~ Connection lore ~
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lore
Version February 2003


[IP Address to Hostname and Vice Versa]  [The "Ilectric" trick] (automated whois)
[How fast is your connection to the web?] [Pinging around]
[Tracing web-delays] [Dead connections and IP-addresses] [Destroying censorship software]
[Windoze '95 halves Your Download Speed]

Connection lore

Slow connections are a nightmare when searching.
For a billion reasons you may want to check your connection to the web. Anonymity purposes, delay problems, suspicions about some site using dirty tricks, and even quick on the fly ways to resolve an alphabetical site name into an IP address.
I'll now explain you how you can do it WITHOUT special programs, simply using what your box already has inside it. I bet many readers did not know that you can do some of the following ON EVERY PC YOU HAPPEN TO SIT AT, at work, by friends, on your own, in a shop...
The main problems you may encounter are lack of speed, unexpected disconnections, the impossibility to reach a web site even if you're damn sure it is there somewhere.
What's the reason for those problems? Who knows? Is it your own PC? Your phone line? Your ISP? Is the site you are trying to reach at fault? Any or all these factors may play a role: how do you narrow down the problem?

Since this is VITAL when searching, I'll now give you some hints. Note that there are tons of ad hoc software out there, la netmedic (vitalsign), that has been made to help you locate the problem. But it is most of the time NOT necessary to use it. You have already all the necessary software inside your own PC. Good old dos box will work wonders: watch my hands.

How fast is your connection to the web?

This is not easy to answer. Dial-up networking can give you the initial connection rate:
right click on the DUN icon in system try and select status
but this is mostly incorrect. It displays the speed that applied when you FIRST connected to your ISP, while the actual transfer-speed can vary with time.
You may want to test on-line how quick your connection is [ here ].
Yet to rely on third parties to check your speed is not the best solution.
Hence track the speed of your connection the whole time you are connected to your isp. Enter system monitor. See accessories, system tools. If you don't find it there then open add/remove inside control panel and click on windows setup, then check system tools, and put ok inside the system monitor box.

Once you run system monitors, you'll see a series of blank graphs. Remove all items, we want to start from scratch. Click on the top of the entries in the list, hold down shift and then click the bottom one, then OK: remove all.
Now select edit / add item. Look at all the interesting categories you can add and have a graph for.
Click on the dial up adapter then hold down the ctrl key and choose bytes received/second & bytes transmitted/second & connection speed from the item column. Then click ok and finish.
Setup is done, now connect to your isp, browse the web and look at the system monitor to see what is going on.
Note that the bytes received/second is not very reliable for non-compressed files (zip will give you more accurate results).
Now let's say you remark that your connection speed is much slower as it should be, as you probably suspected from the beginning.
Let's see if we can find out the problem:clear everything again then add every ERROR in the dial up adapter category (crc, framing, overruns and so on). It is common to have a couple of these errors showing on when searching, but if you have a lot more, that could be the explanation for your slow connection.
Time out errors mean that your ISP is not responding to your modem as quickly as it should. Call tech support and ask what's going on, or change isp.
Framing errors indicate communication problems between your modem and the isp. Talk with them and get confirmation that you modem is supported. Other errors will mostly indicate hardware problems, faulty modems, serial cables that are not correctly connected if you have an external modem.

Pinging around (checking your connection)

Now your browser is working, you're connected to the web and you have entered the URL you are searching for.
The browser tells you it cannot find that page, why?
You may try to find out using ping. Like a submarine, you are going to ping a server in order to get its echo. To use ping you have to fire a dos box (good old dos never dies, eh?). So go start ~ programs ~ ms-dos prompt and open the little black box of wonders.

ping altavista.com
Pinging altavista.com [204.152.190.62] with 32 bytes of data:

Ping statistics for 204.152.190.62:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 0ms, Maximum =  0ms, Average =  0ms  
ping vweb9.phase-one.com.au
Pinging vweb9.phase-one.com.au [203.21.35.2] with 32 bytes of data:

Ping statistics for 203.21.35.2:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 0ms, Maximum =  0ms, Average =  0ms
Note also how quickly you can resolve a name address into its correct IP number using this trick!
If you don't get any reply then just use the command
ping -t www.altavista.com
instead, and ping continuously, until you kill the dos box or nuke the command with Ctrl+C.
If you get a reply it will look like the following:
 insert here
Use ping to check your own setup as well. Let's say you cannot connect to your isp. Then try the command
ping 127.0.0.1
which is the 'basement' address, a loopback to your own pc. Note that you don't need to be on line to do this.
Pinging 127.0.0.1 with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 127.0.0.1: bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=128
Reply from 127.0.0.1: bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=128
Reply from 127.0.0.1: bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=128
Reply from 127.0.0.1: bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=128

Ping statistics for 127.0.0.1:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 0ms, Maximum =  0ms, Average =  0ms
If this fail then your dial-up networking is not set up correctly. Reinstall TCP/IP, or, more simply, reinstall dial up networking completely.
Even better, come to think of it: throw your windoze software out of your window and install linux instead, you'll never thank me enough for this advice :-)
Back to pinging: once you ping like this
ping  searchlores.org
You'll either get an answer or not. If the server is up and running you'll get back a 'Reply from' followed by a series of interesting numbers, if the server is down, or traffic is too heavy you'll get a 'Request timed out' and/or a 'Destination net unreachable' message(s).

Tracing web-delays

Every time you select a URL or enter an http:// address in your browser, the code and graphic of the selected page has to pass through a lot of servers, more than a dozen most of the time, before they can get at your pc.
Traceroute shows you WHERE some delays are happening, how many servers it takes to reach the target site and so on. Basically it is just a more powerful ping, and it works in a similar way.
Once more the magical dos box.
Type
tracert vweb9.phase-one.com.au
and study the following:
 insert here
As you can see, you get a list of every internet server between you and the site you have specified. Get to know your neighbours!

Dead connections and IP-addresses

We use memorable domain names for web sites, such as ["searchlores.org"] but the Internet, as you (should) know uses numeric IP addresses to identify servers (203.26.36.13 for searchlores.org). Special computers called DNS (Domain Name System) servers translate between the two.
It is not only web sites that have IP addresses. When you connect to the web your own ISP allocates one to you too (in most cases a different one each time: dynamic IP).
When you browse this does not matter much, some internet applications like internet telephones, chat programs and on line games) use IP addresses to connect directly to your PC.
If you need to give your IP address to someone, just run the program winipcfg.exe that you will find in your [c:\windows] directory, while you are on line. This IP configuration utility WinIPcfg.exe comes also handy to diagnose dead connections to the web. Try running it if it looks like you are connected to your ISP but no internet application seems to work. An IP address of 0.0.0.0 and/or a blank "Default Gateway" box (The fourth box after "Adapter Address", "IP Address" and "Subnet Mask" from the main window of WinIPcfg.exe) mean that you are not connected correctly. That could be an ISP problem, or maybe your Dial-Up networking is faulty.
You will be able to find more info about IP addresses (and IP-addresses "confusion") in [obscure.htm].
BTW: you may want to check the data your browser is "leaking around" - right now - visiting this link:
[http://www.junkbuster.com/cgi-bin/show-http-headers]
(will show you all your http headers)

Destroying censorship software
At times you cannot connect because you have been censored. At times this may happen not because some external censorship proxy does it (it happens in China and in the Arabian countries: see the [proxy] section of my site for circumventing that), but because someone has installed some kind of "censorship" software on your box. Here is what you can do to disable such crap.

You may find a lot of good info on Bennett's pages at [peacefire.org], where you will even be able to read the [Blocking Software FAQ], also read this very interesting [statement] (March 2000) by the People For Internet Responsibility - [http://www.pfir.org] on these matters, however, for a "quick immersion" in these matters, just take note of the following tricks:
  1. How to disable CYBERsitter 97:

  2. A fundamental, if old, essay on "The Penetration of CyberSitter'97" has been submitted by the able and good Saruman a long time ago... I regret that I have found it among mountains of email (and immediately published it here) with a 3 years delay... but it is still useful today, and will always be in the future... hence...
  3. How to disable Cyber Patrol:
    Download a program called CPCrack here. If you run this program on a machine with Cyber Patrol installed, it will display the Cyber Patrol headquarters password on your screen. (Please note that CPCrack will not work with versions of Cyber Patrol downloaded after November 1998; at that point, Cyber Patrol changed the encryption scheme for their passwords so that CPCrack would no longer work with their program. We are working on a version that also works with the newer version of Cyber Patrol.)
    Once you have obtained the password, log in to Cyber Patrol by clicking on the Cyber Patrol icon on the taskbar, and entering your password for the HQ password. With Cyber Patrol open, go to File and pick Deputy Bypass. The Cyber Patrol icon on the taskbar will now be marked with a red X to indicate that Cyber Patrol has been disabled. To re-enable Cyber Patrol, go to File and select Deputy Bypass again (which should now have a check mark next to it) to turn off the bypass.
    If you're interested in how the Cyber Patrol password cracker works, you can read Bennett's explanation of how Cyber Patrol encrypts the master password, and how CPCrack reverses the decryption to recover it.

  4. How to disable SurfWatch:
    SurfWatch will now be disabled on your computer. Reverse all of the steps above to re-enable it.

  5. How to disable Net Nanny:

    To disable Net Nanny temporarily:

    Press CTRL, ALT, and DELETE simultaneously, bringing up the task manager Highlight "Wnldr32" and click 'End Task'.

    This will kill Net Nanny until the next time you restart your computer. After you restart your computer or restart Windows, Net Nanny will be running again.

    To disable Net Nanny permanently:

    Open the file c:\windows\system.ini. Under the section marked "[boot]", there should be a line labelled "drivers=" with some stuff listed after it. Remove the word "wndrv16.dll" from the "drivers=" line. (If there are other words listed on the "drivers=" line, leave them there, just remove "wndrv16.dll".) Save changes to the file and restart your computer.

    After you restart your computer, Net Nanny should be permanently gone.



Windoze '95 halves Your Download Speed

Did you know that Windoze '95 halves Your Download Speed?

If you access the Internet primarily by dial-up connection, Win95 may be holding you back... way back!
That's because, by default, Win95 optimizes some of its internal Internet settings for LANs, and not for modems. For example, Win95 normally sets an MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) packet size of 1500, an Ethernet standard. But standard dial-up Internet connections use a packet size of 576 bytes. The packet-size mismatch can lead to needless slowdowns. If you use your company's Ethernet LAN, leave MTU and its related settings alone. But if you access via modem, grab a free copy of Mike Sutherland's MTU-Speed applet at [ http://www.mjs.u-net.com/mtuspeed/mtuspeed.htm ]
This nifty little utility lets you easily adjust MTU and various other Registry settings that can affect dial-up speed. Some users report their download speeds have doubled after using the optimizations suggested by MTU-Speed!

Of course this kind of solution leave you still with a slow and buggy operating system... the real correct solution is to cross over to Linux!. And I don't know of anybody that went back to Windoze after having tried Linux...


All the above is in fieri, of course

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