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My ISP techie help desk guys are a lottle vague.

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OK, so here I am again. I was last here when I had that Smitfraud virus thing, and you guys helped me a lot. Though not enough it would seem, because I ended up investing in a whole new system. Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later, so not such a bad thing.

Anyway, for the first week or two everything was fine. Then, about a week or so ago, things went to crap. One day I went to open Internet Explorer, and I just got that message you get saying the page is unavailable or whatever. How odd I thought. So after rebooting the PC, and the modem (as you do) I called the ISP for help.

Which they weren't much, though they tried. Firstly, they sussed out that I was connected. And the modem seemed to be working fine, and all the right lights were flashing, etc, etc. Then the guy gave me this spiel about how Nortons didn't seem to like some new version of XP, and "pac2" whatever that was. So he convinced me to remove Nortons. No big deal, I never much cared for it anyway, it just came with the system. Then we turned off the firewall. But still no luck. He was a bit stumped. Suggested there was "a problem in Wellington" (where I live) and bailed on me at speed. Poor guy. Told me to call back the next day.

Oh yes, my ISP is called Xtra, which is one of the main ones in New Zealand. In fact THE main one. Run by Telecom. They did some survey recently, and they came near the bottom for service or something. Go figure. So then, moving along. The next day, the same thing happened. I called again. Got some other guy. Pretty helpful sort, but couldn't help me. Got me to do all sorts of ping tests. No packets went anyway. It all timed out. Tried to get my computer to manually pick an IP address or something. This seemed to be kinda the problem. But nothing changed. He got my computer to ping itself, whatever that means. It did. This caused him to declare that the problem was software, but that was about as certain as he got.

Now, since I got this new system I've only downloaded a couple of programs suggested by this site. Such as Adaware, Spybot, and Ewido. They didn't seem to think these were the problem, but I'm just saying in case they are. Finally, this guy thought that the broadband modem must be faulty. Something must have happened to it somehow. So, he fixed me up with a few Dial Up hours (bless him, but sooooo painful), and sent me a new modem.

The new modem arrived. How exciting! I attached it all up, and used all the new plugs and cords "just in case". Nothing happened. I was gutted. I rang the Xtra help desk. The guy I got this time said that my new modem had to be configured or something. I typed in this URL and it took me to an Xtra site. I put in my username and password. The thing worked! Brilliant!!

I was pretty rapt. I could surf the net again, broadband style. Nice one.

Until the next day. When I tried to open IE the same old problems had returned. I rang my ISP. Got some other guy. My case notes were extensive now, so they didn't try to get me to reboot the new modem or my PC for an excessive amount of times. Just enough to convince themselves it was futile. This particular guy seemed a lot more concerned about when my PC tried to automatically get an IP address though. He kept muttering "no, that's wrong". Finally he pronounced his verdict.

For some reason my modem couldn't convince the PC to get a proper IP address. Or the PC couldn't persuade the modem to do it. Or something like that. My brain fuzzed out around here. So I had to ring Microsoft and get them to fix it. Really?? Or find someone else to fix it. This error was from my brand new computer. And even though it worked fine for a couple of weeks, and then later for one day, it was still some Windows problem. And essentially they couldn't/wouldn't help me anymore. Really??? Maybe if I called again I'd get some other guy who'd say something else, but frankly I'm getting a bit tired of talking to them. So I thought I'd try talking to you.

At least I'm more confident that you guys will have a handle on what the problem is. And more importantly, suggest something constructive I can do about it. I'll use all my dial up hours on you if necessary. Though I think I'm still getting charged for my Broadband connection, so nice one Xtra. If you can help, great. If not, maybe suggest to me where I should be looking for help. Not my ISP apparently. Which I'm locked into for a year or something, I think. Anyway, I'm not sure what sort of info you'd need on my modem or whatever. Tell me and I'll do my best to tell you.

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Neil Jones

Neil Jones

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If you're using a broadband modem, the PC isn't going to get an IP address from anywhere by via that modem.

Broadband modems (I'm assuming you use an USB modem) work just like old fashioned dial-up. When the modem can do what's called sync to the local exchange, then you can dial. Once you're in, then it gets an IP address and stuff from your ISP. If it isn't supposed to receive any IP address from your ISP then you won't be going online at all with it.

The fact that you can get online now via normal dial-up says that there's nothing wrong with the system in that regard, since as I said above DUN and broadband modems work in exactly the same way and if one didn't work, the other wouldn't either.

If possible, find somebody else who has a USB broadband modem and see if that connects to isolate the one your provider sent you; most ISPs send you cheap rubbish to connect with that often breaks after five minutes use.
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