Why does my router change its own name?
January 9, 2010 7:28 AM   Subscribe

Why does my Linksys router keep changing its own name? I go to the Linksys URL,, I give my router a unique name--say, Roxanne--and I give it a solid password and disable its broadcast. All is well. Then, a few days later, my PC fails to connect. When I plug in a cable and go back to the Linksys page, I see that Roxanne is no longer the name. The router has renamed itself "linksys," and so my PC no longer connects automatically. This happens no matter how often I change the name back. Any ideas?
posted by jackypaper to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have any security? Maybe someone else is logging on and changing it.
posted by grieserm at 7:32 AM on January 9, 2010

Oh gosh. Ignore that.
Otherwise: could it be power issues?
posted by grieserm at 7:33 AM on January 9, 2010

How long has this been going on for? I've had bad experiences with Linksys routers, and sorry to report this, have seen it happen right before they died.

It happened to two routers before I switched brands. I got about one year maybe a little less of of each before they died. In fact I've got one in the box right now, just waiting for an RMA before I send back home.

Many companies are selling amazingly poor quality routers these days.
posted by Mutant at 7:36 AM on January 9, 2010

Also: What is the model?

If at all possible, do the easy job of switching to DD-WRT or Tomato firmware.
posted by grieserm at 7:40 AM on January 9, 2010

The model is a WRT54G. Yeah, it's a few years old. At first I thought someone was getting in and changing the name, so I'd change the password to a random string of letters and numbers, just to see. Sure enough, a few days later, Roxanne was changed back to "linksys." All other settings remain unchanged, and it works fine, but because the name is different, my PC no longer immediately connects.

Maybe it's time to invest in a new router.
posted by jackypaper at 7:44 AM on January 9, 2010

Depending on the model, you may be able to do a low-level reset. You'd need to be comfortable opening the thing up and poking at various pins, though.

My trusty ol' linksys wrt54g recently croaked after something like several years of continuous service. Not much warning, though - just lots of wonky behavior, some of it along the lines of what you're describing. I tried the entire slew of resets, pin-jumping and other de-bricking methods in an attempt to keep it alive but nothing worked. Attempts to replace (or restore) the firmware were unsuccessful: the tftp session would start, then die midway through and packet sniffing seemed to show that the network stack was just plain hosed.

In any case, I finally replaced it with wifi-router listed on the dd-wrt compatibility page (a Buffalo WHR-HP-G54) and it's been rock-solid.
posted by jquinby at 7:49 AM on January 9, 2010

I seriously suggest upping the firmware to Tomato before pitching the router. It is seriously easy, and will give you much more control of your router. Do yourself a favor and check the link from above.
posted by grieserm at 7:51 AM on January 9, 2010

I had he same model, and it had flaky behavior right before it died. I got about four years out of it, which seems to be about the norm.
posted by fixedgear at 7:58 AM on January 9, 2010

I've been using linksys WRT54G models for years, and while they work they work great, specially with DD-WRT installed. However, they do seem to flake out and die every few years. I have no idea why, there's no moving parts and they don't run hot, but there you go.

I'd suggest keeping an eye out for a sale and picking up a good one when you find a deal, or when your current one fully dies. I'd also suggest getting a DD-WRT compatible model if you like to have more control over your router. It's easy to install and configure.
posted by beowulf573 at 8:02 AM on January 9, 2010

It's dying. Accept the name linksys until it's dead, then buy a new one.
posted by theora55 at 8:54 AM on January 9, 2010

Does the password change back to the default, too?
posted by rhizome at 10:51 AM on January 9, 2010

Have you tried a firmware update?
posted by ErikaB at 2:36 PM on January 9, 2010

It's the power adapter - I've been through several of these - it is the first thing to go. You could try an alternate/new adapter and see if that helps.
posted by jkaczor at 11:48 PM on January 11, 2010

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