Annoying Router Failure Problem

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Annoying Router Failure Problem

Postposted on Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:04 am

So, over the last 5 months or so, the network at my house has become extremely temperamental. Periodicially, we will get instances of outage. However, it's not your normal outage. If it happens while I am playing a video game, for example, I can usually continue to play the game just fine and dandy. Only reason I ever know at times like these are because my roommates come upstairs to complain because they can't access any websites. I'll alt-tab and try to connect to the router via browser, and get nothing or occasionally it will partially load the login page. This itself varies, as sometimes it loads it as text-only, other times it will load the page fully but when I type in the password and try to login, it just does nothing but clear the password field.

The timing of the occurrences is also random. Some times, our connection will be stable for days on end. Other times, we will have to reboot the router two or three times a day.

Here's what's been done so far:
    Replaced original DIR-615 Router with a DIR-628.
    Convinced WideOpenWest to replace the old-ass 1995-looking modem (new modem is a Cisco DPC2100R2).
    Tried changing a multitude of settings on the DIR-628.
    Swapped the 615 back into the network.
    Swapped the 628 back (it's in use now).
    Contacted D-Link support (email), no response after 2 months. Twice.

And so now I come to you. Some other information you might need to help me out:
    # of Devices : varies, at least 4 though (all 4 computers). Usually features our phones and 360s/PS3s as well, plus my laptop.
    OSes of all computers: 3 Win7, 1 WinXP
    We're all in College.

To be fair to myself, I'm not really that knowledgeable about networking, so, this could be something simple.

Please and thank you!
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Re: Annoying Router Failure Problem

Postposted on Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:22 am

The fact that you're having trouble even getting to the router's login page indicates that the problem is almost certainly with the router or something on your local network. The broadband modem isn't even in the loop (unless you're trying to access the login page remotely over the Internet), so replacing the modem was probably pointless.

Does the problem affect wireless devices, wired devices, or both? If only wireless is affected, you may have an interference issue. If only wired devices are affected, you may have some defective Ethernet cabling or a bad network switch. If both, then you've either been really unlucky (original and replacement router both bad), or something on the network is misconfigured and generating enough network traffic to choke the router.

Edit: I suppose it could also be a firmware bug that is common to both routers. Have you checked for firmware updates? Quality of consumer router firmware varies quite a bit; a few months back I finally got sick of dealing with the flaky firmware in my Netgear router, and rolled my own using Linux and an old PC. The Netgear is still on my network, but doesn't do any routing any more (it is used only as a wireless access point).
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Re: Annoying Router Failure Problem

Postposted on Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:45 am

just brew it! wrote:The fact that you're having trouble even getting to the router's login page indicates that the problem is almost certainly with the router or something on your local network. The broadband modem isn't even in the loop (unless you're trying to access the login page remotely over the Internet), so replacing the modem was probably pointless.

Well, when we swapped out routers the problem persisted. The original router had been running for almost 2 years with no problems up to that point. When we had them swap the modems, the problem went away for about 2 weeks before resurfacing. Also, we had them come in and test it and it fell well short of where it was supposed to be (I didn't ask for details, to be honest), so they went ahead and replaced it.

Does the problem affect wireless devices, wired devices, or both? If only wireless is affected, you may have an interference issue. If only wired devices are affected, you may have some defective Ethernet cabling or a bad network switch. If both, then you've either been really unlucky (original and replacement router both bad), or something on the network is misconfigured and generating enough network traffic to choke the router.

Both are affected. It seems to affect wireless first, then wired, but that could just be who notices it first (laptops are wireless normally, and desktops are wired). I think it's a misconfiguration issue, but I don't know what it would be exactly (hence my last comment in the OP).

Edit: I suppose it could also be a firmware bug that is common to both routers. Have you checked for firmware updates? Quality of consumer router firmware varies quite a bit; a few months back I finally got sick of dealing with the flaky firmware in my Netgear router, and rolled my own using Linux and an old PC. The Netgear is still on my network, but doesn't do any routing any more (it is used only as a wireless access point).


Firmware is up to date on the 628 (1.22NA), and was on the 615. That's a pretty nice accomplishment, rolling your own firmware--how long did that take?
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Re: Annoying Router Failure Problem

Postposted on Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:48 pm

CampinCarl wrote:Firmware is up to date on the 628 (1.22NA), and was on the 615. That's a pretty nice accomplishment, rolling your own firmware--how long did that take?

Sorry, that was unclear. I didn't roll my own firmware; I rolled my own router, using readily available Linux software packages.

(Though I've written low-level firmware for network devices in the past, that was not the case here...)
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Re: Annoying Router Failure Problem

Postposted on Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:02 pm

Just another quick followup...

It is hard to imagine a mis-configuration which would cause these symptoms. For most routers, leaving everything except the WiFi password at defaults should give reasonable results, providied all of the machines on the network are using DHCP (automatic configuration) to get their IP addresses.

Are any of the devices on your network statically configured (DHCP disabled)? I suppose if someone manually assigned their PC the same IP address as the router, that would cause weird stuff to happen.

Is anyone running P2P? Many consumer routers will choke when they try to track the large number of simultaneous connections that P2P clients open.
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Re: Annoying Router Failure Problem

Postposted on Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:32 pm

I have one of the 360s on a static setting, because for some reason it seemed to solve the problems it had with XBox Live. Other than that, no statics.

Yes, there's a fair share of us downloading our favorite Linux distros using BitTorrent, however, that was also the case before the problem started. Just to make sure, I made sure myself and the other guy who torrents uses restricted settings (i.e. no more than 75-100 connections per torrent, and no more than 200 connections tops). Could that still be choking it?

Seems odd that P2P traffic would suddenly start choking the router, which hadn't happened before when I would have, say, 500 connections for a single torrent.

Edit: Though I guess it's possible that it could be that the 615 actually 'failed', and the 628 is choking on the P2P traffic.
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Re: Annoying Router Failure Problem

Postposted on Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:40 am

You said you could continue to play games, were those games also connecting to the internet or were they standalone games? If they are network games, then may be it is just the name server getting knocked out.
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Re: Annoying Router Failure Problem

Postposted on Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:46 pm

I've had similar issues with the 615 router. If you find a solution please let me know.

Now that you mention the torrents, I think my problem was worse when downloading files but it's hard to pinpoint when the network connection dropped. It hasn't happened very often lately but perhaps bi-weekly but I haven't been downloading anything for a while either.
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Re: Annoying Router Failure Problem

Postposted on Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:05 pm

you could always try a custom firmware like dd-wrt or tomato....looks like your old dir-615 is compatible but not the newer dir-628. worth a try to see if that works. once you get it up and running you can mess with QoS settings and you should have no problems. that is unless your ISP is throttling your connection for some reason.
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