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Undiagnosable Issue - ISP (Zen Internet) can't help

RendOrRuin

Casual Member
Hi All,

I've been having a very unusual issue for over a year now intermittently and I'm wondering if any of you can help me troubleshoot and solve the issue. I have exhausted the help of my ISP (Zen Internet) - I have to say their service has been fantastic but they are at a loss with where to go next.

Problem: I get frequent yet seemingly random total connection drops for 1-5 seconds accross all devices (wired and wireless) simultaneously.

Router: Fritz!Box 7530

WinMTR Paste (google.co.uk as host):

1589928884107.png


CMD Ping Screenshot of an incident (google.co.uk):

1589928525929.png


Sometimes they are very frequent, such as the above example but I'd say on average I get ~ 3-5 per hour, however, they do tend to come in small clusters. There is no noticable ramp up and ramp down of latency before or after incedents.

So far I have tried the following solutions with the router plugged into the test socket:
  • Replacement router
  • Replacement Microfilter + DSL Cable (x2)
  • Disabling WLAN
  • Removing Wired devices
  • Updating router Firmware
  • Updating drivers and windows on all devices
For context I live in a city centre location in a block of new build flats. The issue stopped for a while (again seemingly at random) but recently started up again after a series of short power outages. The issue isn't better or worse at any time of day. My data usage hasn't changed dramatically.

Zen have a smoke ping set up and can see the packet loss but have informed me it's too infrequent for an engineer to come out.

Sorry for the long post but I'm getting kind of desperate as it's really impacting my work situation and is extremely frustrating in online games!

Any help would be massively appreciated! Thanks!
 

TTJJ

Pro Member
Maybe you should switch to AAISP for 6 Months or so. They love getting into the nitty gritty of this kind of thing.

It could be anything and it seems like it’s not on your end due to all the replacements unless there’s some wiring at fault.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
It does sound like an issue that could be occurring due to something within the MDU building itself, perhaps a burst of interference or a faulty connection somewhere. I'd be interested to know if your neighbours had seen the same issue and what your router stats look like (attenuation, noise margin etc.).

During these outages does the DSL broadband connection itself drop (you don't say what package/connection type it is) and then reconnect or does it remain live during the problem, but faulty?

Judging by your ping graph it appears as if the drop-outs are occuring quite frequently (hard to tell how frequently from the data supplied) and if DSL drops out then I'd usually expect a few more "request timed out" messages to show in a row before the line reconnects as that's a slow-ish process. Odd.
 

uno

ISP Rep
Last edited:

RendOrRuin

Casual Member
It does sound like an issue that could be occurring due to something within the MDU building itself, perhaps a burst of interference or a faulty connection somewhere. I'd be interested to know if your neighbours had seen the same issue and what your router stats look like (attenuation, noise margin etc.).

During these outages does the DSL broadband connection itself drop (you don't say what package/connection type it is) and then reconnect or does it remain live during the problem, but faulty?

Judging by your ping graph it appears as if the drop-outs are occuring quite frequently (hard to tell how frequently from the data supplied) and if DSL drops out then I'd usually expect a few more "request timed out" messages to show in a row before the line reconnects as that's a slow-ish process. Odd.
Thanks Mark! I would also be interested to see if neighbours have the issue. Perhaps I will ask one of them to set up a cmd ping and leave it running for a few hours then ask if they see any time outs. Good thinking.

The DSL connection remains up as far as I can tell - the router has no drops in connection in its event log and it's pretty good at reporting on these sorts of things.

I should have mentioned that this is an FTTC connection. Most of my knowledge in tech lies with PC hardware rather than networking so apologies if I sound a bit clueless.

I have set up a pingplotter test which I am also monitoring - looks like most of the packet loss is coming from hop 2 and the pattern is replicated perfectly across all later hops. I'll let this run a little longer and post the results in here. What format would this be best in? a screenshot or the PP2 file?
 

RendOrRuin

Casual Member
Maybe you should switch to AAISP for 6 Months or so. They love getting into the nitty gritty of this kind of thing.

It could be anything and it seems like it’s not on your end due to all the replacements unless there’s some wiring at fault.
They certainly do look the part! I'll give them a call and see if they think they can help. Cheers for the tip!! :D
 

TTJJ

Pro Member
They certainly do look the part! I'll give them a call and see if they think they can help. Cheers for the tip!! :D
I’m certain they have (or had) a special guarantee where they’d allow you to leave penalty free if they couldn’t fix the issue you set them to work on.

Ive personally never used them as an ISP but I’ve heard good things from people in your situation with weird like faults who report good things and are willing to pay the extra to have it sorted once and for all.
 

LeeH

ISP Rep
Hi,

Would you pm me your username please and I will take a look.

LeeH
 

vcommsmind

Pro Member
  • Replacement router
  • Replacement Microfilter + DSL Cable (x2)
  • Disabling WLAN
  • Removing Wired devices
  • Updating router Firmware
  • Updating drivers and windows on all devices
Was the replacement router a different make/model, and I assume the power supply was also swapped over/changed?

My hunch from what you've said is some form of electrical issue (and your periodic power issues heighten my alarm bells a little) or some kind of e/m issue.

If you've not just tried a different make/model of router, I'd do it - it might simply be able to handle the interference source better.

Have you tried sticking the router behind a proper UPS (as in an online, pure sine wave type) - wouldn't need to be very powerful at all...) to smooth the power coming to it.

I'd also see if you could find a quality power adapter (with the right capability -voltage/polarity must match, amperage can be the same or greater...) too and just rule out that your seemingly dirty/bad power is just simply causing issue to the router... I've seen mild under powering stall kit rather than totally crash for brief issues (which makes sense if you think about how the adapters work).
 

RendOrRuin

Casual Member
Was the replacement router a different make/model, and I assume the power supply was also swapped over/changed?

My hunch from what you've said is some form of electrical issue (and your periodic power issues heighten my alarm bells a little) or some kind of e/m issue.

If you've not just tried a different make/model of router, I'd do it - it might simply be able to handle the interference source better.

Have you tried sticking the router behind a proper UPS (as in an online, pure sine wave type) - wouldn't need to be very powerful at all...) to smooth the power coming to it.

I'd also see if you could find a quality power adapter (with the right capability -voltage/polarity must match, amperage can be the same or greater...) too and just rule out that your seemingly dirty/bad power is just simply causing issue to the router... I've seen mild under powering stall kit rather than totally crash for brief issues (which makes sense if you think about how the adapters work).
Yes, I suspect the same. I doubt it's a coincidence that this has line up with a power cut. Generally speaking power supply outside of localized outages (area wide, not just my building) is fine. I have Belkin 12W, 2.4 amp surge protectors connected to most kit in the flat. Not sure if that's what you mean by power adapter?

Also see below ping plotter results:

Ping Plotter test results

1.1.1.1 - https://share.pingplotter.com/Y1E7EXKMW3n.png

google.co.uk - https://share.pingplotter.com/X9SatUnqgqo

As you can see, the problem occurs at hop 2 and causes complete packet loss for a couple of seconds. If this was a router issue I would expect that to happen at hop 1?

Thanks!
 

vcommsmind

Pro Member
Yes, I suspect the same. I doubt it's a coincidence that this has line up with a power cut. Generally speaking power supply outside of localized outages (area wide, not just my building) is fine. I have Belkin 12W, 2.4 amp surge protectors connected to most kit in the flat. Not sure if that's what you mean by power adapter?
You don't know that it's "fine" - mains power can be very noisy and you wouldn't know unless you had issues (you seem to) or you have kit that knows.

I don't mean Surge protectors, I mean the power adapter that comes with the router to power it - a surge protector isn't really going to help in this scenario to troubleshoot - you need a device that cleans up the power getting to the router to help eliminate power causing issues - hence why I suggested an online UPS (the online, pure sine wave bit meaning the router when connected would be getting a clean power feed from the battery system and not from the raw mains). It creates nice clean power so if you have noisy dirty power upsetting your kit, it will be eliminated.


As you can see, the problem occurs at hop 2 and causes complete packet loss for a couple of seconds. If this was a router issue I would expect that to happen at hop 1?
I don't think you can draw that inference at all at this point. A traceroute with a hop not responding tells you absolutely nothing.
 

uno

ISP Rep
Also see below ping plotter results:
I would still recommend running the TBB BQM *to* the router. These these are from the connection.

Going to the router will allow you to see if the same drops are seen and if not, it may not actually be a connection problem.

As you can see, the problem occurs at hop 2 and causes complete packet loss for a couple of seconds. If this was a router issue I would expect that to happen at hop 1?
https://share.pingplotter.com/X9SatUnqgqo shows packet loss to your router before it even leaves the property. It could indicate a wider issue so a reverse test is going to help here.

Matt
 

RendOrRuin

Casual Member
You don't know that it's "fine" - mains power can be very noisy and you wouldn't know unless you had issues (you seem to) or you have kit that knows.

I don't mean Surge protectors, I mean the power adapter that comes with the router to power it - a surge protector isn't really going to help in this scenario to troubleshoot - you need a device that cleans up the power getting to the router to help eliminate power causing issues - hence why I suggested an online UPS (the online, pure sine wave bit meaning the router when connected would be getting a clean power feed from the battery system and not from the raw mains). It creates nice clean power so if you have noisy dirty power upsetting your kit, it will be eliminated.




I don't think you can draw that inference at all at this point. A traceroute with a hop not responding tells you absolutely nothing.
I see - no I haven't tried that. I've just used the provided power cable that came in the box. I don't really have the cash to be buying a UPS for diagnostic reasons, but the adapter I can probably sort.

The only reason I mentioned the traceroute results is that the packet loss on hop 2 (and thus every hop after hop 2) is timed perfectly with the issue in my user experience - the test to 1.1.1.1 shows this most clearly. If there was power stability issues to the kit would traffic from devices to the router not also be affected?
 
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