Internet connection failure: Sometimes it’s the PRAM

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
February 16th, 2005 • 9:45 am

I had the weirdest experience in a while this morning. I started the iLife ’05 installer and had to leave my office, so I left it on, assuming it would just complete the installation by itself.

I had to give a training session at the university 15 km from here — and during the training session I noticed that there was a very short power outage. It was not enough to shut computers down, but it was enough to make the lights flicker.

When I came back home several hours later, my computer was completely frozen — except for the display sleep. The displays were asleep and they came back on when I pressed a key, but then everything was frozen — including the iLife installer, still in progress.

I had to do a hard reset. But then after this I noticed some weird symptoms — the worst being that I was no longer able to get anything from the Internet. My local area network was still mostly working — although there was one AppleTalk printer that I could no longer see. But nothing was coming from the Internet through the modem connection in the AirPort Base Station.

I tried all kinds of things, clearing this cache and that cache, resetting my Network preferences, rebooting, unplugging some cables and plugging them back in, etc. All of it to no avail. I couldn’t get any mail, couldn’t load any web pages, couldn’t even ping any outside server in Terminal — but I could ping my AirPort Base Station without any problems. I tried rebooting the Base Station. I tried resetting its parameters. Again to no avail.

Then finally out of desperation I reset the PRAM in Open Firmware (cmd-opt-O-F during start up, then “reset-nvram” and then “reset-all“).

And it worked! Everything was back to normal after that.

The bottom-line? If your Internet connection is no longer working, but everything else is working fine, especially if it’s occurred after a weird freeze or power glitch, try zapping the PRAM. You never know. I sure wish I had known right away. Would have saved quite a bit of time!

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