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The Ramblings of a Damaged Mind
I fear my home gateway/router is dying
I have a Netgear WGT624 for my home gateway/router/WiFi AP and I fear it may be dying on me. I've had some odd trouble with my TiVos suddenly not seeing each other for MRV, and power cycling the router fixes it. Then the past few days I've had some bizarre networking problems. One of my TiVos stopped being able to 'phone home' and it kept saying it could not find the gateway. Thinking it was a TiVo problem I unplugged the 11g adapter, reconnected it, rebooted the TiVo, checked the settings... Basically bashed on it until it started working.

Then last night I had the same problem, but on multiple units. Plus my laptop has been losing WiFi connectivity a bit too often. So I look at the router and in the 'Attached Devices' I see two devices with the same IP. WTF? (Everything is DHCP, from the router.) I reset it and that cleared up. But the table shows the IP, the name the unit reports for itself, and the MAC. And I see weird entries like 'TiVo_1TiVo_2' for one IP then 'TiVo_2' for the next IP. And other oddities with multiple names showing up on one IP, with one MAC.

Eventually I unplugged the router, cycled the DSL modem, and pulled the power on all the TiVos to force a hard reboot, and reset the WiFi on the laptop, THEN powered the router back up. That seemed to shape things up and everything was working normally. But now I'm wary of the router.

If I were to get something new, it'd be nice to have something that handles NAPT. The Netgear allows you to map ports from the external IP to an internal IP, but the port number is fixed - NAT, not NAPT. So port 80 on the outside is port 80 on one machine, but you can't make 81 on the outside to 80 on another machine. Anyone have a recommendation for a decent home gateway/router/11g unit that understands port mapping? I was kind of hoping this one would last until 802.11n was ironed out and then I'd upgrade to that for MIMO. I don't really want Pre-N gear, especially since the TiVos are stuck with 11g anyway. (I'll probably run Cat5 and hardwire them in time, once some of the work on the house is done and i finalize the room setups so I know where to put the jacks.)

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donnerjack From: donnerjack Date: June 1st, 2006 02:59 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
I've had a couple Linksys WRT54Gs and had good luck with them. We use them at the office as a mesh network running OpenWRT to provide wireless access as well, so if you've ever of a mind to hack them, it's easy to do. But all of mine and the one I bought for my girlfriend's house have been rock solid stable, and they do port translation. If you get one, I'd just recommend you flash the firmware more or less immediately, some of the old firmware revisions were a little flaky.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: June 1st, 2006 03:01 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Yeah, that's the main one I was thinking of since it seems popular and I know there is alternate firmware if I want it.

And I always update the firmware on things like this right away. :-)
ardaniel From: ardaniel Date: June 1st, 2006 03:11 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
I, actually, will point out here that what you want is a Netgear WRT54GL. Not a G, and not a GS. Netgear recently switched from Linux to VxWorks for their firmware, and there's been a corresponding increase in utter suck hardware-wise and firmware-wise. The GL retains the Linux firmware and the memory capacity to be flashed with OpenWRT, HyperWRT, SveaSoft's Talisman, or whatever other kooky firmware you prefer.
donnerjack From: donnerjack Date: June 1st, 2006 03:12 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
I didn't know the specifics and had a feeling you'd chime in if I mentioned it, so I didn't want to say anything, but I do recall you talking about that when your router died.
ardaniel From: ardaniel Date: June 1st, 2006 03:16 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Mine at least had the good sense to be Obviously Declining (for the record, Zoner, it was a first-generation Linksys WRT54G and it had pretty much been run 24/7 for four years or more), instead of just being Sorta Weird.

My 54GL has given me no trouble whatsoever, although it was slightly more expensive and harder to find than a 54G/GS.
wedgex From: wedgex Date: June 1st, 2006 03:19 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
The last few times I've been at Fry's while you've been at gaelic the shelf has been full of GL's, so whatever supply issue they were having when we had to get one has been sorted out.

A little more money than the G, and worth every cent, afaic.
sweh From: sweh Date: June 2nd, 2006 04:06 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
I think you meant linksys, not netgear...
audiogeek From: audiogeek Date: June 1st, 2006 12:52 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
CompUSA is also running a 'sale' right now on the WRT54G. $70, then $10 off at the register, then another $10 via mail in rebate.

The only problem is the current unit runs firmware r1.006. In May they updated the firmware to 1.009 which fixes an SSH problem. I was having an issue with SSH a month or so ago with random dropped connections. I sorta fixed it by changing PuTTY's config, but it still dropped the occasional connection, so I suspect that 1.009 will cure this problem. I tried upgrading mine yesterday, and it croaked during the firmware upload. A friend told me it is capable of wither a bootp or TFTP upload of the firmware, but I needed it right away for work, so I bought another one.

what 'alternate firmware' options are available?
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: June 1st, 2006 07:37 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
See some of the other replies - the models that run Linux, at least, are flashable with 3rd party developed images which can add other fuctionality. Several of them are named in some of the other replies.
starcreator From: starcreator Date: June 1st, 2006 01:44 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
I've been reading a lot about how Netgear hardware tends to fail after a period of time - and the running theory seems to be that the inadequate ventillation on their cases are slowly melting away the hardware chip connections. I've seen people prolong the life of their Netgear routers by cutting away pieces of the case and attaching case fans.

I'm on my second WGR614 (this one a V6, which comes with a vertical stand) and it's only just now starting to show similar problems. But after everything is said, I'd probably choose Netgear again should this current router also fail on me, simply because I can't get a signal up to my bedroom with any other brand of router.
brother_buford From: brother_buford Date: June 1st, 2006 05:04 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
To reiterate what has been said, I'd definitely go with a Linksys WRT54GL, as long as you put some kind of third-party firmware on it. (I use HyperWRT +tofu13.) Mine has been chugging along with little problem since I set it up. The WRT54G v5 (the current version) has reduced memory and runs VxWorks, the older WRT54G v4 and the current WRT54GL (basically the same thing) run Linux.

The one Netgear router I've used, on the other hand, was an utter piece of crap that would drop connections and require multiple reboots a day. It couldn't handle BitTorrent without choking. I believe it used VxWorks.