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Router Woes

djbdjb
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: 05-01-2011

Router Woes

Hi
I have an intermittent problem with my router, I’m in contact with a chap from Netgear who is giving me all kinds of things to do with it but just thought I’d repost a message here in case it is something someone knows the cause of:
The problem I have is that occasionally you can’t connect to the internet ie. viewing websites through a browser, checking email etc. but the wireless network itself is still working perfectly. I should add that the problem does not exist when you are physically connected to the router - only wireless.
I’ve also noticed that when this happens it’s still possible to use FTP and the router will still quite happily check for a firmware update so there is definitely still a working broadband connection, but not one which will let you use browsers (unless for ftp) or email programmes.
The problem happens at random and has so far been anything from 5 seconds to 5 hours apart.
The solution seems to be to restart the router, either through the admin screen or the power button.
I am using both Mac and PCs on the network. Both are having the same problem. I think it might be something to do with ports on the router but I’m not all that technically minded!
Edit: The router is a DGN 1000.
17 REPLIES
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Broadband / Router Problems

Welcome to the Forum
I know nothing about netgears, but you are bound to be asked exactly what model is it
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 6,772
Thanks: 847
Fixes: 54
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Router Woes

Quote
I should add that the problem does not exist when you are physically connected to the router - only wireless.

Have you tried changing the wireless channel on the router ?
It could be interference from neighboring wireless routers. You can download something like InSSIDer http://www.metageek.net/products/inssider to see what networks are about and which channels they are using. You then adjust your channel to be different to any nearby. Bear in mind that although there are 13 channels , only 1, 6 and 11 are completely non-overlapping.
Hope that helps
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Router Woes

Unless you live near me,  have one on TalkTalk goes from 1 to 6 and the other on 11 that goes from 4 to 11, both on high power Class N
click the below  twice to see the graph
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,101
Registered: 10-09-2010

Re: Router Woes

I have used Netgears extensive for many years.  The only time I've seen problems like this is when the ADSL connection is failing.
Can you explain what you mean by "it’s still possible to use FTP" but "you can’t connect to the internet ie. viewing websites through a browser, checking email etc" i.e. what error messages do you get?
What model is your Netgear?
Can you use the diagnostic tools on the Netgear when its not working properly?  If so does this mean you can use the administrative web interface of the router whilst its not connecting to other websites?
djbdjb
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: 05-01-2011

Re: Router Woes

Hi
Thanks for your quick responses... if only Netgear were so quick!
MisterW:
Originally I had the channel set to auto but the last set of instructions from Netgear were to change it to 6. I have attached a screen grab from the InSSIDer programme which is showing me (Netgear DGN1000) as channel 1 - this is because I just set it back to auto to see which channel it would pick  Wink I’m guessing once its picked a channel it won’t budge? I also wondered what the RSSI column was and should I be avoiding people with red numbers - I struggled to find a beginners guide on the metageek website.
fourfourdevon:
If I type in www.mywebaddress.co.uk into firefox I will get a ‘This page cannot be displayed’ error along with a try again button. Try it again and you get a ‘Firefox is offline’ error. However if I type in ftp.mywebaddress.co.uk I get asked for my password and get into the ftp side of my website. Similarly Dreamweaver will quite happily ftp files whilst I’m unable to browse websites. My mail programme however won’t send and receive and basically acts as if there’s no web connection. I can also get in to the admin page on the router and do things like make it check for firmware upgrades, if I look at the diagnostics it’s quite happy and says it’s connected. Also if I run downstairs and plug my computer into the router I can quite happily carry on as normal without having to reboot the router (which fixes it every time).
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,412
Thanks: 4
Registered: 29-01-2009

Re: Router Woes

Quote from: djbdjb
However if I type in ftp.mywebaddress.co.uk I get asked for my password and get into the ftp side of my website.

Are you typing this as a command into a command-line, or typing it as a URL into firefox again?
Either way, it means that the wireless connection is working - at least partially.
Are there any other command-line commands that work at this time - eg nslookup, ping, telnet, ssh?
Quote from: djbdjb
If I type in www.mywebaddress.co.uk into firefox I will get a ‘This page cannot be displayed’ error along with a try again button. Try it again and you get a ‘Firefox is offline’ error. However if I type in ftp.mywebaddress.co.uk I get asked for my password and get into the ftp side of my website.

Once you have the "FTP" method working, what happens if you put Firefox back into "online" mode again (File menu, then click on "work offline" to remove the tick).
Firefox goes into this "offline" mode when it can't access the network, rather than getting no response over the network (when it would say something about "cannot find server" or "server not responding". That would suggest a problem with the wireless network - but more that the n/w has gone missing temporarily.
Alternatively, what happens if you quit Firefox and start it again?
Quote from: djbdjb
My mail programme however won’t send and receive and basically acts as if there’s no web connection.

Is this Thunderbird? Has it also gone into a "work offline" mode that you need to manually reverse?
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.
puddy
Grafter
Posts: 1,571
Registered: 10-06-2007

Re: Router Woes

my neighbour had a simlar problem when shut his laptop he could not logon on to his wireless network when he opened it and he had to re-boot his netgear router every time so i gave him a speedtouch 716wl router and it solved the problem
Have you got a spare router to test if its the router?
Plusnet will send you a free router if you stay with them for the next 12 months all you pay is post and pack or buy a speedtouch router on ebay from 99p
puddy
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,809
Thanks: 51
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Registered: 08-10-2010

Re: Router Woes

Not sure how relevant this is , but could it be your telephone? We bought a Dect digital cordless telephone. All whistles and bells. I had major problems with router being connected ,but wireless connection being lost. After s sesrch I found that these phones can cause problems.
We bought a different phone and all out wireless problems stopped. There is a topic on one of the forums about this problem. Search for DECT. Good luck.
djbdjb
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: 05-01-2011

Re: Router Woes

Hi
Thanks again for the responses
WWWombat:
I’m typing the FTP address into Firefox, although Dreamweaver will happily FTP files as well whilst a browser is unable to connect to websites. I have also tried to ping websites through the routers admin pages and this works too. Don’t like to go near command-line stuff!
Firefox will only go into offline mode after it has failed to load a website a couple of times, I’ve tried putting it back online and quitting/restarting it but it seems once the problem occurs that’s it, no websites will load. I’m using the Apple Mail programme which will basically just sit there trying to connect for a few minutes before coming up with the failed to connect symbols, you can click get mail again and it will go through the same process - it definitely thinks it’s still online right up until the point of not being able to connect.
It just seems to effect the HTTP and POP3/IMAP services.
Puddy:
I’ve not got a spare router, my old one (very, very old Belkin) was causing all sorts of problems trying to use security with Macs & PCs all with various ratings of wireless cards. It was also terribly unreliable so it won’t make a good test router!
I’d borrow a friends but on talking to him he has no end of trouble with wireless himself!
I’m loathe to buy a new router as this one’s brand new itself - I’m starting to think I may take it back and swap it for a different model if PC World will let me.
rogadodge:
Just before we got the new router we bought a brand new BT cordless phone which sat right next to the router. I’ve done away with this for the moment and gone back to an old fashioned plug in phone and it seems to make no difference. I also got rid of the christmas tree lights early much to my girlfriends disgust! There’s now nothing in the same room as the router which could cause interference.
It’s all quite frustrating as I have used my laptop on numerous wireless networks (mainly using BT routers) with no problems.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,412
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Registered: 29-01-2009

Re: Router Woes

Quote from: djbdjb
WWWombat:
I’m typing the FTP address into Firefox, although Dreamweaver will happily FTP files as well whilst a browser is unable to connect to websites. I have also tried to ping websites through the routers admin pages and this works too. Don’t like to go near command-line stuff!

It would have been nice to see if ping works over the wireless portion of the leg, but it is good to see that the ADSL leg is functioning correctly. Incidentally - how are you getting to the router admin pages if your browser has stopped? I guess a wired connection.
As you say, whatever the initial cause, the effect is that the wireless connection is still present, and that some services can be used over wireless (and all services work over wired).
Thatt has to point to two possibilities:
- The wireless client on your PC
- The router, exactly as you are investigating
For the first option - what PC/desktop machines are you seeing the problem on?
For the second, I wonder if the problem is something to do with NAT translations, or even your IP address.
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.
djbdjb
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: 05-01-2011

Re: Router Woes

When websites/email stop working I can still access the routers admin pages through my browser - the wireless network would appear to still be working fine it’s just getting out the house and onto the internet that it doesn’t seem to like.
I’m using a Macbook Pro which also has Windows 7 installed on it. Both systems appear to have the problem although of course they share the same hardware. I do have a couple of other computers (an older iBook and a Netbook with Windows 7 on), I don’t use these as much but I think I recall getting the problem on the Netbook. I do know that when the problem occurs it does effect all the other computers on the network as my girlfriend will be unable to get on the internet - I have to admit I haven’t really tested the other computers - maybe I should always have two on at the same time to double check this.
One of the tests the netgear guy had my do was to turn off all the security on the router - is this NAT? And my IP address is dynamic although I did wonder whether setting up each individual machine with an IP address might be a good idea.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 6,772
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Fixes: 54
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Router Woes

Quote
I also wondered what the RSSI column was and should I be avoiding people with red numbers - I struggled to find a beginners guide on the metageek website.

RSSI is effectively signal strength, the more negative the weaker. Hence your Network is shown as the strongest ( -62 ), although that BT Home Hub ( with its associated OpenZone & BTFON SSID's ) at -64 must be pretty close.
Having said that , your router selecting channel 1 is probably  a reasonable choice since any other networks on that channel are low strength ( -89/90 ) . However from your subsequent postings it would appear that you can still access the router and therefore it doesnt look like a wireless problem.
When it fails, you say that reconnecting via wired will work. If you then disconnect wired and revert to wireless does it still work ?
Reconnecting wired will cause the router to allocate a new IP to the wired connection via its DHCP server and may also 'kick' other parts of the router software. BTW you do have all your PC's set to use DHCP don't you ?
If you can try another router it would be useful, just to eliminate that as the cause ?   
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,412
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Registered: 29-01-2009

Re: Router Woes

OK - if your browser can reach the router's admin pages, then it is doing so directly (ie local IP addresses that are valid overthe wireless segment). This means that TCP port 80 traffic is making it over the wireless segment OK - and probably rules out the Macbook as the problem (or the drivers for the wireless hardware).
If the same browser can't reach external sites, it suggests that the router isn't doing a proper job of routing TCP traffic, of which the NAT is an important component - Network Address Translation. It is the process where the router translates all your internal IP addresses (eg 192.168.*.*) into the single external one allocated by PlusNet (either dynamically or statically). The router sends IP packets out to the world using your external IP address, and when responses are received, has to work out which internal address to foward the response packet to. It has to keep a table of active sessions (local IP addresses and TCP port numbers) for this to work.
NAT adds to security, but probably isn't turned off when you disable security - I suspect it is only the firewall that gets disabled.
If NAT has gone wrong, this process could go funny (though I have to say, I've never seen it go wrong, so its a low probability thing). You would certainly see TCP sessions failing (like HTTP, POP3 and IMAP). You mention FTP working, but the mechanism for NAT for FTP is a little strange because of idiosyncracies with the way FTP works. It might end up being the only survivor!
One cause might be something related to your internal IP allocation - which I guess is managed by DHCP in the router. If your wireless "blips", and the Macbook effectively sets up a new connection, you might find it going through IP allocation again. DHCP would normally re-allocate the same IP, but who knows....
So yes, perhaps a static IP allocation would fix things - either by configuring the Macbook directly, or by configuring the DHCP server on the router - my Netgear DG834 lets me do this under "LAN IP Setup".
Other than that, I'm struggling for a coherent explanation...
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,412
Thanks: 4
Registered: 29-01-2009

Re: Router Woes

BTW - If you really want to investigate low-level, you might find Wireshark useful. I haven't used it to monitor wireless interfaces before, but it seems it can be done, with the detail depending on OS.
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.