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Technical Q&A > Arghhhh router problems

I'm having a problem on a site that is driving me nuts. Periodically the broadband (or router) goes down and usually this happens at the weekend. The monitoring station call me "no connection to site" the owner has a hissy fit until the staff turn up on monday, reboot the router and hey presto interweb.
This router has been in for about three months, replacing the original which also had the same problem and is supplied and supported by an out sourced IT company.
I put a call into BT (there's probably no need to go on at this stage, however) they say that there is nothing wrong with the line and no maintenance worked has been done at the exchange during the down times.

The router is running in stealth mode so I can't ping the public static IP to see if it's there and is configured as a nailed up connection. I assume that with this config the router carries on trying to "handshake" until it sees a connection.

I'm guessing that it's not a power out issue as this would effectively be like a reboot and if indeed the broadband is dropping for some reason how come the router doesn't spring back to life?

Any ideas would be welcome.

August 4, 2009 | Registered Commenterclint green


I have had a similar problem in the past.
I managed to track mine down to heat. I don't know what environment yours is sitting in. If it is part of a stack it may be an idea to separate it?
I had mine on top of a switch, and it seemed the extra heat that would produce was enough for it to become unstable. Can't think what 'electronically' was going wrong though...

Also what sort of router is it? ie. consumer or 'enterprise' grade?

Just a thought, hope it helps,

August 4, 2009 | Registered CommenterTom

I had a router off ebay, it wasn't a used one and it worked fine for about a month until it kept doing what yours seems to be doing, dropping out. Instead of being cheap and going to the cheap ones (one of which was from pc world) I forked out for an £60 Netgear one and it is running day and night (I have a sling box so I can watch british tv in saudi, although in very poor quality) and it has not dropped out once. It looks quite good as well. I've had it for about 18months, 2years? No problems. So, maybe it is your router that has gone wrong, another option is getting one of those timers used for lights and have it programmed to turn on and off on an hourly basis at weekends. It might do for the time being.

August 4, 2009 | Registered CommenterJamie

Do you know what the MTU size is, I seem to recall PPPoE having an 8 byte overhead, and reducing the MTU to 1492 bytes could stop sporadic disconnects. Might be talking crap here though, not really my area.


August 5, 2009 | Registered CommenterNicky Curtis

The router is not subjected to any heat as it sits on top of a cabinet and if memory serves it is a cisco product not one of the usual suspects.
I know that BT use PPPoE and I am pretty sure without looking that the router will be defaulted to 1500 MTU which is also the max number of packets for ADSL. I half see the reasoning for holding 8 bytes back and is certainly worth a try.
As far as periodic reboot goes I considered installing either a GSM module with relay outputs connected to the routers power supply, so that would enable a remote reboot or even a 3G router as a back up.

I know that this is probably unrelated but where the router lives there is also a wireless bridge that we installed, It's a bit of a beast (up 32k line of sight) which also has a tendency to require the odd reboot, but only the PtP master. On my last visit to site I plugged the router and the bridge antenna into the servers UPS thus eliminating mains drop out and spikes.

Last night I got a call to tell me the wireless link had gone down then later that there was no connection at all.

I wish that I could get my head round this one.

August 5, 2009 | Registered Commenterclint green


Have you tried changing its location slightly. I once had a similar issue and just moving the router a foot or two solved the issue. I know copper pipes aren't meant to be magnetic but we discovered that there were a load of pipes buried in the wall quite near to the router and these could interfere with the magnetic field in the near vicinity. We confirmed this issue by moving it next to another wall with a load of pipes in and the problem returned. Moving it at least 3' away from the walls solved the problem.

One of those 'strange but true' issues.

No harm done trying it anyway.

Good luck.

August 5, 2009 | Registered CommenterNot Jamie

I don't know much about routers apart from TCP/IP but if you told us the brand and spec, others might be able to help?

August 5, 2009 | Registered CommenterJamie

Is it a wifi router? If so it's possible someone is trying to attack it. Sending fake packets to it in an attempt to capture the handshake and get the WEP/WPA key. This then will cause anyone connected to get booted off. Although having said that, that should affect the internet connection.

August 9, 2009 | Registered Commenterjoey pesci

then if he either locks it down some more or changes the details or tries a new router then we can get to the bottom of this...

August 9, 2009 | Registered CommenterJamie


its cisco .. what model?

do the logs show anything?

what type of internet services are used?

does this happen in the week?... and/or how often?

is the line shared with any other equipment?

microfilters okay (on each phone/fax/modem etc)?

which ISP?

made any changes around the time the problems started?

August 9, 2009 | Registered CommenterSupernova

and if we can't resolve it, get a netgear one, mine has been on now for 18months and has never had any problems, and Nick: It is still the same speed as it was when I got it.

August 10, 2009 | Registered CommenterJamie

"get a netgear one"

netgear > CISCO .... ROLF!!!!!!

I just reread his post ...

"supplied and supported by an out sourced IT company"

I just realised he probably doesn't have access to the console , further reading this seems to be the case as all his checks are external to the router.

August 11, 2009 | Registered CommenterSupernova

RE clint green

I know that BT use PPPoE "

BT tends to be PPPoA thats what there IPSTREAM service is based on.

if your ISP uses LLU equipment then it could be PPPoE as the ISP uses there own equipment in BT exchanges.

August 11, 2009 | Registered CommenterSupernova

Didn't know Netgear owned Cisco (or was it t'other way round?)

anyway, never had a problem with netgear,

and as for "Wearing out the inter tubes", Nick? I have had it running almost non stop for nearly 2 years and had no performance decrease.

August 11, 2009 | Registered CommenterJamie

Hi Guys,

Quick update, as usual with 3rd party IT companies, they say that there is nothing wrong with either the router or the set up and they don't want anyone meddling with "their" kit.
So with that I have firmly dropped the headache back on to their toes and told them that the client needs it sorting PDQ.

I am however very seriously thinking of suppling the customer with a 3G network. A company called Vianet provide 3G sim and router set ups with what is effectively a public static IP via their own servers, in fact they do back up for all the lottery machines in the UK.

Cheers for all the feedback.

August 11, 2009 | Registered Commenterclint green

"Didn't know Netgear owned Cisco (or was it t'other way round?)"

They dont! (nothing to do with each other)

i was pointing out that CISCO equipment is vastly superior to Netgear

August 11, 2009 | Registered CommenterSupernova

Oh, I see now.

I still stand by netgear for home, but most corporate networks will probably want to use cisco or linksis.

maybe it is a brand name thing

August 11, 2009 | Registered CommenterJamie

netgear do SME products (not corporate or al least not many)

linksys are own by CISCO but are more Home and SME ( not corporate or al least not many )

CISCO caters for corporate to SME, there are industery certiifcations that CISCO techs train for and companies pay goog money for specialises in CISCO equipment. The products dont tend to be plug in and configure from a pretty web UI. These are powerful, flexible, feature rich beasts of the router world.

August 12, 2009 | Registered CommenterSupernova

So this router is one built into a rack?

(server racks nick, not the other sort...)

August 12, 2009 | Registered CommenterJamie

"the router is not subjected to any heat as it sits on top of a cabinet"

Jamie, please read posts before you reply. It is very tiresome when people ask questions that have already been answered.


August 12, 2009 | Registered CommenterTom

"So this router is one built into a rack?"

no it sits on a branch up a tree.

August 12, 2009 | Registered CommenterSupernova

All right sarky, I'll read the previous posts in the future tom...

August 12, 2009 | Registered CommenterJamie