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Thread: Connectivity lost when using GNet ADSL modems with Skype

  1. #1

    Connectivity lost when using GNet ADSL modems with Skype

    Recently I encountered a problem with my Canadian ADSL service (essentially it is Bell Sympatico high-speed resold via Execulink Telecom and I am told it operates exactly to the same specs as Sympatico) where general connectivity via my GNet BB0060B ADSL modem--including browsing, email, instant messaging AND Skype gradually worsened and then failed completely. Although Skype at times seemed to stay connected then dropped the connection when a PC-to-PC call was established.

    My ISP suggested swapping in a known-good ADSL modem as a test. I did so, and when a borrowed Sympatico-rented Speedstream ADSL modem was installed all connectivity resumed when the connection was set up in either bridged or direct-connect (ADSL modem as router) mode. Moreover, the link activity lights showed data transfer as not before, and the Internet connection box verified that Skype was using ports.

    I uninstalled Skype and found that connectivity returned to full functionality with the GNet BB0060B after Skype was uninstalled.

    To rule out a faulty GNet modem I replaced my GNet BB0060B ADSL modem with a NEW GNet 2062 ADSL 2/2+ modem which is fully ADSL backward-compatible, and the same break in connectivity developed within about two days after reinstalling Skype but things work perfectly when Skype is not installed. Today I uninstalled Skype again and once again full connectivity returned to the DSL connection with the GNet BB2062 in use.

    I have duplicated the problem with the GNet modems in bridge mode alternately using one of two routers with each of the two aforementioned GNet ADSL modems, these being a Linksys WRT54Gv2 and a D-Link WBR-1310. The PC runs the Comodo firewall with the Comodo security level set to "Allow all" and has the home edition of Avast Antivirus installed. Windows Firewall in inactive, but Windows Defender is active.

    I also tested the BB0060B and the Speedstream in direct connected DSL mode (router mode) and again found the Speedstream enabled all connectivity and that the GNet BB0060B resulted in failed connectivity.

    I am wondering whether you would have any suggestions here. I have the router set to port forward any connections to the port specified in the "use port...for incoming connections" in Skype and also have also checked the port 80 and port 443 option (and also tried that option unchecked) to no avail.

    I encountered a post somewhere in an Internet forum (unfortunately I did not keep a copy) in which one person suggested that some modems or routers may have trouble managing the connections Skype sets up. This does not seem contextually to be a data overload issue, and given that the Speedstream substitute ADSL modem enabled functionality, suggests some setting on the GNet ADSL modems may need to be tweaked.

    I use the GNet modems in bridged mode, but there appear to be several ways the bridge mode setting can be tweaked in these modems.

    Thanks for any help you can offer.

  2. #2

    Skype dropped connections...

    Quote Originally Posted by PolarUpgrade View Post
    Recently I encountered a problem with my Canadian ADSL service (essentially it is Bell Sympatico high-speed resold via Execulink Telecom and I am told it operates exactly to the same specs as Sympatico) where general connectivity via my GNet BB0060B ADSL modem--including browsing, email, instant messaging AND Skype gradually worsened and then failed completely. Although Skype at times seemed to stay connected then dropped the connection when a PC-to-PC call was established.

    My ISP suggested swapping in a known-good ADSL modem as a test. I did so, and when a borrowed Sympatico-rented Speedstream ADSL modem was installed all connectivity resumed when the connection was set up in either bridged or direct-connect (ADSL modem as router) mode. Moreover, the link activity lights showed data transfer as not before, and the Internet connection box verified that Skype was using ports.

    I uninstalled Skype and found that connectivity returned to full functionality with the GNet BB0060B after Skype was uninstalled.

    To rule out a faulty GNet modem I replaced my GNet BB0060B ADSL modem with a NEW GNet 2062 ADSL 2/2+ modem which is fully ADSL backward-compatible, and the same break in connectivity developed within about two days after reinstalling Skype but things work perfectly when Skype is not installed. Today I uninstalled Skype again and once again full connectivity returned to the DSL connection with the GNet BB2062 in use.

    I have duplicated the problem with the GNet modems in bridge mode alternately using one of two routers with each of the two aforementioned GNet ADSL modems, these being a Linksys WRT54Gv2 and a D-Link WBR-1310. The PC runs the Comodo firewall with the Comodo security level set to "Allow all" and has the home edition of Avast Antivirus installed. Windows Firewall in inactive, but Windows Defender is active.

    I also tested the BB0060B and the Speedstream in direct connected DSL mode (router mode) and again found the Speedstream enabled all connectivity and that the GNet BB0060B resulted in failed connectivity.

    I am wondering whether you would have any suggestions here. I have the router set to port forward any connections to the port specified in the "use port...for incoming connections" in Skype and also have also checked the port 80 and port 443 option (and also tried that option unchecked) to no avail.

    I encountered a post somewhere in an Internet forum (unfortunately I did not keep a copy) in which one person suggested that some modems or routers may have trouble managing the connections Skype sets up. This does not seem contextually to be a data overload issue, and given that the Speedstream substitute ADSL modem enabled functionality, suggests some setting on the GNet ADSL modems may need to be tweaked.

    I use the GNet modems in bridged mode, but there appear to be several ways the bridge mode setting can be tweaked in these modems.

    Thanks for any help you can offer.

    What version of Skype are you using and what networking and voice / sound cards do you have in your system?

    When you are running Skype do a "Ctrl-Alt-Del" to bring up the Task Manager in XP then click on the "Performance" Tab. Then click on "View" drop down menu to get the "Update Speed" selected as "High". Keep this open when you make the test calls and calls to other people. If the damn thing goes up to 100% and stays pegged there, then you lose connection, there is a software driver conflict that is not being picked up by your system. Let me know if this is the culprit. I can walk you through advanced troubleshooting with the Skype software itself if need be.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by alex_barringer View Post
    What version of Skype are you using and what networking and voice / sound cards do you have in your system?

    When you are running Skype do a "Ctrl-Alt-Del" to bring up the Task Manager in XP then click on the "Performance" Tab. Then click on "View" drop down menu to get the "Update Speed" selected as "High". Keep this open when you make the test calls and calls to other people. If the damn thing goes up to 100% and stays pegged there, then you lose connection, there is a software driver conflict that is not being picked up by your system. Let me know if this is the culprit. I can walk you through advanced troubleshooting with the Skype software itself if need be.
    The Skype version is 3.20.163 but the issue was present in the version immediate to that release as well.

    The computer is a generic XP Pro SP2 system: ASUS A7V8X-X mobo with 1 gig RAM, Radeon 9200 hard drive with 128K video RAM, Creative Labs SoundBlaster Live Value sound card (purchased along time ago and no longer supported by Creative although the last-issued drivers are installed and these were for XP). The problem manifested on the add-in Linksys LNE100TX Fast Ethernet Adapter Version 1 NIC (dates from 1998 or so).

    I have just reinstalled Skype and have activated the on-motherboard Via Rhine II NIC and switched the WAN DSL connection to that card to see if that helps. I have reconfigured the Linksys NIC to access the web interface of the GNet BB2062 ADSL 2/2+ (also ADSL-compatible) modem so that I can see the DSL parameters. These figures seem to hold constant day-to-day:

    Local TX POWER: 11.9 dB
    Remote TX POWER: 18.6 dB
    Local line atten: 39.0 dB
    Remote Line atten: 22.00 dB
    Local SNR Margin: 14.00 dB
    Remote SNR Margin: 10.0 dB
    Self test: Passed
    TxLine Rate: 800 Kbps
    Rx Line Rate: 3008 Kbps
    DSL Std: G.dmt
    ASO (kbps): down-fast 3008
    LSO (kbps): Up-fast 800

    The past two problem phases took a couple of days to manifest after Skype was installed, so I don't expect to see a connectivity issue again until perhaps the evening of June 20th, but will post results based on your tip.

    When the problem occurred the first time I was seeing Skype grabbing a lot of CPU usage as viewed by Task Manager, but the DSL activity light was not indicating data transfer with the BB2062 attached. When a Speedstream DSL modem was attached the light activated and data began to flow.

  4. #4
    What happens with Skype and other communications packages is this. If it cannot connect to a service or servers it will do anything in it's power to find a way out to the Internet, that includes hogging the processor time and power while it is looking for a way out. Unfortunately, this application is incorrectly programmed in that it needs to be better programmed for that of multi-threaded architecture. If this program encounters a problem for which it doesn't have a solution for and it's not fatal to Skype it will keep locking your system up and eventually not allow any other time related functions to go forward, that including Internet and network connectivity, thus you lose connections.

    What I would suggest is if you remove the Linksys NIC and try to run everything over the embedded NIC on your motherboard. You have a router or modem with a router built-in correct?
    if that is the case I would use the router if you need more RJ-45 jacks and that would make things a little bit easier to configure. An example, if your modem or router has 5 Ethernet LAN ports and 1 WAN port, plug your PC into 1 of the 5, then you have 4 left, then plug in what ever you need into the remaining RJ-45 (UDP) jacks on the router or modem instead of doing the dual action NICs, this can be a problem, if you are not binding those two connections together, and that might be the problem Skype is seeing, and no resolvable actions could take place.

    Once we get this solved, I can help you get a little more umph out of that connection. I'll be honest, ever since Cisco bought out Linksys, I have had nothing but trouble with all Linksys products, they will work for a little while but then for some damn reason the configuration files on the flash memories get corrupted and are hard as hell to fix if this happens.

    I would recommend, disabling this NIC card in the Device Manager, shut down your PC normally, and turn off the switch in the back. Then wait about 30 seconds, open the case, and remove the Linksys NIC, then put your case back together and try again. Often times some of these plug and play (pray) devices don't get along with each other on the bus line even if there are no errors reported in Window's Device Manager, these PnP devices are like children, if you don't guide them correctly, they will grow up to be a real menace to society or in this case to computer users.

  5. #5
    Many thanks for the suggestions.

    I seem to have had success with the following:
    1. I removed the Linksys NIC from the PC and activated the built-in Via Rhine II NIC on the mother board.
    2. I have plugged the VIA Rhine II NIC into my new D-Link WBR-1310 router, which I replaced a week ago to eliminate my historically troublesome WRT54G v2 router as a factor. I am using fixed IP addresses manually entered into each PC and also use the OpenDNS DNS servers, which when the problem existed did not seem to be a factor as the problem persisted even when I used my ISP's DNS servers..
    3. The D-Link router now goes to the GNet BB2062 ADSL router configured in bridge mode default configuration.

    (I originally used the add-in Linksys NIC as the Via Rhine II built-in NIC didn't seem to like the WRT54G v2).

    Since this setup was completed last evening no problems have developed with connectivity that seem similar to the mass lockout that previously occurred with ALL connectivity halting. Yesterday there was a heavy rainstorm and the connection speed as measurable via http://www.giganews.com/test_connect.html degraded to about 1800 from the usual 2500 value. Does the fact the connection seems to degrade when there is either heavy rain or Thunderstorms in the area, which need not be completely local to my location, suggest that the DSL service is weak to begin with in some way? I'd appreciate knowing whether the DSL stats I previously listed suggest any problems as well.

    In any case I sometimes use the Ubunto CD download at http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download as a test for continuous connectivity.

    The only problem I saw since I did these fixes is that when that download was functioning (and it did complete) at about 312 KB/sec, other connectivity other than Skype failed and I later had to reboot to get browsing and email back. Historically I can download at a max of 240-280 KB/S and I wonder if the extra download speed might be locking out other connectivity as well.

    Other than glitch last evening, things seem to be working now. Although oddly if I do the Skype test call sometimes Skype shows its message saying that it is not hearing me, even though the test recording works fine when played back. Perhaps this suggests a lingering device conflict problem with an old sound card whose drivers are just too ancient now (the Creative Labs SoundBlaster Live Value). The mobo has a built-in sound card but it is disabled in the BIOS as I could never get it to work other than for very choppy sound.

  6. #6
    I would also add to the foregoing post that my notes indicate that when I had "the problem" of a totally stalled out Internet connection (which also took down Skype) in terms of using it for calls, there was a lot of activity by Skype. Given that the total stall-out built to that point over time, I suspect Skype supernode activity.

    (Incidentally, the connectivity failure that was most major occurred just as I was talking on a webcam live to the host of the geek TV show The Lab with Leo Laporte, as I "called in" a viewer question on low-cost Vista laptops during taping of the show. It was a bit embarrassing as they were taping when it happened, although the host seemed unphased by the picture loss. Fortunately we used a land-line for the voice and they had a still picture of me anyway. Those of you who get the show in Canada and in Australia, please note that the episode in question is to air July 16, 2007, although I was also given an original air date of July 9, 2007. I shall be hiding under a digital rock at that time.)

    I tend to think that Skype was acting in supernode mode as more than one other web forum describes the supernode effect as one that may overwhelm some routers. This would explain that while "the problem" was most in evidence--when Skype was a busy beaver in the background--a swapped in Bell Sympatico Speedstream ADSL modem instantly restored functionality--because the Speedstream could handle the huge number of active connections.

    So, I may end up attributing my issue in part to a system that was shaky for a variety of internal technical reasons, but I believe in review that the Skype supernode activity was the main culprit.

    This does raise an ongoing question as to whether the Speedstream is just better at many connections than the GNet BB0060B or the GNet BB2062, or whether some tweaking of the GNets would render them Skype-survivable.

    Still, the changes I have made appear to have increased my download speed and download reliability and that is a plus nonetheless.

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