low-impact solution to hung router problem?
October 12, 2008 9:33 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to remotely reset a router from my Mac that is connected to it?

I live in buildingB, and my boss lives with his family in buildingA. Cable internet service comes into buildingA from the street, then is passed through a router to two computers in buildingA, and (by way of a 30? 50? metre ethernet cable strung between the buildings) my laptop in buildingB. My boss is good at that kind of thing (?), so he strung the cable and passed it into my apartment for me. I paid for the actual cable; he isn't charging me for access. Nice deal, right? It's all good.

Except when the internet goes out, which is far too often for my liking. It seems like about once every day or two, I have no access, for anywhere from a half an hour to a half a day. The connection is fine, then suddenly gone. Then suddenly back, seemingly for no reason. I've tried restarting. I've tried unplugging (then waiting) and plugging back in the ethernet cord. I've tried fussing with the Network sysprefs (when I go to the Ethernet panel, it says "Ethernet is currently active and has the IP address xxx.xxx.x.x."), and the Network Diagnostics tool. I've tried pinging with the Network Utility (though I don't really know what I'm doing and don't know if I've got the ipadd right). This has been going on for about 2 months or so, and *seems* more prevalent since the internet connection was changed from ?fibre-optic? to cable.

Since it always comes back (eventually); I'm not paying for it; my boss is bending over backwards for me already, in so many ways; and I like to keep a low profile, I have been reluctant to complain. I'm quite sure that I use the internet here WAY more than my boss does. I have mentioned it to him a few times, and on one or two occasions, he has gone and reset the router, which has worked. Obviously, I don't want to be running to his house every day and asking him to reset the router, and there are times when he is not at home or asleep. I suppose what really should be done is to have somebody come and look at the cable and the router, but I'm trying to avoid that if at all possible.

My question is, generally, what to do? But also, specifically, is there a piece of software that can remotely reset the router? I've looked at the software on my laptop (PowerBook G4), and I've googled, to no avail (the only hint I found is that it might be possible to "change the IP address from the computer" ? ). Please understand that I'll need kid gloves treatment if it isn't basic stuff. Thanks kindly for any advice.
posted by segatakai to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you have the login details for the router, it is probably as simple as going to a web page (often - but the owner of the router should know) and hitting a 'reboot' button.
posted by pompomtom at 9:40 PM on October 12, 2008

Every router I have used allows rebooting from the computer through the web browser. As pompomtom says, you have to know the IP and login to use, but then you get a web page with all the admin tools.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 10:14 PM on October 12, 2008

If you know the make of the router you can look up online how to get to the admin panel (e.g. many Netgear routers redirect all visits to www.routerlogin.com to the admin interface) and then you'll need the login details. If you know the make of router, you can look up the default username/password online, and see if that works - though it sounds like "changing the default password" might be a "thing" of the "sort" your landlord is "good at." Otherwise, you'll have to ask.
posted by so_necessary at 10:41 PM on October 12, 2008

Often times, the router just needs to have its IP address renewed. Here's how you do that:

First, determine your default gateway.
From http://kb.iu.edu/data/ajfx.html
Mac OS X

> 1. From the Apple menu, select System Preferences... .
> 2. In System Preferences, from the View menu, select Network.
> 3. Next to "Show:", select the appropriate port. For example, choose Built-in Ethernet for broadband connections, AirPort for wireless, or Internal Modem for dial-up.
> 4. Click the TCP/IP tab. The number next to "Router:" is your default gateway.

Next, enter this number into the address bar of your browser (often this number will look like either 192.168.x.1, or or something similar)

This will bring up the router's login page. It is basically (as I understand it) an html file programmed into the BIOS on the router which allows you to tinker with the settings.

It will request a user name and password, which, depending on the brand, are by default set to admin/admin, /admin, or admin/. If those default passwords don't work, try googling for its default passwords (once you've determined the brand) or you may need to get that information from your boss if he has changed them from default (which he has, if he know his stuff)

Once you have logged in, you will need to find where to release and renew the IP address. There are lots of screen shots online for this, but most routers are different. For example, in mine, I click the "Status" tab, then scroll down to the "WAN" heading where there are a "Release" and "Renew" button. Click release, then the IP should be Next click renew.

posted by idyllhands at 10:41 PM on October 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Of course, occasionally, the router itself will die, making its remote interface inaccessible, in which case you'll have to go over there and physically powercycle it.
posted by jozxyqk at 3:22 AM on October 13, 2008

I was having similar problems with my router. Instead of allowing the router to dynamically assign IPs to my connected devices I assigned static IPs to each device (via mac address). Since then I have only had to reboot my router maybe once every few months (before that it was nearly every day).
posted by birdlips at 6:41 AM on October 13, 2008

If anybody else has the same question but is using Windows, here are the instructions for Windows:

1. Click Start -> Run. Type "cmd" (without the quotes) and hit enter.
2. In the black box, type "ipconfig"
3. Look for the line that says Default Gateway, something like
4. Type that number into your browser. You'll get a login page. Get the username from whoever setup the router.
5. Click the "Reset Router" button. Depending on the brand, it may be on the Status tab, or somewhere else. Click around until you find it.

Good luck!
posted by fermi at 8:32 PM on October 15, 2008

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