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Given the state of some "technical support" departments at some of the major DSL mass-market providers; it is sometimes useful to identify an ISP related problem specifically. "My e-mail is down" you tell tech support. "Well, no one else is having that problem" or "everything looks good at this end; let's format your drive!"

Sometimes it's a good idea to call tech support with a specific technical report. It helps to cut through much of the BS.

So, you are surfing along, and suddenly your browser complains that it can't find yahoo! Before you call your trusty ISP, poke around to see why the browser can't find yahoo.

You first bring up a dos window. Enter "ping www.yahoo.com" What you get back is "Unknown host www.yahoo.com." So, my computer can't turn a name into an IP address... DNS (Domain Name System) issue. Call tech support now? Nope, not yet! Let's see WHY yahoo is UNKNOWN first.

You search through those papers your ISP sent when you got the account, along with your setup notes and find that your DNS server is OK let's see if it is working!

You bring up a DOS prompt. Type "ping" and you get:

Reply from bytes=32 time=110ms TTL=53
Reply from bytes=32 time=110ms TTL=53

OK, so it "seems " to be up, but is it really up?

Let's look into it further.

C:\>nslookup www.dslreports.com
Server: jovial.divo.net

Non-authoritative answer:
Name: dslreports.com
Aliases: www.dslreports.com


Replace with the DNS server you are testing.

Armed knowledge that your DNS is not working, you now call tech support, and report that their DNS server is down. When will it be fixed? By the way, do you have an alternate DNS server I can use??

You can also verify other services yourself.

For instance, your ISP's Mail server, try TELNET to port 25 (the SMTP port), see if they are up, see what it looks like when they are up so you will know the difference when it is down. Try their port 110 POP3.... 143 IMAP etc...

Check out your primary ISP server-provided services this way the next time you have a problem, or suspect that your service provider is not providing a particular service.

Then call them, and report your findings specifically. You will get better mileage from your broadband connection and better "service" from tech support if you do some of the homework yourself.

Originally submitted by bobrichards

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by Ranma See Profile
last modified: 2004-12-08 22:41:53