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Why Do We Have To Restart Routers?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the buildup-of-bogons dept.

Networking 936

jaypaulw writes "I've owned a WRT54G, some cheap D-Link home Wi-Fi/firewall/routers, and now an Apple Airport Extreme (100/10 ethernet ports). In the context of the discussion about the worst uses of Windows — installation in places where an embedded device is superior — I've gotten to wondering why it's necessary to reboot these devices so frequently, like every few days. It seems like routers, purpose-built with an embedded OS, should be the most stable devices on my network."

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936 comments

The most likely reason (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167677)

You're doing it wrong.

Re:The most likely reason (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167917)

That's what I was thinking. I have a linksys wrt-54g or whatever they are running ddwrt and I've probably has to reboot a handful of times in all the years I've had it.

Re:The most likely reason (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24168019)

Mine never used to need re-booting until I added a Vista Laptop to the network???

USR8054 (5, Funny)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167687)

US Robotics 8054 (USR8054). At least it has the decency to reset itself though throughout the day. Saves some manual labor I suppose.

Re:USR8054 (1)

Clived (106409) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167759)

Hmmn

I have a linksys wrt54g router. The only time i had to reboot it was when my ISP was screwing around with an ADSL2 upgrade and they kept disconnecting me. Now that they seem to have figured that out .. finally My two bits. I haven't had to restart my router in like 3 months ...:P

My two bits

Re:USR8054 (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 5 years ago | (#24168031)

I have the same router. Never had it reboot on itself. At least not that I noticed. There is one problem I do have with it though. If I leave the WiiConnect 24 on, it craps out and requires a reboot after a few hours for any other wireless devices to connect.

rebooting routers? (2, Informative)

zeropointburn (975618) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167689)

It shouldn't be necessary to do that.
Usually, though, it would be either a problem in the firmware leading to instability or a change in routing, DNS, or DHCP assignments that the router can't handle live for some reason. It could also be possible that the firmware allows no changes at all to the running configuration, forcing a restart for any change made in an attempt at making it less hackable.

My theory... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167693)

I base this on absolutely nothing, but my primary suspect is the cheapskate power supplies that these devices come with. However I've never cared enough to test it out.

Because they are cheap (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167695)

Fast, Stable, Cheap - pick two.

Re:Because they are cheap (1)

Somegeek (624100) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167911)

I had a Linksys that I used at home, had to reboot once a week or more. Replaced it with a Netgear that cost three times as much, but its been rock solid going on several years. No more reboots.

Due to my sample size however, this has zero statistical significance.

The only time I ever have to (1)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167697)

restart my Airport Extreme is when I update the firmware. Otherwise it stays up and works without problems. I don't understand the question I guess.

Re:The only time I ever have to (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167725)

Bittorrent.

Try it sometime, you'll like it.

One issue with Airport Extreme (1)

mrbrown1602 (536940) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167731)

The only time I've ever had an issue with my AE base station is after a brown out - for some odd reason, it will not work after a brown out and does require a restart. Any other time, though, I have never had a problem with the AE base station... and mine's refurbished!

Re:One issue with Airport Extreme (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167921)

it will not work after a brown out

UPS. And I don't mean the package delivery service.

Suggest making sure the firmware is up to date (1)

EdwinFreed (1084059) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167799)

I used to have to restart my Airport Extreme every once in a while, but after updating its firmware that's no longer necessary. According to InterMapper it has been running for 84 days without a restart, and if memory serves the reason it was reset 84 days ago was to do some recabling.

Re:The only time I ever have to (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167875)

The only time I ever have to restart my Airport Extreme is when I update the firmware.

I have to reboot mine because it is locked up once a year or so, certainly not every few days. It puts up with a lot of traffic from a lot of machines, both always on and laptops and all manner of traffic including bittorrent. My best guess is someone has a defective one or keeps it on top of a very hot server in a closed case.

I don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167699)

because they want you to buy the more expensive one without the crippled software?

actually I've never had to reboot my router

Who you callin' "We"? (2, Informative)

epotash (1228770) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167701)

I'm guessing what you actually need to do is reset the connection to your modem or release and renew DHCP, Every router I've used allows you to login to a web based configuration and do these things.

Um... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167703)

If your having to restart yours every couple of days...something is wrong. The one here at the house has been up for last 173 days. I checked the main router at work and its been up almost 300 days.

Good question. (0, Redundant)

TW Atwater (1145245) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167711)

Why DO you have to reboot your routers? Mine, including a WR54GT almost never require rebooting. Occasionally, after a power outage, it's necessary, but not very often. Maybe once or twice a year, and I live in Panama, where power interruptions come fairly frequently.

Re:Good question. (4, Insightful)

Telecommando (513768) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167947)

If you have frequent power interruptions, aren't they rebooting your router frequently?

/just askin'.

Re:Good question. (1)

DarkShadeChaos (954173) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167995)

I've had a WRT54G (default) firmware which - as others have mentioned needed a reboot once a week; upgraded the firmware and lowered it to once a month or once every two months.

Currently using a Cisco SOHO-A... and never need to reboot it, (I didn't actually buy it, I'm heavily involved with Cisco stuff for work and it was a freebie) HIGHLY recommend you get something a little pricier.

Your router is restarted by the power outages! (1)

BroncoInCalifornia (605476) | more than 5 years ago | (#24168015)

Every so often I need to unplug our WRT54G. When it powers up again it behaves itself for several days. The Netgear model we had was even worse. The only router we had that did not require rebooting was an ancient Apple Airport.

Power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167715)

I think that things like power fluctuations are more to blame for frequently needing to reset those devices.

Re:Power? (1)

gdickie (541529) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167877)

I also used to have to restart my cable modem or router every few days. Putting them onto a UPS solved the problem.

Re:Power? (1)

Ignis Flatus (689403) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167879)

very probably. i can't even re-insert a loose power cable on my laptop without it freezing up. we've also got a Kenmore freezer that some numbnuts was stupid enough to put a microprocessor into. every time the power fluctuates, the micro freezes up, causing the freezer to shut down. idiots.

Buy one that works. (4, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167721)

I have a pair of Apple Airport routers, and the only time they get rebooted is when I change settings and restart them. That happens whenever I want to let another computer use my network, about every couple of months.

-jcr

Re:Buy one that works. (4, Informative)

E-Lad (1262) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167839)

Yeah, I've used Apple Airports (previously, the "UFO" kind and currently, the Extreme (1Gb ports) and Express (for my home theater) and have never had to do "therapeutic" reboots on them.

But I have been irked due to having to reboot the router to make even the slightest of config changes - such as changing its syslog destination or adding a port to the forwarding table. You'd think that these and other operations, short of a firmware upgrade, could be handled without a full-blown reset, but apparently not. One has to wonder why that is so in this day and age.

Re:Buy one that works. (5, Informative)

7 digits (986730) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167983)

So you are lucky. My Airport Express needs to be rebooted from time to time (nothing damning, the express sometime stands month without needing it). My previous UFO Apple Airport also needed to be rebooted (and much more frequently than the Express).

The symptom on the Express are that DNS queries stop working. I can ping it, ping my DSL modem, and ping website for which I have IP. I can nslookup into my provider DNS. I cannot lookup into the Express DNS.

Another issue is that sometimes, I start getting more and more lag. Rebooting the mac or the DSL model doesn't fix it. But I discovered, amazed, that rebooting the express fixed it.

Btw "Buy one that works" is an extremely arrogant comment. Those units work for you, it does not prove it works for anyone else.

My router (2, Interesting)

tristian_was_here (865394) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167727)

I got my Belkin router about 4 years ago it runs great I can get about 3-6 weeks uptime before I have to manually pull the power cord because it crashes.

Its still going good and strong though!

What?? (1)

linko47 (1253010) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167729)

I have a WRT54G wireless router, and I never have to restart it... ever... ever. It's very stable. Except when the power goes out.

Re:What?? (1)

gid (5195) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167895)

WRT54GL here running tomato firmware:
# uptime
  20:00:54 up 44 days, 2:10, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

I've NEVER had to restart it due to a lock up. I think I only restarted it 44 days ago because I updated to 1.19. Awww crap, 1.20 is out. :) The firmware is rock solid with pretty graphs and relatively easy to configure QoS if you know a little bit about tcp and ports and what not.

Resets aren't necessary. (4, Informative)

Puff of Logic (895805) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167733)

Bought a Buffalo router and flashed it with DD-WRT. The only time the thing reset was when the power went out. If you're restarting your router every few days, I'd suggest looking into your config for the problem.

Ditto, but had to reset occasionally with defaults (3, Informative)

PseudoThink (576121) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167955)

I'm running DD-WRT 23v2 on two Buffalo WHR-HP-54G routers, and I never have to reset them. However, I did have to update their configuration from the default settings in order to make them reliably stable. With the default settings, I would have to reset them occasionally. I changed the "maximum ports" from the default of 512 to 4096, and changed TCP and UDP timeouts from the default of 3600 seconds to 120 seconds. The reason for this (as stated in the DD-WRT help documentation) is that P2P apps often open many ports without closing them properly. These settings allow the router to handle that kind of usage much better.

Btw, comments about Linksys (1)

PseudoThink (576121) | more than 5 years ago | (#24168039)

Before my Buffalo routers, I had several different (three or four) BEFSR41/BEFSR81 model Linksys routers. I always had problems with the Linksys ones. BEFSR81 v3 wouldn't let me play Counterstrike, for example, due to a known incompatibility with Steam. Users complained on DSLReports.com for months with no fix, I don't know if they ever fixed it. I had a BEFSR41 with a gimpy power connection, so I had to duct-tape the power cord to the router such that it would put strain on the power connector, letting it remain powered on. Most of my Linksys routers would not let me run two VPN connections simultaneously, which is a common issue with routers (due to NAT issues). If I connected a second VPN session with one already active, the first one almost always got disconnected. I had one Linksys router that seemed to let me run two sessions simultaneously most of the time. All of my Linksys routers ran warm (hot if you stacked them), each of them usually sucking at least 20-25 watts while idling.

My Buffalo routers running DD-WRT are exactly what I always wanted...they are very reliable. I've never had any problem running dual VPN sessions with them, and they only use 3 to 5 watts of power. It was hard for me to give up on Linksys after being loyal to them for so many years, but I don't regret switching to Buffalo/DD-WRT one bit. If anything, I regret not switching sooner.

Re:Resets aren't necessary. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24168013)

I also have a buffalo router with dd-wrt which I have never rebooted. To add to that, I have two WRT54G's at my parents place that used to give them trouble (and they would call me) all the time. Since I installed dd-wrt on them I have not heard about any issues.

But really, I can't say im surprised as it runs on Linux.

Buffalo routers (1)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 5 years ago | (#24168051)

I bought a $39 Buffalo wifi router and left the factory stock firmware (BSD-based) intact. I've *never* had to reset it due to a hang or crash or any problem. It's a juggernaut.... runs forever as long as you feed it power. Been running continuously almost a year now, it's been plugged into a UPS and running flawlessly since I made some config changes last summer. It replaced a Linksys router that was a complete piece of shit that needed rebooted about once a week.

Too bad you can't buy the Buffalos new anymore.

Too Bad... (1)

WebmasterNeal (1163683) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167737)

If only "restarting things" would work in other areas of life, such as restarting your current job if it sucks, or restarting your marriage. Oh wait we already have that, its called divorce and getting fired.

TCP Timeout (5, Informative)

allanw (842185) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167739)

TCP connection timeouts on some routers default to 3600 seconds or one hour. So, when you use some Bittorrent or such, opening lots of connections, your router keeps these connections (even after disconnection) in its memory for up to an hour. It fills up and your router grinds to a halt, opening connections very slowly.

There's other timeouts too, but I'm not sure exactly what they do. Firmware like HyperWRT lets you change these timeouts to something much shorter, like 90 seconds, which typically prevents lock-ups like that.

(I'm actually not 100% sure that this is the sole cause for router lock-ups)

Re:TCP Timeout (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167887)

agree. I am a mod on a DSL forum, and the most common reason for router problems is the route table overflowing from P2P connections. Maybe the poster is torrenting like a madman? Or maybe it is a conspiracy by the **AA and the router builders. Let's see if that idea makes it into a headline tomorrow ;)

Re:TCP Timeout (4, Interesting)

sr. bigotes (1030382) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167925)

That sounds like an excellent candidate. These cheap home routers have very small routing tables (probably less than 512 entries for the WRT54G). If they're not ejecting old entries because of these extremely long timeouts and the table fills up, you're not going to be able to connect to anything new.

Maybe it's not the router... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167743)

Frankly, I think it might have more to do with the client you may be using to access the router for some reason.

Ever since I switched from XP to Ubuntu about 18 months ago, I've had to reboot the router maybe 3 times. When I was running XP, I rebooted it at least once a week.

Re:Maybe it's not the router... (4, Insightful)

Somegeek (624100) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167793)

If a client is able to cause a router to crash then there is something wrong with the router design.

Re:Maybe it's not the router... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167927)

If a client is able to cause a router to crash then there is something wrong with the router design.

Or it could be that the "cure-all" for Windows connection problems is to restart the router, and because Linux has fewer connection problems on average, you only restart the router when it is necessary. It also could be with the TCP timeouts that one poster referred to, it could be that the Windows box was infected with spyware that kept bogging down the router.

I never have to (5, Informative)

missing000 (602285) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167747)

Not to be a dick, but I use a wrt54g with tomato firmware and it's about the most stable and powerful (QOS is great on it) router anywhere close to the consumer price range.

I never have to restart my DSL router or Vonage router either, and I've kept all this stuff up 24/7 often with heavy use for years at a time.

If you're restarting networking stuff all the time, perhaps you've misconfigured it...

Re:I never have to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167795)

Get some better hardware [amazon.com] for that firmware.

Re:I never have to (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167853)

Question for you as a tomato user. I'm currently using OpenWrt(/X-Wrt) and have been thinking about playing with other firmware like tomato. How hard is it to set up, especially the QOS part (which is what I've been looking at tomato for since everyone and their grandma is telling me to go to tomato for the best QOS)?

QOS in Tomato (1)

missing000 (602285) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167967)

It's really easy enough that your grandma could do it. :)

Seriously, Tomato has a very clean interface that just does what you would expect. I'd toy with it a bit if I were you.

Best place to get a feel for the QOS settings is probably a screenshot of the interface [polarcloud.com] .

must be mistaken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167751)

WRT54G are awesome, reliable routers, and should be fine going indefinitely without being rebooted. I can't speak for the other kind (though personally I have my doubts about Apple networking hardware) but they should be just fine too.

It may be that you are saturating your bandwith, perhaps with torrent downloads, and that is why your connection needs to be reset periodically. It's not your routers fault, though.

embedded network devices (1)

sjf (3790) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167753)

A good question. I don't have to reboot that often, but sometimes that's what cures my problems.
However, I can't honestly say that means that the problem is with the router. It could be with devices upstream or downstream - rebooting the router may be the trick that resets the state machine for the connected device.

I never have to reboot my TiVo, my cell phone, my PSP, my STBs etc...

bad hardware (4, Informative)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167755)

The hardware on your router might be failing, power supply or whatever. I had the same problem with a DSL modem once, it eventually just outright died. The new one I bought (netgear DG834G) hasn't had to be reset once.

every device has it's limits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167757)

A router is like any other device it has limits. If you surpass those limits then that may be the reason you need to power cycle it.

I've owned numerous models of the WRT54G(s) and I did not have to reboot it every couple of days.

These devices can handle a limited number of connections due to RAM and CPU usage, you may be exceeding the limits of the device and it may be time for you to upgrade to a device that is more capable to handle what you throw at it.

Also remember that most of these devices are fan-less so you'll need to ensure they are in a cool place otherwise they may overheat.

A $50 Router Stable? (4, Insightful)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167765)

Most routers are cheap. (Apple's is overpriced-cheap; the point stands.) A bunch of them are free after rebates. Considering that, it's a wonder they keep running for more than 5 minutes. They come off the same assembly lines as those Norcent (who?) $15 DVD players.

You can buy reliable routers of course, from the C company, or the N company, or the J company, or a couple others. That's what corporations buy. What I wonder, though, is whether there's a middle ground: a "pro-sumer" router. Maybe somebody has got some suggestions.

Re:A $50 Router Stable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167919)

Not sure if it really qualifies as "pro-sumer" but I've used several Netgear FVS318's in small business settings and they've worked wonderfully. Reviews online are mixed, but I personally have had great luck with them.

Re:A $50 Router Stable? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167973)

I'd have to agree, I've set up some friends wireless and wired. Junk, crap, more crap, intermittent crap, even 30ft away. Most people see 'cheap router' and buy it. Or they get one from their ISP for free with a new install, and that thing isn't even worth the plastic it's made out of.

The router I have is one of the older Netgear RP614's(v2), I've rebooted it once in the last two years after a lightening strike knocked my cable modem off and messed up the resync. I think I paid $45 for it back then, it's been extremely reliable for me. I suppose I should be happy with that.

Yes, there is a pro-sumer router (2, Informative)

nhtshot (198470) | more than 5 years ago | (#24168001)

I had several "consumer" grade routers before finally finding the Dlink gamer lounge.

I've never been happier. I've had it for almost 2 years and I never have to reset it. The wireless always works, the gigabit is nice and the "Gamefuel" QOS is fairly effective.

The $100+ linksys routers aren't much improved over their $50 brethren, but the $100+ Dlink most certainly is.

Re:A $50 Router Stable? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#24168017)

Get a WRT54G and flash it with Tomato. You'll wonder how you ever got along with the stock firmware. Do you really think that Apple's stuff is substantially higher quality than Linksys, Buffalo or anyone else? It's not, it's made in the same Chinese factories. Apple's profit margins are higher, sure.

The problem is the poor quality of the stock firmware in the things: it's not well thought-out, not well-tested, and frankly isn't particularly reliable in most cases.

I rarely reboot mine (1)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167769)

Over the last 10 years, I've owned a couple netgear and linksys wifi routers and they have all been the lowest maintenance devices in my home network. I can't recall ever having to kick-start one of this devices for misbehavior. They've all been left on 24/7 and are only restarted after power outages or when I accidentally kick the plug out of the wall socket.

Either you or I must be way out on the tails of the bell curve.

Alternative Firmware (1)

leerpm (570963) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167771)

There's usually nothing wrong with the hardware, just the software/firmware. Trying using some third party firmware like DD-WRT on the WRT54G. YMMV, but I can't recall the last time I had to reboot mine.

We don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167773)

I have never had to restart any of my routers.

Well, aside from a firmware upgrade.

Router or Modem? (1)

FonzCam (841867) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167785)

The only times I've had problems with a router has been with the firmware of my old cable STB that also acted as a modem (it would just drop the connection/DHCP lease at random and the only thing that seemed to fix it was a reboot of both STB and router). Since I got a new modem I haven't had any trouble. I can't remember the last time I had to restart my WRT56G because it wasn't working.

Re:Router or Modem? (1)

Dun Kick The Noob (904001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167827)

Own a WRT54G, experienced wireless connection issues with it where the wireless clients couldnt contact the router. Just save the wireless setting via web config page while connected via cat 5. Seems to solve it. Though of course if switching the power on and off seems to be faster...

Sometimes you really do get what you pay for... (1)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167789)

However, before you write off your devices, you might try to see if there are more current firmware revisions that will make them a bit more resilient.

Even if that "fixes" the rebooting problem. You still ought to periodically check to see if there have been critical security bugs that have been addressed and rolled into newer firmware revs. Just because it's a black box doesn't mean you can just turn it on and forget about it. The black hats never sleep.

Cheers,

Reboot a router, What?? (1)

tuxgeek (872962) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167791)

I use a D-Link EBR-2310. I have never had to reboot it. It just continues to work day in and day out.

It shouldn't be... (4, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167809)

I've gotten to wondering why it's necessary to reboot these devices so frequently, like every few days.

It's cheap, fast development... Not bothering to pay attention to correctness, not watching for memory leaks, etc., etc.

It shouldn't be that way, of course. I got an old K6-2 system, underclocked it to 100MHz, removed CPU fan and replaced the PSU fan with a very slow and quiet model to make a nearly-silent 8watt system. Then installed OpenBSD on a 32MB CF card (stripped of unnecessary binaries for size, but otherwise completely normal), and have been using that for years. It will run indefinitely, without a reboot. My record for uptime so far is 5 months, and it's only that short because of power outages, and I don't feel the need for a UPS for my router...

It seems like routers, purpose-built with an embedded OS, should be the most stable devices on my network.

There's nothing about being "an embedded OS" that should make it any more or less stable.

Must be something you are doing (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167811)

My router is only rebooted when the house loses power... on average about once a year or so.

The problem is.. (5, Insightful)

Fjornir (516960) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167815)

...the expectations of the user. Newsflash: when you buy cheap crap it is going to perform like cheap crap.

BitTorrent?? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167817)

I had a WRT54GX for years that never needed a reset, until I started using BitTorrent. Then its 4KB (?) connections table would fill up and the device would hang. Had to build an OpenBSD firewall to handle the many active and inactive connections you get with BT.

Bad Wireless Chipsets (1)

kauos (1168299) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167825)

I've had a few wireless routers which borked themselves far too often (one particular netcomm model which I had to have replaced 3 times before giving up entirely on it). Now it seems to me after using these things for many years that the wireless chipsets in particular are vulnerable to overheating, and once they do so, they malfunction and the software crashes. So its less the embedded OS software itself and more faulty hardware in my experience. (In summer I still need to take an icepack out of the freezer and stick it on my ADSL modem if I don't want my internet to crash)

depends on your router (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167829)

For my old linksys WRT54G (the cheaper K kind), I had to reboot it every couple of days.

My new D-Link N DIR-655...never once have I had to reboot it in 6 months I've had it.

You're doing it wrong? (3, Interesting)

Kattspya (994189) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167831)

I've used some Zyxel router that needed restarting every few days until I found out the maximum amount of open connections and bandwidth it could take then it usually only crashed once a month.

Now I've got an old PII with a CF as HDD running monowall and maximum uptime so far is about two months. It would appear that the modem is more flaky than the router so I've restarted it needlessly a few times. I'm inclined to think it's hardware causing problems when the router crashes on its own. It's a bare motherbord sitting ontop a cabinet with four NIC's (I had an abundance of NIC's but no switch) and it gets a bit jangled from time to time in its exposed position. I'm amazed that it works at all.

Try to limit the amount of open connections if you're running bittorrent and maybe the bandwidth too. If that doesn't help you should probably build your own router. m0n0wall works for me and I've heard good things about IPCop.

no need to reboot (1)

Eugene (6671) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167835)

I've used SMC routers in the past, then switched to Zyxel router now(the home routers, not the expensive ones). and in my experience, I have never intetionally reboot them, only when I update the firmware (that happen maybe once every 6 month?) my routers are always up and running and never rebooted.. but on the other hand, I used to own a D-Link router for my folk's place. that router lasted maybe 1 week before replaced by SMC.. (reboots and resets randomly)

Ironic Connection Sharing (3, Interesting)

irlyh8d2 (1241290) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167843)

I just use a cheap Pentium 2 running Windows XP with Internet Connection Sharing. Disabled the automatic updates and firewalled it properly over 18 months ago, and haven't had to touch the machine since.

Re:Ironic Connection Sharing (0)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#24168021)

Wouldn't it be just as easy to convert that to a Linux box? I mean, there are loads of distros specially made just for routing and a P II would be almost overkill for most of them. Because isn't XP just kind of... Wasting your resources?

Sometimes (1)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167851)

My router at home only needs to be rebooted when you're changing admin priveleges or re-assigning the router's IP. But one day I went to a friends house and while trying to figure out how to connect to the Internet, and tried several times to give myself a proper IP. Each time I did, I disconnected my friend's roommate while he was playing WoW. Apparently he was in the middle of a big group mission. I had no idea until the fifth disconnect.

Limit your p2p connections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167855)

Torrents with a large number of peers (1000+), or any p2p app that you allow to maintain thousands of peer connections, will put your home router at risk of crashing -- they simply were not specified for that kind of load. It has nothing to do with bandwidth, and everything to do with the router's limited memory and such (in combination with buggy embedded software).

Old Netgear routers were notorious for crashing even with a relatively small number (in the hundreds) of connections. But even top name brands like Linksys have this problem if you crank up the number of connections high enough. Place limits on the apps by going into the config/preferences. The defaults are usually quite reasonable or even a little too high, but a lot of people think it's an artificial limitation so they crank them up. Don't do that unless you have an industrial-grade router at home, or if you're willing to flash your firmware with unofficial fixes.

Crashing!? (1)

CyberBill (526285) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167865)

I've got 5 WRT54G's running DD-WRT out in the desert in enclosures. They routinely operate in temperatures in excess of 110 degrees, and usually have a bunch of users on them. They currently have an uptime of nearly 2 months, the last time they were down is when I upgraded their firmware. The WRT54G in my closet, also running DD-WRT, never crashes. And I download a LOT of torrents!

Re:Crashing!? (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167979)

I've got 5 WRT54G's running DD-WRT out in the desert in enclosures. They routinely operate in temperatures in excess of 110 degrees, and usually have a bunch of users on them.

Is that degree C, F or K?

dd-wrt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167867)

load dd-wrt on your linksys wrt54g. the only time you will reboot it is when you accidentally unplug it. ive had 50 days of uptime and i would have more if i didn't accidentally unplug it. all thanks to linux.

You don't if you find the right firmware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24167881)

I have a WRTG54 that I haven't restarted once in the year I've lived in my current home save for a power outage. If using aftermarket firmware is possible with your router it may be a good idea.

Iphone messed my WRT54G until I upgraded firmware (1)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167899)

I was having problems with my wrt54g when iphones were connected to it. I upgraded the firmware (by downloading it from the net), and the problem went away.

Install OpenWRT. (1)

GodWasAnAlien (206300) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167915)

Historically. Old Linksys boxes needed to be rebooted often.
They never fixed the bugs, and if you wanted a new feature, that meant purchasing a new box. (That was the business model, I guess)
I gave up on them.

Then Linksys came out with a Linux based router. WRT54G.

Of course Linux did not mean the support or bug fixing would be better. They used an old version of Linux with various proprietary junk on top.

The best support you get is with open-source.

Overwrite whatever Linksys installs with a truely open system:
OpenWRT. I have been running White Russion 0.9 since it came out and only have downtime with firmware updates.
(there are other wrt firmwares besides openwrt, but most are not really open).

You have bad luck or a bad router (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167923)

My Netgear 624 never had to be rebooted...until it stopped working after 13 months. My Netgear 824, only two months old, granted has never been rebooted except for the three firmware updates in a 3 day period. My Netgear PS121 print server has had to be restarted (to flush the print queue) a few times. My Surfboard SB4100 cable modem I don't think was rebooted since 2001. I replaced it two months ago for a faster one. My Centillium MTA-1 TA has never had to be rebooted in 2 years. My Vonage V-Portal has never had to be rebooted.

I also have a Linksys BEFS class 'b' router that hasn't been rebooted in more than 2 years and a Belkin F5230-4 that's never HAD to be rebooted though it has been accidentally shut off quite a bit.

could be (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167941)

It could also be the modem/transceiver (cable or DSL). I had a crappy Westell router/modem that Verizon gave to me that would always need resetting. I got a WRT54G and hooked that up to the Westell (set it to act as only a modem at that point) and it still had similar problems. For some reason, rebooting the Linksys would fix it, even though the problem was the modem. I ended up pulling the old 10 year old DSL modem out of the closet and hooked that up to the Linksys and everything's been running perfectly for over 8 months now.

the problem with black-boxes ... (1)

un1xl0ser (575642) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167953)

Most of the devices that you mentioned don't give you details of the status of the OS (cpu, memory, port utilization, et cetera). This is the kind of relationship you have with a black-box. You can put a bug request in, and maybe even send them logs or core dumps, if the device supports it.

I've only run openwrt or some other open-source firmware for a while now, and I have been happy with performance and the fact that I can see what is going on on the device I own.

My current setup is:
OpenWrt White Russian - With X-Wrt Extensions 0.9
Linux 2.4.30 #1 Thu Feb 22 13:58:48 EST 2007
Linksys WRTSL54GS
Broadcom BCM947XX

My usage is:
1 Mac, two Linux laptops, one Windows desktop and a Linux server. Moderate bittorrent usage (both Azureus and rtorrent), in addition to frequent outbound ssh connections (X11, rsync, vnc), Citrix and SSL/IPSec VPNs. Absolutely no uPnP or Rendezvous.

They All Suck (1)

aarmenaa (712174) | more than 5 years ago | (#24167993)

The last router I had that really worked was a trusty old Linksys BEFSR41. This is not the same router that's going by that model number today. The hardware has completely changed and the new one I bought when my old one finally died was absolute trash. Since then I've been through all the major manufacturers, and they all have issues locking up, resetting, and other weird crap. I finally got fed up and converted an old Pentium (floating point bug included!) into a router running Smoothwall. It's the most stable router I've ever had.

I really have no idea why the purpose made stuff doesn't work. Many people say the issue is that the routing table fills up, or they run out of memory, or something to that effect. But my ancient Pentium with 32 MB of RAM doesn't seem to have that issue, and most of the top end Linksys boxes are coming with 16 or 32 MB of RAM, though the cheap ones only come with 8. Still, Smoothwall indicates most of my RAM is being used as disk cache - not for running anything in particular. So, I don't think RAM's really the issue. It's obviously a software related issue of some sort: flashed Linksys routers with one of the custom firmwares are apparently quite nice.

I'll tell you why ... (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#24168003)

crappy firmware. I flashed my WRT54G V4 with Tomato and haven't looked back. Also haven't had to reboot it in the past year or so that I've been using it, other than the occasional update. Tomato's developer obviously knows what he's doing: compared to the stock Linksys firmware he's lightyears ahead. And he's just one guy, you'd think a company with the resources of Linksys could do an even better job.

Poor Programming && Poor Hardware Design (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24168005)

This is due to a combination of poor programming, and poor hardware designs.

Most properly designed routers have a hardware watchdog timer, which must be periodically written to in order to prevent an automatic reboot.

When I cut my teeth on Embedded/Small system programming, decades ago, we were taught the reboot button is a bad thing.

In fact, for our final project , we had to design a "mission critical" system, where the reset button was DISABLED. Instructors would initiate a prohibited condition, and the software had to automatically reboot and restart from a SAFE [not default] state.

Any system which did not enter a SAFE state, FAILED [and so did the student].

They don't teach classes like that anymore, in favor of things like Java, which lets students forget about the "hard" stuff.

Its all fine and dandy to have a nice real-time OS, but it isn't worth anything if the core programs its running are programmed by a bunch of java jockeys used to letting other people do the "hard stuff".

Very seldom reboot any of this gear (1)

lorddarthpaul (730954) | more than 5 years ago | (#24168011)

In 1996, I had a PowerMac 4400 (overkill, but one of the few Macs into which you could stick multiple Ethernet cards, 100Base-T on the network) running Vicom Internet Gateway (had Parental Controls and all sorts of nice features). I used to restart that machine every now and then. When the Linksys BEFSR41 arrived, it freed up the PowerMac and I would reboot it every few months just for fun (paired with an original Shark Fin cable modem from LANcity -- seldom restarted that either -- as it was in the basement and the router was in the attic). Eventually bought a Linksys WRT54GS (v2) to use the Parental Controls feature (not perfect, but mostly did what I needed, though that feature is being discontinued). Never restarted that much either (paired originally with a 3Com 3CR29210 [onlinehome.us] , later with a D-Link DCM-202, and these days with a Motorola SB5101). This is all on a network with several TiVos, a Win/XP machine, a handful of Macs (mostly MacOS X these days), and an AirPort Express (2 client laptops) and I still don't need to restart it. You probably need to figure out just what is failing by doing some network sniffing? Maybe it's related to the ISP? I've had this gear hooked up to RCN's cable for 7 years with few issues (with the gear itself).

OpenBSD Routers? (1)

Piranhaa (672441) | more than 5 years ago | (#24168027)

I still think it's sad we're seeing Linux routers coming out as much as they do. I can understand from the uPnP prospective to use Linux, but I really don't like having the applications on my computers control which ports people can and cant access (doesn't that defeat the purpose of a firewall nearly??).
I've wanted to setup a cheap embedded OpenBSD router for ages now (with a web interface and such) that I can give to my friends knowing they're getting security AND stability together. However, the manufacturer support just isn't there.. I finally decided to setup a mini-itx OpenBSD system which runs great on flash, but even though it's small (in my view) the average user won't agree.

I hope some manufacturers like Linksys decide to change some of their embedded OS', unless of course this is exactly what they want .. Less stability so people are forced to upgrade to Enterprise Class equipment?

PC as Router (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 5 years ago | (#24168029)

I used to use a PC as a router. Anything with 2 network interfaces will do. One connected to the "internet" or greater network, 1 for the internal network.

Configure Linux:
Set up your OS security (port blocking, disable remote accounts, etc).

Configure IP Tables (was IP Chains):
Set up your network security (some overlap with the above). This is also where you do your intranet packet forwarding (xlating 10.1.1.1 to a real ip on a specific port)

Configure /sbin/route
Set up your routing table (if necessary).

Optional configuration:
Set up your network monitoring (both sides), maybe a traffic shaper to make sure those downloaders dont cripple your connection

After awhile I realized I didn't want a big box sitting in the corner getting dust and occasionally having a hardware failure (7 years of using a box for routing!) and switched to the ever-popular WL500g and havent had a problem for 2 years (DHCP leasing keeps the undesireable wardrivers from connecting through it)

What's a reboot? (1)

DeusExCalamus (1146781) | more than 5 years ago | (#24168037)

Firmware: DD-WRT v24 (05/24/08) std Time: 19:20:22 up 20 days, 6:30, load average: 0.15, 0.10, 0.02 I've had it for a little over a month now, and it's only been down due to power outages.
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