I just want the damned router to work.
September 20, 2009 9:41 PM   Subscribe

Is my wireless router dead? If not, how do I fix it?

The details, as I understand them:

I'm on a Mac. I have cable internet via TimeWarner, and an RCA Cable Modem. When I plug the ethernet cable from this modem directly into my computer, I am able to access the internet. When it is plugged into the wireless router, I am not.

Currently, on my wireless router (Netgear WGR614 v7), when the ethernet cable from the modem is plugged into it, the only light that turns on is the power light, and, of course, the network does not appear in the list of available networks. I have tried: unplugging and replugging the ethernet cable, unplugging and replugging the power cord. No change. The Netgear website infuriatingly refers me to the user manual to "troubleshoot the light status," and the user manual just tells me to turn it off and on again, with no indication of what to do if that doesn't work.

I have, over the past several days, had increasingly spotty wireless, and last night, the signal was dropping every minute or so, but when it was there, it was as strong as normal.

Is there anything I can do, or must I just go buy a new one?
posted by ocherdraco to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
It sounds like your router has a bad amplifier. I've gone through three routers in the last month with that problem (one went bad after a move, the replacement was from a bad batch, and the replacement's replacement was from the same bad batch), and my symptoms sounded a lot like yours.

The only solution is to buy a new router. I bought a Linksys, and it's finally working.
posted by J-Train at 10:13 PM on September 20, 2009

I'm assuming you've done the standard unplug, let sit for 5 min, then plug in and try again. If so and still no joy then you can try pressing the reset button on the back and see if that helps. There could also be a problem with the port status lights themselves but I find this to be very unlikely. Since you've been experiencing increasingly more problems with the wireless network status I'd guess it's probably a hardware malfunction and it's time for a new router.
posted by white_devil at 10:16 PM on September 20, 2009

The modem's ethernet cable should be plugged into one particular port on the router; the photos of your model on the Netgear site seem to indicate the port that is closest to the antenna. (It might be labeled "WAN" or "Internet" or something to distinguish it from the other ports.) Can you make sure that you're plugging the modem into the right port on the router?
posted by scatter gather at 10:17 PM on September 20, 2009

Response by poster: I'm definitely in the correct port (this isn't a new router; I've had it for two-ish years). I'll do the plug/unplug thing one more time and then if it still doesn't work for me, I'll call it a day and get a new router.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:24 PM on September 20, 2009

Additionally, it might be good to remove wireless from the equation, just in order to get an idea of whether the router is failing. Most consumer-grade routers in my experience will still dole out DHCP leases to clients (e.g. your Mac) even if the internet connection isn't working. If you connect your Mac directly to the router via ethernet cable, do you get a lease? (Unfortunately, I'm not sure how to tell on a Mac.) If not, I'd guess that the router is functionally dead.
posted by scatter gather at 10:34 PM on September 20, 2009

To repeat white_devil: you could see if pressing the reset button does anything.
posted by Pronoiac at 7:51 AM on September 21, 2009

(Although then your wireless will go away & you should access your router with Ethernet to configure it.)
posted by Pronoiac at 7:52 AM on September 21, 2009

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