Network Weirdness – Update

As noted in the previous (October) post on my network ‘weireness’, the new keyboard has resolved all issues with the mysterious key presses and characters appearing when connecting to unix boxes of all flavors and locations.

What did not go away was another problem – mysterious session ‘resets’ that would occur randomly during file transfers from my remote co-locate server. Simply put, for no apparent reason and at random but frequent intervals, the download would stop and the remote unix session would die with a “session reset” error.

After observing exactly what was going on when the session would die, I realized that the only common occurrance was that I was using a browser (Netscape) or email (Thunderbird) to access web pages or email. This seemed odd, but deserved a closer look.

I don’t really want to play super detective with the network stack. Wireshark is awesome, but diagnosing what exactly caused the event you capture is tedious and frequently without a solid answer. I could see the session dying, but the reason “unexpected xyz in abc” is not that much help when it’s something in the windows stack that’s involved.

Instead, I tried a simple test: don’t use email or browse the web AT ALL during the download. Just wait. I’ve done this twice now and the downloads proceeded without any interruption and the session never died. A third time I let it go for quite a while, then started browsing and … the session died. Quit browsing and the session ended normally.

Since downloads of backup data can take several tens of minutes, waiting can be boring, but it’s still better than resetting the session frequently.