Wireless AND Wired networking issues
January 25, 2008 12:25 PM   Subscribe

Yes I have read all these wireless router problems . I'll try and make it more interesting....

For the last couple of years I have been running the following set up
Cable Modem (Current: Toshiba PCX2600, ISP provided)->Motorola VT2442 (Vonage) Router -> Linksys WRT54GL 1.1(running tomato) or DLink DI-624 (dlink firmware) -> Computer(s) with various ISP's without any significant issues. Since moving to this apartment (ISP pat media/comcast in central NJ) have been having problems maintaining connectivity with both wired and wireless setups.
CM = Cable Modem, V = Motorola Router, LS = Linksys, CMP = Computer(s)
Testing scenarios:
1. CM -> CMP (wired)
Works like a champ, Have been sitting on this chair working for the last 6 hours, no drops.

2. CM -> V -> CMP
I can get to the internet about 20% of the time. Rest of the time, I cannot even ping the ISP. All this while Vonage phone service is up and running, I can talk, make call, receive calls no problems there, just cannot get to www

3. CM -> V -> LS ->(wired, wifi off) CMP
Same as no. 2

4. CM ->V -> LS -> (Wifi) CMP
For the first couple of days I was able to connect wireless to the www for 4-6 hours without dropping connection. Now it'll connect maybe 5% of the time and rest of the time no connectivity at all (no pings anywhere). Vonage is up and running all the time.
Any CMP wired to V/LS is not able to connect either.

5. CM -> LS -> (Wifi) CMP and (Wired) V
I only started trying this after #4 started having issues
But the results are the same as #4

I can get to all the computers/printers on the network with both wired and wireless setups, no issues there.

I have done the following:
- Hard reset on all hardware
- Any changes in configuration are done with power cycling to all hardware starting from the cable modem forward (all off, CM on -> wait , V/LS on -> wait -> LS/V on -> wait -> CMP on ) wait has ranged from 5 mins to 4 hours between each component
- Tested LS at a friends place ~ 6 hours no issues with connectivity wired or wifi
- Tested with DLink, exactly the same failure pattern as LS
- Tried to use my own Cable modem, but 2 days and the ISP still could not "see" the modem when I connect it to cable.
- Tried all the usual wifi tricks (no security/changing channels/changing transmit rates etc)
- Changed my power strip as suggested in one of the threads
- Any call to ISP is dealt with "Is it working fine with the cable modem directly? Yes? Call the router company..."

So have I missed anything in my testing? or can I do something else/more to get more than one computer connected to the pipes without trying more hardware?
I have a suspicion that it might be the cable modem, since that is the only hardware that has changed in my setup from the last couple of years.
Connectivity/speed is fine when I am connected directly to the cable modem.
And also when the cable guy came for the installation he said that he had to "cut down" the signal as it was "too strong" from the cable box outside or using a splitter to do so , not sure which was it.

Any and all insights/test plans are appreciated, will provide more details as are asked since it has me completely stumped for the last 4 weeks and I am willing to gut the routers if only to find what is causing the problem.
posted by Papa Mango to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Response by poster: Oops, When I say drop connection while on wifi, I mean the network is connected, I just cannot go on to the www. No pings anywhere.
posted by Papa Mango at 12:29 PM on January 25, 2008

All of these sound somewhat like problems I was having that I eventually traced to DNS. The key was that some services worked (because there were existing connections) and others didn't, or that services would work for hours (with cached DNS entries, it turned out) and then suddenly fail. Have you tried your tests (such as pings) with raw IP addresses?
posted by The Bellman at 12:49 PM on January 25, 2008

Get the Vonage router out of the loop completely. I had a Vonage setup not too long ago and had to get the router completely replaced (for free) after it died in a somewhat similar fashion after 5-6 months. Even after that I'd have intermittent problems with VoIP, but I think this was due to the ISP and a lack of network neutrality.

Unless you have access to an exactly identical setup (ISP and cable modem), I'd just get Vonage to replace the router. If that doesn't fix things, at least you know that router isn't the problem.
posted by Nelsormensch at 12:50 PM on January 25, 2008

Response by poster: Bellman: Yes, I have done that. Most of the time I would notice as my work VPN connection drops. I usually pick up the phone to check internet connectivity and voila the phone is working.
Nelsormensch: See, I know I forgot to add a test case. Scenario 4.5:
CM->LS->CMP (No Vonage)
Results are same as #2
posted by Papa Mango at 1:10 PM on January 25, 2008

Clone your PC's MAC address on your router. Then hook it up CM -> LS -> (Wifi) CMP and (Wired) V and give it a try.

When the Comcast guy "set up" the cable, did he install software on your PC?
posted by Nerro at 1:46 PM on January 25, 2008

One thing that I often forget to check but always remember to ask when people need help is if you've tried various cables. I find this is a problem more often than one might think and it's very likely that the one constant factor in all your tests is the one of those cables you are using once you hook up a router or access point.
posted by advicepig at 1:50 PM on January 25, 2008

Some things to check:

- Check your cables.

- What's your IP when you directly connect up to the cable modem? Quite often cable modems have an internal router and will assign you private IP's (192.168.* or 10.*). Then if you were to hook up another router (V or LS) then you would run into issues where the WAN IP of the router would be the same as it's LAN IP - generally speaking you don't want to hook up a router to another router unless you know what you're doing. Quite often you can disable the router portion in the cable modem by setting it into "Bridge Mode". You can call up your Cable ISP and have them walk you through this.

- It could be link speed issues. Often the router will try to "auto-negotiate" with the cable modem to detect whether to connect at 10MB/s or 100MB/s etc. Sometimes this negotiation fails between two devices because of hardware incompatibility (not sure why, but it happens). I'm not sure if you can explicitly set the link speed within the tomato firmware but i wouldn't doubt it. I know you can in the d-link. Just set it to the lowest value - your internet connection is much slower than the connection between your router and cable modem.

- You should be able to use another cable modem. If it's not being "detected" then call the cable company, and they can usually get things working. Usually.

You can mefi mail me if you have more questions.
posted by escher at 2:12 PM on January 25, 2008

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