Wednesday 8 April 2009

Windows Vista – No Network Connectivity (H/W)

We recently completed a hardware upgrade for one of the partners at a client.

The upgrade was pretty straight forward. New hardware included an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 and an Intel DP45SG Extreme series desktop board.

We put a fresh copy of Windows Vista Ultimate (FPP) on the box, installed the most recent hardware drivers, updated the OS and Office 2007 installs, and ran through a burn-in.

The system passed with flying colours.

Out the door it went. That was late last week.

After a successive number of phone calls from the partner saying that he could not, no matter what he tried, get the system to connect to the Internet we figured his 2-3 year old Linksys WRT45G router was toast.

His ISP had sent him a new 2Wire modem/router combo box, so we figured we would put in a new high performance N series wireless access point. We set both boxes up to work together (DHCP off on the N AP and a static IP on the 2Wire subnet), and tested everything successfully.

After taking the 2Wire and N AP home and setting it up, his laptop connected to the Internet effortlessly via the new N series AP.

But, the upgraded system still refused to pull an IP address from the 2Wire device!

So, we had him drop the system off here at the shop so we could have a look at it. We ran several tests that included plugging the system into our workbench network, our own internal network, and a couple different routers with DHCP enabled on them and all of the devices were successful in delivering an IP address to the box.

Scratch the head time

He came and picked up the box this morning and was going to put things back together and see if it worked. He stood here in the shop and watched me plug it into the different devices to get an IP successfully, so he knew it should work!

Well, at lunch time he called and said that the box was still not pulling an IP address.

It is now a pretty clear thing that there was something about his environment that was mucking things up.

So, out come the 50 questions:

  • Where is the 2Wire and N series AP plugged into? The wall.
  • Where was the system plugged in? A power bar.
  • What else is plugged into that power bar? Another PC, two LCD monitors, a LaserJet printer, and a couple of other doodads.
  • Is there a UPS? No.

On the off chance, we had him shut the system down, plug it into the wall, and plug either the 2Wire or wireless N access point into the power bar.

He called back about 15 minutes later absolutely ecstatic! The system pulled an IP address and was now connected to the Internet!

We had a good laugh over the situation, but it sure was frustrating getting to the bottom of it.

So, we are ordering up a couple of APC 1500VA voltage regulation based UPSs (BR1500LCD) to split off the two PCs and will make sure that the laser printer is plugged into the surge port and not a battery backup port.

It just goes to show you, there can be any number of physical reasons behind a system’s strange behaviour. One of those reasons is enough A/C power to bring core system components online, but not quite enough coming in from the A/C side to get everything running properly.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*All Mac on SBS posts will not be written on a Mac until we replace our now missing iMac! (previous blog post)

Windows Live Writer

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