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unexplainable network issue


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#1
simmonsmb

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Here's the situation: Massive building with multiple organizations. Each organization has its own router, which is fed by the main building switch, that feeds a patch panel that in turn goes to their jacks in their offices. There are roughly 20-25 organizations in this building and all of them work fine except for one. Each router is assigned a static WAN IP and then the router assigns IP addresses via DHCP for each computer plugged into it.

Sounds easy enough, right?

We have one organization that loses their internet connection at least one time a week, if not more. The quick fix is to change the WAN IP address in their router by one number (e.g. xxx.xxx.xxx.242 to xxx.xxx.xxx.243) and that gets their internet connection restored temporarily.

We've tried changing routers and that doesn't help. None of the computers have anything goofy switched on in Windows firewall and they are all running Windows XP sp2 w/ Firewall turned on. They all have virus protection and are up to date. They all have been cleaned of spyware. We're spinning our wheels trying to figure out why this one organization is having the problem and no one else is. We've tried plugging their router into a different port on the main switch but that doesn't make a difference. We've done everything we can think of except for unplugging one computer from the network at a time and leaving it unplugged to see if the problem still exists without it being in the loop. (That's not really a viable solution either, because someone obviously needs to work on the computer and wouldn't be able to with it down.) When they lose the internet connection, they can still see each other and the router, they just can't get outside of the main gateway to hit the internet.

Everyone we talk to has no idea either. Any ideas?!?
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#2
dsenette

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have you called the ISP to see if there's an issue on their end with that range of static ip's for the actual account? WHAT IF...you changed one of the working organizations ip to be the .242 (or whatever the non working one uses) and set the non working one to whatever the other one was (assuming that this won't cause massive issues)...does the previously working account now fail while the previously nonworking account stays active? (this SHOULD at least narrow it down to either being or not being an isp issue)
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#3
simmonsmb

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We haven't tried that, however, like I stated, we have tried using .243 and .244 and they work for a while but then it goes down again. With being able to change it to get it working temporarily, I wouldn't think the ISP would be the issue. We set up a new organization with the IP of .245 and they haven't had any problems.
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#4
dsenette

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are you requesting these static ip's from the ISP as you need them or do you just have a big bank of ip's to use?
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#5
simmonsmb

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We have a bank of IPs to issue. The first one starts at .220 but I'm not sure if we have any we can issue before that.
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#6
simmonsmb

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They went down again on friday and I changed their IP to .250. They called this morning saying that in the past 2 hours their internet has been up, down, up, and is now down again. We're thoroughly confused.

I forgot to mention, that we've also tried combining them with another organization. (We plugged their switch into the router for an organization that has no problems.) That worked fine but then after a couple of days both of them lost their internet connections. We separated the organizations again and the trouble ridden org still has issues and the other one is back to being trouble free. Very confusing....
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#7
dsenette

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there has to be something with that one network...or it's router...or something...that's the only unifying thread in the whole situation
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#8
simmonsmb

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Attached is a representation of the setup in this building. In this illustration, the organization with the issue is "Org 1". The T-1 connection comes into the building, hits a router, then goes to the main switch, which goes to the individual routers, which then break out to the patch panels, which then run to the organizations' offices. This is not a complete representation, just an example of the setup, but is accurate of how the problem organization is setup. They have six computers, 4 of which are fed from their switch and 2 of which come directly from the router. Today, I replaced their switch and disconnected 2 lines from the switch to the patch panel that were not live inside the office. We have replaced their router multiple times but the problem always returns. We have not replaced their switch, that we're aware of, so we decided to try that today. We also thought we'd disconnect any ports that weren't live in the office in case something was causing some interference or whatever.
This building was not wired by us, nor were we the ones to do the initial network setup. This is an old building that once housed one company and factory. That company has since left the city and it is now inhabited by a not-for-profit agency that leases space to other not-for-profit groups. We have only been taking care of their systems and network for a little over a year. There were several issues that we fixed when we took over due to the previous people not having a firm grasp on networking configurations, but all of those were taken care of. This agency has had issues since before we took over, but it was solved by replacing their router. This problem though has been occurring since about May. Now they are the only agency with issues and it makes no sense. It pretty much has to be an issue with one of their individual computers, unless changing the switch takes care of it.
Any other suggestions?
Org_Example.gif
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#9
dsenette

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not that i think this is the problem but...why is org1 the only one with a switch? or at least...why is that switch there to begin with?
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#10
simmonsmb

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There may be other orgs with a switch, but most of the orgs aren't very big. Some of the bigger ones have switches in their offices. It all depends on where in the building these organizations are. Org1 is directly next to the switch room and actually has 34 wall ports available but they only have 6 computers, so there's only 6 connections on the patch panels in the switch room that they utilize. The only reason that they have a switch in the switch room is because the router is only a 4-port router.
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#11
dsenette

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ah....fire everyone in the organization and burn their part of the building to the ground...then call an exorcist...jk

man this is a funky issue
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#12
simmonsmb

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it's very frustrating, and your last solution sounds really good right now. :whistling:

if the switch isn't the problem, then that means (or should mean) that the problem lies within one of the computers. the only way i see to determine which one has the issue, is to do the isolation procedure i talked about in my first post.
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#13
dsenette

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yeah...the isolation deal seems like the last viable troubleshooting sollution
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#14
Dan

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Just to add my two cents -- whenever troubleshooting random loss of connection issues, the first place I look is the Event Viewer (Start --> Run --> type eventvwr --> check the system log for any errors and/or warnings). Alot of the time the system will record errors which may help identify the nature of your connection issues. If this does not bring any insight, your next option is to use the ping command (from one of the broken organisation computers) to test the boundaries of your connection loss. I'd suggest simply pinging the following -- another computer on the network (within the organisation), the router, an internet site (ie: google.com), etc. and just see what you still have access to. This will help show just where your connection is going sour.
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#15
simmonsmb

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I looked through the event viewer on one of the computers and it didn't show anything helpful. They lost their connection again this morning so I had an opportunity to look everything over again.
I tried pinging different things but got the same result I always get. I could ping other computers within the organization. I could ping the Router. I could not ping the default gateway or the DNS servers or the Internet. After I changed the WAN IP from .250 to .251, I was able to ping everything and connect to the internet. That's what happens every time and it makes no sense.
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