Monday, March 10, 2008

Are you suffering from router disconnect syndrome?

One thing I hate most is getting out of my chair in the middle surfing the web to go reset my router. Who agrees with me? I often get disconnects whether its my wired or wireless connection. Here are my symptoms:
1. Running torrent application and get disconnected after an hour.
2. Turning on a laptop to use wireless and the router freaks out- breaking my wifi connection but wired still works. To fix this, I have to reset the router.
3. Turn on my PS3 or Xbox 360 and getting signed out of PSN/Xbox Live.

The router I am currently using is the Linksys WRT54G.
My theory and my troubleshooting:
Non-commerical type routers can not handle high TCP/UDP traffic. So in my torrent application I set limiter for download/upload speed. I started out capping it at 200kbps download and 5kpbs for my test. This seem to work so I started to bump up the speed til my router starts to disconnect again. I found that 300kbps/15kbps is the sweet spot, anything higher the router will start disconnecting after 1-2 hours.
Now that I found a solution for torrents, I still have to find a solution for my wifi disconnects. It seems like my router doesn't like wireless devices hopping on and off. Evertime a device hops on the wireless it has to release a new ip address. This leads me to think what if the router doesn't have to release a new ip address everytime I turn on my laptop? Well, there is such a thing, and its called Static IP. To do this, go into your router settings and change "Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)" to Static IP. This is differnt for different makes and models of wireless routers so please consult the users manual. Now to set all your computers to use a permanent ip address :
(This is for Windows XP)
Click Start, click Control Panel, click Network and Internet Connections, and then click Network Connections.
Right-click the network connection that is connected to the private ICS network, and then click Properties.
On the General tab, click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) in the This connection uses the following items list, and then click Properties.
On the General tab, click Use the following IP address. Configure the entries as follows:

IP Address: The IP address you chose for this client (for example,

Subnet Mask:

Default Gateway:

Click Use the following DNS server addresses, and then type in the Preferred DNS server box.
Click Advanced, and then click the DNS tab.
In the DNS suffix for this connection box, type MSHOME.NET.
Click OK.
Click OK.

To verify your computer has changed to static Ip, go to start--> run, type in CMD. This will bring up a command promt window. Now type in IPCONFIG, this will display your permanent Ip address (if you changed your IP address using the directions status above correctly).

This seems to have fixed my router disconnect problems. If you want more features and get more out of your router, there is a 3rd party firmware called DD-WRT ( This firmware has some amazing features like extending wireless coverage by bumping up the wireless output power.
Go to the Wireless tab, then to Advanced Settings. Find the entry labeled Xmit Power, which is set by default at a paltry 28mW, and can be set up to 251mW. To be honest, I don't know much about the science of the whole process, but I do know that 251 is WAY bigger than 28. However, you probably don't want to pump it up to 251mW right away.

Another nice feature is an option to switch the router into a wireless bridge to turn other non-wireless devices into wireless. A great example is instead of spending $100 for a Xbox 360 wireless card, you can buy a $30 router, flash DD-WRT and switch to bridge client.

you can give priority to your interactive traffic (like VoIP, web browsing, or gaming) while throttling traffic that doesn't require a steady rate of bandwidth to function like torrents or other P2P programs.

***Use 3rd party firmware at your own risk, I am not responsable if you break your router or computer***