WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

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sambb
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by sambb » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:01 pm

have never had to reboot my apple system ever

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by FrugalInvestor » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:07 pm

My router needed to be re-booted a couple of times per month or more for the years that I was a customer of Cox Cable. In the first year after I changed to local fiber optic internet provider the same router required a re-boot once, and I'm not sure it was actually the router's problem.

Since changing services I've moved from my old Linksys 1900AC router to Google Wifi with the same results, it never needs a re-boot and I remain on the fiber optic internet service.

So my answer to your question would be that routers are likely only as reliable as your internet service.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

jebmke
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by jebmke » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:10 pm

FrugalInvestor wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:07 pm
My router needed to be re-booted a couple of times per month or more for the years that I was a customer of Cox Cable. In the first year after I changed to local fiber optic internet provider the same router required a re-boot once, and I'm not sure it was actually the router's problem.

So my answer to your question would be that routers are likely only as reliable as your internet service.
This is probably easy enough to test. If the internet is the problem then you should still be able to route packets locally without delay. If it is the router then the packets won't move locally either. A couple quick ping tests would narrow it down. Not a guaranteed test but would be indicative.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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1210sda
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by 1210sda » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:13 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:44 am
You've chosen a poor quality router. A bit of research can help you find a reliable one. It's not necessary to buy a high end consumer router or to buy a commercial quality one to get a reliable one. I paid $50 and mine is reliable.
What's the brand and model of your $50 reliable router. Need to get one.
1210

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grayfox
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by grayfox » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:15 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:32 am
So this morning my tablet wouldn't connect to my Wifi, and I rebooted the router, and fixed it.

It's in the folkways, it's accepted, it's not a big deal... but "everybody knows" that wireless routers need to be rebooted "every few weeks."

Why? I don't get it. It's firmware. It's not constantly loading dozens of different applications from different vendors, some of whom might not have caught all their memory leaks. It's supposed to be tested, debugged code.

a) Why should they need to be rebooted every few weeks? Is there any reason for this other than bad code?

b) If it does need to be rebooted every few weeks, and there's some good reason why it's unavailable, and this is regarded as acceptable... then why don't the come from the factory default-configured to automatically reboot themselves very Sunday at 3 a.m. (with a user option not to, or to use some other schedule?) Given the hundred-odd other settings you can make, why isn't that one of them?
I am not an expert so this is just my guesses.

1. I think most routers are just Linux computers running a router program. The firmware is probably in flash memory, but it has RAM. There is the OS with various processes running. There can be memory leaks just like any computer. Or a process can crash like any computers. Reboot the system starts with a clean slate.

2. I think the routing programs keeps tables of connections. When you connect to a webpage, connections are added and removed from the table. Sometimes a device might open a connection and never close it. Maybe you shutdown your computer without closing a browser. The table gets filled up with orphan connections. Eventually runs out of space.

:idea: I re-boot my router at least once per day to give it a clean start. In fact, I turn it off every night and keep it off until morning. If I leave for an extended time, I turn it off. Save energy and no one can hack in.

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whodidntante
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by whodidntante » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:16 pm

1210sda wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:13 pm
whodidntante wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:44 am
You've chosen a poor quality router. A bit of research can help you find a reliable one. It's not necessary to buy a high end consumer router or to buy a commercial quality one to get a reliable one. I paid $50 and mine is reliable.
What's the brand and model of your $50 reliable router. Need to get one.
1210
ASUS Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router ( RT-AC68U)

My specific model is T-mobile branded as a mobile extender that I got a great deal on, but I flashed WRT firmware over whatever it came with. There is good documentation available online that describes how to do this, but it's not a procedure I would recommend to everyone. Specifically, I am running ASUSwrt-Merlin 380.65_2

This is an older design and a solid router. I get great wifi coverage and I've never rebooted it due to connectivity issues. It routinely goes on sale for $45-$60. $50 is typical. I would setup an alert on slickdeals.net if you want one. You probably will not need to wait for longer than month to find an acceptable price.

mouses
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by mouses » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:26 am

The people who love their routers could so us all a favor and post the brand and model numbers and add if they can be set up by a brainless person.

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by FrugalInvestor » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:01 am

mouses wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:26 am
The people who love their routers could so us all a favor and post the brand and model numbers and add if they can be set up by a brainless person.
Gootgle Wifi 3-pack. I have a 2300 s.f. house.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

MindBogler
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by MindBogler » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:13 am

nisiprius wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:32 pm
The suggestions of form "you have a low quality router." "How do I tell what is a high-quality router?" "Buy one and see if you need to reboot it. If you don't, it is high quality; if you do, it is another low quality router" don't quite do it for me.
While pulling the plug on a timer might work for awhile, it probably isn't the best long term solution for a device which is probably based on Linux. Maybe you could provide additional information like the current model of your router? Where does it live in your home? Is it overheating? How old is the device? You didn't indicate what troubleshooting steps led you to believe the router required a reboot. Does it fail to route packets? Does the wireless fail? What exactly isn't working? It is possible you may need to buy something to solve your problem. I don't think making that suggestion is bad advice, it is just pointing out one possible solution.

jebmke
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by jebmke » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:21 am

MindBogler wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:13 am
Where does it live in your home? Is it overheating? How old is the device? You didn't indicate what troubleshooting steps led you to believe the router required a reboot. Does it fail to route packets? Does the wireless fail? What exactly isn't working? It is possible you may need to buy something to solve your problem. I don't think making that suggestion is bad advice, it is just pointing out one possible solution.
Years ago I thought I had a router problem with my trusty Buffalo router. Took me a while to isolate the problem but it turned out that my old desktop computer, which was hard wired to the router, had a failing NIC which was tying up the routing system and slowing down the entire local network. The router was blameless. Had I swapped to a new router I would not have solved the problem.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

tev9876
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by tev9876 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:37 am

Many routers can be set to reboot themselves at a preset time of day. Log into the router and see if this option is there. Set it for 3 AM or some time you won't be needing internet for a few minutes and see if that helps. Make sure it has good ventilation and you clean the dust off periodically - heat kills computers.

I got tired of replacing cheap routers that died after a year. I bought a Netgear Nighthawk (can't remember the exact model) for around $200 probably two years ago. I wanted a selective VPN (one device/destination goes through VPN, everything else does not) to get around geographic restrictions for sports streaming, so I flashed Tomato on it. It has been rock solid ever since. I don't use the VPN any more since Sling added the local Fox Sports channels, but I have never needed to reboot the router. I recycled a couple of the old ones into switches by disabling the router functions since I have many wired devices around the house (NAS, garage door status monitor, Rokus, Smart TVs, etc.) and needed more ports. They work just fine in this limited role now.

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obafgkm
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by obafgkm » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:46 am

sambb wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:01 pm
have never had to reboot my apple system ever
I have had the same Apple AirPort Extreme wireless router for at least ten years, and I've had to reboot just once.

jebmke
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by jebmke » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:56 am

obafgkm wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:46 am
sambb wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:01 pm
have never had to reboot my apple system ever
I have had the same Apple AirPort Extreme wireless router for at least ten years, and I've had to reboot just once.
No firmware updates?
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

mariezzz
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by mariezzz » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:02 am

Thanks for asking this question. Lots of potential explanations (including in the Consumer Reports article linked to earlier) but the underlying question is: why doesn't computer equipment work in the way that meets users' needs? I have a wireless modem and a cable modem (cable modem bought from cable company). I can go long periods without any problems, and then go through periods where I find myself having to reboot several times a week. (I'm not sure if it's the cable modem or wireless, or a problem with the interaction between the 2. At times, rebooting wireless only has worked but usually not so I just reboot both.) I've given up on asking why because I haven't had much confidence in the answers I've gotten.

I think the question falls in the same category of: why do operating systems have holes in them that require constant upgrades from Microsoft (I know Apple has fewer but it does require some)? I've really wondered whether this is actually deliberate, a way to provide an open door into the vast majority of computers out there. (I've removed my tin hat now.)

Edit to add: The need for firmware upgrades also seems to be planned obsolescence - they can force people to buy a new product (or OS) once they stop supporting a product.
Last edited by mariezzz on Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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BrandonBogle
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by BrandonBogle » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:09 am

Lots of good responses here, so I’ll be brief.

I have a ASUS N66U that is cooked up to a UPS system that provides line conditioning (so not just battery backup, but it smoothes out any voltage irregularities).

The only time I have an issue with my router and have to reboot is when the dog or cat knocks it off it’s perch and it sits on the thick carpet, thereby blocking the vents and overheating. Shut it down for 5-10 minutes and all is good. I’ll go months with it sitting on a perch without issue.

I recently upgraded my ISP connection and they provided a supposedly great router. Since as it was a good bit newer, I thought I would try it. The big point here was that it had traffic shaping for its multiple radios, so it eliminated any weak zones in the house the Asus couldn’t handle (corner of the basement and garage basically). That router sadly is afflicted by the Google Home/Chromecast bug. I switched those devices back to the Asus and back to having no reboots here.

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obafgkm
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by obafgkm » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:43 am

obafgkm wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:46 am

I have had the same Apple AirPort Extreme wireless router for at least ten years, and I've had to reboot just once.
jebmke wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:56 am
No firmware updates?
Well, okay, I should have written "... had to reboot because of a glitch just once." The AirPort Extreme still works when an update is needed. The update is very simple with Airport Utility.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:29 am

mariezzz wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:02 am
Thanks for asking this question. Lots of potential explanations (including in the Consumer Reports article linked to earlier) but the underlying question is: why doesn't computer equipment work in the way that meets users' needs?
A router than needs to be rebooted once a week or once a day does meet most users needs. It may not exceed the outer limits of their desires, but it gets the job done with minor inconvenience. If it didn't people would buy something else.

ilisira
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by ilisira » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:49 pm

FrugalInvestor wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:01 am
mouses wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:26 am
The people who love their routers could so us all a favor and post the brand and model numbers and add if they can be set up by a brainless person.
Gootgle Wifi 3-pack. I have a 2300 s.f. house.
Another Google WiFi 3-pack user here in a similar sized home. I have been using it for about 14 months, and extremely happy* with wifi coverage, the routing functionality has been good as well (esp since they added IPv6 support). I have used many routers with dd-wrt firmware, and would recommend one from that list if you are handy to load dd-wrt (https://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Supported_Devices).

*: One problem me, and many had with Google Wi-Fi was last year when Google decommissioned some older API, and in the process unprogrammed some of the WiFi devices. Yes, this is something that should have never happened, and I do expect a reputable company not to do something like this again (somehow I compare this to Amazon deleting an ebook from kindles).

For the longest time, I have been an advocate of splitting devices, and buying the best devices to do a single job. Router/modem discussion is exactly this, and before the google Wi-Fi, I was doing this for AP/router combination as well. I had Ruckus AP's, and a Cisco router, which worked pretty good, but router did not support IPv6.

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telemark
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by telemark » Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:40 pm

Perhaps it's running malware and restarting clears that out until it gets infected again...

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tuningfork
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by tuningfork » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:33 pm

Anything that needs to be power cycled or rebooted or restarted periodically to continue functioning suffers from buggy software, firmware or hardware. A properly designed and tested product will simply work, and will be robust enough to detect and recover from problems before they become serious enough to require a restart.

Unfortunately, designing, building and testing a complex product to be that robust is expensive and time consuming. Product cycles are so rapid these days that few companies are willing or able to delay a product release to get to that level of quality, or to require the product to be priced significantly higher than the competition. If there's an easy "fix" that the end user can perform, such as hitting a reset switch, then it's time to ship the product. As a career developer of such complex hardware/software products, I was continually frustrated by having to ship not-quite-done products, but the economics told me that's the only way we would stay in business.

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tuningfork
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by tuningfork » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:52 pm

ilisira wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:49 pm
FrugalInvestor wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:01 am
mouses wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:26 am
The people who love their routers could so us all a favor and post the brand and model numbers and add if they can be set up by a brainless person.
Gootgle Wifi 3-pack. I have a 2300 s.f. house.
Another Google WiFi 3-pack user here in a similar sized home. I have been using it for about 14 months, and extremely happy* with wifi coverage, the routing functionality has been good as well (esp since they added IPv6 support).
I replaced a very old Netgear router with Google Wifi 3-pack a few weeks ago. Wifi coverage is the best it's ever been, so I'm happy with that. However, the initial setup experience was not nearly as painless as all the reviews said it would be. It took 3 or 4 attempts to setup the first device. Each time when I would go through the settings and hit Save, I would get a "failed to save" message and had to start over. I was sitting 5 feet away from the device, so it should (and did) have a strong signal. Once the first one was finally setup, I was able to setup the other devices easily.

I had to reboot all the Google Wifi devices one night when I decided to try the Priority Device feature. As soon as I hit the "save" button in the app, the entire Wifi network went down and wouldn't come back until I powered off all three Google Wifi devices and my modem. It took 45 minutes of trying various things and googling for a solution and unplugging/replugging devices individually until I finally just unplugged everything. Once the network finally came back, the app announced that the device I had previously chosen was in priority mode for the next few hours, so at least it eventually got that part right. :oops:

I'm happy with Google Wifi as long as I don't have to touch the app to make a change.

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by GreenGrowTheDollars » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:18 pm

Doom&Gloom wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:40 pm

Thanks! Comcast owns it. I have refrained from buying one of my own because of how frequently I have to swap out their equipment. I have begun referring to them as Swapcast. I'll look in my electronics bin and see if I have an extra power supply from them. I have a ton of Comcast equipment from swapping their equipment so often--I wish there were a market for it.

Thanks! I'll dig around and try to have one at the ready to swap the next time my modem hiccups.
Hint: If you turn the Comcast equipment back to Comcast, get a physical receipt and keep it. The equipment charges kept coming back like Zombies from a bad movie for close to 6 months despite numerous phone calls and promises that it would be resolved. Learned from Mr. GreenGrowTheDollars that Comcast, like most cable companies, grew via acquisition, and the many, many legacy systems do not play nicely with each other. The physical receipt was the charm. Make copies, but don't give it up. (I don't know how many hundreds of dollars Comcast spent on customer service calls and escalations over this just for me, but I am very sure that it far exceeded any possible value of an end-of-life modem/router.)

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by nisiprius » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:31 pm

MindBogler wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:13 am
While pulling the plug on a timer might work for awhile, it probably isn't the best long term solution for a device which is probably based on Linux. Maybe you could provide additional information like the current model of your router? Where does it live in your home? Is it overheating? How old is the device? You didn't indicate what troubleshooting steps led you to believe the router required a reboot. Does it fail to route packets? Does the wireless fail? What exactly isn't working? It is possible you may need to buy something to solve your problem. I don't think making that suggestion is bad advice, it is just pointing out one possible solution.
It's a Cisco Linksys E1200. Sticker on the bottom says "E1200 v2." The management tools, at the http://192.168.0.1 web interface, report firmware 2.0.04. It is on a shelf, with nothing on it and clear space around it, next to my Mac Mini.

The symptoms have been constant and unchanging since first installed three or four years ago.

I don't think it's overheating. It doesn't get worse in the summer. Nothing is blocking the vents. When I put my hand on top of it, it feels less cool than the shelf it is sitting on, but not "warm." It runs cooler than the Mac Mini or other electronics nearby.

The symptom is that at intervals of weeks, my Mac, which is plugged into an Ethernet jack, continues to access the Internet, but all wireless devices (Samsung Galaxy Luna running Android 6.x, Samsung Galaxy Tab-something running Android 7.x, wife's iPad Air) all report that they are not connected to the Internet, and attempts to "forget/connect" result in "Authentication failed" or other error messages. Unplugging the DC power, counting to ten, and plugging it in again always restores normal operation with perhaps 60-120 seconds.

In the past I've bricked a router while following the manufacturer's directions for updating it, using the manufacturer's crappy upgrade software, so it's not something I do lightly. After I'd bricked it, it was cheaper and easier to buy a new one than try to deal with customer support.

For what it's worth, my cable provider's customer support simply says that routers need to be restarted every few weeks and they don't regard it as a problem that they are interested in troubleshooting or resolving. And since cycling power is only needed every few weeks and reliably restores normal operation, it's not necessarily a problem I'm interested in resolving.
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ilisira
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by ilisira » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:39 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:31 pm
MindBogler wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:13 am
While pulling the plug on a timer might work for awhile, it probably isn't the best long term solution for a device which is probably based on Linux. Maybe you could provide additional information like the current model of your router? Where does it live in your home? Is it overheating? How old is the device? You didn't indicate what troubleshooting steps led you to believe the router required a reboot. Does it fail to route packets? Does the wireless fail? What exactly isn't working? It is possible you may need to buy something to solve your problem. I don't think making that suggestion is bad advice, it is just pointing out one possible solution.
It's a Cisco Linksys E1200. Sticker on the bottom says "E1200 v2." The management tools, at the http://192.168.0.1 web interface, report firmware 2.0.04. It is on a shelf, with nothing on it and clear space around it, next to my Mac Mini.

The symptoms have been constant and unchanging since first installed three or four years ago.

I don't think it's overheating. It doesn't get worse in the summer. Nothing is blocking the vents. When I put my hand on top of it, it feels less cool than the shelf it is sitting on, but not "warm." It runs cooler than the Mac Mini or other electronics nearby.

The symptom is that at intervals of weeks, my Mac, which is plugged into an Ethernet jack, continues to access the Internet, but all wireless devices (Samsung Galaxy Luna running Android 6.x, Samsung Galaxy Tab-something running Android 7.x, wife's iPad Air) all report that they are not connected to the Internet, and attempts to "forget/connect" result in "Authentication failed" or other error messages. Unplugging the DC power, counting to ten, and plugging it in again always restores normal operation with perhaps 60-120 seconds.

In the past I've bricked a router while following the manufacturer's directions for updating it, using the manufacturer's crappy upgrade software, so it's not something I do lightly. After I'd bricked it, it was cheaper and easier to buy a new one than try to deal with customer support.

For what it's worth, my cable provider's customer support simply says that routers need to be restarted every few weeks and they don't regard it as a problem that they are interested in troubleshooting or resolving. And since cycling power is only needed every few weeks and reliably restores normal operation, it's not necessarily a problem I'm interested in resolving.
If you do not mind running a third-party ,open source firmware, I do recommend dd-wrt (https://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Linksys_E1200v2). Even if you will not be using any extra features that might be in dd-wrt, this software might make the router more stable if the problems are due to the software issues as we suspected.

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by aspirit » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:47 pm

sambb wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:01 pm
have never had to reboot my apple system ever
:? Thats always been one of the first things suggested at the genius bar, my having taken numerous self-help educational apple store classes i've picked up many apple device quirks and turning it off completely as a operational fix remedy was one. Good luck!
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by Hyperborea » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:23 pm

aspirit wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:47 pm
sambb wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:01 pm
have never had to reboot my apple system ever
:? Thats always been one of the first things suggested at the genius bar, my having taken numerous self-help educational apple store classes i've picked up many apple device quirks and turning it off completely as a operational fix remedy was one. Good luck!
Second Apple MacOS tip is to run "Activity Monitor" in the background at all times. Have it set to launch at login (do that from the "Users & Groups" settings on the "System Preferences"). It's a great tool to tell you what app is hogging memory or processor cycles.

There are times when you can get into a situation where the machine is almost wedged and you can't launch apps but the running ones will work maybe only slowly. From there you can kill the apps hogging resources or force reboot the Finder if it's wedged. The last iteration of Safari was letting some pages eat just about all my system RAM and I would have to force close the page (Safari runs each page as a separate task). Sure, you could just force reboot the whole machine but this gives you a chance to make a more graceful exit and maybe save work in the other apps.

As for Apple routers, yeah I've had to reboot them in the past too. The failure case that I saw was more often with a bad cable modem that would lose connection and the downstream Apple router would have trouble resynching to the modem after it got connection again. Besides, Apple has got out of the router business and the team has been spread around to other projects so no new Apple routers.
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by jebmke » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:25 am

nisiprius wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:31 pm
In the past I've bricked a router while following the manufacturer's directions for updating it, using the manufacturer's crappy upgrade software, so it's not something I do lightly. After I'd bricked it, it was cheaper and easier to buy a new one than try to deal with customer support.
I highly recommend keeping a spare router handy for situations like this. Cheaper than a divorce.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by nisiprius » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:42 am

Hyperborea wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:23 pm
...Second Apple MacOS tip is to run "Activity Monitor" in the background at all times. Have it set to launch at login (do that from the "Users & Groups" settings on the "System Preferences"). It's a great tool to tell you what app is hogging memory or processor cycles...
Regrettably, I agree. Translation: Apple is no longer as conservative as they used to be about sizing RAM and disk on their low-end machines. This problem used to occur all the time when I had the 4GB RAM my previous Mac Mini had shipped with. When I boosted it to 8GB, which was possible on that machine, the problem almost went away. My new Mac Mini, which alas, does not have user-expandable RAM, I bought with 16GB and a solid-state drive, and so far, after about six months, I haven't seen that problem.

But yeah. It shouldn't happen, and it does happen. Safari is one, but not the only source of the problem.

But although it's unforgivable in a desktop OS, at least there's the excuse that you are constantly loading and running many applications, many of which Apple didn't build or SQA. For heaven's sake, a router has a fixed "software" load and it is 100% under the control of the manufacturer.
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by Toons » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:50 am

I have always purchased my own modem rather than pay a monthly fee,
Just upgraded to take advantage of Docsis 3.1 Technology Comcast is offering :happy

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http://www.arris.com/arriseverywhere/20 ... ith-speed/





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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by MindBogler » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:10 am

nisiprius wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:31 pm
The symptom is that at intervals of weeks, my Mac, which is plugged into an Ethernet jack, continues to access the Internet, but all wireless devices (Samsung Galaxy Luna running Android 6.x, Samsung Galaxy Tab-something running Android 7.x, wife's iPad Air) all report that they are not connected to the Internet....

For what it's worth, my cable provider's customer support simply says that routers need to be restarted every few weeks and they don't regard it as a problem that they are interested in troubleshooting or resolving. And since cycling power is only needed every few weeks and reliably restores normal operation, it's not necessarily a problem I'm interested in resolving.
It sounds like you've narrowed the problem down to the wireless component. The router itself is still working. Here are the firmware release notes for your device:

http://downloads.linksys.com/downloads/ ... eNotes.txt

I don't see any silver bullet in there although 2.0.06 is listed with "minor big fixes" in the notes.

As to the cable provider's advice, that is the most expedient way to reduce support calls. I'm sure it works more often than not but I don't consider that a solution. You shouldn't have to reboot your device.

If you do not want to purchase something then some sort of automated reboot will be the best. If there isn't a mechanism to do this automatically in the router's menu then you could do it with a script from your Mac, e.g. perl or python (if that sort of tinkering interests you). Pulling the plug may work but it probably isn't the best solution for the device's longevity.

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by TN_Boy » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:27 am

mariezzz wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:02 am
Thanks for asking this question. Lots of potential explanations (including in the Consumer Reports article linked to earlier) but the underlying question is: why doesn't computer equipment work in the way that meets users' needs? I have a wireless modem and a cable modem (cable modem bought from cable company). I can go long periods without any problems, and then go through periods where I find myself having to reboot several times a week. (I'm not sure if it's the cable modem or wireless, or a problem with the interaction between the 2. At times, rebooting wireless only has worked but usually not so I just reboot both.) I've given up on asking why because I haven't had much confidence in the answers I've gotten.

I think the question falls in the same category of: why do operating systems have holes in them that require constant upgrades from Microsoft (I know Apple has fewer but it does require some)? I've really wondered whether this is actually deliberate, a way to provide an open door into the vast majority of computers out there. (I've removed my tin hat now.)

Edit to add: The need for firmware upgrades also seems to be planned obsolescence - they can force people to buy a new product (or OS) once they stop supporting a product.
"I think the question falls in the same category of: why do operating systems have holes in them that require constant upgrades from Microsoft (I know Apple has fewer but it does require some)? "

The answer to the quoted question is really simple. There are millions and millions of lines of code in an operating system, and we lack the time* and ability to design out/test out all the bugs. All complex software has bugs. A lot of them. Bugs cost the companies money -- support calls, testing patches, etc., so quite a lot of time and money is spent trying to get rid of bugs before release. The effort is never entirely successful.

And why do routers need rebooting? Without actually knowing exactly why a reboot fixes things one is speculating, but my moderately educated guess is the obvious one that the router software has bugs; maybe a memory leak, maybe concurrent threads deadlocking .... lots of things. But most of them would qualify as a bug. Routers are vastly simpler than operating systems, so there *should* be a lot fewer bugs.

* If Microsoft, or Apple, spent an extra 10 years or so testing their software before release they could reduce the bug count. Of course, that's a long time to wait for new features :-).

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by AlwaysBeClimbing » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:59 pm

I've been running DD-WRT on cheap Linksys WRT series routers(pretty easy to find them for five or ten bucks at thrift stores). They are simply rock solid and go for months with zero reboots required. There are a couple of models in that line to avoid, but that is generally only if you need more advanced features.

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by TN_Boy » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:11 pm

AlwaysBeClimbing wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:59 pm
I've been running DD-WRT on cheap Linksys WRT series routers(pretty easy to find them for five or ten bucks at thrift stores). They are simply rock solid and go for months with zero reboots required. There are a couple of models in that line to avoid, but that is generally only if you need more advanced features.
I have no opinion or special expertise on the reliability of different routers, but I am unable to resist pointing out that different users may put very different loads on their routers. One person might find that router X never, ever has an issue/requires a reboot/etc. Another person, running the exact same router and software version, might be plagued by issues. Because the two users have different environments. More complex environments (more computers, more connections, maybe higher speeds) can trigger different issues.

I had problems several years ago with my Linksys router, leading to its replacement. The replacement has been pretty solid. I don't especially like using older routers; they are more likely to have security issues and may not be getting regular firmware updates.

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by AlwaysBeClimbing » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:00 pm

TN_Boy wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:11 pm
AlwaysBeClimbing wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:59 pm
I've been running DD-WRT on cheap Linksys WRT series routers(pretty easy to find them for five or ten bucks at thrift stores). They are simply rock solid and go for months with zero reboots required. There are a couple of models in that line to avoid, but that is generally only if you need more advanced features.
I have no opinion or special expertise on the reliability of different routers, but I am unable to resist pointing out that different users may put very different loads on their routers. One person might find that router X never, ever has an issue/requires a reboot/etc. Another person, running the exact same router and software version, might be plagued by issues. Because the two users have different environments. More complex environments (more computers, more connections, maybe higher speeds) can trigger different issues.

I had problems several years ago with my Linksys router, leading to its replacement. The replacement has been pretty solid. I don't especially like using older routers; they are more likely to have security issues and may not be getting regular firmware updates.
No question that there are a lot of different profiles out there, although for a typical home configuration I doubt there are that many variables to contend with. Most home users know diddly about their routers, to them it's just a "black box" that the ISP has provided. A quality router running quality firmware, properly configured should be able to fulfill pretty much any home network situation.

A number of people had problems with Linksys routers( and more than a few other brands as well), which is one reason you can find them readily available and cheap. Put good firmware on them (DD-WRT or Tomato for example), configure them properly and they are excellent(easy to do a search on this) low budget units. Your comment on lack of firmware updates indicates to me you were using the factory issue which would likely explain your issues.

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:40 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:29 am
...
A router than needs to be rebooted once a week or once a day does meet most users needs. It may not exceed the outer limits of their desires, but it gets the job done with minor inconvenience. If it didn't people would buy something else.
I think that's a good general statement, and thank you for including the word most.

I have worked with systems that global customers absolutely rely on to conduct their core functions. For them there is no midnight, nor for that matter any Sunday.

Redundancy is critical to them, simply to enable the rebooting of components that don't work properly.

I agree that getting everything right is hard, and expensive, and can't be assured. One should not expect any computer, in its physical and software manifestations, to work reliably all the time. Operational plans must include critical incident response.

I'm sure you know this ED but to make it explicit for other readers, that's one reason why we design systems - so the services they provide are resilient even in the face of individual component failures. Sometimes there's an unappreciated single point of failure for the whole thing. Sometimes they're not noticed until failure occurs. It's tempting for end-users and their technical support staff to take advantage of the excess capacity that really was designed in for the purpose of raising system availability.

PJW

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by TN_Boy » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:08 pm

AlwaysBeClimbing wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:00 pm
TN_Boy wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:11 pm
AlwaysBeClimbing wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:59 pm
I've been running DD-WRT on cheap Linksys WRT series routers(pretty easy to find them for five or ten bucks at thrift stores). They are simply rock solid and go for months with zero reboots required. There are a couple of models in that line to avoid, but that is generally only if you need more advanced features.
I have no opinion or special expertise on the reliability of different routers, but I am unable to resist pointing out that different users may put very different loads on their routers. One person might find that router X never, ever has an issue/requires a reboot/etc. Another person, running the exact same router and software version, might be plagued by issues. Because the two users have different environments. More complex environments (more computers, more connections, maybe higher speeds) can trigger different issues.

I had problems several years ago with my Linksys router, leading to its replacement. The replacement has been pretty solid. I don't especially like using older routers; they are more likely to have security issues and may not be getting regular firmware updates.
No question that there are a lot of different profiles out there, although for a typical home configuration I doubt there are that many variables to contend with. Most home users know diddly about their routers, to them it's just a "black box" that the ISP has provided. A quality router running quality firmware, properly configured should be able to fulfill pretty much any home network situation.

A number of people had problems with Linksys routers( and more than a few other brands as well), which is one reason you can find them readily available and cheap. Put good firmware on them (DD-WRT or Tomato for example), configure them properly and they are excellent(easy to do a search on this) low budget units. Your comment on lack of firmware updates indicates to me you were using the factory issue which would likely explain your issues.
Hmm, I wonder what percent of home users put open-source firmware on their routers ...... honestly, I didn't realize that was a thing now :-). Thanks for pointing that out.

But I can't see why I would do that rather than just relying upon a fairly new router with up to date firmware from the people that sell the hardware. I like open source as well as the next guy or gal, but it's not obvious to me that putting something like DD-WRT on my router would make my life better. I did read a couple of write-ups on DD-WRT and the other solutions and it might be interesting to play with sometime. Though, for a non-techie (or a techie for that matter) user annoyed because they have to reboot every once in a while, that seems like overkill. I'd have to want some of the extra features.

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by dumbmoney » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:49 am

Worse than having to reboot is having to "factory reset" a router. I have a DLink router and it apparently has a _cumulative_ limit on the number of devices that it supports. And once you hit that (small, like 25 or something) limit, it stops working properly and you have to factory reset it to clear out the device table.
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by gd » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:09 am

FlyingMoose wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:46 pm
The state of software engineering is currently similar to the state of engineering 100 years ago when boilers would explode, bridges would collapse, etc.
Interesting analogy, but I'd say more like post-classic dark ages Gothic cathedrals that collapsed until they happened to get the walls thick enough. My experience was that pre- PC and internet, software engineers (not to be confused with programmers and hardware engineers who took a course or had a programming book) actually built stuff where every time you pushed or clicked, the same thing happened, and spontaneous failures were unacceptable. It's what we did. With Windows, then internet, people were more focused on visuals than whether you unpredictably needed to re-click after a few seconds because nothing happened, and the mass electronics business never looked back.

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by jebmke » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:18 am

gd wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:09 am
Interesting analogy, but I'd say more like post-classic dark ages Gothic cathedrals that collapsed until they happened to get the walls thick enough. My experience was that pre- PC and internet, software engineers (not to be confused with programmers and hardware engineers who took a course or had a programming book) actually built stuff where every time you pushed or clicked, the same thing happened, and spontaneous failures were unacceptable.
This is one of the reasons why I worry a bit about about all the self-driving and automated features in cars.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by TN_Boy » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:13 am

gd wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:09 am
FlyingMoose wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:46 pm
The state of software engineering is currently similar to the state of engineering 100 years ago when boilers would explode, bridges would collapse, etc.
Interesting analogy, but I'd say more like post-classic dark ages Gothic cathedrals that collapsed until they happened to get the walls thick enough. My experience was that pre- PC and internet, software engineers (not to be confused with programmers and hardware engineers who took a course or had a programming book) actually built stuff where every time you pushed or clicked, the same thing happened, and spontaneous failures were unacceptable. It's what we did. With Windows, then internet, people were more focused on visuals than whether you unpredictably needed to re-click after a few seconds because nothing happened, and the mass electronics business never looked back.
The software systems we ship today are extremely complex and have bugs because they do so many things. If you want software with the same capabilities of packages that shipped back in the 70s and 80s, we could do that. And we know more about how to test (really we do), so we could probably have even fewer bugs in those packages (and, we had bugs in software back then also. Lots of them).

People want features. Companies give them features. If you want fewer bugs, you have less features less often. There are 10s of millions of lines of code in modern systems. Pick an error rate per line of code, even a very low one, and think about how many bugs that implies.

I'm not saying the situation couldn't be better, though that is true of any technical field -- you can always get better. But I feel that people do not appreciate the mind-numbing complexity of the software/hardware systems being built today. I mean, when you access a web page -- something that happens successfully almost all the time -- think about all the software being executed on your computer, on your router, on the internet switches, on the (very possibly multiple) servers serving up your web page ..... there is a lot of stuff happening. Distributed systems -- the norm now really -- are especially entertaining.

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by Billionaire » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:15 pm

Well this is timely (I think). The last two days Turbo Tax has attempted to upload a software update and failed both times. I was doing this during daylight hours. I Googled the topic and there are threads on Turbo Taxes website about the trouble shooting steps that need to be followed. :twisted:
The instructions were starting to go down the path of rebooting the router, along with some other requirements. :oops:

I tried again later at night and the update worked without performing any of the trouble shooting steps. I'm filing as early as possible this year for a number of reasons.

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by jebmke » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:22 pm

Billionaire wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:15 pm
Well this is timely (I think). The last two days Turbo Tax has attempted to upload a software update and failed both times. I was doing this during daylight hours. I Googled the topic and there are threads on Turbo Taxes website about the trouble shooting steps that need to be followed. :twisted:
The instructions were starting to go down the path of rebooting the router, along with some other requirements. :oops:

I tried again later at night and the update worked without performing any of the trouble shooting steps. I'm filing as early as possible this year for a number of reasons.
Tax software is notoriously buggy. One of the reasons why I prefer to use desktop software vs. online is that I can pick when I apply the updates. Our TaxAide software vendor chose to update their platform at 5am this morning -- the first day our sites open. Fortunately I am not scheduled to work until Tuesday.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by Billionaire » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:26 pm

jebmke wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:22 pm
Billionaire wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:15 pm
Well this is timely (I think). The last two days Turbo Tax has attempted to upload a software update and failed both times. I was doing this during daylight hours. I Googled the topic and there are threads on Turbo Taxes website about the trouble shooting steps that need to be followed. :twisted:
The instructions were starting to go down the path of rebooting the router, along with some other requirements. :oops:

I tried again later at night and the update worked without performing any of the trouble shooting steps. I'm filing as early as possible this year for a number of reasons.
Tax software is notoriously buggy. One of the reasons why I prefer to use desktop software vs. online is that I can pick when I apply the updates. Our TaxAide software vendor chose to update their platform at 5am this morning -- the first day our sites open. Fortunately I am not scheduled to work until Tuesday.
I'm using the desktop version(I bought the CD). There are occasional updates that I'm asked to download.

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by DeerRunner » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:28 pm

I was getting ready to adopt the low tech solution of using a timer, until, on a lark, I called Verizon Fios. Make a long story short, I (mistakingly) named my 2.4ghz and 5ghz network with the same name. Devices that have 5ghz would get confused and keep jumping between the two, causing frequent connection problems. Simple solution was to name the 5ghz network something else (eg. the 2.4ghz network "ABC" and 5ghz "ABC-5ghz"). Haven't had to restart since I did that,

Sometimes its the simple stuff.

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by jebmke » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:41 pm

Billionaire wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:26 pm
I'm using the desktop version(I bought the CD). There are occasional updates that I'm asked to download.
Same here. I usually wait to run the updates for a couple of days in case they install new bugs. When I used Desktop Taxwise at our tax sites I would wait one week for all the other sites to test the updates before I installed them at our site.

One thing you have to remember about retail tax software is that they don't really test this stuff (they can't afford to given the time schedule and the price they charge -- which is pretty close to zero.). They use pre-season releasing and early filers to do their testing for them. Generally they stabilize by the end of March.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by livesoft » Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:26 pm

I am thinking that for us it is Windows 10 and that OneDrive thing. Whenever the laptop is turned on to use WiFi, it tries to sync with OneDrive. I am going to turn that off and see what happens.
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AlwaysBeClimbing
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by AlwaysBeClimbing » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:40 pm

TN_Boy wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:08 pm
AlwaysBeClimbing wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:00 pm
TN_Boy wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:11 pm
AlwaysBeClimbing wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:59 pm
I've been running DD-WRT on cheap Linksys WRT series routers(pretty easy to find them for five or ten bucks at thrift stores). They are simply rock solid and go for months with zero reboots required. There are a couple of models in that line to avoid, but that is generally only if you need more advanced features.
I have no opinion or special expertise on the reliability of different routers, but I am unable to resist pointing out that different users may put very different loads on their routers. One person might find that router X never, ever has an issue/requires a reboot/etc. Another person, running the exact same router and software version, might be plagued by issues. Because the two users have different environments. More complex environments (more computers, more connections, maybe higher speeds) can trigger different issues.

I had problems several years ago with my Linksys router, leading to its replacement. The replacement has been pretty solid. I don't especially like using older routers; they are more likely to have security issues and may not be getting regular firmware updates.
No question that there are a lot of different profiles out there, although for a typical home configuration I doubt there are that many variables to contend with. Most home users know diddly about their routers, to them it's just a "black box" that the ISP has provided. A quality router running quality firmware, properly configured should be able to fulfill pretty much any home network situation.

A number of people had problems with Linksys routers( and more than a few other brands as well), which is one reason you can find them readily available and cheap. Put good firmware on them (DD-WRT or Tomato for example), configure them properly and they are excellent(easy to do a search on this) low budget units. Your comment on lack of firmware updates indicates to me you were using the factory issue which would likely explain your issues.
Hmm, I wonder what percent of home users put open-source firmware on their routers ...... honestly, I didn't realize that was a thing now :-). Thanks for pointing that out.

But I can't see why I would do that rather than just relying upon a fairly new router with up to date firmware from the people that sell the hardware. I like open source as well as the next guy or gal, but it's not obvious to me that putting something like DD-WRT on my router would make my life better. I did read a couple of write-ups on DD-WRT and the other solutions and it might be interesting to play with sometime. Though, for a non-techie (or a techie for that matter) user annoyed because they have to reboot every once in a while, that seems like overkill. I'd have to want some of the extra features.
Probably a very low percentage of home users put open-source on their routers for the obvious reason that most likely don't even understand the function of a router. My point was that the average home user's network can be serviced effectively, securely and robustly by a cheap, "old", and readily available box with open-source firmware installed and properly configured. How they come about that is a completely different matter. I've set a number of these up for friends and family, so likewise if the average non-technical user has access to a tech knowledgeable sort to assist them...
As for buying new, that's fine as far as it goes, but it hardly assures you of a superior outcome. The same companies that churned out the routers with crappy firmware that have caused innumerable users difficulty of one sort or another are still doing so. Good luck.

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by invst65 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:54 pm

My WiFi routers have all been provided by the cable company lately. They won't let you use your own any more unless you want to plug yours into theirs. I have had to reboot them occasionally because I've lost internet connection. Probably would happen more often if it weren't for the fact that we have brown-outs in my neighborhood so reboots are automatic.

Along the same lines, why is it that half the time when I want to print something on my WiFi printer I have to go through some combination of re-booting both the printer and the computer to get it to work?

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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by flybynite » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:01 pm

ilisira wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:54 pm
Afty wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:58 pm
The dirty little secret of the electronics industry is that companies that make hardware are generally terrible at software. Writing good software is hard, and software isn't where their expertise lies. Also, there isn't much incentive for them to invest in software quality. People buy things like routers based on specs, not on software quality.

FWIW, my Google WiFi devices have been rock solid. No reboots needed the entire 6 months I've owned them. They even auto update like Chromebooks.
As a former software test engineer, who spent 10 years testing large scale router software, and an owner of a Google WiFi mesh setup, I could not have written better. This is a matter of software quality, and lack of good QA, and might not be dangerous by itself, it shows corners were cut.
+1, I had a high end router from Apple, DD-WRT on various devices, Fios provided ActionTec, all with varying degrees of stability and pretty poor coverage in some areas of the house. Evidently the secret was more than one to get good coverage, Google WiFi mesh fixed 15 years of pain!

AntsOnTheMarch
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Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Post by AntsOnTheMarch » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:01 pm

obafgkm wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:46 am
sambb wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:01 pm
have never had to reboot my apple system ever
I have had the same Apple AirPort Extreme wireless router for at least ten years, and I've had to reboot just once.
Same router, same time owned, maybe rebooted 5 times? Apple has a utility to set it up that a dummy like me can understand. Unfortunately, Apple routers are discontinued.

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