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// Tales from software development

Broadband: 5 router/modems in 7 years

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A couple of months ago my broadband connection started dropping out regularly each day between 5pm and 7pm. Over the course of a week it got progressively worse until it became impossible to access the internet at this time of day. My ISP’s connection logs showed that the connection was dropping up to 100 times in those two hours and typically the connection was only up for a few seconds before it dropped again.

I contacted my ISP’s support team but they weren’t able to offer much help beyond the usual “Check your equipment”. Well, the NetGear DG834G v4 that I’m using has been working fine for the past 18 months so why would it suddenly start misbehaving at a particular time of day ?

I swapped the DG834G v4 for a DG834G v3 that I used to use and the problem seemed to go away but after a week it was back so I swapped back to the v4. Again, there seemed to be an improvement after doing this but after a couple of weeks it started all over again.

I complained again to my ISP and they gave me the same response. I requested a change in the line options to prioritize stability over speed but this didn’t make much difference.

The problem continued to get worse and although 5pm-7pm was the worst time of day the connection was increasingly dropping at any time of day.

And then it suddenly dawned on me… I’ve had a DG834G v1, a couple of v3s, and a v4 and this line dropping problem always starts after about 12-18 months of use. As unlikely as it sounded at first, maybe it is my equipment. Perhaps, if the router/modem is struggling to maintain a connection then any change in the traffic on the line or at the exchange might be enough to tip it over the edge.

I bought a DG834PN and installed it. Guess what ? The connection hasn’t dropped once…

I don’t know how a router/modem ‘wears out’ but these DG834Gs seem to have done exactly that. I guess running 24×7 at fairly high internal temperatures is cooking them to a point where they become unable to maintain a stable connection.

So, I’m on router/modem number five after seven years of having a broadband connection and I guess I should be budgeting for a replacement around mid-2011.

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Written by Sea Monkey

February 9, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Hardware

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