the need for power cycling network devices - unavioidable?  easily prreventable? older hardware is more susseptible?

Posted on 2007-08-06
Last Modified: 2013-12-11
here in the northeast, we had some really good thunderstorms on Friday night.

1 client had a couple issues that were resolved by power cycling the devices (1 was a comcast cable modem and 1 was a netgear 4 port switch).

Both devices were connected to APC power devices - the cable modem to a UPS and the switch to a surge supporessor.

What are your expert thoughts on this? Should devices need to be power cycled (1st time in months if ever),  if you were throwing money at the 'problem', what would you do to elimiate this (the non techie users get all flustered and untill they get me to walk them through the power cycle of the devices, they don't get work down / annoys the boss.  And I went there sunday to power cycle the cable modem because remote users couldn't get in, which annoys me.  They are on surge / ups devices.  so the blip is below the filtering voltage of the surge device?  a 200v blip gets trhough the surge, but is enough to cause these couple year old devices to hang?  Replace the devices?  

so certainly, there's bigger issues that could happen.  But is a rare power cycling just something to do and not think about trying to avoid?
Question by:babaganoosh
    LVL 27

    Accepted Solution

    Just my own humble opinion, but if you look at the troubleshooting steps for a lot of hardware, one of the very first steps to try is to power cycle the device.  The reason for this, is because it works in a large number of instances.  Personally, I just deal with the power cycle issue when I have to.

    As to how to eliminate this problem - wish I had an answer for that, I'd quit my job and live off the earnings :).  I have devices that are the same as what you describe, on a ups, yet a short blip in the main power sometimes causes the unit to need a power cycle.  I think any fix would have to begin at the manufacturer of said device.  Better quality components?  A circuit redesign?  Their own little sensor for "oops, power blipped, guess I'll reboot myself"?  Problem is, the more self-aware you want a piece of hardware to become, the more it's going to cost.

    If I do have a piece of hardware that is continually in need of cycling, then I will consider replacing it.  Or, if it's a pc, replace the psu, or run other hardware tests.  When you get to modems, then you have to try to convince the ISP that it needs replacing.  
    LVL 87

    Assisted Solution

    This is unavoidable, and since you've only had to do this once in a while I wouldn't do anything about it, it's not worth the hassle.

    These devices are just small PC with memory, software etc., and like all PC's they will crash once in a while. Sometimes if it happens often you might be able to reduce the crashes by updating their firmware. You might also be able to reduce crashes if you have them connected to some automated power off / power on mains rail which you could time to shut them off at a given, unproductive time, then turn back on.
    LVL 32

    Assisted Solution

    Most of the times a networking device like switch, hub, modem, router hangs and first remedy is to reboot the device. If you wish to have capability of remotely reboot devices, you can utilize remote power management; but I am not sure how cost effective the solution would be for a small office/home office/single user.

    Remote power management solutions are implemented in data/operation centers where downtime is critical, the devices are spread across globe and the budgets are huge.

    For a small user when compared to cost involved, rebooting the devices is worth the effort. I would suggest you to educate your users on how to reboot the device which can help avoid unnecessary trips for you.

    Many a times if you are able to reach a device configuration page you would have options to reboot/reset the device [webUI or CLI or some management software].

    I remember when I got a call last night from field when one of the firewall had stopped sending HTTP traffic out; we had uploaded a small config to the unit which somehow was not complete. The device was operational by all means but internet was not accessible. We rebooted the device and that was it. Lucky for us we could connect to the device using the management software and then rebooted the device.
    LVL 91

    Assisted Solution

    try putting those devices on a power rail with a switch, so you can cycle all with 1 switch.
    even the simplest employee should be able to reset everything then

    Author Comment

    The switch and the modem are in different places in the office, so a single power switch won't work here.

    The gist of the question was - is having hardware that hangs once in a while (and once in a while being less than 1 x every few months month?) 'acceptable', something you shrug and reboot without thinking more about it?  I think you guys are saying, yeah, it's something  you deal with, not frett over!?

    mich - good point about cycling power being step 1 in troubelshooting... but should it need troubleshooting after routine use?  Nothings perfect I guess.

    thanks guys!
    LVL 27

    Expert Comment

    No problem, glad to have helped.

    And yes, the extremely short answer is "yep, it's something you deal with."



    Author Comment

    thanks!        : - )

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