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I have a friend that recently started using Ubuntu, and I've been answering his questions via the internet. However, I'm stuck on this one. He bought Linksys WPC11 wireless card, and says he was able to create a network connection, but was unable to ping or use a browser. I'm not quite sure where to start in figuring this out--what are some common causes of this sort of problem?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Basic Network Diagnostics:

  1. Check physical cables from workstations and even border access (eg: phone line cable)
  2. Ping localhost/
  3. Ping LAN based resource
  4. Ping (a address)
  5. Ping or some other similar URL
  6. Check diagnostics tab in your border access device

Since your friend says she/he has network connectivity you could skip steps 1 & 2.

If step 3 works then she/he has internet connectivity if it fails check out whether the default route points to his/her gateway (eg: use route command and look for an entry without a * as the gateway)

If step 4 fails then she/he and has not setup DNS and cant perform name translations.

These basic steps should be enough to identify the issue.

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It is also worth mentioning (for the sake of users who may not have an operational internet connection at all) that the physical layer should be verified - check your cable connections (phone line, etc). – tkf144 Sep 24 '09 at 2:57
Go add that in Wayne and you earned the +1 ;-) – Ivo Flipse Sep 24 '09 at 6:15
Just as an additional first step you could try running ipconfig and making sure it's a valid ip address that get's returned. It depends on the level of knowledge of the end user but I have had people report that they're connected when they're not or they've been allocated a 169. address – Col Sep 24 '09 at 8:00
Another basic diagnostic: bring in a laptop or iPhone or something that's known to be able to connect to the Internet, and see if it works on your friend's wireless. – David Thornley May 18 '10 at 13:46

Depends on how he configured things, but you might see if he can ping an internet server by IP instead of name. Perhaps he didn't set DNS servers -- or specified bad or invalid ones.

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