Making ‘em Like They Used To

Well, it’s been a little over a week now, and the verdict on the router-reset issue is:

Linksys Wins!

internetSince switching to the Linksys, I’ve had zero router resets and my Internet connection has been rock-solid. My Mozy online backup has been able to run each night without interruption, and during the day my work (which often involves some IP-based telephony) has been fine as well (nothing more irritating than making an IP-phone call and having your router reset!!).

I still don’t know what was causing the Netgear router to reset frequently – but at this point, I really don’t care. I don’t know what I’m going to do with the Netgear router, either – I’d sell it or give it away, but knowing that it has this problem makes me feel guilty. So I guess… into the great bit-bucket in the sky it must go.

I’ll be sad to see the Netgear go – I always had a soft spot for Netgear in the past. Their products retained that “metal enclosure” look long after Linksys and others had jumped on the “plastic” shell bandwagon back when home networking became “popular.” And those metal-shelled products were easy to rack mount, with the right brackets, which was always nice.

But now, all home networking products are plastic-shelled, and some (it would seem) are no longer as high-quality as they once were.

As for me – I’m just glad my ‘net connection is reliable again. Internet, ahoy!

Icon courtesy of the Crystal Icon Set.

They REALLY Don’t Make ‘em Like They Used To

This is the latest in a series (previous entries here and here) on my quest to have a rock-solid, reliable Internet Gateway Router.

Network ConfigurationWhen I last wrote about this, I had gone to Netgear Tech Support, and they said my router was bad, and we were going to exchange it. So, the new unit came, I returned the old one, and…

…still the same problems.

Personally, I’m inclined to think there’s a fundamental flaw with the Netgear WGR614 v7 router itself. But whatever I think, I still need a reliable Internet connection, and the Netgear wasn’t providing it. So, to test for the possibility of outside interference (maybe it’s my cable modem that’s the trouble, or some power fluctuation in the outlet?), I went out and bought a new router from Linksys instead.

The new one is a Linksys WRT54G2 wireless router. It’s basically the same as the popular WRT54G, except in a new box with internal antennas. Since my wireless range needs are rather small, I didn’t mind the internal antennas, and (strangely) this model is slightly cheaper than the WRT54G.

modemSo, now my home is being served by this device. I’m downloading some big files (like, say, the Ubuntu Linux LiveCD ISO via Bittorrent) to put some stress on the device. We’ll see how it turns out.

Basically:

  • If it resets like the Netgear did, we know the problem isn’t the router.
  • If it doesn’t reset, then the problem was the Netgear itself (although it’s still technically possible that the Netgear was simply more susceptible to some outside interference – but let’s be realistic, Occam’s Razor and all that).

I’m keeping my fingers crossed – here’s hoping I can start this new year with a router that doesn’t reset itself spontanously several times each day!!

Icons courtesy of the Crystal Icon Set.

UPDATE: The Conclusion of the Saga

They Still Don’t Make ‘em Like They Used To

Long-time readers will recall that slightly less than a year ago I finally replaced my venerable old Netgear RT314 router with a newer Netgear WGR614 v7 router.

Ever since then, I’ve been battling with an intermittent problem – the worst kind to debug. At seemingly random intervals, the router would reset itself – dropping my LAN connection (and of course any wireless connections) for a few seconds until it finished rebooting.

For a while, I thought it was my Internet connection dropping (and the router was just resetting to reconnect). There wasn’t much I could do about intermittent Internet connection problems (short of going with a different ISP)… but something didn’t seem right.

I wondered why the router would be resetting when the Internet connection was dropped. It seemed a little… unusual.

Since it was an intermittent problem, it was terribly difficult to diagnose. (When you can’t make a problem reoccur, it’s really hard to debug.) But eventually I realized it wasn’t the Internet – it was the router itself. (Coincidentally, it just reset while I was writing this post!)

I had heard horror stories from people that they had to reset their routers frequently, after a certain number of packets had been sent. But that didn’t seem to be the case here – sometimes, it would reset twice in a short period of time (less than an hour), and I knew I wasn’t sending that much data (I monitor my network usage).

It wasn’t terribly catastrophic in the grand scheme of things – it did, after all, work normally after a few seconds of disconnection. But it WAS annoying – and worse, it seemed to be interrupting my on-line backups with Mozy. Although Mozy can recover from Internet connection problems, when the router resets it literally powers off the LAN ports for a moment – causing Windows to react as if the network cable has been unplugged (and producing a message to that effect). This would wreak havoc with any long-term network connection, as you would imagine!

So finally I decided I had sufficient evidence to go to Netgear’s tech support with the problem. After the usual run-around from tech support (upgrade your firmware, reset all your settings back to the default, lather, rinse, repeat, etc.), they told me it must be a hardware problem.

So, now I’m facing returning my router – not a pleasant thought, as the usual routine is to return the defective device (at your own cost) and then wait a week or more while a replacement in shipped. In the meantime, you have nothing.

Although I could always fall back on my venerable old RT314, I now have a Nintendo Wii, which connects wirelessly, not to mention Amanda who works from home at times with her (obviously) wireless-connecting laptop. So no wireless in the house for a week or more was no good.

Fortunately, Netgear does offer a pre-ship option, where they’ll ship you the new unit first, and then you can return the broken one. You pay for it (for the shipping both ways), but it’s not too bad. And it prevents me from having to be without a (wireless) router for a week or more.

So that’s where we are today – the new router is on its way, and when it gets here I’ll return the one I have now. Then, we’ll see if this was just a fluke (a.k.a. bad quality control) or whether the overall quality of Netgear products has decreased from when I bought my old RT314.

I guess we’ll see…

Internet connection icon courtesy of the Crystal Icon Set.

UPDATE: The Saga Continues yet again…