Limited Or No Connectivity -- Comcast Digital Voice Was Installed, and Our Internet Access Became Handicapped ~ Random Waves of Insight
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Monday, October 8, 2007

Limited Or No Connectivity -- Comcast Digital Voice Was Installed, and Our Internet Access Became Handicapped



Cable guy was scheduled to arrive last week. Never showed. We rescheduled. He shows up, does his work (which includes eliminating cable, internet, and phone access for two full hours, something that was not previously mentioned). He leaves.


We have multiple IPs in the house. Computer number one (XP) is fine. Computer number two (also XP) is no longer able to access the internet.


"Limited or no connectivity" appears near the clock on the lower right hand side of the desktop.

Attempts at a fix:

  • Observe the current hookup: cable line into cable modem, ethernet line into hub, and then one ethernet line from the hub to each computer

  • On computer #2 (no net) go to control panel, network connections, right click on "Local Area Connection," click "Repair." After a rather long wait, this pops up: "The following steps of the repair operation failed: Renewing the IP address. Please contact your network administrator or ISP."

  • Setup new network on both computers. Restart. "Limited or no connectivity" on PC 2.

  • Went to command prompt, typed "ipconfig /release" then "ipconfig /renew" -- cannot contact DHCP server.

  • Went into Windows Task Manager (ctrl+alt+delete), clicked networking tab -- what do you know? A signal! Network Utilization is fluctuating around 0.04%, and jumps every once in a while. But I can't use it...

  • Unplugged ethernet cable, tried a different Cat 5 from a different space in the hub to computer # 2. "Limited or no connectivity"

  • When the cable was unplugged, it said "Cable unplugged," so obviously the signal is there when it is plugged in, I just can't use it for some reason.

  • Connected computer #2 to computer #1's ethernet cable, from the hub. That space in the hub was working for computer 1, as well as that cable. What happens with computer 2? "Limited or no connectivity." Which means that the other spaces on the hub and the other Cat 5 cables work just as well, since I get the same "Limited or no connectivity" no matter what connection combination I use. But just to be sure...

  • Connected computer 2 directly to cable modem. "Limited or no connectivity." So the hub, the cables, and the modem are not to blame. Maybe my ethernet card...

  • Swapped ethernet card out with a spare that I am sure works. "Limited or no connectivity"

  • Tried various connections and combinations using new ethernet card. "Limited or no connectivity"

  • The card is not the problem, so switched back to normal setup for computer 2.

  • Unplugged cable modem, plugged it back in, let it reset. "Limited or no connectivity"

  • Unplugged hub, plugged it back in, let it reset. "Limited or no connectivity"

  • Searching the net (off an on during this whole process for any possible solution), came across a bug in XP Service Pack 2 that could be the cause. Downloaded fix to comp 1, copied onto flash drive, ran on comp 2, modified registry, ran special software. "Limited or no connectivity"

  • Ok, ok, roll back to yesterday’s settings. "Limited or no connectivity"

  • Roll back to last week. "Limited or no connectivity"

  • Reformat the hard drive. "Limited or no connectivity"

  • Mind you, all the while, computer 1 still has access to the internet.

  • Successfully established that the things that are not the problem include: the cable modem, the hub, the Cat 5 cables, PC 2's hard drive, and PC 2's ethernet card.

  • Time to bite the bullet, and call Comcast.

Friday at around 5:15 pm -- leave a message.

(They're open 8-5, and also work Saturdays.)

Saturday -- try calling another number, as the first number (at which we left a message) never called back.

We're on hold multiple times, call is lost multiple times.

Finally we get someone, at around 2 PM. They say, "The problem is the Walled Garden. We'll put in a work order, and it usually takes about 2 hours. If you still don't have anything by 4, call us back."

4pm -- Computer 2 still has no internet access.

On the phone with a secretary for the "Walled Garden" people, we get an incoming call -- from the other number we had tried 23 hours ago. We switch to him.

We say, "We had internet. The cable guy came, and as soon as he left, we lost access to internet on one of our computers."

He says, "I know it can seem like the cable guy had something to do with it, but usually that's not the case."

We hadn't touched anything while the cable guy was here. If any changes occurred, they were either done by him or down at the office. He had turned off power to our water heater because the configuration struck him as potentially problematic. He didn't turn it back on. So it's not unforeseeable that he could have been fallible in other areas, especially since he was the only one changing things. And the office wasn't blameproof either, as they had gotten portions of our service order wrong.

The guy on the phone says it's not Walled Garden that's the issue. We ask about the new black cable modem that was installed as part of Comcast Digital Voice, and mention that since it has an ethernet port, maybe it's meant to be our new internet modem? He says no.

Then he walks us through the same steps that we already tried, except for one small variation. When it comes to unplugging the modem and hub, he instructs us in sequence: First unplug the modem, then the hub, then plug in the modem, then the hub. Restart PC 2. "Limited or no connectivity"

I mention how I'm getting a signal, and that Network Utilization is not at 0.

His somewhat insistent response: "That's a hardware problem."

We decide to let him go and try again later.

PC 2 was then hooked up directly to the black modem in the basement. It got the internet right away, easily and quickly loading Comcast’s “Download our Software” page. Never had to use that software before, so why start now? But it does prove that PC 2 is internet ready. The problem is our connection.

My theory was that we weren’t getting a second IP through our normal cable modem for some reason.

Next day, Sunday. We call. Get a new tech. He walks us through the same steps -- ipconfig /release, renew, restart. Then a new variation.

Turn off computers 1 and 2 first. Then unplug cable modem and hub, plug in cable modem and then hub, then try computers. Computer 1 has net. 2 has “Limited or no connectivity,” as usual.

We stay on the phone as long as it takes this time, even as he walks us through minor variations of the same “fixes.” It becomes apparent that he’s reading from a script, and not pulling unique ideas. We educate him as to the fact that we’ve already established that there is no problem with our hardware. We ask if we’re still down for multiple IPs. He says yes, we are.

Eventually he finds our problem hopeless, and not knowing how to help, he wants to let us go. We ask to speak with his supervisor. The woman is a little more helpful, as she quickly determines that at the office, their information on our services had become incorrect. Someone had for some reason unbundled our IP addresses.

That’s what we had suspected all along -- that the problem was IP-related, and could only be taken care of on their end.


Lessons Learned:


  • "Limited or no connectivity" has many causes. If you get "Limited or no connectivity" on a secondary machine, you've got multiple IPs, and your first IP works ok, and when you've exhausted all of the ways the problem could be caused (or fixed) on your end, it might end up that someone at the office of your ISP accidentally unbundled your IPs. Then your primary computer could access the net easily, but all the others would get the same old message of "Limited or no connectivity," no matter what solutions were attempted.

  • Tech Support will be more helpful with a problem that you physically have the power to fix from your location, than with a problem that was created remotely, above Tech Support's head, at the company.

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7 comments:

Algren46 said...

Unbeliveable! I have been searching for hours looking for a fix to this. Comcast has not been a help and I was pulling my hair out to find a solution. THANK YOU! I am going to call them tomorrow.

Guy said...

I hope this helps, and if not, I wish you luck with solving the problem.

traquino98 said...

Thank you so much for the time you put in to describe your problem. I have been pulling my hair out for a few weeks now with close to the same issue. On July 25, I had Comcast install digital voice. I also hooked up my new computer that evening. Ever since that day, my internet has been infinitely slower than normal-almost dial-up speeds. I initially contacted Comcast and was told it was a hardware issue with my new computer and to contact Dell. It made sense to me, as my laptop that connects wirelessly through my router was not experiencing any issues. I had very limited connectivity on my new desktop. So I contaced Dell computers and spent some time trouble shooting a few different areas. I was told to contact Comcast and get a static IP address. I tried that and they said they can't do that. I then contacted Dell computers again and spend over an hour on the phone, trying out different workarounds, none of which worked. During the process I came across your blog and thought "That is EXACTLY what is happening to me". I then spent an hour on the phone with a b!t@h at Comcast that kept telling me that it was a hardware issue and that I would have to have the computer fixed. She went all the way to the point that she almost hang up on me. Just when she was about to, I demanded that she either stay on the phone to help me resolve the issue, or get me to her manager. She chose the latter, and thank goodness for that. Her manager was very helpful. I'm not sure of all of the technical issues with the resolution, but we just had him fully reset the new modem, and then I connected my router, turned on all of the computers, and voila! Everything works fine now. It's amazing how easy of a fix that was, and yet no one could ever think of it until I suggested it to them!

Guy said...

Wow, I'm glad you finally got them to fix the problem! It's amazing the crap they put us through... Oh well. Here's to a positive outcome!

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