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I live in a small town which has one primary ISP. Lately I have noticed that a number of wireless routers have been locking up and requiring a reboot before allowing any connections. This has affected two of my routers, my work router, and a few others. In all cases wired continued to function as usual. Often wireless clients can see the SSID but simply won't connect. I can only think of a few possibilities and was hoping someone here might be able to point me in the right direction:

  1. Our ISP is well known to be flaky, something they are doing is causing this, what that might be I have no clue it as seems to affect the wireless only.

  2. There's a power issue in town, given our remote location and reputation for crap electrical, this seems reasonable. Only one router was plugged in to a UPS, and I'm not sure of the quality.

  3. There is some bug in all the different firmware for every one of these routers (all different). That doesn't seem reasonable, unless;

  4. it's an unknown (or known) exploit or DoS of some sort being launched by a massive team of ninjas hell bent on forcing us all to be tethered to our walls by ethernet cables or;

  5. it's just been a coincidence and I'm just paranoid (this has some weight, I mean read 4 again).

Anyone else experience similar issues and have some tips?

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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

It is very unlikely that ISP settings would mess about the wireless side of your routers. It is very likely that power trouble takes down the most power-intensive part of your routers (the wifi emitters).

Schedule/automate regular reboots or use UPSs that can 'upscale' the input voltage. Also protect all your expensive (server) power supplies with a UPS, it will save on downtime & emergency call-outs.

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Accepted this answer because it included the UPS with voltage regulation suggestion. Even though I think "inexpensive garden timers" is a bit better solution for individual routers than to back the things up with expensive voltage regulating UPS', this answer will actually fix the problem (assuming that is the cause), rather than macgyver it. –  Anthony Hiscox Feb 15 '11 at 23:14
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In locations where I've had bad power I've used some inexpensive garden timers to do scheduled power cycles. Pick which ever time is the least busy and schedule a reboot.

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thanks, if i had gotten to your answer quicker it probably would have been the accepted answer. –  Anthony Hiscox Feb 15 '11 at 23:16
    
+1 because it gives me an idea for fixing a somewhat related issue that has been bugging me. –  John Gardeniers Feb 16 '11 at 0:25
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Genius idea for scheduled reboots of dumb devices! This idea needs sharing more widely! –  Mitch Miller Feb 16 '11 at 4:03
    
+1 - I've done the exact same thing with cheapo timers at 2am. @Anthony - you can always move the accepted answer tick if this one answers your question more succinctly. –  Mark Henderson Feb 16 '11 at 21:11
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@Anthony - No sweat, one thing to take into consideration where UPSs are concerned is that that UPSs you want to take care of true bad power are units that will provide voltage regulation, and thats a REALLY expensive feature. –  ErnieTheGeek Feb 17 '11 at 22:51
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Maybe unrelated, but depending on your router setup I've had the same problem. When our internet goes out the router adds bad values to it's routing tables, the router then requires a reboot to clear it's 'bad' data. In your case it maybe that the wifi device cannot sense an internet connection and drops service...

Either way we both need to do more research with some net tools / power equip. to figure out a root cause. I am just trying to throw ideas out there for thought :)

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I couldn't quite figure out what you meant by "bad values to it's tables". It would seem that if this was the case, then LAN would fail to connect properly to the internet. The important distinction is that WLAN clients fail to connect to the AP entirely until rebooted, they don't connect and fail to get on the Internet. I would be happy to check into this but first need some clarification on what you mean by tables. How might I go about checking this? If you're not sure and just trying to point me in the right direction that's fine too. Thanks. –  Anthony Hiscox Feb 17 '11 at 22:40
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