Question Should I buy a new router or go in a different direction?

PrinceXizor

Platinum Member
Oct 4, 2002
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I currently have an Arris SB8200 modem used with Spectrum at 200Mbps tier. Router is a Netgear Nighthawk AC2100 (yes, that's the actual model# stamped on the stupid thing; best i can see it is an R7200).

I have the following devices: Wired main computer; wireless to secondary computer
Two laptops, 3 tablets, two phones, Roku StreamingStick and Switch. We watch 99% of our TV via streaming.

So, after a storm a few weeks ago our internet was out. Spectrum came, replaced our line from the pole to the house. Everything worked fine.
Soon after the router loses internet (not Wifi, actual connection to the WWW) regularly.

Modem lights and logs do not indicate an outage or loss of signal.
Router network does not go down as I can connect to both the router and the modem via web interface.
I have reset both devices and updated to the latest firmware.

It still randomly drops connection and is only solvable via router power cycle. Ocasionally, whatever the issue is self-resolves after a minute (i.e. i will lose internet, then after between 30-60 seconds, it comes back). Usually though, a power cycle is required to restore functionality.

The modem is newer than the router. I estimate the router was purchased 3 years ago.

1. Any general thoughts on this issue?
2. I've been thinking (since I now own our home) of possibly redoing the basic infrastructure of our home network if it makes sense. Before splashing out for a new router, is there a better more reliable setup for my home network?

Thanks for the input.
 

PrinceXizor

Platinum Member
Oct 4, 2002
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So, added wrinkle...
Internet has been stable all day today. Possibilty 1, some of my tweaks from yesterday took and worked.
Possiblity 2, the router has been placed upside down all day. Would that do anything? Weird.
 

Zoozuu

Member
Oct 21, 2020
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did you leave its power off for an extended period of time before you put it that way? did they check the modem? easiest way to know it's your router is to plug the modem in directly to a computer or a completely different/new router. same thing happens then check the connections/cables or get a new modem. maybe pay for a rental from your isp for a few months? those are like 15$ instead of 50 to 150 for a new router. I use a motorola 8600 and a netgear rax15.
 
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Tech Junky

Golden Member
Jan 27, 2022
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First things you check id the Ethernet cable between the two devices.

3 years on a router shouldn't be an issue however Netgear firmware on the other hand can be an issue.

I had a R7800 for awhile and the constant SW updates made it an issue to figure out any connectivity issues if they were the router or a client issue. Not to mention the bugs in the SW/FW. I got sick of dealing with off the shelf devices and just built my own instead. I went to the extreme with an PC build but, you can do it for ~$200 with a used PC or even a new SFF PC + 4-port NIC. For the WIFI I switched to an internal PCI card initially until WIFI 6 came out and there still isn't a PCI version at this time. I switched to a WIFI6 AP for WIFI and it's much more stable.

Alternatively if it's just the WIFI being an issue you can disable the AP function on the router and just plug in an AP to the LAN port and use it that way as well. It sounds like there might be a heat issue though from you saying you put the router upside down and it worked fine for a day+.

As @Zoozuu mentioned the MB8600, I sue one as well for the past 7 years w/o any issues. It's nice w/ the 4 ports on the back with the ability to also bundle two of them together to get both higher than provisioned speeds on the gig+ plans but, it also offers redundancy if one happens to die.

Personally I would be looking at the router as being the issue if the cable doesn't fix it.. If you go into the logs on the router it should give some clues as to the underlying issue.
 

PrinceXizor

Platinum Member
Oct 4, 2002
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1. While I haven't swapped the cable (long cable run in the basement), two things minimize it's possibility. A. I can use said cable to get to the web interface of the modem even when the internet is down. B. The light on the router is amber which per the user manual means the router can see the modem through the cable (white means it's actually working).
2. It is not a WiFi issue. It is definitively an internet connectivity issue.
3. I don't believe there was an extended period of power off more than any other time I was messing around with power cycling.
4. I haven't hard wired the modem to my computer when the issue is presenting itself. Existing cabling doesn't lend itself. However, I can definitely schlep a laptop to the modem and hardwire it in and see if it suddenly has internet access. That's a good call. Should have thought of that myself.
5. I'm not going to mess with it for a few days as long as its working in its current state. Wasted enough evening time already.

It sounds like there might be a heat issue though from you saying you put the router upside down and it worked fine for a day+.
There is a possibility with this as well. It only occurred to me yesterday but, I think I thought I had this sorted another time when the router was in a similar spot (but right side up). It might not be liking its cooped up location next to our couch. Definitely another avenue of investigation.
 

Tech Junky

Golden Member
Jan 27, 2022
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If you go direct to the modem make sure you power cycle it to get an ip.

With the cable ruled out then it's either the router or the modem causing the issue. Sometimes the modem will appear up but there's a comm issue on the cable side.
 

PrinceXizor

Platinum Member
Oct 4, 2002
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So, the issues continue. I replaced the wifi/router with another cheap one just to see and it still has issues. A cable tester is on the way to check my cables. If there is a modem issues it's subtle because the modem shows no breaks in uptime.

A couple of things that MIGHT be causing the issues to get your input on:
1. Bad Roku Streaming Stick
Not a scientific study by any means but the Roku seems to make things flakier. How would the Roku knock out the internet for wired devices? (See 2)
2. IP Conflicts
So my wife's computer in the basement will sometimes have IP conflict errors when she goes downstairs to use it. We've also run into that in a couple of instances that I don't remember any of the details of any more. I have a pretty bog standard setup at the moment with no real mucking around with network and IP settings. So, if everything is set to auto as far as assigning IPs dynamically...then how am I getting conflicts?

I appreciate everyone's input. I'm reading up on networking and going to replace the existing wired backhaul (not installed by me) that is kind of hackey (too many connections and not to any jack terminations) at some point (another reason for the tester). But, I wanted to get some input on the two points I mentioned above. Thanks!
 

Tech Junky

Golden Member
Jan 27, 2022
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Roku shouldn't make a difference as it's just like any other device. i just picked up a Dynalink because I wanted something a bit more powerful that doesn't force transcoding on the server as often. So far it's the best $40 I've spent and I've tried a lot of different sticks / boxes over the years. I've had it over a month now and it's stable other than it doesn't do WPA3 which isn't a huge deal though.


IP conflicts.... it's possible the timer isn't working correctly to purge old leases from one device to another and shortening the timeout to 5 minutes could fix this.

Also, expanding the DHCP scope to allow more hosts will give your devices new options when connecting. I keep my scope at 10 IPs since I don't have a huge amount of devices and a few of them are static assignments for easy lookup in logs.
 

PrinceXizor

Platinum Member
Oct 4, 2002
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Roku shouldn't make a difference as it's just like any other device. i just picked up a Dynalink because I wanted something a bit more powerful that doesn't force transcoding on the server as often. So far it's the best $40 I've spent and I've tried a lot of different sticks / boxes over the years. I've had it over a month now and it's stable other than it doesn't do WPA3 which isn't a huge deal though.


IP conflicts.... it's possible the timer isn't working correctly to purge old leases from one device to another and shortening the timeout to 5 minutes could fix this.

Also, expanding the DHCP scope to allow more hosts will give your devices new options when connecting. I keep my scope at 10 IPs since I don't have a huge amount of devices and a few of them are static assignments for easy lookup in logs.
I just set up some reserved IPs for my computer, wife's computer, Roku and Game Console. Have phones/tablets that don't need reservations. We'll see if that helps.

Another random data point....

When Spectrum replaced my line from the pole to the inside they added an unneccessary splitter for some kind of impedance matching (I'm speculating based on my fuzzy memory of the conversation with the cable guy). If that impedance matching only MOSTLY fixed it, could that cause random drop outs?
 

Tech Junky

Golden Member
Jan 27, 2022
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It could if the signal from the pole to the house changed by adding / removing customers on the same cable feed.

Try taking it out of the path and see if things improve. However everything you've mentioned so far wouldn't point to it being an issue since you're talking about your LAN devices behind your router.
 

fkoehler

Member
Feb 29, 2008
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Should not be difficult to figure out, just can be inconvenient.
1. Plug a laptop into the modem and run a continuous ping to somewhere for a few hours or overnight depending on how often the problem occurs.

2. If not failures, modem most likely isn't the issue.

3. Get a spare/used router and see if you still have problems.

Since you did #3 and still had a problem, it was probably the modem, or that splitter, or the outside repair was not good.

Nothing makes you want to help people more than when even AT Platinum members don't bother to reply to people who've been trying to help you out...
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
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I have seen this exact problem on my cousin's house with the same setup.
We changed his router to a Pfsense to "shotgun" diagnose as Spectrum tech support is utterly useless, unless you can get it elevated to level 2, and that usually requires a technician to come out to your place.

We still could not figure out the issue, and i ended up with Spectrums crappy infrastructure, being the blame on the routing end.
A technician did come out and test the lines, and it was stated it was working fine, his signals were within the "acceptable" ranges.

But long story short, i would not discredit you to pass blame on spectrum, especially if you live a area where they have no competition, as they have horrible infrastructure on internet.

Which ISP can you still think of that gives you less upload speed even on its gigabit plan then a 5G phone in todays date?
Spectrum... Comcast.... which is why i will never go back to a cable provider for internet.
 

fkoehler

Member
Feb 29, 2008
177
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Ha, my wife keeps asking me to switch us back to Spectrum as they are offering 400Mb for $40+/month compared to the 200Mb we're getting from Verizon Fios.
Even though we cut the cord a couple years ago, before the free 200Mb upgrade we were fine on 100Mb Internet-only plan for like $43.
Spectrum would reliably start bouncing after midnight for some reason for a couple hours almost nightly, and speeds were wildly inconsistent during the day.

They could offer me Gig, and I'd still be gun-shy.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
54,032
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Ha, my wife keeps asking me to switch us back to Spectrum as they are offering 400Mb for $40+/month compared to the 200Mb we're getting from Verizon Fios.
No offense, but your wife is only looking at "the numbers", and not the (generally) inherently more-reliable internet that you get from FTTP /. FiOS .

BTW, FIOS may still be sold at a 200Mbit/sec tier in your location, but do speed tests. Youi should be getting 300Mbit/sec, BOTH down and up. I have yet to see a cable provider give 300Mbit/sec UP yet.

In short, don't do it, you'll regret it, is my opinion. (I have both FIOS as my primary internet, as well as Comcast for my backup internet.)
 

JackMDS

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 25, 1999
29,319
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In New York Tri state area (because the nature of cable vs Fiber) the 400MB Sepctrum would povide during the day about 200-250Mb/sec. (or less download) and probably 20 Mb/sec (or less) upload. During evening hours it might be even less.

FIos Fiber would provide full 180-200 Mb/sec. Download and Upload 24/7.


:cool:
 

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,827
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I had a R7800 for awhile and the constant SW updates made it an issue to figure out any connectivity issues if they were the router or a client issue. Not to mention the bugs in the SW/FW. I got sick of dealing with off the shelf devices and just built my own instead.
A little off topic, but if you still have the R7800 around they are becoming golden. They are effectively the defacto standard for DD-WRT, OpenWRT, and other third party (read linux) firmware WiFi routers (and yes, their stock firmware is absolute crap, but they are a king on the third party ones).

Back to on topic:
Unfortunately I would have warned you against buying a new router as you said it yourself in your post here:
1. While I haven't swapped the cable (long cable run in the basement), two things minimize it's possibility. A. I can use said cable to get to the web interface of the modem even when the internet is down.
If your router could route to the cable modem's status webpage even when you don't have internet connectivity, that means the router is working and that the problem is on the cablemodem or whatever the cablemodem is connecting with (if your router was the problem it won't route anything over the WAN port, and thus you wouldn't be able to reach the cablemodem's website without bypassing your router and connecting a laptop or other computer directly into the cablemodem).

This should be enough evidence to present to your provider to let them know that something is definitely wrong on their end. That said, you might need to go further and provide status logs of when the internet is unreachable. I know you can do that from a pfsense system, but you can probably do it from any router that supports DD-WRT/OpenWRT/tomato (third party linux router firmwares like I mentioned above about the R7800). If you can show lots of time without the internet you can also threaten with asking for refunds from your bill for the time you are without service (you probably need to be a little tactful when you do this if they are the only broadband provider, but even if they are, usually the city/county/state that gave them monopoly rights for your area would be more than interested in hearing if they are charging you for a month's service but in fact only provide service for say 2/3rd's of that time).
 
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