“My sites down again!” said Spring. “What is Russ doing?” Russ being the person that hosts her site (I offered, but she doesn't want to move the site. Can't say that I blame her.)
“Oh dear,” I said. “I may not be your site.” I'm sitting next to her in the Computer Room at my computer, attempting to check email. “Looks like there's something wrong with the network here.”
I switch over to the firewall. “I can still get out on the firewall.” I then tried to ping my machine from the firewall. Nothing. “That isn't good.” I then start crawling under the desks. “Could you watch that screen,” I said, pointing to the screen attached to the firewall, “and tell me when you see something pop up.” I left the ping program running.
“Okay,” she said.
Now, I'm running a 10Base-2 network here at the house. Primarily because I'm cheap (10Base-2 is also known as “cheapnet”) but also because most of my older equipment only has 10Base-2 connectors (or 10Base-5 but I have 10Base-5 to 10Base-2 transceivers—10Base-5 to 10-Base-T transceivers are very hard to find and also very expensive to a non-hardware hacker like me). One of the problems with 10Base-2—if one segment is bad the entire network is down.
So I spent the next fifteen minutes tracking down the bad segment, which went from the firewall to my computer (the next segment went from my computer to the 10Base-T hub which is where Spring's computer is plugged into). The cable seemed fine which meant that something was wrong with the card in my main machine.
I got Spring squared away and back on the net, and took my computer apart, cleaned all the dust out of it (cough cough). Back together and Woo hoo! It works again!
Thankfully I don't have to find a new network card.