The IP That Just Wouldn't Stick.2001-02-01 (updated: 2014-08-17) by Greg Palmer
Our local cable company was running all sorts of ads on TV about their new Insight @Home cable modem service. I had been waiting and waiting and waiting for broadband access to get to our area, so I called up right away to sign up. (DSL was still months or years from making it here, according to the phone company)
So I called up @Home on a Tuesday, and they set the installation date for Thursday afternoon. They couldn't tell me an exact time - just sometime between 10 and 2:00. Ok fine. Good excuse to take a day off work and sit out on the deck & have a cocktail! Well... they didn't show up until nearly 4:00, and I was getting worried that they might not show at all. But they did.
Installation went fine, with one small hitch - DHCP wasn't working, but that was no big deal. The installer guy just set up a static IP on my machine. He said DHCP would be back up and running later in the afternoon, and gave me the number to call if I needed help adjusting the settings for it. No problem.
So here I am with a cable modem, enjoying my high speed access. Now... to share it with the computer in the other room. Not wanting to run CAT5 cable all over the house, I picked up a pair of these Diamond Homefree or whatever they were called network cards. No special wiring - they run through the existing phone lines in your house and don't interrupt your regular phone usage. And they run at 10MB/S. Good deal. Easy to install. So TADA! Both computers are now running and all is well... For a few days...
The following Monday, I started having problems. I'd be sitting at the computer poking around on the web, when suddenly I'd be disconnected from everything. Wouldn't be able to check e-mail, find websites, or anything. I was searching for the tech support number for @home (which I'd managed to lose over the weekend), when things suddenly started working again. So I got back to fooling around online and about 15 minutes later, it happened again. By this time I had the tech support number, so I gave @home a call, and they had me try a few things. An ipconfig /release and ipconfig /renew command got me back up and running. End of tech support call. Problem fixed.
About 10 minutes after hanging up with @home, I get disconnected AGAIN. So I place another call to them, and I'm on hold for about 1/2 hour. During that time, I'd lost and regained my connectivity 2 or 3 times. When I finally got a hold of a tech person, they had me uninstall my TCP/IP stack, and then reinstall. That worked fine for maybe 1/2 hour after I got off the line with support.
I said screw it for the night. Got up the next morning and it was still doing it. Another call to @Home yielded the idea that my 2nd network card for the home networking thing was screwing things up. The guy said take that thing out and you'll be fine.
I'll skip the rest of the individual calls to tech support - there were nearly 30 over the next 3 weeks, all with the same problem. I swapped out network cards for the cable modem 3 times. I was given numerous solutions - reinstall Windows 2000, dump Windows 2000 and go with Win98 because Windows 2000 is too buggy, disconnect all the TVs in the house, reformat my hard drive, buy a new ethernet cable, get a new cable modem, check to see that I haven't accidentally cut my cable tv line (Well duh, I'd have no cable if that happened) amongst other things. The strange thing was - it worked fine on weekends, but about 9:00am on Mondays, it'd start getting weird again.
I was ready to snap. Things were not good. I was ready to dump this new fangled cable internet.
I made ONE more call to tech support and said listen...you guys get someone out here to take a look at this mess.
So they scheduled a time for someone to come over a couple days later. Unfortunately he was too busy and didn't make it that day. So the next day he shows up. Checks a bunch of things on my cable modem and says it's functioning fine...then it disconnects on him. Same problem I'm having. He can't figure out what's going on. He ran out to his truck and grabbed a laptop, and plugged that into my cable modem. Sure enough, the same thing happened on his machine (Which was somewhat of a relief to me - knowing it wasn't just my computer). He said "Well, this is gonna take some looking into. I think there may be a problem with the modem. So he took it with him down to the cable place downtown - leaving me without even 1/2 working internet for the night!
The next day he calls me back - we're programming a new modem for you blah blah blah - I'll bring it over this morning. Ok fine. That afternoon he brings over a different modem. We plug it up and start going. Boom. Same problem. By this time, even this technician is dumbfounded. He tells me we are going to figure out what's going on, and FAST. So he calls over another guy. That one comes over, then they both leave. Didn't hear anything from them for another day.
Finally, I get this phone call. "We figured it out!" It turns out that someone at a business a couple miles from here had his cable modem hooked up to a router, and was running 2 machines off it. The IP for one machine was xxx.xxx.xxx.34 or something, and the other was supposed to be .36. It seems he made a typo and had punched in .38, which was MY IP address. As far as we can figure, this place would come in on Monday mornings, and fire up their computers, then leave them on until they left on Friday afternoons. During that time, my computer and one of theirs were fighting over this IP address. As soon as mine got it, the other machine would be disconnected. The other would figure out in a few minutes that something was wrong, and redo itself - and then the same thing would happen to mine.
So after all that hassle, and many many hours on the phone with tech support it turns out that one wrong keystroke by someone else was causing me all this grief!