Losing Internet connection on G5 Quad: System log unhelpful

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
February 24th, 2006 • 9:26 am

Well, it’s happened again. All of a sudden, my G5 Quad lost its connection to the Internet again. It became unable to access any Internet services (web, e-mail, FTP, etc.).

The local network was still working fine, but the G5 Quad could no longer “see” that my router—the AirPort Base Station that it is connected to—was connected to the Internet. In fact, I distinctly saw the AirPort status menu extra in the right-hand side of the menu bar lose its “time elapsed” display next to the AirPort signal level icon—as if the G5 Quad could still see the AirPort Base Station, but no longer see that this base station was connected to the Internet.

Based on what happened the last time, I immediately launched the Console application and took a look at the current system log. And there was… nothing. Not a pip about this network failure. This directly contradicts what I saw the last time, and appears to confirm that the console messages I saw the last time were indeed caused by my fooling around with the network settings after the failure had started occurring rather than by the failure itself.

Still based on last time’s experience, my next step was to unplug my Ethernet hub for a few seconds and plug it back in. Unfortunately, that didn’t change anything. I tried fiddling with a few network settings, most notably adding a unique text string in the “DHCP ID” field for each of the two connections from the G5 to the Base Stations (the Ethernet connection and the AirPort connection). That didn’t help.

So instead I power-cycled both the AirPort Base Station and the Ethernet hub at the same time, and reestablished the Base Station’s Internet connection. This time, I got some degree of Internet connectivity on the G5 Quad, but everything was excruciatingly and abnormally slow. I am used to dial-up speeds, but this was about one tenth the normal dial-up experience I get. Unbearable.

So I power-cycled the Base Station and the hub again, but this time I waited for about 30 seconds before plugging them back in, and then I plugged the Base Station back in first, and then the hub.

I reestablished the Internet connection on the Base Station, and after that everything was fine.

What’s the next step here? If the failure occurs again, I’ll try eliminating the Ethernet connection altogether. After all, the additional speed of the Ethernet connection compared to the AirPort connection is useless for the Internet connection, which is so slow to begin with anyway. And I don’t transfer large files over the local network all that often, so the benefits of having an Ethernet connection are limited. We’ll then see if the problem occurs on the G5 Quad even with no connection other than the AirPort connection available.

I am afraid I don’t find this particularly enjoyable. Having your Internet connection just quit on you like this right when you are in the middle of some on-line work is irritating, to say the least.

I still suspect that the culprit is the Mac OS X 10.4.5 update, which would be very bad news indeed. Unfortunately, this would not be the first time a seemingly minor system update abruptly and irreparably breaks something fundamental involving older hardware (which Apple probably no longer uses in any of its testing procedures) that had been working perfectly fine for years before.

I have seen it happen before. (See my posts about being unable to establish a roaming network with two older AirPort Base Stations and a dial-up Internet connection. This was possible prior to 10.3 and worked just fine for me for years. Then 10.3 broke it, and I haven’t been able to get it to work since then. Apple simply ignores my bug reports or try to pretend that this has never worked and has never been supported. Jerks. It worked fine for me in my house for two years, and at least enabled me to use the PowerBook G4 with the lousy AirPort reception everywhere in the house. Now I can only use it in half of the house.)


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