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Why does my router need to be reset all the time

Posted on 2014-11-29
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Last Modified: 2014-12-07
hi,

i have a net gear N600 ( WNDR3700 actual Model )
it is about a year old.
yesterday we lost internet in my computers. I traced it to the router, and restarted it. everything was fine.
i have had to do that about 5 times in the last two days...
there is no firmware upgrade...

is it dying  ?   any comments appreciated.
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Question by:intelogent
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John Hurst earned 100 total points
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If you have installed the latest firmware and it cannot stay running, then it probably has a hardware error.

One thing to try before replacing it:  Make sure you know the settings, and then do a hard reset back to factory specifications. This procedure is in the manual for the router and is different for every router.

So reset back to factory specifications, set it up, test it and see. If this does not work, then replace it.
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by:giltjr
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Are you 100% sure it is your router?  When your router is working can you ping the other computers in your home that are connected to it?  When you have lost your Internet connection, can you ping those other computers?  If so, then the router is not the problem.

What type of Internet connection do you have?  In my experience it is typically the connection between your ISP and your "modem" that has gone down.  This is especially true around times when Internet usage would typically be very high.
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by:intelogent
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I watch much more closely.
I did notice that when the internet went down, I was working on remote desktop   or at least I think I was, and that did not go down.

wouldn't you rule out the cable modem if the internet came back up  after a restart of the router ?
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by:giltjr
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You said you think you were using remote desktop.  Does this mean you were RDP'ing to another computer within your home?

As for ruling out the cable modem, it depends on how your Internet connection is setup and how much time there was between you noticing something was wrong and re-booting your router.

Next time you notice something seems to be wrong try and ping another computer that goes through your router.  If that works (assuming that ping'ing another computer normaly works), trying restarting your cable modem instead of your router.
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by:Dr. Klahn
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Check the temperatures around the case of the router.  Some models have intermittent thermal problems due to poor air circulation.  If you suspect this, try running the router without the case.  If the problem goes away then the solution is to cut a small hole in the case and install a tiny fan using the same voltage as the router's power supply.

There are some models heavily hit by this issue such as the otherwise excellent WRT310N.  The trend in newer routers is that the case is sealed with no vents and there's just nowhere for the heat to go.
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by:Asif Bacchus
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I think giltjr has you on a good track.  Basically, you have to figure out where the problem actually lies,  I have a few suggestions for you:

First of all, turn of QoS on your router since this is known to cause issues with some modems (especially older ones).

Now, does your modem have multiple LAN ports?  If so, you can try connecting one system directly to the modem and then wait until the router goes down.  At that point, if the computer connected to the modem still has a connection, the problem can be isolated to the router (WAN side at least).  

If this isn't an option and you only have one LAN port on the modem, then no problem.  You will proceed as giltjr suggests with a few extra steps:

Confirm LAN functionality:
When the router loses internet connectivity, check your local network and see if you still connectivity.  If you do, then you have confirmed that at least the LAN features of the router are working properly.  Do NOT reset either the router or the modem at this point.

Check modem:
There have been reports of this router not playing well with certain modems, especially older ones.  Once the router loses internet connectivity, leave both units alone and do not reset them.  Disconnect a computer from your router (this is assuming you have a system using a wired connection to test), disconnect the router from the modem and plug that computer directly into the modem.  Do an ipconfig renew on the computer so that it is connected directly to the modem.  Now see if you have internet connectivity.  If you do, then the modem is fine and the problem is on the WAN end of your router.

Possible resolutions assuming it's the router:
If disabling QoS doesn't help, then you can try a full reset or you can try different firmware.

For a full reset, you have to use the 30/30/30 method.
1)   Unplug all connections from your router.
2)   Press and hold the reset button for 30 seconds, do not release it.
3)   While still holding the reset button, unplug the router for at least 30 seconds.
4)   Still holding the button, plug the router back in and wait another 30 seconds. Your hand will cramp by now :-P
5)   Unplug the router and (finally) release the reset button.
6)   Plug the router back in and wait at least 2 minutes.  Preferably wait 5 minutes.  This allows the the router to rebuild its NVRAM settings (reportedly).
7)   Plug things back in and stay on factory settings.  Test your router and internet connection.

If you have ruled out the modem, and the 30/30/30 reset doesn't work, you can try custom firmware and see if that helps.  While reports say the Netgear firmware offers the best throughput, it is also not as feature-rich or stable as some custom builds.  You can try dd-wrt or OpenWrt (recommended).

You can find details on dd-wrt at http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Netgear_WNDR3700
OpenWrt is slightly more functional on this router and is closer to the Netgear builds.  Check out https://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=50914 for information on those builds.

***Note:  Custom firmware on this particular router has been reported to, on occasion, 'brick' the device.  So proceed only after doing your research and accepting the risks.  Especially check into recovering from a 'brick'.  I have never had a problem, but that doesn't mean it can't happen!

Good luck, hope this helps.
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by:intelogent
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gentlemen,

i would like to thank you for your responses.
i am not going to close the question out now, but rather wait for this to happen again, and try some of the solutions and isolation techniques discussed.

i will be back so.
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by:Asif Bacchus
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Sounds good, enjoy the waiting game :-P  Hope you get things sorted out, keep us updated!
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by:intelogent
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it happened again.
QoS is and has always been off
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by:intelogent
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as far as replacement goes, for a home , do I really need a dual band router.
we are just a main street family.  my wife and I , we all usually log into the 5 GHz broadcast.  
We do not car about plugging in a usb storage device
net gear or Linksys preferred

can anyone make a suggestion         ?
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by:John Hurst
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You do not need anything fancy. I use a Cisco RV042G. This is a solid wired router but includes VPN. Netgear does have good boxes - get a commercial or near commercial box. Linksys commercial are decent. The models change all the time, so it is hard to pick a model. Stay away from the cheapest ones.
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by:giltjr
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Were you able to ping other computers within your home?
Were you able to ping the router while you were having the problem?
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by:intelogent
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i did not try to ping it, but i was able to sign in to it.
i am sure it will repeat itself , and i will try to ping it.


but would you agree that i am at the point where i should do a factory reset ?
or should i continue to trouble shoot.
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by:John Hurst
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Yes please do a factory reset as suggested above
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by:giltjr
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--> i did not try to ping it, but i was able to sign in to it.

Since you could sign into, that means that at least part of the router is working.  If it was not working at all, you would not be able to sign into it.

Next time it happens you may want to try disconnecting and re-connecting the cable between the router and your cable modem.  If that does not work, then try restarting the cable modem.

I look at the doc for your modem to see if it has any diagnostics.
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by:intelogent
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so i find this fascinating...

It happened again
my local machine can not can not pull down a web site., how ever, my remote desktop session was uninterrupted.
i can ping my router
unplugging and powering down my cable modem produced no change.

i am going crazy.....should i hit factory reset to defaults yet?
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by:John Hurst
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I don't understand why you do not do a hard reset. We know you have a problem, so do a hard reset and see if that fixes it. If not, a new router is in order.
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by:giltjr
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intelogent--  Is your  remote desktop session to a computer in your home, or someplace that you have to access via the Internet?
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by:intelogent
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it was to a computer in a remote location.
so i had internet it seems or at least already established connection. I did not try , and i should have, to close the connection, and re-open it.
that would have been interesting.

john i was waiting to further understand the workings or Malfunctions.  i did do a reset last night....and will report back in a day or so.. let see if that  set it right.

would you think the firmware gets reset to factory default too ?
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by:John Hurst
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would you think the firmware gets reset to factory default too ?

It may depend on the router. I have had commercial routers maintain the current firmware when reset. If it reverts you can always add it back.
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by:giltjr
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O.K. if you had a remote desktop connection to a computer over the internet that means your router was still working.

What could be happening right now is that name resolution could be having a problem.  If name resolution has a problem then somethings will continue to work and other things will fail.

So next time it happens try issuing the commands:

nslookup www.experts-exchange.com
nslookup www.experts-exchange.com - 8.8.8.8
ping 8.8.8.8

If the 1st command fails and the other two work, then name resolution someplace is failing.
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by:John Hurst
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We know the router works from time to time. But it drops out meaning that it can be failing.
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by:intelogent
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ok then.

so lets set the trap and see what i catch...
if there is a problem where the first works, but not the second, then what would you do to fix this. ?
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by:Asif Bacchus
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So it seems that connections that are already established stay working while new connections are not being made... There is a semi-documented issue with this particular router and a 'state-table' limit of several hundred connections.  I know that sounds like a lot, but it really isn't.

I'm with John on this one, I'd try a hard-reset and take everything back to factory specs.  You will very likely have to reset any custom IP addresses, etc. assuming you don't get this via DHCP from your ISP.  I'd strongly suggest using the 30/30/30 reset method I posted above to ensure a full reset and NVRAM rebuild.

If you are still experiencing problems after a reset, you only have two options.  Custom firmware or a new router.  Since a great router will only set you back around $100-150, you have to weigh the monetary cost vs. your time and frustration.
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by:intelogent
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so I am going to close out the question.

it has  been a few days and no problems since reset.
I would like to thank all  for being a part of it.
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by:John Hurst
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@intelogent - Thanks for the update and I am glad the router reset fixed the problem.
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by:Asif Bacchus
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Best of luck, hopefully the reset 'sticks' and this problem does not recur!
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by:intelogent
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over a week now... thanks for asking
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