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Has my Wireless Router died?


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Tom Spencer's Avatar
Tom Spencer Tom Spencer is offline
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25-Sep-2008, 04:56 AM #1
Has my Wireless Router died?
I set up my TP-Link TL-WR541G wireless router about 9 months ago (which took an age because I bought it in China and all the menus are in Chinese). The router is connected to the internet through a Motorola cable modem, and has been since I set it up. There have been no problems at all until yesterday. My wife and I both use our laptops to connect to the web through the router while we're at home. I set up the router so that it would accept only our MAC addresses.

The problem started yesterday afternoon when we both came home, switched on the modem, switched on the router, and switced on our laptops (as is our normal procedure (we switch everything off at the wall when not in use)). The lights on the modem and router came on as normal, and our laptops both registered a connection to the router, but neither of us could open any web pages.

I tried unplugging the modem and router, waiting a couple of minutes, plugging the modem back in, waiting until all the lights were on, and then plugging the router in. That didn't work. I tried pressing the reset button on the router (held it for 30+ seconds), followed by a complete power-down, waiting period, and power-up again. Nothing.

Plugging either of our laptops directly into the modem works fine - we can both access the web that way.

This morning I tried again. The router and modem had both been unplugged all night. Tried resetting the router and going through full power cycles on both the modem and the router many times but to no avail. Then we noticed something strange: Google Earth was able to access the internet. So, too, was 'QQ' (the Chinese equivilant of M$N). Still no web pages would open, though.

A couple of attempts later and not even those programmes were able to get a connexion.

Running the Connection TroubleShooter on M$N tells me that there is a DNS problem and a problem with the Key Ports. Clicking on 'repair' sometimes results in the DNS problem seemingly being resolved, but not the Key Ports problem. I said the DNS problem is 'seemingly' fixed, because if I then run another connexion test, it turns up a problem with the DNS again.

Ok, so my home isn't particularly hot or humid, my wife and I have AVG running all the time (including full scans on a daily basis) and we never download dodgy stuff - just basic web browsing and e-mail. We haven't changed any settings on the router. None of the cables is loose, frayed or knawed by rats. Just a sudden, inexplicable loss of function.

Is my router dead? What else can I try?
1stoptek's Avatar
1stoptek 1stoptek is offline
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25-Sep-2008, 09:15 AM #2
I would try resetting the router once more and then downloading the latest firmware and installing it. You can get your firmware here.
Hope this helps.
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25-Sep-2008, 04:26 PM #3
Reset the router to factory defaults by holding the reset button down for 15 seconds with power on. The following procedure should get you a connection with any broadband modem that is configured to use DHCP for the router connection, such as cable modems, and many DSL modems. If you require PPPoE configuration for the DSL modem, that will have to be configured to match the ISP requirements.
  • Turn off everything, the modem, router, computer.
  • Connect the modem to the router's WAN/Internet port.
  • Connect the computer to one of the router's LAN/Network ports.
  • Turn on the modem, wait for a steady connect light.
  • Turn on the router, wait for two minutes.
  • Boot the computer.

When the computer is completely booted, let's see this.

Hold the Windows key and press R, then type CMD to open a command prompt:

In the command prompt window that opens, type type the following command:

IPCONFIG /ALL

Right click in the command window and choose Select All, then hit Enter.
Paste the results in a message here.

If you are on a machine with no network connection, use a floppy, USB disk, or a CD-RW disk to transfer a text file with the information to allow pasting it here.
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Tom Spencer's Avatar
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25-Sep-2008, 10:37 PM #4
Thanks to 1stoptek and JohnWill for the advice so far.

1stoptek: for someone with my level of computer knowledge (very little), updating the router's firmware is proving tricky. The instructions included with the firmware are quite obscure, though I did figure out that I needed to download tftpd32. Having attempted the update in a variety of ways, and received a variety of error messages, I think I need some guidance on how to use tftpd32, or a complete, step-by-step walkthrough of the entire process. Otherwise I'll have to give up on the update idea.

JohnWill: I reset the router exactly as you described and still can't get it to connect to the web. I then followed the steps you recommended and ran ipconfig. Oddly, I just got a flash of the black, DOS-like box that contains the data, then it disappeared. I've run ipconfig before, when setting up the router months ago, so I know it works. Now, though, it just flashes briefly on the screen whenever I try to run it. Far too quick for me to get any info. from it.

I'm going to try it on my wife's computer, now, to see whether the same thing happens.
Tom Spencer's Avatar
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25-Sep-2008, 11:03 PM #5
I've just tried it with my wife's computer and exactly the same thing happens - ipconfig flashes up briefly and then disappears. Curiouser and curiouser...
1stoptek's Avatar
1stoptek 1stoptek is offline
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26-Sep-2008, 09:09 AM #6
That makes me wonder if something else is going on, but the fact that you can access the internet by directly connecting to the modem still makes me think your problem lies in the router. To upgrade your firmware, try these directions by clicking here, but make sure that your directly connected to the router, not wireless.
Tom Spencer's Avatar
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26-Sep-2008, 08:01 PM #7
I just followed the advice given in the link to the letter. It's actually one of the variety of ways I had tried previously, in my "let's guess how this is supposed to work" approach. Same result as before - the update failed.

I have confirmed the hardware version of my router (TL-WR541G), downloaded the appropriate update (wr541gv4-en-up.bin), extracted it to the same file as tftp32 (ensuring the directory shown in the tftp server matches that in which the update is located), input the correct file name (wr541gv4-en-up.bin) into the correct box in the router (system tools, firmware, file name), ensured the computer's ip address (192.168.1.100) is the same in the tftp server as it is in the router, and clicked on 'update' (well, the equivalent words in Chinese).

Roughly translated, the error message says “Upgrade not successful. File name has a mistake. Please check whether the file name is correct.”
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