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Common broadband router problem solving

Introduction and basics to solving your broadband router problems

On this page we are going to look at some branded ADSL / DSL broadband router's and how we resolved some common problems. All the information provided will be based on our own knowledge base documentation created on actual problematic repairs successfully carried out. We will discuss well known manufactured brands like Linksys, and Netgear, the problems we came across and how we resolved the issues. You may find similarity to some of the problems and hopefully the same fix tried and tested by us will help you.

If you find our web page of interest or wish to leave us your comments then you can so by going to our Contact us page.
If you are having issues with your actual ADSL line you may find our web page "Improve your broadband ADSL connection" page of interest.
You can also visit the thinkbroadband site where they have all the latest news and a great technical support.

Below you can read about the following routers:-

1. Netgear Model WNDR330 - Intermittent wireless problems
2. Linksys 12V 1A power supply - Causing havoc on DSL line
3. Using OpenDns on a BT Homehub - Use OpenDns on BT Broadband
4.


Netgear Range Max Dual Band Wireless N Router Model WNDR3300 - Intermittent wireless problems

We recently had someone having problems with a Netgear RangeMax Dual Band Wireless N Router Model WNDR3300. The problems reported were that the wireless connection was always intermittent. The client workstations would keep on connecting and then in a short time disconnect from the router. The signal bar on the workstations were also constantly going up and down

wndr3300

After ensuring that the router had the latest firmware it was assumed that the router maybe experiencing some interference which may be effecting the wireless network. The router setup menu was accessed and it was noted that the wireless channel was set on the auto channel.

We then decided to set the channel setting to channel 2. Once the router had been re-booted it was noted that 5 of the 6 workstations now had good wireless signal and a very satisfactory connection.

We then worked on the 6th workstation which was a HP laptop. First of all we checked the HP website to ensure that we had the latest wireless drivers installed. Then we checked for a suitable connection by means of connecting by a hard wired Lan connection.

We noted that the laptop would work via the Lan connection but the browser seemed some what slower in response compared to the other work stations. Our next approach was to check our anti virus software for updates. We then noticed that this laptop had been running without any anti malware / spyware utility.

The laptop was then installed with a free popular anti spyware utility and checked for undesirable infections. When the program completed we noted that it found numerous infections. We opted for our program to delete all infections found. After re-booting the wireless connection on the laptop seemed to have been repaired.

So in the final summary our wireless network seemed all of a sudden not to like the default channel that it was set on. This router is dual band and designed to switch over to channels without interference. However for reasons unknown the default wireless channel was picking up an unknown source of interference. This was rectified by setting the channel to channel 2. It was assumed that some interference was probably being picked up which we were unable to identify. The laptop had been proven to contain malicious malware activity which played havoc on the working of the router and laptop.

For people with similar problems our advice would be to ensure that your wireless network is not prone to interference and the most important advice do ensure that your security anti-virus and anti-malware software are up to date.




Linksys 12V 1A power supply unit - Causing havoc on DSL line

Recently we were given a Linksys 12 volt 1000mA power supply unit which had been causing havoc to a users dsl connection. The user over a period of a few weeks had noticed his dsl  router connection to randomly re-sync causing the isp's DLM system lowering his connection speed. At first it was thought that there was a line fault as there was sometimes a buzzing noise being heard on the telephone line. The user  reported a fault to his telephone service provider. After a few days the telephone company's engineer had diagnosed the problem to be the user's equipment. We were called to see if we could help.
The fist thing we did was to go into the routers web configuration page to look at the router stats. It was noticed that the router had been re-syncing multiple times and the line stats were very bad as well.  The DL noise margin had crept up to 15db and the line attenuation of 36db didn't reflect to the lousy line rate of 800kbps.
To eliminate equipment we first tried a spare replacement Belkin router. This immediately improved the line stats and line rate. So it was thought that the Linksys router was probably the cause of the problems and would probably be best to replace.
As the user was going on his annual holiday he asked us to repair or find a replacement router. We opened up the router and could not see anything wrong. Then we tried a replacement power supply and the router immediately was showing a more appropriate line stats improvement.
So the problems was the power brick power supply. We decided to crack open the power supply. The power supply unit is a sealed unit but with some determination you can split open the unit. We put our power supply unit within a bench vice and used a hammer to crack the original glue used to seal the unit. It does take a little effort but you can get into the casing without any major damage.

linksyspsu
The power supply was very basic consisting of a transformer, a pcb with four diodes acting as a bridge rectifier and a smoothing capacitor. We tested the transformer on the secondary side which was giving out approx 17V under no load which seemed correct. We then tested the four diodes on the pcb which two tested unsatisfactory. The 2200uf smoothing capacitor also showed a capacitance reading of 83uf with an esr reading of 19.5 which defiantly was a sign of failure.
We replaced all four of the diodes with some spare IN5400 and soldered a new 2200uf 25V 105 deg low ESR capacitor. The casing was glued back and the router and repaired power supply put back on the user's dsl line.
The results were a complete success as the sync rate immediately jumped up to a more respectable 7345kbps and the line noise lowering itself to 7db.
The cost of the the components replaced were under two British pounds and the client recently reported that he has never had his router work so well.

-- Another piece of electronic equipment saved from a journey to the ever growing landfill --


UPDATE - Since doing this fix sometime ago we have noted other client sites where we have been called out to with similar problems.  Sometimes the clients try to resolve the issues themselves. In some of the cases the routers are coming onto 18 months since newly installed. With some clients we are told that the power supplies are ok as when they are tested by the clients they record an output voltage. The user must ensure when testing the power supply that the voltage measurement taken is with the power supply under load condition. Even when the correct voltage is being measured the main problem may lay with the diode rectifiers and failure of the smoothing capacitor. If the diodes fail then the power supply will not give a satisfactory rectified supply. If the capacitor fails then the supply will fail to give a smooth DC supply. In all of these cases the faulty power supply will induce noise and if not repaired or replaced will in time most certainly damage the router further.

You must also be aware that most modern routers now come with switching power supply units. These tend to last much longer but if these fail then they will also give similar problems. The brick type power supplies tend to be heavier and bulky where as the switching power supplies will always be small and very light in weight. The majority of our router hardware problems have in most cases always been resolved by repair or replacement of the power supply unit. In our experience the power brick power supply being used continuously 24hrs a day 7 days a week will probably fail within under 18 months. When they start to fail they can resemble problems similar to the router having a line fault or problematic wireless connection.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this topic. You can now leave comments for us at our comments page. ---> here




Using OpenDns on BT Homehub and BT Broadband


On this page we are going to show you how to use the OpenDNS service on BT Broadband using the BT Homehub and some additional cheap hardware. BT has currently disabled their users from entering their own dns settings on the BT Homehubs using the current BT firmware. BT had adopted to disable certain features on their homehubs to close certain security vulnerabilities on their hardware.


So first of all lets briefly find out what the OpenDNS service is.

OpenDNS is a dns service which can help in providing the user in controlling and blocking Internet sites which the user deems as inappropriate. This can be useful if you have kids on your home network and you want to filter and block web sites which you deem inappropriate for them to visit or use.
OpenDNS also provides anti-phising and  malware / botnet protection to further protect the Internet user. We do however strongly advise that the user still incorporates security software on each PC / Laptop and home  network devices that they currently use to ensure a high level of protection.

Now we will give a brief explanation of the BT Homehub.

BT provide all their customers exclusively using the BT Broadband product their branded wireless router known as the BT HomeHub. In providing this great piece of kit  BT can provide support for the BT Broadband customer. The latest BT Homehub version 3 includes the smart wireless N technology, provision of a gigabit LAN port and the USB port for connecting a printer or hard disk to your home network. This version of the home hub can also be used on BT's ADSL and Infinity products. Overall we have been very impressed with this latest BT Hardware and congratulate them in providing such an outstanding piece of kit.

bthhv3frontbthhv3front    bthhv3rear

By using some additional hardware and setting the home network correctly we can use the OpenDNS service and still get support from the official BT support channel as we are still using their provided piece of kit on the BT Broadband product.


In order to use OpenDNS we need to configure the dns settings on our home network to use the OpenDNS servers. This can be done in a couple of ways. The user can either at each computer or laptop  access the  network configuration and manually enter the OpenDNS server settings, or use these dns settings at the router  to globally use the dns service for all devices on the network. Entering the dns settings within network configuration at each device can be quite time consuming and can also be quite easily bypassed by someone  by just entering their own dns settings. By configuring the router correctly we can ensure that the chosen dns service is the only dns service used.

Our tip includes the use of an additional router which will be configured with the
OpenDNS setting and provide DHCP to all devices on the network. In using our method the user is required to disable the DHCP on the BT Homehub for providing IP addresses to devices on the home network. In brief the DLink will be used as a slave router providing DHCP and DNS in lieu of the BT HomeHub.

In our method we chose the DLink DIR-615 version D2 router as our additional piece of hardware. We chose this router as it cost just 1.50 plus 3.50 shipping from eBay. The DLink DIR-615 is a wireless  broadband router with wireless N and four 100mb Ethernet ports.

dir615

The first thing we did with this router was to upgrade the firmware from the DLink to the DD WRT firmware.

The DD WRT firmware is a free Linux-based firmware offering a great number of functionalities. This firmware allowed us to setup this router as a slave router which provided all devices on our network with DHCP and the DNS settings for the OpenDNS service. In addition we configured this router to intercept the dns port to prevent users from using their own dns server.

ddwrt

The following setup configurations was used within the DLink configuration page. All other settings were left as the default settings.

Wan Setup
Wan Connection Type - Disabled
Network Setup
Local IP Address - 192.168.1.1
Subnet Mask - 255.255.255.0

Gateway - 192,168.1.254 (IP address of BT Homehub)
Local DNS - 208.67.222.222 (OpenDNS server)
Wan Port
Assign WAN Port to Switch - Tick check box (This enables the Wan port to be used as a LAN Port)

Network Address Server Settings (DHCP)
DHCP Type - DHCP Server
DHCP Server - Enabled
Static DNS 1 - 208.67.222.222 (OpenDNS Primary server)
Static DNS 2 - 208.67.220.220 (OpenDNS Secondary server)
Static DNS 3 - 192.168.1.1
Use DNSMasq for DHCP - Tick check box
Use DNSMasq for DNS - Tick check box
DHCP-Authoritative - Tick check
box

All other settings can be left in their default.

The final step was to disable the DHCP within the BT Homehub. All that is needed now is to connect the DLink router to the BT HomeHub via the LAN Ports using an Ethernet RJ45 cable and re-booting the two routers. (Note that the routers are linked by the Lan Ports and NOT the WAN ports).

This is the basic setup to use the OpenDNS service using the BT Homehub within the network by using an additional slave router providing the DHCP and DNS settings. Additional settings can be entered into the slave router to prevent users on the network using their own dns settings. The DD WRT firmware offers other additional functionalities such as custom DDNS which can be very useful. We have not shown these  additional settings but may cover this at a later update.

We hope our readers have enjoyed our project and will come back to www.punj.co.uk for our views on more technological projects and products.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this topic. You can now leave comments for us at our comments page. ---> here




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