Network connection keeps dropping


#1

Hi all, I’ve read throughout the forum and seen several similar cases, but I can’t find the answer to my problem with my new WDTV Live Plus.

I turn the WDTV on, check the network connection, says it’s OK, I then go either to media servers or network shares, find my media files and start playing one… But after 3-5 minutes the connection to the network is dropped, and neither media servers or shares can be accessed. Also, the WDTV player disappears from the Network resources in Windows Explorer. The only way to get the WDTV back on line is to unplug it, wait 10-15 minutes and plug it in again. But the same happens every time: everything seems OK and after 3-5 minutes the connections is dropped again.

This is my setup:

2 laptops running Win 7 64-bit (one Home Premium, the other Professional), with service pack 1.

WRT54G Linksys router.

The WD is wired to the router through Ethernet cable. The laptops connect wirelessly.

I use static IP addresses in all devices (both laptops and WDTV)

WD Firmware is 1.04.31_B

The guys from WD support told me to connect the laptops through Ethernet, disabling wireless. I did that but the problem persists: the WD seems OK when I turn it on, finds shares and servers, says connection OK, etc., but after a while (5 minutes or so) the connection is dropped, WDTV can’t access the network and no longer appears in Windows.

I’ve tried the “play to” function from Windows Media Player and, as before, it works for 5 minutes and then disconnects.

I’ve disabled my firewall (Norton 360) but nothing changes.

I am not using Homegroups in Windows. I have password protection set to Off and my shares available to “Everyone”. In brief: nothing works, the WDTV drops the network connection after 5 minutes or so and only gets back online after unplugging it for a while.

I’ve also checked and changed the ethernet cable between router and WD, and I’ve tried connecting the WDTV to the 4 different switch ports on my router, but in all cases the problem is the same.

I wonder if others have the same problem?

I’d really appreciate it if someone can offer me any new ideas I haven’t tried.

Thanks in advance!

Victor


#2

I think Tony or one of our other networking gurus will have to go through things with you and help you troubleshoot.

All I can tell you is that I have a Win7 SP1 box (and a Win2k box) hard-wired to a WRT54G, and the WDTV Live is hard-wired to the WRT54G as well… all static IPs assigned by me.

The only visible difference I can see (once you tried going wired as suggested by tech support)  is that my network stays connected for months, while yours stays connected for minutes.

If you’ve eliminated the cables as being the problem, unless your WDTV is just bad, something must be up with your PCs, because it “should” work.

Are the network adaptors on the laptops putting themselves to sleep?


#3

You need to find out exactly WHAT is dropping.

From your laptop, do this:

ping -t [ip address of WDTV]

You’ll see a bunch of stuff like this:

C:\Documents and Settings\xxxxx>ping -t 129.247.5.10

Pinging 128.247.5.10 with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 129.247.5.10: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=59
Reply from 129.247.5.10: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=59
Reply from 129.247.5.10: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=59
... and so on.

When the WDTV “drops” off the network, do the pings start saying “Request Timed Out” or “Device Unreachable” or something like that?  or do the “Replys…” keep coming?


#4

As you are using laptops and you say both shares and media server connections get dropped, then I would also look at the power management settings on the laptops to see if there is some action that kicks in after 5min. If there is then it may take just long enough to perform the action that it interrupts the network connection.


#5

RoofingGuy wrote:

I think Tony or one of our other networking gurus will have to go through things with you and help you troubleshoot.

 

All I can tell you is that I have a Win7 SP1 box (and a Win2k box) hard-wired to a WRT54G, and the WDTV Live is hard-wired to the WRT54G as well… all static IPs assigned by me.

 

The only visible difference I can see (once you tried going wired as suggested by tech support)  is that my network stays connected for months, while yours stays connected for minutes.

 

If you’ve eliminated the cables as being the problem, unless your WDTV is just bad, something must be up with your PCs, because it “should” work.

 

Are the network adaptors on the laptops putting themselves to sleep?

 

 

Hi RoofingGuy, thanks for your reply.

I too think some setting must be wrong in my laptops, but can’t figure out which… I just went through Power Options and this is what I’ve found:

The “Wireless Adapter Setting” is on “Maximum Performance”, that is, no power savings.

The “When sharing media” setting is on “prevent idling to sleep”

The only setting that had a 5 minute or so setting to “kick in” was the screen saver (4 minutes), I turned it off (no screen saver)

And on the Network Adapter Properties I changed the “Minimum Power Consumption” to “disabled”.

I don’t see any other power options which could be related to this issue, and none has a setting of 5 minutes or so.

After the said minor changes I plugged in the WDTV again. It connected fine to the network, appeared ok in the “full map” of the network in Windows, but again after 5 minutes or son it just disappeared without me doing anything (I just plug the WDTV on and waited and after 5 minutes it was gone from the network).

Can you think of any other Power setting, etc., that may be causing this problem??

Thanks!


#6

TonyPh12345 wrote:

You need to find out exactly WHAT is dropping.

 

From your laptop, do this:

 

ping -t [ip address of WDTV]

 

You’ll see a bunch of stuff like this:

 

 

C:\Documents and Settings\xxxxx>ping -t 129.247.5.10

Pinging 128.247.5.10 with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 129.247.5.10: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=59
Reply from 129.247.5.10: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=59
Reply from 129.247.5.10: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=59
… and so on.

 

When the WDTV “drops” off the network, do the pings start saying “Request Timed Out” or “Device Unreachable” or something like that?  or do the “Replys…” keep coming?

 

 

Hi Tony, thanks for your answer… I tried what you said:

After just turning on (plugging) the WDTV, the ping went OK, 0% packet loss, average 2ms, etc.

But after the 5 minute or so “wait period” (!) it “dropped” again from the network and the ping then resulted in a “Destination host unreachable” message.

When I turn it on, it appears in the newtwork map on Windows (WDTV-switch-router), together with my laptop (laptop-router). But then it “drops” and in the network map windows shows it as a discovered device that cannot be placed on the map…

Any ideas?

Thanks!


#7

Ok, that indicates that your network connection actually IS failing.

Now we need to narrow it down.

Open a second window and ping your ROUTER in the 2nd window while pinging the WDTV in the 1st window.

When the WD goes dead, what happens in the ROUTER window?

When the WD goes dead, also go into NETWORK SETTINGS and look at the CURRENT configuration.  Is the IP address still there, or has it changed?  

Also try a CONNECTION TEST from the WD.


#8

TonyPh12345 wrote:

Ok, that indicates that your network connection actually IS failing.

 

Now we need to narrow it down.

 

Open a second window and ping your ROUTER in the 2nd window while pinging the WDTV in the 1st window.

 

When the WD goes dead, what happens in the ROUTER window?

 

When the WD goes dead, also go into NETWORK SETTINGS and look at the CURRENT configuration.  Is the IP address still there, or has it changed?  

 

Also try a CONNECTION TEST from the WD.

Hi Tony, the strangest thing happened.

I did what you advised, opened two separate ping windows and ran the following commands:

ping -t 192.168.1.1 (which is my router)

ping -t 192.168.1.104 (the WDTV)

while the WD remained connected both pings were fine, but as always after aprox. 4 minutes the wdtv was lost. This is the weird thing (for me at least, as I can’t understand how this is possible): I typed ping “192.168.1.104” (notice the 4), but as you can see in the following screen capture, after the wdtv disconnected it seemed as if the ping was to 192.168.1.102 (102 instead of 104!, without me doing anything!) … and …102 is the static IP of the laptop from which I was pinging… Can you make sense of this?

I went to the WD and in “network settings” the IP was still 192.168.1.104, as should be since I assigned it manually. Also, notice that first the response upon disconnection was “request timed out” and then “destination host unreachable”.

ping to WDTV.jpg

To confirm, I did another ping to the WD and the same happened, I pinged 192.168.1.104 and the response says “from 192.168.1.102”. I then pinged …102 and it says also “reply from 102”. That is, after the WD has gone, when I ping 104 the reply says “from …102”…

ping to WDTV 2.jpg

This is beyond confusing for me…

Thanks Tony


#9

The responses coming back from .102 ARE actually coming from your laptop, and that’s the normal behavior when it says Destination Unreachable.

When it says Destination Unreachable, that actually means that the PC is unable to even " ARP" the WDTV.

So what were the results of the CONNECTION TEST and pinging the router?


#10

TonyPh12345 wrote:

The responses coming back from .102 ARE actually coming from your laptop, and that’s the normal behavior when it says Destination Unreachable.

 

When it says Destination Unreachable, that actually means that the PC is unable to even " ARP" the WDTV.

 

So what were the results of the CONNECTION TEST and pinging the router?

I see… Ok.

When the WD was gone, the connection test went like this: IP OK, DNS not ok. The message on the WD was: “Incorrect DNS server.”

And the Ping to the router was OK (no changes) before and after the wd “drops”…


#11

Victor_A wrote:

 

 

I went to the WD and in “network settings” the IP was still 192.168.1.104, as should be since I assigned it manually. Also, notice that first the response upon disconnection was “request timed out” and then “destination host unreachable”.

 

As a suggestion that might help (or be the cause of some of your network issues), I noticed that, unless you have reassigned the DHCP range of the router, 104 is w/in the default DHCP range of your Linksys router. 

Just to make sure that the router isn’t/hasn’t assigned anything on top of your manual assignment, you should always manually assign static IP addresses either above or below the router’s DHCP range.  By default on Linksys routers, the DHCP IP address range is typically 192.168.1.100 thru 192.168.1.149  (addresses cannot end in 0, 1, or 255).  Any fixed (or static) IP address must be outside the DHCP server range.  This means that IP addresses you want to assign to devices, such as printers, WD, etc. need use an address in the range of 192.168.1.2 thru 192.168.1.99 or 192.168.1.150 thru 192.168.1.254 (assuming you are still using the default DHCP server range).  If you’ve changed the range from the default, then just consider the above when assigning static IPs.

Also, you might want to “add a new router to your christmas list”, as the WRT54G is based on an old design.  Certainly doesn’t support wireless “N” protocol and as such, probably not the latest wireless encryption.  Been a while since I’ve played with one, but doubt that the firmware updates can enable these or other key features.

Good luck.


#12

tjkaz wrote:


Victor_A wrote:

 

 

I went to the WD and in “network settings” the IP was still 192.168.1.104, as should be since I assigned it manually. Also, notice that first the response upon disconnection was “request timed out” and then “destination host unreachable”.

 


As a suggestion that might help (or be the cause of some of your network issues), I noticed that, unless you have reassigned the DHCP range of the router, 104 is w/in the default DHCP range of your Linksys router. 

Just to make sure that the router isn’t/hasn’t assigned anything on top of your manual assignment, you should always manually assign static IP addresses either above or below the router’s DHCP range.  By default on Linksys routers, the DHCP IP address range is typically 192.168.1.100 thru 192.168.1.149  (addresses cannot end in 0, 1, or 255).  Any fixed (or static) IP address must be outside the DHCP server range.  This means that IP addresses you want to assign to devices, such as printers, WD, etc. need use an address in the range of 192.168.1.2 thru 192.168.1.99 or 192.168.1.150 thru 192.168.1.254 (assuming you are still using the default DHCP server range).  If you’ve changed the range from the default, then just consider the above when assigning static IPs.

 

Also, you might want to “add a new router to your christmas list”, as the WRT54G is based on an old design.  Certainly doesn’t support wireless “N” protocol and as such, probably not the latest wireless encryption.  Been a while since I’ve played with one, but doubt that the firmware updates can enable these or other key features.

 

Good luck.

Hi, thanks for your advise.

I had previously configured the DHCP range to start on 120. But to give it another shot, I just changed it back to its default 100, plus I changed my static IPs to 192.168.1.2 and 192.168.1.4 for my 2 laptops, and 192.168.1.6 for the WD.

Also, I changed a setting on my network adapter related to access points, changed it from “higher performance” to “broader compatibility”, which supposedly is better for older routers.

Restarted the router, the laptops and the wd… and the problem is still there. The wd connected fine, I started streaming a video, 5-6 minutes later the wd again froze and dropped from the network for the 100th time, it’s just really sad.

I’m starting to feel there’s nothing more to try and that maybe the WD unit is just defective. I think my options are 1), to buy a new router and see what happens with the WD, which wouldn’t be a bad idea since the wrt54g router is almost 5 years old and its latest firwware dates Oct 2009; or 2) return my unit and have WD send me a replacement (support guys have offered it already). The problem is not knowing for sure that it is a faulty unit, I could end up needlessly buying a new router…

Thanks for your help, man.


#13

Man, it sure seems like it’s something with your network; either a router issue, something another device on the network is causing, a cable issue between your streaming device (laptop?) to your WD, or perhaps the WD itself.

Helped a friend with his setup last weekend and spent hours trying to fix a similar issue, only to find out that his fancy office desk had a RJ-45 feedthrough connector that he could plug his network into.  I guess the theory is that the big desk came with an ethernet line that could be plugged into the wall jack (which you can’t get to once the big desk is in the way.  Anyway, spent hours trying to track down the issues and localized it to the connection between between his PC (and NAS connected to a gigabit switch) and the rest of his network.  It wasn’t until then that he told me about it and low and behold, the friggin feedtrhough connection was bad!  Bypassed it and got Gb connectivity right away and his streaming issues went away.

Anyway, back to your deal.  If you haven’t already, try to isolate the issue by turning on only the basic things you need to operate the WD and access to your media.  You might want to physically move things around and/or connect things as directly as possible to isolate potential issues. 

If that doesn’t fix it, then it most likely is the WD device itself.   But I’m still thinking it’s your network…


#14

Go back to very simple basics. Remove your laptop and the WDTV Live from the network and connect a LAN crossover cable between your laptop and the WDTV Live box. You can use a DLNA program like serviio to stream the movie, copy a DVD to your laptop and stream that movie to the WDTV Live box. If that does not work, you have a serious incompatibility problem. 


#15

thepanoguy wrote:

Go back to very simple basics. Remove your laptop and the WDTV Live from the network and connect a LAN crossover cable between your laptop and the WDTV Live box. You can use a DLNA program like serviio to stream the movie, copy a DVD to your laptop and stream that movie to the WDTV Live box. If that does not work, you have a serious incompatibility problem. 

Thanks for the tip, panoguy, I’ve never connected anything by LAN crossover cable so I wouldn’t know where to start, is it simply a matter of buying a cable and connecting both devices together? Just point me in the right dirtection and I’ll do the rest, thanks!


#16

Try it with a regular cable.  Modern day NICs (network interface cards) don’t require them any longer and can autodetect if they’re being hooked up to another device.


#17

Ok, this is interesting… I’ve got a lot of new info:

Turned on the WDTV with both laptops turned off. Went online to YouTube and was able to stream about 6 minutes of video. Then the WDTV again disconnected from the network.

Then I tried the WDTV with only a locally attached USB-drive (without the network cable plugged in) and it worked fine, I watched an entire movie without the WDTV freezing.

Then I re-connected the network cable but did not access the network, instead I tried playing another file from the USB attached drive. The WDTV froze again!

This tells me the problem happens only with the network cable attached, and even if both my laptops are off. So I figured the problem was due to the router or the WDTV, not to Windows configurations.

To rule out the router I followed thepanoguy’s and tjkaz’s advice and connected the WDTV directly to my laptop through a regular Ethernet cable. Windows connected the WDTV as an unidentified public network and using the “Play to” function of Windows Media Player I was able to stream a movie to the WDTV. This is when things got interesting. The movie played OK for about ten minutes and then, again, the image froze and the WDTV lost its connection, Windows Media Player showed “Device not responding”.

I then started to move the Ethernet jack a little (the connection seemed to be a little loose). And then suddenly the connection “returned” and the streaming resumed. I then figured out what I think is going on: somehow the ethernet cable connection to the ethernet wdtv jack does not fit properly, because every time the connection was lost it “came back” if I pulled the cable upwards a little.

I tried again connecting the WD to the network and the same happened: after a couple minutes the connections is dropped, but if I jiggled the Ethernet cable a little and pulled it upwards inside the jack, the connection was made again and streaming continued, only to be stopped again if I released the upward pull on the jack…

By then I was pretty sure  my problem was due not to Windows or the router, but to the physical connection to the ethernet jack of the WDTV. Now the question was to figure out if the problem was the cable or the wdtv jack. So I used the same cable to connect my laptop’s ethernet port to the router, the connection was OK and I surfed the web for about an hour without losing the connection to the network… I concluded then that my problem is with the ethernet jack on the wdtv. The cable I have seems to be OK, it works fine when connecting my laptop to the router, but doesn’t work when I use it to connect the wdtv to the router. I think the jack is somehow loose inside the wdtv. If this is the case I see no other option but to return the wdtv and ask for a replacement unit.

The only other test I can think of is to go buy a better quality ethernet cable and try again, although it seems kind of unnecessary since the current cable works fine with the laptop and so it should work fine with the wdtv…

Thanks for your input guys, couldn’t have done this “elimination process” without it!


#18

Just to be thorough, I bought a new Cat 6 ethernet cable and connected the wdtv and router with it. The behavior was the same as stated in my last post: if I held and pushed upwards the plastic terminal of the cable on the ethernet jack of the wdtv, the network connection worked fine, but when I released the cable, seconds later the connection was dropped. Tried it a dozen times with the “Check connection” option on the wdtv, the connection was ok if I was holding and applying upward pressure to the connector, and the connection test failed if I was not holding the cable.

My conclusion: the ethernet jack on the wdtv is defective. I have prepared the wdtv unit to send back to WD for a replacement.

What this has showed me is that network connectivity problems may be caused by the simplest but highly unexpected issues, which I guess is better to check always as a first step before trying to fix software issues that may not exist. I spent several days trying to fix a configuration problem when the culprit was simply a defective jack!

Thanks to everybody who offered help and led me in the right direction!


#19

I am an electrician by qualification. I have been caught a number of times with simple cable connection problems. I use a direct connect crossover cable to eliminate all known error possibilities. You can go direct LAN to LAN port without anything in the single path.

A crossover cable eliminates the hub, router and any possibility that the network card auto detection circuit is defective or incompatible. That is one less path in the signal chain to worry about.

I purchase factory made Cat 6 networking cables. I have had a few problems with plugging those network cables into the WDTV Live box. I have found some cables are tight fitting, don’t mate properly and sometimes they need an extra push to click into place. They make a distinctive click sound when they mate properly. Sometimes they are tight and very hard to remove. In the long term, the WDTV Live LAN connector may be the source of LAN signal dropouts.