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DNS problems for some months. Tried 2 Netgear and 1 Belkin modem routers

Johnrmp
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: 30-01-2013

DNS problems for some months. Tried 2 Netgear and 1 Belkin modem routers

Hi,
Plusnet support suggested I post my problem here, as they are stumped!
I leave my modem/router permanently turned on, but only switch my PC on when I am using it (normally for a few hours).
I have lost Internet connection randomly over the past few months. The problem seems to be loss of connection with the DNS server. Originally I set the router manually to use 212.159.13.49 and 212.159.6.9, but at the first suggestion from Plusnet I changed that to automatic DNS lookup.
The DNS server automatically selected now seems to be 212.159.6.9 or 212.159.6.10.
Initially I was using a Netgear DGN1000 modem router, but I then tried a Netgear DG834GT, and that exhibited the same problem.
In case it was a problem common to Netgear routers, I then tried a Belkin Play N600 modem router.
This was fine for the first week that I was using it, but for the past two days it loses the internet connection overnight, although the router homepage shows "Internet Status: Connected".
The email connection is also lost.
When I ping the DNS server that the router homepage shows is being used currently, I get no response. 
Both yesterday and today, I rebooted the router from its homepage, without changing any configuration, and Internet and email was re-established. I also got correct responses when I pinged the current DNS server.
The Belkin modem router has automatically chosen connection type PPPoE, and Plusnet suggested I change this to PPPoA. When I did this, I lost connection, so restored it to PPPoE. However, this left the encapsulation as LLC, whereas it was previously VC MUX.
So the Belkin is currently working with PPPoE and LLC. Is this OK?
Strangely, the Netgear modem routers were set to PPPoA and VC-based.

These is no significant noise audible on the phone line, and the Belkin router currently indicates a downstream/upstream noise margin and speed of 15.0dB, 2656kbps/ 11.odB, 736kbps.
Any help would be very much appreciated.
19 REPLIES
Mayfly
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,102
Thanks: 74
Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-06-2009

Re: DNS problems for some months. Tried 2 Netgear and 1 Belkin modem routers

Sorry I can't help with your problem but for info I use a Belkin Surf N300 and it connected via PPPoE and LCC and it causes no problems, whereas my last Belkin connected PPPoA and  VC MUX
Hope you get the help you need.
Plusnet Alumni (retired) chrispurvey
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 5,369
Fixes: 1
Registered: 13-07-2012

Re: DNS problems for some months. Tried 2 Netgear and 1 Belkin modem routers

Hi Johnrmp,
Welcome to our community forums.
With the settings that are currently in your router I would certainly suggest that your settings are configured with the ones that are needed(<a href="http://www.plus.net/support/broadband/hardware/broadband-connection-settings.shtml">see here</a>)
I've checked your line and noticed a few disconnections on there, it may be that when you are not getting a response when you ping that you are actually disconnected?
Firstly I would change the settings in your router from the above link and we need to see if your line is stable and not continually disconnecting.
Chris
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,821
Thanks: 117
Fixes: 23
Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: DNS problems for some months. Tried 2 Netgear and 1 Belkin modem routers

Quote from: Johnrmp
When I ping the DNS server that the router homepage shows is being used currently, I get no response.   

You would identify a DNS problem by being able to load a web page by specifying its IP address but not from the URL.  For example, if I enter 212.58.244.66 into the address bar of my web browser it will load the BBC web site.  That should work whether or not your DNS server is operational.
As Chrispurvey suggests, if you cannot ping your DNS server it may just be that your internet connection is down.   
bill888
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 833
Thanks: 110
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Registered: 18-10-2008

Re: DNS problems for some months. Tried 2 Netgear and 1 Belkin modem routers

Just my two pennies worth.

hmm, same symptoms with 3 different routers...

fwiw, unless there is something wrong with your plusnet username, you should also take a closer look at your PC if that is the only device you use on your broadband connection.
Perhaps it is infected with malware, or there is a problem with the security/firewall software.  Check the DNS settings too.

Johnrmp
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: 30-01-2013

Re: DNS problems for some months. Tried 2 Netgear and 1 Belkin modem routers

Hi everyone, and thanks for all your suggestions.
Thanks to Mayfly for the information that your Belkin Surf N300 works well with PPPoE and LCC. Certainly my Belkin was still connected to the Internet this morning, whereas the previous two mornings I needed to reboot it to get connected. However, I’ll try Chrispurvey’s suggestion below to see if that improves the situation. I may come back to your configuration!
Thanks to Chrispurvey for checking my line, suggesting alternative connection settings, and then offering to check the stability of my line again.
When you say you have “noticed a few disconnections on there”, I presume you mean between my house and the “local” exchange? Or might it be elsewhere between me and the Internet backbone? FYI, my exchange is about 2 miles away, hence my slow speeds.
I changed my broadband connection settings from PPPoE and LLC to PPPoA and VCMUX. The router webpage then showed “WAN IP”, “Subnet Mask”, “Default Gateway” and “DNS Address” all as “NULL”, and the router showed the Internet Status as “Not Connected”. However, after about five minutes these four field became (My permanent IP address), 255.255.255.255, 195.166.128.193, and 212.159.6.9 and the router showed the Internet Status as “Connected”.
The Internet is now working on both the Dell and Chillblast PCs.
I am running Microsoft Outlook (not Outlook Express) on my Dell, and that is receiving emails fine from an additional PlusNet mailbox that I set up last year.
I am running Windows Live Mail on my Chillblast, and that is not receiving emails from my original Plusnet mailbox. I get the message “Your POP3 server has not responded in 60 seconds. Would you like to wait another 60 seconds for the server to respond? Account:John@purdyjc.plus.com. Server: mail.plus.net”
I’ve tried rebooting the Chillblast, and it still will not pick up the emails that I know are waiting in my original Plusnet mailbox.
Any suggestions about what the problem with emails might be here?
Can you also check my line again, now I am using PPPoA and VCMUX?

Thanks to ReedRichards for explaining how to identify a DNS problem. I’ll try that next time the problem occurs, to differentiate between a DNS problem and my Internet connection being down.
Thanks also to zzZzz. My desktop PC is a Chillblast Fusion Vantage, running Windows 8 Pro 64 bit with Media Center, and wired to the router. (The router is adjacent to the phone master socket, which has a faceplate on it containing a microfilter connected to the slave phone socket.)
I also have a Dell Inspiron 1520 Laptop, running Windows Vista Home Premium 32 bit, connected via WiFi to the router.
And just after Christmas, my wife bought an Acer S3-391 ultrabook, running Windows 8 64 bit, connected via WiFi to the router.
All exhibit the problem. In fact, I was prompted to contact Plusnet because the Acer would not connect to the Windows 8 shop to download apps.
I doubt whether any of the PCs are infected with malware, because the Acer was supplied with MacAfee protection installed, and the other two PCs have Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 installed.
As a confidence check, I am running a full scan on both Kaspersky computers. The Dell scan has been running for 2 hours already, and now indicates 2 more hours to go, but that was better than the 13 hours it originally estimated! However, it is indicating that no threats have yet been detected. The Chillblast is a much newer machine, and it completed the scan in less than 30 minutes and again found no threats. The Kaspersky databases are both up to date.
You also suggest checking the DNS settings. Do you mean on the PCs themselves? Pardon my ignorance, but do I find this under Control Panel/Network and Internet/Internet Options/Configure Proxy Server/Internet Properties/Connections/LAN Connections? In this window, there are three tick boxes labelled “Automatically detect settings”, “Use automatic configuration script”, and “Use a proxy server for your LAN”. On both the Chillblast and Dell PCs, none of these three boxes are ticked.
Is this correct?
I look forward to any further light you all might be able to shine on my problem.
Best Regards
John
Johnrmp
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: 30-01-2013

Re: DNS problems for some months. Tried 2 Netgear and 1 Belkin modem routers

Hi Everyone,
I’ve now found how to check the DNS settings on my PCs.
Control Panel/Network and Internet/View Network Status and Tasks/Network and Sharing Center/ (Wireless) Network Connection Properties/Click “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)”/Properties/Shows “Obtain an IP address automatically” and “Obtain DNS server address automatically”.
Both circular “boxes” are ticked, for both the Dell via wireless and the Chillblast via wired Ethernet.
The Kaspersky scan of the Dell is now completed, and no threats were found.
I’ve found that the Chillblast can send emails from Windows Live Mail using the main Plusnet mailbox, and I can receive them on Outlook on my Dell to a second Plusnet mailbox I set up last year.
I can also send emails from Outlook on my Dell with the second Plusnet mailbox.
The problem seems to be in receiving emails in Windows Live Mail on my Chillblast PC.
This is a new, since I changed to PPPoA on the router.
I now find that the Chillblast PC is finding difficulty with the Internet, and I’ve tried “ReedRichards” suggestion of typing 212.58.244.66 into the Internet Explorer address bar. It shows “Waiting for 212…”
I also get an error message from Kaspersky, with a log showing it has been trying to download updates since 17:07.
However, my Dell Laptop via wireless still has access to the internet!!
I’m very confused!
Any suggestions would be much appreciated!!!
John
Johnrmp
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: 30-01-2013

Re: DNS problems for some months. Tried 2 Netgear and 1 Belkin modem routers

Hi Everyone,
My wife suggested that I go back to the Netgear DG834GT, so I swapped them over about half an hour ago.
I am currently connected via the DG834GT, which was already configured as PPPoA and VC-based.
Kaspersky automatically updated on my Chillblast PC, and all the emails stacked up on the servers downloaded to my Windows Live Mail.
I wonder if Kaspersky was stopping email being downloaded because it was not up-to-date?
When I have sent this, I'll swap back to the Belkin Router and see if the emails on the Chillblast continue to be sent and received.
Time is now 18:41
Best Regards
Johnrmp
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: 30-01-2013

Re: DNS problems for some months. Tried 2 Netgear and 1 Belkin modem routers

Hi Everyone,
I'm now using the Belkin again, and I can once more send and receive emails via Windows Live Mail on my Chillblast PC with wired Ethernet to the router.
Perhaps Kaspersky stopped the download of new emails, and the accessing of websites, including the BBC via 212.58.244.66, because it could not update itself? It seems unlikely, but why else would the Dell PC still have email and Internet access, but the Chillblast did not.
It is now 19:05. I had previously written a similar message to this directly onto the Plusnet forum, but when I tried to send it, I got the screen "This page cannot be displayed".
I'm therefore writing this in Word, and will copy and paste it into the website.
If all is well for the next week, I'll confirm that in this forum.
If anyone has any other ideas in the meantime, I'd gratefully receive them.
Thanks and Best Regards
Johnrmp
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,821
Thanks: 117
Fixes: 23
Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: DNS problems for some months. Tried 2 Netgear and 1 Belkin modem routers

Quote from: Johnrmp
Perhaps Kaspersky stopped the download of new emails, and the accessing of websites, including the BBC via 212.58.244.66, because it could not update itself? It seems unlikely...

That explanation is very unlikely but I suppose it is just about possible that Kaspersky detected it was on a new network (connected to a different router) and decided to lock it down.  The best thing to do with Kaspersky, if you have not done this already, is to update it to the 2013 version (a free update).  Download the update file from the Support section of the web site.  Uninstall your old version, making sure to select the option to retain activation data.  Then install the new version.  That should give you a fresh start and clear any problems that might have crept in. 
Johnrmp
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: 30-01-2013

Re: DNS problems for some months. Tried 2 Netgear and 1 Belkin modem routers

Hi ReedRichards,
Thanks for your thoughts, but I already have Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 installed in the Chillblast and the Dell.
Computer Shopper did a review a couple of months ago, and advised buying an earlier copy and getting a free upgrade. I bought a 3-PC copy of Kaspersky Internet Security 2012, downloaded the 2013 from Kaspersky, and used the activation code for 2012 to activate it. This worked fine.
Previously I was using AVG Free, but that is of course uninstalled now.
I was pleased to find that when I turned on the Chillblast desktop PC this morning, the Internet and emails were both working fine.
I now have everything crossed!!!!
Best Regards 
Johnrmp
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: 30-01-2013

Re: DNS problems for some months. Tried 2 Netgear and 1 Belkin modem routers

Hi All,
I thought that my problem had been solved, as the Belkin Router has been fine with PPPoA and VCMUX for the past four days until a short time ago.
About 8:35 pm.
I found I could not access a website, and running Windows Network Diagnostics reported that "The Domain Name Server may be down."
However, I took ReedRichards earlier advice and entered 212.58.244.66 into IE address bar, but it did not load the BBC website. Instead it reported "Page can't be displayed".
I also tried pinging one of the PlusNet DNS servers at 212.159.6.9, but this timed out.
So it looks like my Internet connection was down. However, the physical link to my local exchange was fine, as I picked up my phone and could hear the dialling tone without significant background noise.
I was able to restore the connection by rebooting the Belkin router.
chrispurvey had previously written in this trail that he had checked my line and found a few disconnections. Would he please check my line again for further disconnections? Is this  a problem for BT Openreach to investigate further? I have a WD MyBook Live Duo attached to the router, and although I have not yet set up that function, I'd like to be able to access it when I'm away from home. This won't be possible if the Internet connection has gone down and will not self-heal. I would have to come home and reboot the router.
Why should it reconnect when I reboot the router? As you will see, I first had the problem when I was using Netgear routers.
I'd appreciate further advice from anyone.
Best Regards
Johnrmp 
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,821
Thanks: 117
Fixes: 23
Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: DNS problems for some months. Tried 2 Netgear and 1 Belkin modem routers

You  need Routerstats http://vwlowen.co.uk/internet/files.htm or the Lite version.  You can use this to monitor your router and make it obvious when you lose a connection.
Haydon
Dabbler
Posts: 20
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Fixes: 1
Registered: 05-02-2013

Re: DNS problems for some months. Tried 2 Netgear and 1 Belkin modem routers

I just had a similar problem to the OP. Woke up this morning, and none of my devices could reach the internet, although the router's and modem's notification lights appeared normal.
I checked the configuration of a laptop's wireless NIC, and it seemed that no ip address, gateway or DNS servers had been handed out by the router's DHCP server. I supplied these manually, and pinged the router. This failed, but appeared to "wake it up", as a subsequent ping a few seconds later was successful, and internet connectivity was immediately restored.
Could it be that the router is failing to wake from a sleep-state when a wireless station tries to connect? Not sure why this would affect different routers though.
Johnrmp
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: 30-01-2013

Re: DNS problems for some months. Tried 2 Netgear and 1 Belkin modem routers

Thanks to ReedRichards and Haydon for your suggestions.
ReedRichards - Routerstats looks like a very useful monitoring program. I have installed the Lite version, even though it does not claim compatibility with my Belkin router. I've tried setting up the program by trying the two Belkin routers that are listed, but the noise margin and connection speed are both shown as zero.
However, the program is compatible with both of my Netgear routers, so I may replace the Belkin router with one of them if the problem persists.
Haydon - Thanks for your comments. My main computer is connected by Ethernet cable to the router. Would your suggestion still apply in that case, or only for PCs connected by WiFi?
Thanks
Johnrmp