Router question

The elderly couple I help sometimes with computer stuff is reporting to me that they lose Internet access frequently, and the problem clears up when they reboot the router. Then it happens again.

Any idea what could be causing this? When I installed the router, I enabled DHCP and set two of the three computers to use it. I’m wondering if the third computer, one I didn’t have access to, might be using a fixed IP and creating conflicts.

Any other thoughts before I go over there?

Possible, also be prepared to do a firmware update. Set all the DHCP reservations to a long period, make sure there are plenty to go around, maybe toggle MAC cloning to the other setting.


Is it wireless? Perhaps there is other equipment nearby that are interfering causing the lost connection. You can try setting it manually to a specific channel to see of that clears things up.

I realize they’re an elderly couple, but are they torrenting? Streaming video? Skyping with grandchildren? Anything like that? Some little home routers will just eventually lock up under load and need a little lie down.

I posted in another thread that their adult daughter has been torrenting, but the connection failures happen even when she’s not home.

I believe at this point everyone’s wired to the router.

She might have left her computer running at home when she left…? Or she’s torrenting using her parent’s computer?

Another anecdote: When I download something from Steam over wireless, all other computers at home loses their wireless connections, until I pause the Steam download. I suspect Steam is essentially torrenting itself, since I don’t get this problem with a single-connection download like normal HTTP links. I blame my crappy Bell DSL/wifi modem/router.

I remember that I had a buffer overrun problem with an older router which would cause it to reset itself. It would happen when torrenting. It got fixed with a firmware upgrade.

I’ll check into the firmware thing. Until I can get over there, I’ve asked her to log the times when it quits working to see if I can correlate it to something the daughter might be doing. If their service runs smoothly when she’s not home, it’s a lot more likely to be the torrenting.

Thanks, guys!

Does The Torrenter leave the client running and connected?

It’s probably just a shitty router flaking out after a while. Is the router a Netgear, Linksys, or Belkin? How old is it?

I don’t remember the brand - either a Netgear or a Linksys. It’s maybe several months old. I helped them pick it out. I’m leaning toward a configuration issue or maybe a modem crapping out.

Mine would freak out when I would max out transfer speeds on the network with too many connections. It’s not uncommon to have a few downloads going between Steam, Windows update, and uTorrent, web browsing, and a half-dozen HD Youtube videos loading. On my computer. Throw in the 360, two laptops, and two phones and we saturate the hell out of our networking equipment. The little sucker would get burning hot and stop. Standard unplug-wait-replug always corrected it.

If rebooting the router fixes the problem, then it’s not the modem crapping out. It’s the router taking a shit because it can’t handle moderate traffic.

Is it possible/common for defective hardware/firmware to result in wireless to failing outright for no good reason all of a sudden while wired remains fine? I.e. no router settings changes, no increase in number of concurrently connected wireless devices, nothing unusual going on on network, good channel, etc. Wired connections do fine on my Linksys WRT310N but yesterday the Wii couldn’t reach the internet all of a sudden, and then neither could any other wireless devices. The devices would connect and the router would let them in just fine, but only wired devices could actually reach the internet. I reset the router a few times and then ran out of troubleshooting time. I forgot to try rebooting the Comcast modem, will try that first thing when I get home tonight.

I dunno, but you can check the wifi channel again. Maybe your neighbor bought a kicky-ass new gaming wifi router, and turned its power to 11, wiping out your channel in the process? (I set this up for a friend of mine, which might explain both his neighbors moving…naaah can’t be…)

Yeah OK, I’ll try that after rebooting the Comcast modem. Then I guess I’ll try reverting to factory defaults. Weird how wireless devices lost internet access suddenly, one-by-one, rather than a more gradual degradation.