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DSL connection has stopped working in Debian.

The setup.

-Debian Woody with DSL connection (eth0) acting as router for
NAT'd LAN (eth1)
-Using dhc-client for DHCP on the DSL line

Everything was working fine until a reboot yesterday.  Now the DSL
connection is busted.

During bootup, when eth0 is brought up, this is the first thing that

Eth0: Media is unconnected, link down, or incompatible connection.

Now, I've been getting this message during bootup for a while now, but
after a long period of time, the system would continue to boot up and
the network connection would work normally.  Not now, though.
After a long timeout period, dhc-client prints out a lot of DHCP
information that makes it look like it contacted the DHCP server correctly,
but with a "Reason=TIMEOUT" line at the end that I haven't seen before.

Once the box finished booting, Eth0 is listed as not being up.  If I bring it
up, I'm told that it's already up.  If I ifdown it, then ifup it again, there's
another "Media is unconnected error" and a return to a prompt, but the
interface is listed as up after that.  In the system log after I do that, I can
see that dhc-client has gone through the DISCOVER, OFFER, REQUEST,
ACK process, complete with a "Bound to 216.63.xyz.xyz" message.

At this point, I can ping the IP of the DHCP server, and it works.  I can
ping random IPs on the same subnet (probably other DSL customers),
and it works.  But I can't ping the gateway address ( or
anything outside the subnet.   I can't ping the nameservers, because they're
on a different subnet.  Pinging anything outside the subnet yields
"Network Unreachable."  Pinging the ISP's router yields no replies.

The "route" command shows this: * U 0 0 0 eth0

I'm wondering if maybe the ISP's router ( is just down, but
this problem has persisted after nearly 14 hours, so I'd think they'd have
noticed by now.   Or it's possible that the router just ignores pings, and the
problem is on my end.

I'd greatly appreciate any suggestions here.  This Debian box is a web
server and mail server and is considered "mission critical" (yeah, I know
it's dumb to trust a DSL line for anything important, but times are
tough), and I'll have some unhappy users to deal with if I can't get this
worked out.  Thanks a lot!

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