Sunday, January 2, 2011

The oddest internet connectivity problem... SOLVED (finally! :)


This one had me developing grey hairs at a furious rate...

My main line of work involves IT Support on a daily basis, so when I come across an issue which stumps me and makes NO logical sense at all, I get seriously frustrated.
Any problem or issue should reasonably have some kind of logical solution, and this one just defied me at every turn.
It went something like this:

- I connected my Nokia N97 (Cell C) to my laptop via Bluetooth a few weeks ago, and was able to use it to connect to the internet fine at the time.

- All of a sudden, in recent days, the phone would still connect, but I could not browse any websites at all, could not download email etc. Windows 7 indicated that the connection had "Internet Access", even though I could not surf the web.

- Weird bit 1: I could ping and get replies from sites e.g. www.google.co.za 
, but if I pasted that IP into my browser, I still could not browse (so it couldn't be a DNS problem).

- Weird bit 2: I could still use my phone to connect to the net and surf on my home desktop PC.

- Weird bit 3: The problem persisted if I connected the phone via USB instead of Bluetooth.

- Weird bit 4: I could connect to the net fine using a Samsung S7350 (Vodacom) using Bluetooth.

- Weird bit 5: I did a hard reset on my N97 in the hope that this might fix the issue. It did not.

- Weird bit 6: If I used Joikuspot to set my N97 as a wireless hotspot, I got the same problem.

- Weird bit 7: I could surf the net on the phone directly without any problems.

- Weird bit 8: If I put the SIM into a Nokia N80 and tried to connect using that phone, the problem persisted (so it couldn't be the phone at fault).

- Weird bit 9: The Windows 7 built-in network diagnostic (which is usually quite helpful), found no problems at all, yet Windows 7 insisted that I was connected to the internet.


So I was just about out of options... until I turned to the guys over at mybroadband.co.za and desperately posted about my woes over there.
Within a matter of about 20 minutes, several suggestions came through, and one of them showed promise...

Turns out that the decidedly odd issue had something to do with a network setting called "ECN Capability" – something which is normally disabled, but for some reason got enabled on my system.
Apparently it can be enabled when running TCP Optimizer – software which I sometimes use to tweak LAN and Internet settings on client PC's...

The simple answer was to disable it as follows:

Check ECN Capability status:
  • Open up a Command Prompt;
  • Type "netsh int tcp show global" and press Enter;
Once it had been established that ECN Capabilities were in fact enabled, the fix was simple:
  • Open up a Command Prompt with Administrative Rights as follows:
  • In start/search type cmd.exe, Right click and select "Run as administrator"
  • Type "netsh int tcp set global ecncapability=disabled" and press Enter;
  • Voila! We are surfin' again!
Huge thanks to Tun@ on mybroadband.co.za – you saved me tons and tons of frustration!


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