Linksys tech support



  • So I just got a new router (WRT54G) and it's rebooting itself randomly.  This is happening amid some cable company problems (packet loss, dropped connections), so part of the reason I got the new router was to rule out that the old one wasn't the source of my problem.  I've heard of bad cable connections sending some kind of poison signal to routers and killing them, so I figure I'll call Linksys tech support to ask their opinion before the cable guy comes out tomorrow.....

    Their web site says that they're only open until 8PM pacific.  It's a good thing I'm in central time and it's 6:30 there.  But when I call it's pretty clearly a guy in India that answers.  Are they really that cruel that they don't let anybody in India work normal business hours relative to their location?

    So the first guy pretty quickly forwards me to a "senior technician" when he realizes I'm more technically inclined than the usual caller...

    The senior technician asks me what the problem is (again) so I tell him, the router's rebooting itself intermittently.  Senior tech asks to open a new internet explorer window...just in the name of being thorough, I ask him if firefox is OK (i told the last guy I was running Linux...they should know better).  He tells me I should really use IE, but the fox should be OK.  Walks me through some basic configurations, all the while talking to me like I'm his grandma (see that boxy thing that says "ok" on it?  yeah, move your mouse over there and press the left button...).  During this process, the router crashes at least 5 times, with me cursing and telling him about it every time.

    Finally get all the config changes he wants done.  He tells me to go to the laptop and make sure I can load a web page (I picked worsethanfailure.com to be my test).  Yeah, the laptop connects fine.  "OK. now can you please tell for me the exact problem having you are for this laptop?"

    Did he not fucking hear me when I told him the router was rebooting itself?  Did he not hear me all those times I said "it happened again"?  Why did he ever think my laptop was a necessary part of the equation?
     



  • Screw linksys, just turf their crappy firmware.  I believe the latest release candidate (RC3) of DD-WRT v24 now runs on WRT54G v7 and v8.  At least then if they problem DOES persist, you can use syslogd to get some very detailed logs about what the hell is going on when it reboots, which would help your diagnosis.



  • @vt_mruhlin said:

    Their web site says that they're only open until 8PM pacific.  It's a good thing I'm in central time and it's 6:30 there.  But when I call it's pretty clearly a guy in India that answers.  Are they really that cruel that they don't let anybody in India work normal business hours relative to their location?

    It likely goes further. After 8pm pacific, the manager probably gets up, and yells out to everyone, "Right people, remember we're now supporting Britain! Back to work everyone!"

    'sides, they probably pay well in areas of high unemployment. In this country, I'm sure if someone offered you several times your current wage/salary for a job, but it was nights, you'd accept.



  • @misguided said:

    Screw linksys, just turf their crappy firmware.  I believe the latest release candidate (RC3) of DD-WRT v24 now runs on WRT54G v7 and v8.  At least then if they problem DOES persist, you can use syslogd to get some very detailed logs about what the hell is going on when it reboots, which would help your diagnosis.

    If I understand it correctly, some newer versions of this router won't  take 3rd-party firmwares.  The last one I got was the WRT54GL, which was released in response to backlash about the "locked" versions.

    There's a good comparison here.
     



  • @m0ffx said:

    @vt_mruhlin said:

    Their web site says
    that they're only open until 8PM pacific.  It's a good thing I'm
    in central time and it's 6:30 there.  But when I call it's pretty
    clearly a guy in India that answers.  Are they really that cruel
    that they don't let anybody in India work normal business hours
    relative to their location?

    It likely goes
    further. After 8pm pacific, the manager probably gets up, and yells out
    to everyone, "Right people, remember we're now supporting Britain! Back
    to work everyone!"

    Dunno which planet you come from, but this planet Earth doesn't revolve in that direction! :-)




  • @DaveK said:

    @m0ffx said:
    @vt_mruhlin said:

    Their web site says that they're only open until 8PM pacific.  It's a good thing I'm in central time and it's 6:30 there.  But when I call it's pretty clearly a guy in India that answers.  Are they really that cruel that they don't let anybody in India work normal business hours relative to their location?

    It likely goes further. After 8pm pacific, the manager probably gets up, and yells out to everyone, "Right people, remember we're now supporting Britain! Back to work everyone!"

    Dunno which planet you come from, but this planet Earth doesn't revolve in that direction! :-)


     

    That's so darn funny about that being backwards. He just skipped over every time zone  in the US.  (unless it was time for Brittain to wake up again)



  • @misguided said:

    Screw linksys, just turf their crappy firmware.  I believe the latest release candidate (RC3) of DD-WRT v24 now runs on WRT54G v7 and v8.  At least then if they problem DOES persist, you can use syslogd to get some very detailed logs about what the hell is going on when it reboots, which would help your diagnosis.

    Yeah, part of the reason I bought this one was to do just that.  I'm a little averse to installing new firmware on something that appears to have bad hardware though.  That way when I return it, they can pretend that I bricked it trying to install the new firmware.

    Given some more troubleshooting that I've done on my own, I know it's not the cable company's fault (because it still happens when I'm not connected to the modem), and it only seems to happen when I've got wireless enabled on the router--even if nobody's connected wirelessly.  Interference from other wireless devices is less likely, since it correllates with actions on my part (i.e. moving from one tab on the config page to another).  My guess is there's bad memory somewhere, which only happens to get touched when the wireless stuff is loaded.



  • @shadowman said:

    @misguided said:

    Screw linksys, just turf their crappy firmware.  I believe the latest release candidate (RC3) of DD-WRT v24 now runs on WRT54G v7 and v8.  At least then if they problem DOES persist, you can use syslogd to get some very detailed logs about what the hell is going on when it reboots, which would help your diagnosis.

    If I understand it correctly, some newer versions of this router won't  take 3rd-party firmwares.  The last one I got was the WRT54GL, which was released in response to backlash about the "locked" versions.

    There's a good comparison here.
     

    according to the dd-wrt site, v8 works but you have to do some magic trick.  I honestly didn't know that part when I bought he thing though.  Might have to swap it out for the 54GL when I return this POS...



  • I had a similar issue with my wireless Linksys router. 

    When I would use lots of upload bandwidth (through FTP upload or BitTorrent), the router would shut down all communication except for that wide bandwidth application.  At that time, the modem and the router would have to be reset.  Never had the problem with my Linksys non-wireless router.

    I bought a Netgear wireless router and am having many fewer problems.  When it shuts down, it's only for a few minutes at a time, and it comes back by itself without having to be reset. 

     



  • Ouch, worst thing my router does is stop gatewaying any connections that use port 80 (maybe https too, not sure), requiring a reboot as its management system uses (guess what) http. It only takes 3 days for this to happen.



  • @pitchingchris said:

    @DaveK said:
    @m0ffx said:
    @vt_mruhlin said:

    Their web site says that they're only open until 8PM pacific.  It's a good thing I'm in central time and it's 6:30 there.  But when I call it's pretty clearly a guy in India that answers.  Are they really that cruel that they don't let anybody in India work normal business hours relative to their location?

    It likely goes further. After 8pm pacific, the manager probably gets up, and yells out to everyone, "Right people, remember we're now supporting Britain! Back to work everyone!"

    Dunno which planet you come from, but this planet Earth doesn't revolve in that direction! :-)


     

    That's so darn funny about that being backwards. He just skipped over every time zone  in the US.  (unless it was time for Britain to wake up again)

    Oops...but my point still stands. Just the other way around.

     



  • @vt_mruhlin said:

    according to the dd-wrt site, v8 works but you have to do some magic trick.  I honestly didn't know that part when I bought he thing though.  Might have to swap it out for the 54GL when I return this POS...

    You might prefer to do that; upon closer inspection, while v24 RC3 apparently adds support for v7 and v8, those routers only have 2 MB of flash, so you're going to have to use the micro version.  You're not going to have access to most of the services you can otherwise run, which is most of the point of using a third-party firmware.  The L series is only $10 more and might be more what you're looking for.

    Personally, I'm experimenting with the asus WL-500W (also supported as of v24 RC3, though I'm considering giving openwrt a whirl on it instead as you can do more with open if you can get it to work than you can with dd)...  All I have to say about that is:  Two USB ports.  Two 500 GB hard drives in external USB enclosures --> 1 TB of samba file sharing on the local network and openvpn from a remote site over tcp, and unattended torrents... all without any computer being on.  The router basically just becomes a totally silent, ultra-low-power media server, download manager, and remote access store.... in addition to giving me that ssh tunneling for privacy at work or school...  for $150.

    Hey, if you're gonna do it you might as well go all the way with it, right? ;)

    (the only problem with the WL-500W is that it's a draft-N router with a 100baseT wired backbone.  So I can get 270 megabit wireless access to my 100 megabit wired network...  now THERE's a wtf in itself.)



  • @misguided said:

    @vt_mruhlin said:

    according to the dd-wrt site, v8 works but you have to do some magic trick.  I honestly didn't know that part when I bought he thing though.  Might have to swap it out for the 54GL when I return this POS...

    You might prefer to do that; upon closer inspection, while v24 RC3 apparently adds support for v7 and v8, those routers only have 2 MB of flash, so you're going to have to use the micro version.  You're not going to have access to most of the services you can otherwise run, which is most of the point of using a third-party firmware.  The L series is only $10 more and might be more what you're looking for.

    Personally, I'm experimenting with the asus WL-500W (also supported as of v24 RC3, though I'm considering giving openwrt a whirl on it instead as you can do more with open if you can get it to work than you can with dd)...  All I have to say about that is:  Two USB ports.  Two 500 GB hard drives in external USB enclosures --> 1 TB of samba file sharing on the local network and openvpn from a remote site over tcp, and unattended torrents... all without any computer being on.  The router basically just becomes a totally silent, ultra-low-power media server, download manager, and remote access store.... in addition to giving me that ssh tunneling for privacy at work or school...  for $150.

    Hey, if you're gonna do it you might as well go all the way with it, right? ;)

    (the only problem with the WL-500W is that it's a draft-N router with a 100baseT wired backbone.  So I can get 270 megabit wireless access to my 100 megabit wired network...  now THERE's a wtf in itself.)

    Is the limited wired bandwidth going to be a problem in practice, though? The wireless side of things is a hub environment, with the available bandwidth reduced by being half-duplex, with collisions and sharing reducing it further. The wired side, on the other hand, is a switched environment, so you get the full 100Mbps.



  • You are lucky... With me they just plain ol' surrendered and said you have a faulty router (they forgot to mention that their router chokes to death when too many connections are open)... whopse!?!?!? GO INDIA( And all the Johns, Janes, Marrys and Steves who work there, because apparently those are the only 4 names used in India)



  • I've seen older linksys hardware that crashed regularly, but the last two WRT54Gs I've purchased have been rock solid.

    You might upgrade your firmware (as in, to the most recent official firmware).  Depending on who you bought your router from, it may have been sitting in a warehouse for a few months, and missed a crucial firmware update.
     



  • I have a WAG354G, and I'd like to advise you all to not go anywhere near one of these with anything less than a tactical nuke. The wireless is very flaky (depending what device you connect with), it has real heat issues, it crashes at random (though it has behaved for a month or so now, which is a nice change), the web interface is slow as hell, and it doesn't seem to actually apply any forwarding options you set (I had to set myself as the DMZ and reboot a time or two in the end). Would you believe it if I mentioned that this was the improved situation with new firmware?



  • I have a WRT54GS v6 and the goddamn thing has been nothing but trouble.

    -Only really works right on channel 1. Fails randomly on any other channel. Except for yesterday when only channel 4 worked, but then come today only 1 works. (This is a known issue and is a problem with the radio circuitry.)

    -I replace the crap vxworks firmware with DD-WRT micro and it works some better and has a lot more features, but still sucks.

    -It still fails randomly, especially under heavy traffic (usually at 95% through moving a huge file). More often the higher you turn the encryption. Also more often on warm days.

    -I start to think it might be a heat problem, so I open the thing up. The CPU has no heatsink and nowhere to mount one, and the chip is BURNING HOT even when it's idle! I installed a small 12 volt fan inside and it helped some. Later I managed to wedge a heatsink from an old Pentium between the main board and the fan, which helped some more.

    -Seems it fails more in G mode than B, so I now have a slightly less crappy 11 Mbit network.

    -The network still disappears occasionally and performance is really flaky from time to time.

    I'm thinking about buying one of the other routers that can run DD-WRT, but they use the same Broadcom chip so I'm kind of worried abou overheating...



  • @misguided said:

    Screw linksys, just turf their crappy firmware.  I believe the latest release candidate (RC3) of DD-WRT v24 now runs on WRT54G v7 and v8.  At least then if they problem DOES persist, you can use syslogd to get some very detailed logs about what the hell is going on when it reboots, which would help your diagnosis.

    WTF?

    Man, I am so putting this on my blog, under "Geek Circle Jerks"



  • I once had a D-Link with this symptom (rebooted itself randomly on high traffic - and ALWAYS when nmapping it). In the end, we found out that it was a bad power supply... it simply needed more current on high traffic, and the voltage dropped too much.



  • @OperatorBastardusInfernalis said:

    I once had a D-Link with this symptom (rebooted itself randomly on high traffic - and ALWAYS when nmapping it). In the end, we found out that it was a bad power supply... it simply needed more current on high traffic, and the voltage dropped too much.

    That's something I have been pondering.  My power is pretty crappy.



  • @Carnildo said:

    Is the limited wired bandwidth going to be a problem in practice, though? The wireless side of things is a hub environment, with the available bandwidth reduced by being half-duplex, with collisions and sharing reducing it further. The wired side, on the other hand, is a switched environment, so you get the full 100Mbps.

    In my situation the wired bandwidth is not an issue anyway, as I'm accessing drives that are directly hooked up to the router.  So theoretically I could get better transfer speeds from the wireless than the wired because it's the faster connection to the router...  But of course you're OUTRAGEOUSLY lucky if you manage to get close to 270 mbps of throughput out of a USB 2.0 drive.  Damn serial bus.  And the hardware and drivers that it's running on is obviously a bottleneck too.  In practice I didn't get above about 92 mbps of disk read on DD-WRT.  But really, what are you using 270 mbps FOR, and what's your data source?  I don't think there are any residential internet providers giving more than 25 mbps, and even at that speed you're not actually GETTING that transfer rate unless you're traveling a fibre backbone; too many hops on the traceroute and you're cruising the same speed as everyone else.  Sure, if you have files on a drive in a machine on the local network, theoretically SATA-II is 3.0 gbps and your gigabit LAN drops it down to 1.0 gbps, but between disk seek and read speed and processor and other I/O bottlenecks, and dropping it down the bus, across the network, and up again...  I think you'd be quite hard-pressed to keep that 270 mbps ceiling full of data enough to enjoy the theoretically fast maximum.

    So, no.  270 mbps is super-unlikely in practice, and in my low-power computerless data center paradigm that can't run above USB 2.0 (someone wanna build a router with eSata plz?  kthx), obviously impossible.   But it's also an investment in the future, right?  There are definitely some people who would be annoyed to pay an extra $50 for 270 mbps draft-n wireless and then find that the wired backbone is only 100 mbps.  You still get that extra 46 mbps over wireless G though, so I guess it's still worth it.  And the range is wildly extended.  But, still a wtf.  A lot of people purchasing a router in that class are expecting gigabit-to-gigabit realm transfer on their wired network, it's not just about the wireless.



  • @TunnelRat said:

    @misguided said:

    Screw linksys, just turf their crappy firmware.  I believe the latest release candidate (RC3) of DD-WRT v24 now runs on WRT54G v7 and v8.  At least then if they problem DOES persist, you can use syslogd to get some very detailed logs about what the hell is going on when it reboots, which would help your diagnosis.

    WTF?

    Man, I am so putting this on my blog, under "Geek Circle Jerks"



    I don't get it.  What's the problem with that post?



  • Nothing, nothing at all.  But it is so "Inside Baseball" that it has a place on forums that are not so low-level. 


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