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How to diagnose iSeries Access connection problems -- Part I

What do you do when your laptop won't keep its connection to your iSeries? Andrew Borts walks you through some steps you can take to figure out what the problem is.

I was having a problem that stumped me something fierce. I have a work laptop, and a home laptop. They both hook into my own iSeries-AS/400 servers using 5250 communications (emulation/green screen -- whatever you want to call it), and occasionally my home laptop needs to connect into my work iSeries servers and verse visa. The problem came when one 5250 session on my WORK laptop kept dropping the signal to my WORK iSeries servers. Within six minutes (I could set a timer) and pow! No more connection.

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Hey, you say, what about that second laptop? You said you had two? That laptop had iSeries Access on it, and one worked just fine -- communicated all day without a problem. Wait a second: You have TWO laptops with equal copies of iSeries Access? Now that's where I had to check if I had the problem. One was installed to the HIGHER Service Pack; the working model was using the last service level. (Did you know that they could recall a PTF? Keep your eyes open for that!) OK -- time to back out the Service Pack on my PC.

Note: All of these examples are based on a Windows XP professional system. If you're using an iSeries or AS/400 with iSeries Access or Client Access, I HIGHLY encourage you NOT to use the home versions of any operating system.

This service level can be backed out using the ADD/REMOVE Programs utility from the Windows control panel. Every time I install service packs, I make sure I CAN back them out if necessary. Simple enough, but that didn't help my problem.

Where else can one look on a PC to see discouraging things that may be stopping us? Darn these PCs. If only they had a Job log -- but they do, kinda.

Open up your control panel, and click on administrative tools. Then Click on Event Viewer.

Here you'll find things that programs may be complaining about -- breadcrumbs, if you will. But these clues are exactly what are needed to find problems.

Click on the Application, Security, and System tabs to see what's going on internally.

IPCONFIG is the command you can use to see what's happening with your own configuration. Typing IPCONFIG ? produces the following:

I would use IPCONFIG /FLUSHDNS (in your MS DOS Window) to clear out trouble internally. Also, do you know your PC has a routing table?

Type ROUTE PRINT, and you will see your PC's routing table. Typing ROUTE ? produces the following:

Now, these are things that affect your PC.

Unfortunately, the solution to my problem wasn't to be found here. And so the hunt continues. Next time I'll show you how I ended up resolving the issue.

About the author: Andrew Borts is webmaster at United Auto Insurance Group in North Miami, Fla. He is often a frequent speaker at COMMON and is past president of The Southern National Users Group, an iSeries-AS/400 user group based in Deerfield Beach, Fla.

Dig Deeper on Physical connections to iSeries