The worst kind of technology problem to fix …

February 1, 2008

Vista busy cursor … is a failed Internet connection.

Why? Because you can’t use the Internet to help you find a solution.

You could ring your ISP’s technical support service but have you ever tried that … ?

My Internet connection was playing up very badly for a few days after a major outage. Thankfully it was not dead, just intermittent. Data would flow for a few seconds, perhaps a minute or two at most, then stop. A few minutes of inaction then it would start up again.

The worst was trying to download an audiobook I had just acquired via audible.co.uk (in case you’re interested it was “Matter” by Iain M. Banks). The audible download manager kept giving the download up as failed every few seconds, forcing me to restart. On each occasion, the download would not restart until the download manager had established how much of the file had downloaded already. Sometimes by the time that happened the Internet connection had dropped again and the download would fail without transferring a single binary digit of data.

I googled in hope of salvation. A ponderous process given that my Internet connection was having such a serious attacks of hiccoughs, but I did eventually stumble on this, in particular the post by mike morley with the datestamp 22nd August 2004, 03:52 PM. To save you scrolling down to it, it reads:

“If you check during that period there were a lot of dropouts every five minutes across various ISPs – I’m with F9 and experienced the same problem – it’s not a fault with your ISP but with the BT line/exchange – you would have still had the same problem if using a usb modem.

What seems to happen is when the link goes dead, your router will automatically reconnect but because it hasn’t dropped correctly via the BT exchange you will then start dropping every 5 mins – this is because the system thinks you still logged on from a previous connection – only solution is to disconnect from phone socket for 30mins to 1hr for a proper reset.”

It had to be worth a try. I disconnected the router at the telephone socket and went out for a long walk with the dog. On my return I reconnected and rebooted everything. Internet connection was now miraculously as continuous and interruption-free as Manchester rainfall on a bad day.

Thank you Mike Morley, wherever and whoever you are.

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