An easier modem power-cycle?
December 16, 2009 4:27 PM   Subscribe

I want to add a power switch to my modem + router so I can easily restart them. Advice?

When my connection poops out, I do the following:
1. unplug my cable modem + router
2. wait a bit
3. plug back in the modem
4. pause, then power up router.

And I do all this by squatting down, moving some crap around on my shelf, reaching behind each and pulling out its power source. I'd like to buy something or splice something so that I can flip an easily-reached switch, then flip it back on and it does it all.

1. do I need to wait (in step 2)? I've heard I need to wait for the ip address to reset.
2. do I need to pause in step 4? I thought I should wait for the modem to do its thing before turning on the router.

If #2 is "no", then I guess I could just get a powerstrip w/ a switch on it. Any better ideas?

Thanks for your help-
posted by cgs to Technology (11 answers total)
2. Yes, you need to wait in order to be sure all the power is drained from the device.

Why not just use a small surge protector? Some come in 4 outlets, maybe less. You can just have that one the desk and plug your two devices into that!

Hope that helps.
posted by John-Michael at 4:31 PM on December 16, 2009

Sorry, I didn't answer question 2.

Powering up the router after waiting for the modem avoids any issues that may occur causing the router not connecting properly because the modem was in boot-up mode.

That being said, I rarely wait. :)
posted by John-Michael at 4:33 PM on December 16, 2009

Head to your hardware store and get one of those little rocker switches that are designed to clamp on to a lamp cable. You can install it on the power cable of the modem at a convenient place and just snap it on and off at will.
posted by Aquaman at 4:54 PM on December 16, 2009

I have had my router and modem on a separate surge protector for years. When I reset, I have never needed to pause for step 4. The case may be different with your hardware; I cannot predict how they will interact. If I were you, I would just get a spare surge protector and try it a few times to see if it works.
posted by AtomicBee at 6:06 PM on December 16, 2009

Get a clapper
posted by Scientifik at 7:02 PM on December 16, 2009

It used to be that you HAD to wait between steps 3 and 4. And more importantly between steps 4 and (unlisted) 5, when you turn on the computer that is attached to that router.

Your ISP is assigning an IP address during this process. It used to be possible for the computer or the router to "snatch" that IP address for itself. Thus causing all manner of havoc. This doesn't seem to happen as often with modern equipment.

I recently "fixed" this problem for some friends, but they were running a bunch of old hardware. (FWIW, the symptom of this problem is, "Only one of my computers can be on the internet at any given time.")
posted by ErikaB at 7:31 PM on December 16, 2009

go to the dollar store and get a 6 foot extension cord. the green ones will be real cheap in a week or two. plug both devices into it, then it into some handy outlet. unplug it from the wall/outlet, count to 15, plug back in.

i don't always count a full 15. i plug them both in at the same time. it works for me but it may not for you.
posted by KenManiac at 7:35 PM on December 16, 2009

If you want the delay, get two X10 power modules plus a computer interface, then configure the computer to reboot the router after internet failure.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:23 PM on December 16, 2009

It doesn't matter what order you power them up. The router should continually attempt to set itself up. It doesn't have any other error recovery options so that's what all home routers do. At least every one I've ever encountered. It is probably slightly faster to do what you are doing since the router won't timeout getting its configuration data.
posted by chairface at 11:47 PM on December 16, 2009

You don't necessarily have to wait, a power strip would probably work. Best Practice is to power down both, then power up the modem, then the router, but really you can just flip the switch on the power strip most of the time and it'll be fine.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:48 PM on December 16, 2009

Response by poster: thanks for the help, everyone... since you have given me the go-ahead for the general power down/up, i think i'm going to buy an extension cord w/ two outlets on the end, and then a power switch. this way i can splice the switch in the middle of it and run the cord up and back, making the switch easily reached, while keeping the actual bulky power sources out of site.

posted by cgs at 8:15 AM on December 17, 2009

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