Question Intermittent Ethernet Only Recent Internet Drops

Sep 23, 2022
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For the past week, I've been getting bizarre internet drops and I can't really pinpoint the exact reason as to why it's happening. My network uses Verizon Fios 1Gig and is a G3100 router connected by ethernet to the ONT. I have a laptop (Acer Predator with a E2400 NIC) hooked directly to the 3100 via ethernet. I also have a G3200 extender connected to the router through ethernet, and on the other end to my desktop (I225-V NIC). Both are on Win11 2H22. I know Verizon has issues with Intel NICs, so I have turned off IPV6 in the router (which did fix problems I had previously, but it seems like this is a separate issue). I've read about how some issues can arise if the router assigns the same IP to 2 devices, so I have set both computers to be assigned a static lease type under DHCP Connections in the router settings. All of the other devices (Macbook, tablets, phones,TV) in the apartment connect through WiFi and have no interruptions at all, even when the two computers are experiencing connectivity issues.

As for the issue itself, it seems like the problem is cyclical. There will be a period of time when I have internet and then shortly after it just drops, only to come back for a period of time, before repeating. I test this by running a continuous ping in command prompt to aol.com and it seems like I get "Request timed out." to display 47 times, before it'll get uninterrupted replies from aol, and then after a period of time, it'll display request timed out again 47 times, and then go back to responding. Even when I am timed out/no internet, I can ping the router without an issue with no packet loss, and I also run a Plex server with media hosted on both computers, and my tablets and computers can view the media just fine with or without the disruption, which seems like the ethernet cables aren't the issue. Verizon also came by the other day and replaced both the router and ONT, yet the problem still persists, so I doubt it's a hardware problem on their end either, as the WiFi devices have no interruptions at all. I've seen some threads saying to run ipconfig /all when it's working and not working to see if there are any differences, but everything has the exact same values.

What's strange is that when I connect both of the computers to my VPN (I use Mullvad), I get no problems at all (I'm typing this forum post while connected to the VPN right now actually). They both can use internet with no interruptions and the ping to aol runs fine. I restarted the router yesterday and my desktop was able to connect to the internet without an issue and I played video games for a couple of hours without a hitch, but after connecting to the VPN, the cycle starts again after disconnecting. Maybe there's a connection there, but I'm not sure how to properly diagnose this, which is why I am asking anybody who's seen something similar to give me guidance on how to solve this. My guess is that it has something to do with either the router software or Windows screwing things up, since I use the VPN pretty much everyday with no issues for the past few months up until last week, but I'm all ears to any suggestions.
 
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Many people have issue like this with IPv6 but you have turned it off already.

I would run tracert to some IP like 8.8.8.8. Won't show much but the goal is to get the routers ip in the path.

Then open a number of cmd windows and leave constant ping run to the router IP hop 1 and the first ISP router normally hop 2. I would run a third with the ping to 8.8.8.8...you can use aol if you really want.

What you are trying to do is find the hop in the network where it breaks. Like you said hop 1 works so it is not the ethernet cable etc. For most people the problem is in hop 2 which is the connection to your house. Problem is that would also likely affect VPN.
So would continue to pick hops farther away to see if you can get a point it consistently fails. You have to be somewhat careful some hops because of software to prevent you from using ping to denial of service a router might limit the number of responses or not respond at all. Key here is you should see drop at the hop that is causing the problem exactly at the same time as final hop.

In many ways you need to hope you find nothing. If the problem is say in the path between your ISP and say google but not on a path between your isp and say level 3 it is not something you are going to get fixed. It could be in completely different ISP. The reason VPN can fix stuff like this is you might have a good path to the vpn data center which then has a different path to the end site.

I assume you are running vpn software on the pc and not on the router ?

I tend to hate vpn software clients because of how they hook into the system and sometime are a pain to uninstall. What you also tend to see is the vpn will bypass other so called "networking" software. I would look on your machines and see if there is any so called networking accelerator or QoS. Killer was one of the worst offenders of having this garbage software embedded in their drivers. You also see it bundled with motherboards or video cards. A very common name is CFOSspeed but anything that talks about favoring one kind of traffic over the other you want to uninstall. This type of software causes all kinds of strange issues and can not affect any traffic outside the machine and if you have a network bottleneck inside the machine you have a much larger problem.

If you get stuck maybe boot one of the machines on a linux USB image and leave a ping run to some IP. That would eliminate windows as the cause, who knows what microsoft can screw up next. I mean they stopped the role out of the latest win11 patch because it caused such massive performance hit to so many people.
 
Sep 23, 2022
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Thanks for the reply Bill, I appreciate you taking the time to try to help.

I've just run tracert under the three conditions, via VPN, when the internet is in the "working" part of the cycle, and when it isn't. I'm not really sure how to read these findings (and apologize if I over-censored), but it does seem like when it isn't working at all, nothing gets through at all except the router.

Here is a tracert working correctly while I am connected to the VPN:

View: https://imgur.com/4rBJn9D


Here it is when I am in the working part of the cycle:

View: https://imgur.com/YcJHv0Y


And finally when it is in the broken part of it (the last trace is right when it began to reach a new cycle):

View: https://imgur.com/qUwzSk2

_

As for the VPN question, yes I am running the client software on each device, so the laptop and desktop both have it installed on the respective device. The last time Mullvad's client was updated was a month ago on Oct 14th, so I don't think the VPN client is the culprit, since I've been using it daily for the past 2 years on both devices.

The laptop does have the Killer Suite installed, but the desktop doesn't. There hasn't been any software update at all related to it recently, so I don't think it has anything to do with that, but I'll check anyways. The desktop doesn't have anything like that installed.

You raise a good point about Windows 11. Looking back on the update history, it seems like there was a series of updates pushed on the 8th for 2H22 including a Cumulative update, and several updates for various .NET frameworks. That might fit the timeline of when things started falling apart, so I will try the Linux test later to see if it could be software induced, and maybe a system restore.
 
In general tracert is not a good diagnostic tool you got very lucky that you happened to run it just as the problem happened.

This is very strange. The issue acts like it is in connection between your house and the ISP. You see hop1 but not hop 2. Then again it could be a software bug and it happened just after tracert tested to your router.

Since all your traffic has to go over that connection you would think it would affect vpn. I guess you could check the router and ensure there is no QoS or firewall setting limiting certain traffic.

It is 2h22 that has all the problem but it is hard to say most the issue are related to games and video. What shows microsoft are idiots is people who load the beta versions of these updated have emails from 6months ago where they told microsoft about the game lag issues.
 
Sep 23, 2022
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Just ran a continuous ping test in Ubuntu through a USB stick and everything seems great. No dropped packets after an hour and a half (the cycles would start after no more than 10 minutes on Windows). I even installed the VPN to see if maybe that was the culprit on Linux, ran the test again for an hour and a half, no dropped packets. Disconnected from the VPN, ran for another hour, and only dropped a single packet.

My Traceroute:

View: https://imgur.com/9JH9xdw


Ping Test:

View: https://imgur.com/FKlqqhd


Haven't tested the laptop yet, will get around to it at some point, but it's looking more and more conclusive that it's a result from Windows software or something that wasn't present on Ubuntu. Going to start with removing the recent Windows updates.
 

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