Westell DSL Modem internet turns off when desktop pc is shut down

Hi Everyone,

           I have a very unusual problem going on with my Westell DSL modem which is noticed whenever my Compaq desktop pc is shutdown.  In a nutshell, if the desktop pc is shut down, the internet gets knocked out.  And, the only way of getting back onto the internet is powering back up the Compaq desktop pc, then, repowering the modem back on which allows the Internet light to come back on as well.  

           In terms of hookups, the DSL modem is interfaced with the WAN port of a Netgear N300 Wireless Router which interfaces with the onboard NIC or LAN port of the Compaq computer.  The operating system is Windows XP Pro SP2.  

            I have thought about just leaving the pc powered on all the time, but, I was not sure how safe that would be especially when I am not at home.  

            If someone could get back with me regarding this concern, it will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance for any attention and shared insights given to this rather unusual problem.

           Thank you

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Are you saying that you lose wireless access? Or is it that you lose internet access on other wired  PCs? Is it that you keep having to re-boot the modem every time you power on the PC?  A little more info please (sorry)

GMartinAuthor Commented:

           I am sorry for not making this concern clearer.  At the moment, both wired and wireless access to the internet are working but only because the main pc with the direct ethernet connection to the Netgear wireless N router which is connected to the Westel DSL modem is powered on.  However, if I shut down this pc, I loose all internet access both wired and wireless.  And, the steady green light for Internet on the DSL modem also turn off.  

            I hope this helps.

           Thank you

One thing to try would be to disconnect the Compaq PC that seems to be causing the problem, leaving it powered on.  You should be able to unplug the ethernet cable even with the Compaq on.  If you do this while everything is powered up and you can use the internet, and you lose your internet access on everything else, it would seem your Netgear router could be the culprit.  

Still, I'm thinking that you may have a configuration problem as far as your IP addresses, etc.  I once had an IP conflict on a network with two devices having the same IP address, and everything worked great unless I turned on the PC with the conflicting IP address.  (Sort of the opposite of what you have.)

Also, make sure that you haven't somehow configured your network with Windows in such a way that the Compaq is acting as a gateway itself.  All of your computers should have the default gateway IP address the same and it should be the IP address of either the Westell or the Netgear router WAN port.  
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GMartinAuthor Commented:

          I never did any manuel configuration of the wireless setup.  The wizard of the Netgear software did all of the configuration for me.  You brought up the point the Compaq pc could be acting as the gateway itself.  If that is the case, how can I confirm that?  When I run ipconfig at the DOS prompt, I get the following information:  

           IP address:  
          Subnet Mask:
          Default Gateway:

          I am not sure if this IP information helps any, but, that is the information I got about this setup.  

GMartinAuthor Commented:

          I want to take a moment and provide an update to this post.  As suggested, I disconnected the ethernet cable from the LAN port of the wireless router: left the ethernet cable running from the DSL modem to the WAN port of the router connected while the pc was still powered on.  Then, I powered off the desktop pc; noticed the Internet light on the DSL modem is still on and active.  Apparently, it looks like the culprit is either the LAN port of the router causing the issue or perhaps the LAN port of the desktop pc.  While I did not get a chance to test the wireless part while the ethernet cable was disconnected, I did notice the light on the router for wireless was a normal light and did not show signs of a problem.  Besides, I can not see the disconnected ethernet cable from the LAN port or "wired" connection dropping the "wireless" functions of the router.  While wired and wireless connections are integrated into the Netgear router, I believe the two are independent of one another. The wireless part of the router likely gets the information it needs through the WAN port which has a direct ethernet connection to the DSL modem.  

                  I thought I would provlde that as additional information which might prove helpful.  At least one good thing out of this so far is that I know I can power the pc off now without worrying about dropping the internet connection of the DSL modem by simply disonnecting the direct wired or ethernet connection between the LAN port of the router and the desktop pc.

Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
See if this http://www.dslreports.com/faq/7815 describes your setup.
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
I just noticed your other question.  Is your Compaq computer plugged into a network port on the Netgear router or into the USB port?  It should be connected thru a network port.
I have another idea from some past experience, but not directly with Westell DSL modems.  Some DSL modems provided by ISP's *require* software to be running on a computer on the internal network to establish and maintain connectivity.  If this was the case for your ISP, this could explain the problem.  Disconnecting the network interface from the Compaq to the Netgear is really the only worthwhile test because there won't be anything the NetGear does itself related to a DSL type of connection - those work in any environment with any type of connection (cable, dsl, etc.), they are not dependent on any individual computer, so turning off the Compaq after that  doesn't identify any relevant information.  Let me make sure I understand your setup.  Does it look like this:

Equipment connectivity
Assuming I understand your setup and assuming the DSL modem requires software, here are the steps I'd recommend:
Step 1. Can you tell us the model of the Westell.
Step 2. Do you recall having to install any Westell drivers at some point on the Compaq to get the service running.  This would be the first clue that this is probably the culprit.  Check your Compaq computer for software running anything that refers to "Westell", "modem", or "DSL" driver, etc.  You want to look for running processes or services.  Just in case you want to know where to look, open Task Manager and click the Processes tab.  The other place to look would be to choose {Start-Run} and type "services.msc" and look at services that are "started".
Step 3. Ask your service provider if the DSL modem works independently from any computer or if it requires a running computer to function properly.  (Actually, if you have immediate access to tech support from the ISP, I'd just do this first to confirm or eliminate my entire assumption about this dependency.)

Unfortunately, if this is the case, you will have to keep some computer powered on that has the software running so that the connection stays active.  I don't think you can put this software on all computers, but you can ask the ISP if that would be an alternative.  If this turns out to be the case, this confirms this Westell DSL modem is old technology that your ISP has provided because that is not the way all or any modern DSL modem work.  It previously was necessary *many* years ago, but no longer.

The way to answer wgenglan's suggestion to check if the Compaq is acting as the gateway is as follows:
1. Get the IP of the Compaq (which it looks like you did, assuming you ran the "IPCONFIG" command on the Compaq):
2. Note it's gateway, which it looks like is  Assuming my diagram is correct, this should be the Netgear device, i.e. the "upstream" router for the network.  (By the way, do you know if that *is* the Netgear LAN IP?  That would be helpful to confirm.)
3. Run IPConfig on one of the other computers (while everything is working preferably) and look at it's gateway setting.  
 -- If it is (the Compaq), this would confirm the Compaq is acting as a gateway and certainly *would* be required for any Internet connectivity.  
 -- If it the gateway is (the Netgear?), then the Compaq is *not* the gateway.  However, the Compaq may still be required if it is running software that maintains connectivity for the DSL modem to the ISP using a background process of some kind.

Based on this identification of the gateway, if the other computers are using the Compaq as a gateway (which would cause the connectivity problems you describe), you would have to look at how the other computers got their configuration.  They are configured either as static (manual) IP assignments or dynamic (automatic by some device - the Netgear in this case).  It's most likely dynamic, so you should look at the Netgear DHCP configuration and see what it identifies as the gateway to be assigned.  It should be assigning it's own LAN interface as the gateway (, just like it appears the Compaq is showing).  If the gateway is actually configured as (the Compaq), it is likely a mis-configuration, but I doubt that is the case because then we'd have to question how the Compaq got it's correct gateway of -- the only way would have been if the Compaq was statically assigned (not likely, unless you were just trying things out), and the others are dynamically assigned.

I know this is somewhat long, but I always like to be complete.  And given the holiday, you may be trying to work on this right away so I wanted to include all the info I could.

Happy New Year all!
Call your ISP and have them send you a new DSL Modem.

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There are Some DSL modems that require a driver, so check that first.
Okay,  you are all right as to how to check the gateway issue, and I thank you for your complete explanation in my absence.  I would like to point out again that disconnecting the
cable allows a check of a lot of the situation.  

This item,
Apparently, it looks like the culprit is either the LAN port of the router causing the issue or perhaps the LAN port of the desktop pc.  

points to where the real problem is.  Now that you have done that, you just need to see if any
other computer will connect with wireless, or wired connections that DO NOT use the empty port of the Netgear router.

If so, then the next step would be to attach a different network cable and computer to that port on the Netgear router, power it up and then power it down.  If nothing bad happens then you know the desktop pc, the Compaq I think, is the culprit.  If it has a separate I/O card for the network, you can just replace the card.  If it is built-in, you could disable that in device manager on the desktop and add a network card to it.  You could even use a wireless usb adapter, as it is probably right next to the router, but if you configure your network from that pc, you should use a wired connection.

If using a different cable and computer does cause a problem, then most likely it is a problem with the Netgear router and you could replace it.  If that is the only port on the router that has the problem, and you have a spare port that doesn't, you shouldn't have a problem switching to another port, as long as the router is good in all other respects.  Ports do get damaged, and it is possible that a damaged port at either end is the problem if it is hardware related.

Hope you are getting close to figuring it out after all of the abundant information given by all.

Happy New Year!
I'm wondering if I'm missing something. If other computers *can* connect when the Compaq computer is connected but not when it is not connected, then how could the port on the Compaq be bad? If  the NIC  on the Compaq was bad, i.e. putting out bad traffic, other computers would likely * not* work when it was connected  and *would* work when it is was not connected. So it seems less likely the NIC on the Compaq is a  problem.

 I suppose it's possible the port on the Netgear is bad when something is plugged into it, and that would be easy to test by plugging something else into that port, but it seems unlikely an "unused" port would  cause a whole network to stop working. Wouldn't it make more sense that there seems to be some unexpected dependency on the Compaq since turning  it off takes the whole network offline?

 I've seen bad NIC's put out bad traffic but not empty ports. Has anyone else? I still think GMartin should check if the dsl modem requires an active driver running somewhere on the network.
You have a point there.  I think we still need some clarification of whether or not other computers can get on the internet if the cable between the Compaq computer is disconnected from the router.  I didn't see any yes or no on this in the previous comments, so we haven't ruled out the Compaq acting as a gateway yet.  So that leaves open the possibility of either ICS or software drivers for the DSL modem being trouble.

GMartin, can you clarify this for us?  We don't want to be going down blind alleys.
GMartin noted that the green Internet light on the modem shut off when he powered down the Compaq while it was connected to the router. However, when he disconnected the Compaq from the router THEN powered it off, the green Internet light on the modem remained on and active. I think this would rule out the gateway question.

I'd give the points to the person who suggested disconnecting the ethernet cable. But, if you're looking to troubleshoot the cause, then...

- try connecting the ethernet cable's computer-end to a different computer. If it works fine, then this points to the Compaq; otherwise, it points to the Netgear.

- try connecting the router-end of the ethernet cable to a different port on the Netgear, leaving the computer-end connected to the Compaq. If this works, it suggests that the one port on the Netgear has an issue.

- try connecting a different cable between the Compaq and the Netgear. If this works, it would indicate the cable is the problem - a remote possibility, but a possibility nonetheless.

I'm highly intrigued by this situation because it's the modem's Internet light turning off - while nothing happens on the router side (that we can tell). If I remember right, the Westell's Internet light comes on as long as your DSL has an active Internet connection coming in from the outside. I'm wondering what kind of short or other issue could cause it to lose that connection while seemingly safely going THROUGH the Netgear??? And, what issue would kick in when the Compaq is turned OFF, so that theoretically, no signal is going through the line from the Compaq??? To quote Spock: "fascinating".
I've had personal experience with modems that require software running on one computer on the network for any computer to be able to get out through the DSL modem, and if the computer with this software was turned off, none of the computers would work.  Although this is older technology, there could still be companies using this older technology.
GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hi Everyone,

              I want to take a moment and provide some important updates here.  First, when this problem occurred, computers were still able to get onto the internet wirelessly.  Secondly, the problem was solved by simply disconnecting the ethernet cable which ran from the LAN port of the router to the Compaq computer; reconnected after the Compaq computer was fully started: Windows XP desktop appeared on the screen.  Now, I have an interesting twist I want to add which makes this entire situation even more confusing.  Last night, I forget to carry out the steps just noted.  Surprisingly, the Internet light on the DSL modem stayed "on" and was still allowing full internet access.  So, this morning, I powered everything back while still leaving the router fully connected to the Compaq computer, and the DSL modem was still working just fine with the Internet light still on.  At this point, it "seems" that everything is fine for the time being.  

                  With the situation being like it is, I would like to request a 2 day extension for this post to continue being active until I am ready to award points and make concluding comments.  This extension of time will help me to make a more accurate and objective conclusion about this rather perplexing concern going on between the Netgear wireless router, the NIC of the Compaq pc, and the DSL modem itself.

                    Thank you


Ok, so it sounds like you've eliminated the Compaq being required to be connected and powered on to be able to retain connectivity for wired and wireless Internt access for all other computers, correct?

If that is the case and it remains so, that eliminates my thought that there is any software runing on it required to maintain internet access.  And it seemd to eliminate the idea that the Compaq is acting as a gateway.  

See if you can reproduce any similar problem as you monitor it the next couple days and let us know if you need further help.
Just some thoughts here, and they may mean nothing, but GMartin may find it informative for the future.

I recently had an issue with an electronic device with an embedded processor, the same way as a router.  It happened with a KVM switch I use.  Somehow, I wound up with the PS2 keyboard and mouse cables swapped with one of the computers, and some strange blinking keyboard lights, then no video, and at one point had about decided that the KVM itself was faulty.  I removed it for a while.

Then it occurred to me.  What if there were some kind of hardware check programmed into the KVM where it checked if cables were connecting properly communication wise?  After all, it has to know when to switch machines by a hotkey on the keyboard. If it loses this connection, it just doesn't know for sure if it should switch, so it might not switch from that machine.

Dependent upon the logic programmed into the KVM, and after trying to test the operation by swapping cables around, I think I confused the KVM even more and it about ceased to work at all.  Keep in mind that it was powered on the entire time.  Who knows how it might be responding to all of my cable disconnections, and "thinking" that it was faulty itself due to losing so many inputs at once, it just went into a lockout?

The nice thing is that I decided to put it back in and see what it did, after having been powered off a while.  Lo and behold!  It worked perfectly after I connected all of the cables correctly and then powered it on!  

So, if the NetGear router OR the Westell do some kind of checks similarly, and they do have processors embedded in them both, maybe they were doing some kind of assessment of the situation themselves.  In the meantime, it seems that both of them may have been powered off and on, which is what we usually do to re-establish communications with networks.  This would also clear any fault checks that the devices perform, as it resets the systems in them.

I know its a rather long comment, but to summarize, a total powering down and sequential powering up of the Westell, Netgear, and then PC's would probably have everything working if all else was ok.

If it acts funny, reboot!
I agree with wgenglen, and would add to the suggestion to leave at least two minutes between each step before powering up the next device.  This seems to be a common recommendation by the ISP's I've dealt with when troubleshooting this type of equipment.
GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hi Everyone,

              I want to sincerely apologize for taking so long to finally close this question.  Personally, I found each answer given here to be very insightful, organized, and well thought out.  After going through all of the troubleshooting strategies mentioned, I have finally found the culprit here which is the DSL modem.  

              When we first used this DSL modem, there was not any software which came with it.  Using another computer as a gateway by having special software installed on it like WinProxy or WinGate and configured to allow other client computers, both wired and wireless, was never present either when the connection was stable.  Also, the LAN port of the Compaq computer and the LAN port of the Netgear were rulled out as being culprits.  What led me to conclude it must be the DSL modem is the fact that every now and then the light for the internet which is normally "green" when we have internect connectivity suddendly turns "red" every now and then.  It is cleared up though if the DSL modem is powered off and powered back on after about 45 seconds of power disconnectivity.  Luckly, it does not happen that often though.  At the moment,  our connection has been working just fine just as long as we continue to disconnect the ethernet cable connecting to the LAN port from the NIC of the Compaq computer before powering it down.  I know eventually we will need to contact AT &T to get a new modem because this one has been here at least 5 years and perhaps longer.  It is probably just going bad like electronics normally do over time.  

             Once again, many thanks for the wonderful and insightful information shared to this post.  As always, I did learn a great deal from this session.

             Thank you.

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