it was down or flaky.

ping comcast.net | while read pong; do echo "$(date): $pong"; done > ~/log.txt

...produces output like this:

Thu Jun  5 00:23:54 CDT 2014: 64 bytes from 0.0.0.0: icmp_seq=235 ttl=55 time=61.848 ms
Thu Jun  5 00:23:55 CDT 2014: Request timeout for icmp_seq 236
Thu Jun  5 00:23:56 CDT 2014: 64 bytes from 0.0.0.0: icmp_seq=236 ttl=55 time=1317.795 

Then, you can monitor it in a different window with tail

tail -f ~/log.txt

Clear and concise. Works for Mac and Linux. Not sure about Windows.

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