VROC: Virtual Racers' Online Connection

GPL and VROC Troubleshooting


Timed Out Opening Communication Channel

'I keep getting a "Timed Out Opening Communication Channel" message when I try to join a race. What's the problem?'

Randy Cassidy says:

Do you have more than one IP address on your machine (both a LAN, and a dialup connection, for example)? If so, after clicking on the host's IP address, look at the "Connect Via" address on the left side of the screen and make sure that it lists the IP address for your dialup. If it doesn't, select your dialup IP address from the dropdown list.

You can also examine the route from your machine to the GPL server using WinVROC's Inspect feature. This will help you determine if the problem is that you have a poor connection to the Internet, or that the host has a poor connection. Look for a high percentage of packet losses and/or a very high ping time on one or more of the routers (aka "hops"). Note whether the problem tends to be at your end (near the top of the page) or at the server end (near the bottom).

If you have this problem with many different GPL servers, inspect the route to several of them. Most likely you'll find that there tends to be a bad router or two near the top of the list. If this is the case then the problem is at your end.

If you see a lot of packet losses on the very first hop, this suggests a problem with your connection to your ISP. You might want to tune your connection, and also consider switching to a USB modem. You can find tips on tuning your connection in the VROC Technical Notes and Eagle Woman's GPL Online FAQ.

If the bad hop is near the top, but is not the very first one, this means that your ISP has a problem. You might want to copy one or more of the route inspection reports and email it to your ISP. If you get no help, consider trying another ISP.

If the problem is one or more bad routers at the server's end, you might want to copy one or more of the route inspection reports and email it to the host, if you can find him or her. Some hosts put a URL to their web site or their email address in WinVROC. You can access this URL by right-clicking on the server in WinVROC's race list. Also sometimes you can locate the host in the chat after the race they hosted is over, or someone in the chat will have an email address for the host.

If your machine is behind a gateway, see the Internet Plus LAN section of Eagle Woman's GPL Online FAQ.


No One Joins

'I host a race, but no one joins it.'

This may be due to an incorrect IP address. Note that Netscape does not reload your IP address when you close your DUN connection to your ISP and reopen it later. If you have a dynamic IP address (most people connected to the Internet through a dialup ISP do have a dynamic IP address) and you disconnect and reconnect while keeping Netscape running, Netscape will continue to report to VROC the same IP address which you had when you started Netscape. Thus, the VROC server will not be able to see your GPL server, and will forever report you as "Starting".

To check this, run Winipcfg.exe in your Windows folder, and compare it to the IP address reported in the upper right of the VROC race list. If they differ, stop and restart Netscape, and re-enter VROC.

If VROC consistently shows an incorrect IP address, you can override this on the applet. See the Options Explanation for more details.

JavaVROC Debug Information

If you are really convinced you've found a bug in the JavaVROC applet, then please copy (click-drag to select all, ctrl-V, new text file, Paste) the contents of the Java Console and mail it to us.

To get the Java Console:

IE: View | Java Console
Netscape: Communicator | Tools | Java Console

If it isn't in the menu, then enable it:

IE: Tools | Internet Options | Advanced | Java VM | Java Console Enabled
Netscape: Always enabled in current versions of the browser.

Other Resources

See also the VROC Technical Notes, WinVROC Help, the known issues section of the VROC Development Notes, and the VROC Tech Support page.