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recently my internet connection has been randomly disconnecting, and after a few minutes it can reconnect.

I wirelessly connect to the router, and the router is an apple air port. When internet is connected, like right now, the connection strength has full bars.

I use an Inspiron 1420, and the Operating System is Windows Vista Home Premium.

I'm just a kid and I don't know much about technology (hence my username is supertechnewbie), and please don't use too complex language.

Also my internet is slower than usual, I'm using Firefox which is normally fast.

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Last Post by brandonrunyon
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I'm not entirely sure what your question is, if you can, I kindly invite you to please clarify your post with what your main concern at this time is.

I gather you are probably asking how you get it to stop disconnecting, while I'm not there to do diagnostics and check the router, I can try to help you understand what might be happening. Honestly, any number of things could be causing your computer to behave this way, I can only guess at a couple of possibilities. Someone on this forum might know the Windows wireless configuration settings better than me as I use Linux OS. -Sorry :-\ At any rate, if you take nothing away from this, you still get a basic introduction to network diagnostics.

It's important to understand how a computer actually connects to the Internet on a local scale, I'll certainly try to be plain with my explanation.

Every computer that runs on a network (connects to your airport router) needs to have a special address so the router knows which computer gets what web pages and so on... this special address is called an IP address. It works a lot like the way the mail man gets your mail to your house, by your address. Make sense?

Ok next, your computer on your home wireless network does not typically just have it's own address by it's own choosing, it needs the router to assign or 'tell it' what it's address is. So until the router assigns your computer it's address, it can not start getting web pages or other information from the router that's connected by your internet service provider (AT&T, Charter, Comcast, Verizon...). -Sometimes the router or your computer is delayed a little in assigning (or refreshing) that IP address and your connection is dropped.

There are a couple of tools you can use to immediately check the status of your connection, and it would be prudent of you to learn to use them often for trouble shooting. While I'm not familiar with the airport, I think I can get you started on simple diagnostics.

The first tool you want to learn (and I'll explain how) to use is the 'tracert' command. This command will send a message to you displaying all the devices leading up to a website (or more specifically a device) on the Internet- this will tell you how far your connection goes. Sometimes you are only connected to the router and the router is not connected to your service provider, and sometimes your computer is not connecting to the router at all and the router could be fine.

If you go to your start menu (the 'Windows' icon at the bottom left) and click in the search bar and type 'cmd' (without the '') and press enter you will get the command line (don't be scared of it, it's your friend). Simply type "tracert www.google.com" and see how many 'hops' it takes to get to www.google.com. If you see that it doesn't even show that it got there, but does show the airport router, then you know the airport is not connecting to the internet. If it doesn't even get to the router, then your computer isn't connecting to the router.

Let me show you what mine looks like when I run the command:

brandon@brandon-laptop:~$ traceroute www.google.com
traceroute to www.google.com (74.125.227.16), 30 hops max, 60 byte packets
 1  192.168.1.1 <--- MY ROUTER...
 2  10.167.80.1  <--- TO THE INTERNET...
 3  (96.34.54.24) 
 4  <EDITED>  
 5  <EDITED>
 6  96.34.0.12
 7 <EDITED>
 8  74.125.51.253 (74.125.51.253)  
 9  209.85.254.120 (209.85.254.120)  
10  * 209.85.241.22 (209.85.241.22)  
11  209.85.253.172 (209.85.253.172)  
12  216.239.47.120 (216.239.47.120)  
13  216.239.47.54 (216.239.47.54)  
14  74.125.227.16 (74.125.227.16)  <--- MAKES IT ALL THE WAY TO GOOGLE'S WEB SERVER!

As you can see from my output, I am fully connected from my computer, to the router, to my internet service provider and to google. I edited out some sensitive IP's.

If you don't see your router displayed (likely to be the address: 192.168.1.1), then your computer is not connected to the router. If you see the router, but it doesn't go past that, then your router is not connected right, or there is possibly an outage.

Another command I'd use is the 'ping' command. It will tell you whether a device (such as your router) is working or connected to you. With the same command prompt, run the following:

ping www.google.com <--- this is the command with the website I want to see if up.
PING www.l.google.com (74.125.227.16) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from 74.125.227.16: icmp_seq=1 ttl=53 time=43.3 ms

^---> as you can see, I'm getting a response, which tells me it's up! I'm connected!

64 bytes from 74.125.227.16: icmp_seq=2 ttl=53 time=44.5 ms
64 bytes from 74.125.227.16: icmp_seq=3 ttl=53 time=45.4 ms
64 bytes from 74.125.227.16: icmp_seq=4 ttl=53 time=44.6 ms
^C64 bytes from 74.125.227.16: icmp_seq=5 ttl=53 time=48.0 ms

--- www.l.google.com ping statistics ---
5 packets transmitted, 5 received, 0% packet loss, time 20362ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 43.379/45.226/48.064/1.569 ms

As you can see from the ping command, my computer was able to see if the router was connected, if it wasn't, I would not be getting a response, it would "time out".

If you find yourself dropping connections, and you have reason to believe it is the computer, run this command in the same prompt: "ipconfig /renew"

--> a space between "ipconfig" and "/". This command will attempt to renew your ip address from your router, if it fails, you may have a downed router or a bad network configuration.


Although I'm not sure I can help you without further explanation and description of the problem from you, I do think this in valuable information and good tools for figuring out basic connections. I hope I was clear.

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That's the long short of things in general, an immediate answer would be to seek support from your Internet Service Provider. You need your guardians (or who ever is the account holder) to call them and have them address the issue. It's beyond my limitations as a person 3 days drive away to trouble shoot your problems when it's a sporadic occurrence.

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It's fine now, thanks! It just had to take some time. Our telephone also wasn't working but its sort of working now. The internet connection just a few minutes ago randomly disappeared and appeared again, but it is fine now.

Perhaps its a possibility that rain could have caused the problem? It rained the day that this problem occurred. It wasn't a big storm or anything though, which puzzles me. Well everything is fine now :)

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Any number of things would cause what you are describing. If your phone is by the same provider, it's likely a symptom as well of service outage in your area. It's unlikely to be your computer.
Rain can cause an outage BTW. If it's wireless, microwaves and baby monitors or anything like that can interfere as well.

Edited by brandonrunyon: n/a

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