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Drew Richards

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Member since: Sat Dec 18, 2010, 11:56 PM
Number of posts: 1,558

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Computer Network Diagnostic Basics for Everyone

The number one most requested help problem that technical support receives are problems with Network Connectivity...

They always end up having you do basic network diagnostics first.
Reboot modem
Reboot computer
Re-seat your cables…
Check for INTERNET lights on modem…

But after that…well its gets a little more technical but let’s try to break it down for everybody…

This document is to assist inexperience, NON-Technical computer users in understanding and being able to diagnose the basics of network connectivity for themselves...

This in-turn will give you confidence and a greater understanding of exactly how your computer works on the INTERNET...

Please note: This is NOT a complete diagnostic HOW TO, there needs to be a known issue before you can write a flow chart of diagnostics…

This document instead will explain in laymans terms how your computer talks to the INTERNET and what you can do yourself to understand how your connection works and where it is possibly failing.

Overview: How does my computer talk to the INTERNET anyway?

Your computer hardware(motherboard) talks (LAYERS 1+2 physical layer Transport Layer) to a modem or an Ethernet card which in turn talks to a network connection via an Ethernet cable or wireless connection…this “connection” can be a cable modem, DSL modem, Ethernet wall jack ect…what is important to know is that what we are talking about is the “Physical layer” the hardware equipment involved in connecting…computer motherboard, Ethernet card, Ethernet cables, cable modem or DSL modem…
Think of it as a line of electricity…there must be a GOOD physical and electrical link, between each piece for reliable connectivity to occur…

On top or part of this “Physical layer” are what are called the “Virtual Layers” or better known as “Layer 3 Protocol Operations”. (For more detailed info look up the 7 Layers of the OSI Model.)

Layer 3 Protocol Operations are the brains of the connection and are based on, Software on top of the Hardware…Software includes the Operating System, the TCP/IP stack, DNS service, various installed applications such as a web browser or say an online game…are considered higher levels in the OSI model but this for understanding this basic instructions lets call them layer 3+.

“Layer 3 members”

TCP/IP stack: (transmission Control Protocol/INTERNET Protocol) is the computer software that communicates with your Ethernet card and your connections…DSL or Cable modem…

This TCP/IP stack manages the Routing Protocol either Static routes or DHCP via the Ethernet card and negotiates with your cable or DSL Modem to access the INTERNET.

DNS Services: (domain Name Service) DNS is the protocol that does an INTERNET lookup that translates a domain name www.youtube.com into an IP address or IP address’s and that your Ethernet card can recognize and route to your other applications such as your web browser.

Web browser: Your web browser is a Layer 3+ software application that calls to your Ethernet card to create a communication connection to an INTERNET web site. This is done through the TCP/IP stack and the DNS service.

Ok now that we have an ideal how your computer connects to the INTERNET let’s look at the basic diagnostic tools available free in your windows operating system.

THE DOS WINDOW… also know as Command window or Command line.

This is the executable window you can use to execute basic diagnostics and can be accessed from your start menu and run command…start, run, command.exe or cmd.exe depending on windows version… you should get a black window with a prompt with your hardrive path and username something that looks like this…


Typing "help" or "?" at the command prompt will generate a list of available commands for your version of windows/DOS.

When executing commands…if you have it running and need to get back to the Prompt press CTRL+C To exit interactive mode and return to the command prompt.
Type exit at the command prompt to close the window.

Basic Windows/DOS Tools:
Traceroute (tracert)

Note: each of the executions are first by ip…this bypasses DNS Lookups…very helpful.
The next one uses a DNS lookup to complete execution and if DNS fails the execution will fail.

C:\Users\Drew>ping google2.netgear.com
C:\Users\Drew>tracert google2.netgear.com
C:\Users\Drew>nslookup google2.netgear.com

Ping: How to use ping:

Ping is useful for determining where in the network path that your connection is failing…

If you are having connectivity problems, you can use the ping command to check the destination IP address you want to reach and record the results. The ping command displays whether the destination responded and how long it took to receive a reply. If there is an error in the delivery to the destination, the ping command displays a message… if successful,

Ping reply from bytes=32 time 20ms TTL=44

If it fails the error message returned is:

"Request timed out "

You can use the ping command to:

1. Ping your computer (by address, not host name) to determine that TCP/IP is functioning. (Pinging your computer does not verify that your network adapter is functioning out to the INTERNET only internally that it is responding from the Ethernet Card.)
2. Ping the local router IP address to determine whether the router is running.
3. Ping the Routers Gateway address to see if it is responding
4. Ping beyond your local router out to the INTERNET.

Your ips for example might be:
Your computer ip address:
Your DSL modem gateway:
Your INTERNET gateway:
Ping the INTERNET:

ping to ethernet ip good ethernet card is working
ping to modem gateway good...gateway is working
ping to internet gateway address INTERNET connection to service provider is UP.
ping to good INTERNET is working through your service provider.

Ping alone doesn't mean you can surf...just that you have network connectivity...
Remeber if you attempt a ping using an IP address and it works but when you use a domain name and it fails then you have failed a DNS lookup.

If DNS lookups are failing then web pages will not load or you will be redirected to a service provider redirect page...Please see NSLOOKUP Below for Diagnosing Your DNS Problems..

Tracert: How to Use the TRACERT Utility

The TRACERT diagnostic utility determines the route to a destination by sending INTERNET Control Message Protocol (ICMP) know as echo packets to the destination and reporting back the path they took to get to the endpoint. With extended commands you can add DNS lookups along the way...

In the following example of the tracert command you will see replies from your

1. DSL LAN default gateway ip address.
-This is the ip that is the next hop from your computer
2. DSL WAN Gateway interface.
-This is the IP gateway address that your service provider assigns to your DSL router..
3. Next Hop…
-This is the IP address of the other side of the service providers gateway that will then traverse his network until it hits the INTERNET and then traverses the INTERNET until it hits

Translates to google2.netgear.com

1 DSLrouter.netgear.com
2 DSL-myINTERNETprovider.com
4. core1.myINTERNETprovider.com
5. google2.netgear.com
Trace complete.

This is a good trace and shows that it was able to get to the site...now try it with tracert google2.netgear.com and see if DNS resolves to let you do the same trace or... if it fails then DNS lookup is your likely culpret...

Tracert is useful for determining where in the network path that your connection is failing…

Through this traceroute you can see if it is internal to your network or the gateway or out on the INTERNET where the connection is failing…

Nslookup: (TESTING DNS) How to use Nslookup:

Nslookup.exe is a command-line administrative tool for testing and troubleshooting DNS servers.

This tool is installed along with the TCP/IP protocol through Control Panel.

To use Nslookup.exe, please note the following:

1. At least one DNS server must be specified in your TCP/IP stack or from your nslookup interactive command line…

2. Nslookup queries must have a trailing period so that it does not append additional domain information…example nslookup youtube.com. see the trailing period…

Nslookup.exe can be run in two modes: interactive and noninteractive.

Noninteractive mode is useful when only a single piece of data needs to be returned. The syntax for

noninteractive mode is:

nslookup -option hostname server


nslookup www.youtube.com.

This replies with the IP addresses that www.youtube.com. Responds from…

To start Nslookup.exe in interactive mode, simply type "nslookup" at the command prompt:

C:\> nslookup (enter)
Default Server: nameserver1.domain.com
-Default Server: This is your default DNS server you have set in TCP/IP or being injected via DHCP from your router or service provider…
-Address: This is the translated address for that DNS server…

Interactive mode prompt looks like this..
C:\> nslookup (enter)
Default Server: dslrouter.netgear.com

Now you can specify a DIFFERENT DNS server to test if your current DNS is the reason you are failing to get to web pages.

>server (enter)
Default server google2.netgear.com
>www.youtube.com. (enter)

name: www.youtube.com.

And...If you determine it is your Service Providers DNS that is causing you all these headaches well you can go into your TCP/IP stack and change your DNS from dynamic to Static and enter Google DNS and for secondary.

How to get to TCP/IP settings:
start button
control panel
network sharing
click on change adapter settings..
right click on ethernet or wireless adapter
go to properties
click on the words tcp/ip V4 protocol to highlight line
click on properties
change DNS from dynamic to use the following settings...
enter google DNS IP addresses

And there you go...

Hope this helps and is not too confusing…

With the use of ping, tracert and nslookup

you can determine if you are connected and/or where your connection is failing to work properly for the INTERNET and web browsing…

It has been pointed out to me that I am not strickly adhering to the 7 layer OSI Model...please understand I have tried to reduce this to the most basic knowledge so that you will have a quick understanding of basic network diagnostics...For me to detail the 7 layers would be more information than I believe most need for understanding ping, tracert and nslookup.

For more detailed analysis of how communicationw works between computers and the INTERNET I encourage the curious to look up the 7 layer OSI model that all communications actually follow.

Video Link to 7 layer OSI model training:


Links to more detailed commands for use with ping tracert and nslookup

Thanks for reading,

Posted by Drew Richards | Sun Aug 17, 2014, 06:55 PM (11 replies)

GMO's are they safe? There is no way to be sure yet...there are no absolutes in young science...

Let me say up front...

If you really wanted to get your view across, you would not attack and be condescending to posters that do not agree with your opinion on this delicate subject.

You would post your knowledge and let the chips fall where they may...

But that lately never seems to occur with the GMO discussions...they always devolve in to snide aside comments and barely passable personal attacks on people with legitimate fears for or against the entire GM Industry.

SO, before this devolves into a snipe fest let me present my "opinion" on the subject..and then you can post your opinions on my statements.

Fair enough?

1. Monsanto, Dupont and other GM producers will not allow ANY studies of their various designed seeds unless they get company peer review control on publishing and public disclosure rights...meaning if your study finds ANYTHING anomalous they can veto or "AMEND" your publishing rights and issue a gag order on all parties involved. Additionally they have not released or allowed to be released any independent (KEY WORD INDEPENDENT) US long term (over 6 months) studies of the effects of their various products on the environment, plants and animals...with their studies criteria detailed...

Yes yes I have seen your studies links...they are of limited value due to their limited selective listed control groups and sparse non-definitive summations...not to mention there are no Independent duplicate resultant studies...

In truth if we want to read independent studies we have to read European or Far Eastern studies since they ignore GM producer's demands for publishing control...but then all those studies are considered woo by the pro GM crowd.

Which leaves only the GM companies "approved" studies for us to review...

I do not agree with this whether it was for a GM plant or a New Pharmacutical...I want independent review to be able to duplicate results...

This is concerning for various reasons mainly...

A. The unknown potential of a GM product being harmful is actually increased since they will not allow independent public review of the quality and toxicity of the product on other plants, animals, people and the environment...

B. The loss of species biodiversity due to absolute control and ownership of the seed produced from growing their products.

C. The infecting or mutation of non-GM crops from open air natural crossbreeding causing potential litigation and loss of product for others producers from these mega companies... destroying independent farming's ability to grow NON-GM crops...

That being said, I don't think all GMO's are dangerous but there are GMO's that I WILL NEVER AGREE WITH...it doesn't matter if their own scientist claim it is safe...currently there are no long term studies that have been INDEPENDENTLY VERIFIED to PROVE it is safe...and to me, it is unnatural to consider eating them...

To be Specific:

Drought resistant Corn, Wheat, Soybeans and Sugar Beets that have had biologically mutated DNA inserted from other SPECIES not of their species or Genus...amphibian DNA.

For those who don't know this is the main product strains that they are shipping to drought stricken countries in Africa and the Middle East...at least until countries started banning them...they are also grown in the US in a limited fashion.

This is the crux of my aversion to GMO Products...cross breeding and hybridization within a species I have no problem with...

Crossbreeding and hybridization within a subspecies and or Genus I have no problem with...

BUT WHEN YOU TAKE DNA from one species and remap it into another...
and then market it for animal and HUMAN consumption...
AGAIN for the REWRITE artists...

you go against all of the history of natural selection, natural hybridization and natural cross polination... and frankly don't really have a clue the ramifications without very LONG term intensive independent duplicated studies...

You are playing Russian roulette with our lives for profit and I don't like it. Even worse are the pro GMO'ers with little to no knowledge of genetics claiming they know these products are safe because they read a study...

And then these same arm chair warriors attack and denigrate us when we want to know if a crop has been GM with another species via labeling?

At least that is what I demand labeling for...

They can't claim they are doing all this for science, or to educate us "little people".

Any explanation they attempt to give comes off condescending and elitist...it is not for ANYONE to tell us we are dumb for being suspect of a product that we do not believe has been tested enough for us to trust that it is safe...and it is not up to them to tell us what we can and cannot think is a reasonable precaution in food safety...namely if it is CROSS-SPECIES GMO I want to know and listing Country of Origin...

Companies fight against labeling obviously because if we knew we would be less inclined to eat it or feed it to our animals...until WE believed the science!

This again is the view of people that don't give a fuck about our health or welfare vs the profit margin from feeding us their wholly owned and controlled product...

I really can't speak for the motivation of the few posters that keep repeating the same attacks against people that oppose GMO's...

there are many different Opposing GMO groups who have different reasons for opposing GMO's.

My opinion is one grounded in available science...and I do NOT believe the science is in yet on the safety of certain GMO's and their long term affects on the Health, environment and on bio-diversity...

Species Cross Breeding:

In the case of the drought resistant strains they used Amphibian DNA...No fucking way in nature could this have happened...to me that is unnatural and should be suspect...and I want more testing before I eat it...but since there is no labeling there is no way to know if we are being genetically harmed in the short or long term...by these products..now is there..

In respect to HI-Yield Corn and Wheat they have introduced Porcine DNA to stimulate rapid growth and higher yields...(yes it works but again just because it works doesn't make it safe...)one set of seed used European pigs and another from North American pigs.

Yes I know there are potentially many great discoveries and cures from Genetic Modifications Insulin Production for one...but that has...

NOTHING TO DO WITH!!! the wholesale consumption of plants... and animals that eat those plants, who's modifications were used solely for rapid growth and climate resistance...

The Insulin development was for ONE specific use and then the rest of the "product" plant is destroyed...not given to animals or people to consume...now are they...NO they are not...

You notice I have not mentioned the whole argument over Glyphosate or Roundup...

The reason is that that is just a small part of the objections people have...Me personally I think it is a bad ideal to introduce Gn into plants when we already know that Gn is toxic in long term studies...and that it produces super weeds causing the need for MORE herbicides to counter the new super weeds created.

But that is not my main objection...

Mine is introducing cross species plants into our food chain without verifiable, duplicable, long term studies on the effects to the environment, plants, animals and people...

There you go, have at it.

Posted by Drew Richards | Sat Aug 16, 2014, 09:33 PM (92 replies)

One poster mentioned a restraining order...i like that but would say if you really want to

Give him a wake up call on his behavior...i would ask EVERYONE that was present to request restraining orders and or tell him or you sister he is no longer welcome in there presence or on their property.

It doesnt matter if he might never go to their homes its the uniform exclusion and voiced repugnance of his actions that might make him take stock of his disgusting behavior.
Posted by Drew Richards | Fri Jul 4, 2014, 07:15 PM (0 replies)

Their Jesus is a bronze bull standing outside wall street...

Posted by Drew Richards | Tue Apr 8, 2014, 10:05 PM (0 replies)

He basically posted the conversation breakdown from redqueens original post on the Indian PSA

It showed exactly when it went from a discussion to a male bashing attack and who was involved. Unfortunately by pasting that conversation and analysis I guess it was construed as a personal attack against one person from that exchange...if you wish to see it and deduce for yourself when red queens important psa post was hijacked into a bashing session I would suggest you go read the thread again...it starts fairly quickly....too bad too the PSA post needs more coverage less incivility...
Posted by Drew Richards | Mon Dec 30, 2013, 01:57 AM (0 replies)
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