How to troubleshoot Internet connection problems for DSL or cable service

One of the common problems among Internet users is testing their
Internet connection to identify the exact problem. There are a lot of Internet users who use DSL and cable modem service.

You establish your connection to us in the way your ISP (Internet Service Provider) instructs you. Sometimes it doesn’t work for a number of reasons.

Your service is not ready, your hardware is not connected properly, or your ISP is having problems.

Whatever the cause of the problem, there are some diagnostic tools that you can use in Windows XP to identify the problem.

If you are not accurate in your diagnosis, you will at least get a good idea.

Before we move on to the diagnostic tools, let’s take a look at what an internet connection entails.

Information travels over the Internet to your computer through your ISP service. This is done through a high-speed modem and then to a network card installed in your computer.

Your computer is called a host, your service provider will give you
you DNS IP address, and get your username and password. That’s all you have from your ISP.

Sometimes your internet connection fails and you want to find
solve the problem. You may be able to fix it, or at least get some
information about the problem to advise your Internet service provider for help.

You will start by accessing the command prompt by going in sequence to:

Start menu, program, accessories, then command prompt. Window
it will open where you type commands from the prompt.

At the command prompt, type: IPCONFIG. This command will give you the active network connection on your computer. Here is an example:

PPP Copy Adapter:

Connection-specific DNS suffix. :

IP adress. . . . . . . . . . . . :

Subnet mask. . . . . . . . . . . :

Default Gateway. . . . . . . . . :

The above output was produced when I ran the Ipconfig command on my own computer with Windows XP operating system and a DSL connection. The IP address is the address of my computer assigned by the ISP.

Note that you can add an option to this command to get more detailed information about your connection. Here is the output, when I ran the same command with the
option “all”.

Ipconfig / all

PPP Copy Adapter:

Connection-specific DNS suffix. :

Description. . . . . . . . . . . : WAN interface (PPP / SLIP)

Physical address. . . . . . . . . : 00-53-45-00-00-00

DHCP enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : No

IP adress. . . . . . . . . . . . :

Subnet mask. . . . . . . . . . . :

Default Gateway. . . . . . . . . :

DNS servers. . . . . . . . . . . :
NetBIOS over TCP / IP. . . . . . . . : Disabled

Notice now that the output includes the physical address of the network interface card installed in my computer. Also, you will see the DNS IP addresses. With the information above, I had no problem.

Supposedly I disconnect my DSL connection and ran the command again, this is the new output:

Ethernet adapter local area connection:

Connection-specific DNS suffix. :

IP adress. . . . . . . . . . . . :

Subnet mask. . . . . . . . . . . :

Default Gateway. . . . . . . . . :

Notice that in this case, where I disconnected my connection, you don’t get a DNS server. This tells you that I am not connected to the Internet.

Also, notice that the IP address begins with 192.168, which is the default address whenever your computer is not connected to the Internet.

Another command is the ping command. It will allow to check if a computer is connected to the network and ready to communicate, either intranet,
or internet.

Once you run it, it will send a package to the specified computer and give you the time it took for the package to travel. This is an output when I tried to ping []

C:> ping []

Ping [] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from bytes = 32 time = 35 ms TTL = 55

Reply from bytes = 32 time = 39 ms TTL = 55

Ping statistics for

Packages: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),

Approximate round trip times in milliseconds:

Minimum = 35ms, Maximum = 39ms, Average = 38ms.

That shows that the host was accessible and connected to the internet.

A very important command is Nslookup. This will allow you to check if the DNS (domain name server) is working properly. The role of the DNS server is to translate IP addresses to the domain name of the networked computer. Here is an example:

C:> nslookup []



Unauthorized response:

Name: []


Alias: []

So, you enter the name after Nslookup, it will give you IP addresses and vice versa.

In short, there are more commands in Windows XP, but using the above three commands should give you a good idea about your internet connection problems. You can find where the problem is occurring. Is it your machine or the ISP?


George chamoun

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