It wasn’t a Sherlock Holmes case, but it did take some detective work to solve this one…
The time was Saturday afternoon, about 5pm…I was sitting at my computer writing my newsletter for this week.
I clicked on a link in my web browser to check something. It hesitated and then showed part of the web page. A click on the refresh button pulled up the whole page. OK, strange, but that happens some times.
A little while later, the same thing happened. Except, this time, nothing came up when I clicked the refresh button.
Just as computers like to be rebooted occasionally, routers seem to like that occasionally also. I went to the router and pulled the power plug, waited 15 seconds, and plugged it in again. The router powered up apparently just fine.
It wasn’t. I could access the router with my web browser and get to its configuration screens. I could ping www.google.com. But, I couldn’t get to the Internet with Firefox, Internet Explorer or Opera.
Next, I tried power-cycling the cable modem and then the router. Still no luck.
Since I could ping Google, I knew the connection to Cox.net was working. Since I was not pinging by using its IP address (I specified "ping www.google.com"), I knew that the domain name servers at Cox.net were being accessed successfully. But, I couldn’t get anywhere with my web browsers. Neither could my wife’s computer or my son’s access any web pages.
At that point, I called Cox.net’s technical support. Fairly quickly, the tech transferred me to Linksys’ tech support, where I was disappointed. Linksys wouldn’t talk to me without me paying since my BESFR41 was out of warranty. I was not happy.
So, I unplugged the router from my cable modem and plugged it directly into my netbook (a Dell Mini-10). The netbook immediately connected to the cable modem and got its IP address from Cox.net. I opened Firefox and my homepage opened perfectly. I tried a link that I had not used in a long time, in order to make sure that it would not be displayed from the disk cache. It came up quickly.
Problem identified — my Linksys BEFSR41 router had finally died after probably 8 to 10 years. It had a good life…
Now, it was time to get the connection back. As most readers know, I have a Linksys WRT54G wireless router that I had configured as an access point (in other words, I had turned off its DHCP server and it was connected to my network through a LAN port, not the WAN port.
I unhooked it from the den and moved it to replace the wired BEFSR41 in the other room where my cable Internet connection was located.
When the unit powered on, all seemed fine, until we tried to get to the Internet. At that point, the WRT54G router did not have ANY IP address or DNS server information from the WAN (Internet) side. I needed to power-cycle the cable modem so that it found the new router.
TIP: Why did I have to do the power-off/power-on? The problem was that the cable modem remembered the MAC address of the equipment at the other end of its cable – when I changed routers, even though the router powered on and provided its MAC address upstream to the cable modem, the cable modem was not in a mode to accept the new hardware.
Once I did that, the router now had its IP address and knew the DNS servers to use — and everyone’s computers worked again. Yea!
Switching to my old WRT54G was a temporary solution. I replaced it with a new Wireless-N router, the Linksys E3000 high-performance Wireless-N router.
With 10/100/1000 Ethernet (Gigabit Ethernet) and 802.11n Wireless, this little jewel has been a great improvement.