Virgin Cable internet connection problem

  slowhand_1000 21:46 11 Mar 2009


A friend of mine asked me to look at his laptop as he couldn’t get connected to the internet. By all accounts he has had this problem on and off for quite a while. He is on Virgin Cable using their modem via a network cable. He is not using a router.

He has been getting really intermittent internet connection for some time. He might get on and be online for say an hour, then the connection drops and he gets a 169.***.***.*** ip address. I’ve taken my laptop round and after 3 attempts it connected to his modem and got online. I immediately swapped the LAN cable to his and he got a 169 etc ip address. I went back online and gathered the network connection details and manually set the TCP/IP details. This stopped his 169 etc ip address but when checking the network connection details there was no Lease Obtained/Expired details. While at his house I tried the ipconfig /release, ipconfig / renew but to no avail. I’ve tried disabling his firewall and any anti-vius/spyware programs also.

He has taken his laptop to 4 different networks, including his daughters Virgin Cable, and has no trouble in getting online. People who take their laptops round to his have also failed to get online, including two Virgin engineers.

Today Virgin sent another engineer round and though his 1st laptop didn’t get online the 2nd one did. The engineer said that he must have a virus and left. Virgin have replaced the modem twice. Each time he has registered the modem with Virgin he gets online for a short period, then things go bad again.

I’ve brought his laptop home and connected to my router and scanned his pc with Malwarebytes, AVG, Ad-Aware, Super Anti-Spyware as well as BitDefender and Housecall online scans. Apart from cookies the programs have come back with a big fat zero on the virus front.

I hope I’ve not forgotten anything.


  brundle 23:35 11 Mar 2009

Have you looked at the modem configuration page rather than just concentrating on the computer(s) connected to it? from the browser if the modem is a Scientific Atlanta/Motorola. Set the IP address of the computer manually in the same subnet if it keeps refusing to get an IP address to actually allow you access to the webpage. / for example

Look for Receive & Transmit power level, also try a reset if the modem has such a facility (I've seen that work before when pulling the plug for a minute or so didn't solve it). Don't plug a variety of different devices into the modem one after the other, it identifies the MAC address of the device connected when it's powered up and might not provide IP/Internet to anything else plugged in subsequently. Also check the Downstream & Upstream frequency in the modem config pages. Ought to be 331000000 Hz downstream and 25800000 Hz upstream - check this screenshot from a working cable connection. click here

  ambra4 23:54 11 Mar 2009

Losing your Internet connection with your computer defaulting to an IP address in the range '' (XP+ may report 'limited or no connectivity') is a very common and exacerbating problem and can be rather hit & miss to repair.

click here

Wireless - 169.254... instead of 192.168...

click here

  slowhand_1000 10:15 12 Mar 2009

Thanks both for the replies.

I'm taking the laptop back to my friends and will try both suggestions.

What I can't get my head round is that Virgin keep saying his laptop is at fault, but it connects to the internet no matter whos network he is on.

Yet if his modem/cable setup is wrong/faulty then I would have though no other pc would get on the net.

  slowhand_1000 17:19 13 Mar 2009

Just an update

Also started Wired Auto Config in the Control Panel/Admin Tools/System folder.

Took laptop round, connected to modem and bingo, the internet was up and running. Friend stayed online for a few hours (periodically changing sites) until late afternoon when his internet went off. He rang Virgin who said there was an outage in the area.

He came to get on the net this morning and nothing, his connection was back to a 169 ip address. His daughter came round with her 2 other laptops which could not get on the net either. Virgin said all was well at their end and it must be his laptops!

He took his laptop to his daughters (who is local and also on Virgin cable) and all 3 laptops worked perfect.

I won't tick this resolved as there may be more to come. Unless he has cancelled Virgin by now.


  brundle 19:11 13 Mar 2009

Again, check the modem status. It's no good hooking up computer after computer, it's just more variables - it's analagous to handing a phone to different people to see if they can make a call when there's no dial tone.

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