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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    New router issue (I think)

    A friend has a two-week old TP-Link TD-W8968 wireless N ADSL+ router, bought to replace a non-functioning Netgear router. The new router worked fine for a couple of days but then started to lose its internet connection. Switching it off then on again restored the internet connection. Now it has to be switched off and on again up to 3 times a day due to loss of internet connection.

    What I don't understand is that its built in diagnostics page shows no loss of WAN connection, i.e. the status page continues to show the ISP-provided WAN IP and DNS server IPs, refreshed every few seconds.

    Has anyone else experienced this? Is it likely that the new router is faulty or is it more likely to be an ISP/phone line issue? Any advice would be gratefully received.
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2014-12-29 at 07:37.

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    I have an ISP supplied router that just goes into slow mode every now and then. A reboot brings it back to normal.
    Put the old router back in and see if it behaves, then I'd be sending the new router back for a replacement.

    cheers, Paul

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    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Corbett View Post
    ...Is it likely that the new router is faulty or is it more likely to be an ISP/phone line issue?...
    Rick,

    I have set up a number of similar TP-Link routers for customers during the past few years. Often TP-Link's "setup wizard" doesn't get the ADSL settings quite right, when I have to make educated guesses about what those settings should be or phone the ISP (shudder).
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
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    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Hi Paul - Many thanks for your reply. The family has 9 devices that connect wirelessly (mostly iPads and iPhones) plus 2 PC's connected to the router directly via network cables. Wireless failed completely on the old router - hence its replacement - so the family is not keen for it to be put it back in even for test purposes. (I've got it at home now to see if I can update its firmware to see if that restores wireless.)

    In the meantime, the store manager has very nicely let me have another TP-Link TD-W8968 router to swap the new one out after I explained that I didn't want to leave the family without internet connectivity over Xmas. I haven't put the replacement router in yet 'cos I was hoping to hear from WSL members whether anyone else had had a similar experience and solution.

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    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Hi Coochin - Many thanks for your reply. As the router worked really well for the the first couple of days (after using the Setup wizard) I didn't think to double-check its settings when problems arose. I'll do a bit of research about the ISP's ADSL configuration.

    On a related topic, have you had any experience of TP-Link powerline devices? I've just had to return a pair of TP-Link AV200 powerline adapters when they wouldn't connect to an existing BT 500 powerline network. I purchased 2 (much more expensive) BT 500 powerline adapters and they connected straight away. I thought 'Powerline' was a standard...
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2014-12-28 at 05:10.

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    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Corbett View Post
    ...have you had any experience of TP-Link powerline devices? I've just had to return a pair of TP-Link AV200 powerline adapters when they wouldn't connect to an existing BT 500 powerline network...(
    Rick,

    Sorry, but I have not had any real experience with powerline adapters. Here in SE Queensland most buildings don't have insulation or reinforcing mesh in internal walls (warm climate) so simple WiFi range extenders are the usual story. I have attended a few customers who had powerline devices, but not for problems with those devices.

    As far as TP-Link's reliability as a brand goes in my opinion I would place them mid-range (although I haven't yet needed to return a TP-Link unit for warranty).
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
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    Is the connection lost when wired up to the router as well or is this purely a wireless problem ?

    If so, has anything else changed in your home such as any new wireless devices or has anything else been moved around ?

    Some routers have their channel setting default set to Auto and that could drop you onto or among high populated channels, so it would be worth logging into the router to check its channel setting and download inSSIDer3 to check you are on the best channel.

    As you've said the router was fine for a couple of days then it probably won't be this, but log into the router and ensure that it is set to Always On or the Idle Time Out is set to 0 mins as some routers are default to time out after 30 mins and that would require a reboot to regain connectivity.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2014-12-28 at 10:09.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Hi Sudo15 - There have been several changes to their internal network in the last fortnight but I avoided mentioning this because I didn't want to introduce something I think may be a "red herring".

    The family used to have 3 Edimax wireless range extenders each with its own SSID (plus the old router's SSID). The wireless on one of the range extenders failed completely (strike 1) and a second one wouldn't retain changes to its default configuration (strike 2). They also proved to not cope well with power outages (the family live in an area recently plagued with power cuts) so I had to keep visiting to manually reset the range extenders (strike 3). The final "nail in the coffin" for them were that these range extenders - by their very nature - reduce wireless bandwidth by 50% as they both send and receive using the same single radio.

    All 3 Edimax range extenders were replaced with BT 500 wireless hotspots (powerline devices which have 2 LAN ports plus a wireless hotspot) so all laptops, a games console and a smart TV now connect at a steady 100 Mbps via network cables instead of via wireless at approx. 10-15 Mbps which varies. This leaves just the iPads, iPhones and an iPod now connecting via wireless (at much faster rates). The SSIDs on the BT 500s are now the same as the router so the whole house is covered by a single unified wireless network piggy-backed on the Powerline devices. The BT 500 devices have proved to recover quickly from power outages once power is restored and retain their settings. The router and powerline devices have all been set to use channel 3 as this was unused when I did a scan for neighbours' wifi channels in use (using Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector). A subsequent check shows this channel is still only used by this family. i.e. no new wireless network on this channel has appeared.

    I've been in the house when internet connectivity has been lost and my tests have shown that the Powerline network remains good and steady, i.e. Powerline-connected devices can continue to see the router (and each other) whether connected via network cable or wireless. To ensure that wireless within the house is not an issue, my ping tests (to the ISPs' DNS servers, etc.) are always carried out from one of the office PCs connected directly to the router via network cable. To summarise, the LAN shows no problems... it's just the WAN side from the router.

    This brings me back to my original question - why does the router's 'Device Info' page show the ADSL line state is 'UP' and IPv4 connectivity to the ISP is good (ISP-provided WAN IP and DNS) when internet connectivity is lost?

    Coochin's reply about the "Setup Wizard's" ADSL settings and your reply about the ADSL line settings (Always On/Idle Time Out) are just the things I needed to hear. I don't have a huge amount of experience with ADSL (most connections I deal with are FTTC) and I've never seen a TP-Link router before. I'm not convinced it's a duff router so I'm going to get the manual out and plumb the depths of its manual ADSL settings before replacing it.
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2014-12-28 at 17:37.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Corbett View Post
    I've just had to return a pair of TP-Link AV200 powerline adapters when they wouldn't connect to an existing BT 500 powerline network. I purchased 2 (much more expensive) BT 500 powerline adapters and they connected straight away. I thought 'Powerline' was a standard...
    Yeah, but there are different standards. The TP-Link uses AV200 standard while the BTs appear to be AV500. In theory AV500 is supposed to be backward compatible with AV200, but IMHE I've had very poor luck getting that to work, especially with devices from different manufacturers.

    Here's a recent example. I installed a pair of Netgear 85mbps adapters several years ago in a client's home when he needed to connect his internet-enabled TV in a different part of the house. Everything worked fine. Then he had solar panels installed. The solar installer used a pair of Tenda P200s to connect the solar monitoring module to his router, but the result was the monitoring didn't work and now his TV no longer worked, either. That was beyond the installer's pay grade so the solar company scheduled a technician visit in the far distant future, so in frustration the client called me. I replaced the older Netgears with a couple more Tendas and both TV and monitoring came back up properly.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Hi dg1261 - Many thanks for your reply. This kinda mirrors my recent experience. The TP-Link AV200 powerline devices were 30% cheaper than the BT 500 powerline devices but just would not connect to the BT 500 base device no matter what I tried.

    When I replaced the 2 x TP-Link AV200s with 2 x BT 500s the new devices connected immediately and have provided excellent service since, despite the occasional power cut.

    This is my first time of using BT powerline devices after getting my fingers burned with Devolo powerline devices. I think I'll stick with Netgear and BT powerline devices from now on because I've had success with both... but haven't yet mixed them.

    Rhetorical question: why do manufacturers persist in only providing instructions about how to connect their devices using WPS when WPS has been proven to be insecure (and was the first thing I switched off in the new TP-Link router)?
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2014-12-28 at 15:31.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Update - I've checked with the router manufacturer's website and the new router is using the latest firmware (v1.0.5 Build 140821).

    I've also gone through every single page of its web interface. The closest I've found to check/configure its ADSL line settings for "Always On" or "Idle Time Out" is on the Wide Area Network (WAN) Service Setup page where the pppoa0 interface shows the default "Dial on demand" Inactivity Timeout (when checked) appears to be 15 minutes (allowed values are 1-4320). Thank you Sudo15 for alerting me to this setting. Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be a way to set it for "Always On".

    timeout.png
    Click to enlarge

    My apologies but... in the absence of any further replies here on the WSL site, I don't see that I have any further choice but to cross-post to a TP-Link support forum (but haven't yet checked whether one is available). I mention this only because some WSL contributors appear to have a problem with cross-posting.

    For info: Whilst configuring devices on this family's LAN I've encountered 192.168.0.1, 192.168.1.1 and 192.168.2.1 all used as default settings on devices such as router, powerline adapters, wireless range extenders and printers, etc. As a result I wrote a simple AutoHotkey GUI front-end to netsh so I could change network settings on the fly on the netbook I use for setup of these devices.

    ip-changer.png
    Click to enlarge

    If anyone's interested, my AHK script is:

    Code:
    Gui, Add, GroupBox, x7 y5 w105 h125 , Set local IP to:
    Gui, Add, Button, x15 y25 w90 h30 , 192.168.0.50
    Gui, Add, Button, x15 y60 w90 h30 , 192.168.1.50
    Gui, Add, Button, x15 y95 w90 h30 , 192.168.2.50
    Gui, Add, GroupBox, x117 y5 w240 h125 , Connect to:
    Gui, Add, Button, x122 y25 w100 h30 , http://192.168.0.1
    Gui, Add, Button, x122 y60 w100 h30 , http://192.168.1.1
    Gui, Add, Button, x122 y95 w100 h30 , http://192.168.2.1
    Gui, Add, Button, x233 y25 w120 h30 , http://tplinkplclogin.net
    Gui, Add, Button, x233 y60 w120 h30 , http://tplinkmodem.net
    Gui, Add, Button, x127 y130 w90 h30 , Show Config
    
    Gui, Show, w365 h175, IP Changer
    return
    
    Button192.168.0.50:
    {
    SplashTextOn,,, Please wait...
    Sleep 1000
    SplashTextOff
    RunWait, netsh interface ip set address name="Local Area Connection" static 192.168.0.50 255.255.255.0 192.168.0.1 0,,hide
    SplashTextOn,,, OK... done!...
    Sleep 1000
    SplashTextOff
    return
    }
    
    Button192.168.1.50:
    {
    SplashTextOn,,, Please wait...
    Sleep 1000
    SplashTextOff
    RunWait, netsh interface ip set address name="Local Area Connection" static 192.168.1.50 255.255.255.0 192.168.1.1 0,,hide
    SplashTextOn,,, OK... done!...
    Sleep 1000
    SplashTextOff
    return
    }
    
    Button192.168.2.50:
    {
    SplashTextOn,,, Please wait...
    Sleep 1000
    SplashTextOff
    RunWait, netsh interface ip set address name="Local Area Connection" static 192.168.2.50 255.255.255.0 192.168.2.1 0,,hide
    SplashTextOn,,, OK... done!...
    Sleep 1000
    SplashTextOff
    return
    }
    
    ButtonShowConfig:
    {
    RunWait, %comspec% /c netsh interface ip show config && pause
    return
    }
    
    Buttonhttp://192.168.0.1:
    {
    Run, http://192.168.0.1
    return
    }
    
    Buttonhttp://192.168.1.1:
    {
    Run, http://192.168.1.1
    return
    }
    
    Buttonhttp://192.168.2.1:
    {
    Run, http://192.168.2.1
    return
    }
    
    Buttonhttp://tplinkplclogin.net:
    {
    Run, http://tplinkplclogin.net
    return
    }
    
    Buttonhttp://tplinkmodem.net:
    {
    Run, http://tplinkmodem.net
    return
    }
    
    GuiClose:
    ExitApp
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2014-12-28 at 17:42.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Further update... I've tried and failed to find any ADSL settings specific to my friend's ISP (Orange/Wanadoo) in order to manually configure her new ADSL router for best results and get rid of the regular drop of internet connectivity.

    I guess I have no option but to phone her ISP for advice... <groan> (or cross-post to other forums).
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2014-12-28 at 17:54.

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    The possibility of the other devices I had in mind were possible new "toys" because of Christmas.

    It looks like you just manually enter the value for the Idle Time out, but does unchecking its box make any difference ?

    A router can report a continuous up time but would have a different sync time where there has been a loss of connectivity.

    This is for my ISP supplied D-Link 3780.

    ADSL Sum.PNG

    Does this set up have a modem and router or is the TP-Link a modem/router combo.

    How many lights remain lit on the modem and/or router when these disconnections occur ?

    As the router reports Up even during a period of loss, perhaps the problem is internal interference and the router remains sync'd ?

    Running RouterStatsLite on one of the computers so that the SNRM and corresponding speeds are monitored can help with interference issues.

    A couple of years ago I came across a compatibility issue between a TP-Link router and I think it was a Belkin adapter installed in the computer, but would think things have moved on since then.

    Unchecking (TCP/IPv6) in the computers Network adapters Properties has been known to alleviate disconnects - that's in Network and Sharing Center/Change adapter settings - right click on the adapters that are in use and select Properties (and not the Network adapters Properties in Device Manager).

    Windows has been known to try and connect IPv6 where it isn't supported.

    I have my Authentication Method set to CHAP, but this is my ISP's setting although it can be set to Auto.

    If you are going to contact the ISP, check if this setting can be changed to something more specific.

    With having multiple computers running, excessive demand on the bandwidth can cause loss of connectivity.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2014-12-28 at 20:25.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Hi Sudo15 - Many thanks for your reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15
    It looks like you just manually enter the value for the Idle Time out, but does unchecking its box make any difference ?
    By default there was no tick in the Dial on demand checkbox. I ticked it just to see what the default value was.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15
    Does this set up have a modem and router or is the TP-Link a modem/router combo.
    Operation mode shows 3 choices: ADSL Modem Router Mode (default), Wireless Router Mode and 3G Router Mode. Using the Quick Setup Wizard the router has been left as the default ADSL Modem Router Mode.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15
    How many lights remain lit on the modem and/or router when these disconnections occur ?
    When router is working normally the following lights are used:

    Power: On
    ADSL: On (i.e. the ADSL line is synchronised and ready to to use)
    Internet: Flashing (i.e. data is being transmitted/received via the Internet)
    WLAN: Flashing (indicating that the modem router is sending/receiving data)
    WPS: Off (I disable WPS)
    USB: On (I have this port configured as a print server
    LAN 1-4: Two lights are either off, on or flash corresponding to the 2 PCs which are directly connected via network cable.

    There is no change to any lights on the router when a disconnection occurs except for the Internet indicator. This changes from Flashing (i.e. data is being transmitted/received via the Internet) to On (i.e. the network is supposedly available with a successful Internet connection... [but isn't, in practice]).

    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15
    As the router reports Up even during a period of loss, perhaps the problem is internal interference and the router remains sync'd ?
    I've considered this, i.e. port flooding. As the BT 500 Powerline base unit is connected to a single port on the router it means that all Powerline-connected devices - wired or wireless - are, in effect, connected to just the one router port. However, if this one port was flooded, why would the PCs connected directly to different ports on the router also lose internet connectivity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15
    Running RouterStatsLite on one of the computers so that the SNRM and corresponding speeds are monitored can help with interference issues.
    Thanks for this. I had never heard of RouterStatsLite before so will see if I can get this up and running to monitor the connection, even though the specific model of TP-Link router isn't mentioned. I note that the TP-Link TD-W8968 uses an embedded password dialog rather than popup so may not be able to get this to work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15
    Unchecking (TCP/IPv6) in the computers Network adapters Properties has been known to alleviate disconnects - that's in Network and Sharing Center/Change adapter settings - right click on the adapters that are in use and select Properties (and not the Network adapters Properties in Device Manager).

    Windows has been known to try and connect IPv6 where it isn't supported.
    The majority of client devices in the house use iOS (all but one are iOS 8). All 4 Windows client devices are Win 7. When Internet connectivity is lost this affects all client devices, both iOS and Windows. (I note that the iOS devices used to have the most difficulty reconnecting even when the router was power-cycled but this is no longer a problem now that the Edimax range extenders have been replaced with BT 500 wireless hotspots, i.e. it was the Edimax wireless devices that didn't cope well with power outages.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15
    I have my Authentication Method set to CHAP, but this is my ISP's setting although it can be set to Auto.

    If you are going to contact the ISP, check if this setting can be changed to something more specific.
    It looks like Orange used to be Freeserve and has itself been taken over by EE. I haven't been able to find a specific ISP-provided support page but EE HOME BROADBAND SETTINGS suggests that CHAP is used for Authentication Method. I also note that an MTU of 1492 is suggested for 3rd-part routers instead of the default of 1480 so I'm going to check/change this on the router next time I'm there.
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2014-12-28 at 22:28.

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    Re, the query as to whether you are using a modem and router or if the TP-Link is a modem/router combo refers to if you have a two box set up from the master socket or just the router plugged in.

    TP-Links must work different to the routers I have used as when there has been a loss of Internet, just the Internet light has gone out and when there has been a loss of ADSL, all of them have gone out until it tries to resync.

    As the disconnects only seem to affect Internet and not the full ADSL connection, then I'm still leaning towards interference of which there can be a few.

    http://www.kitz.co.uk/adsl/rein.htm

    I think to properly troubleshoot this, you may need to just work with one machine in range of the router and see if that drops out and then add one back at a time which may not be practical for the other users, but if the computers are all desktops then you could reposition the router to the computers location by using a longer ADSL cable and let the computers use the natural WiFi.

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/bhp/adsl-modem-cable

    Edit - if you are going to change the MTU in the router, you will also need to change it in each of the computers - they will probably still be default set to 1500.

    I don't know if you know how to do this but I'll run through it anyway and it may help others..

    Open a command prompt as an admin by going Start - type cmd - right click on cmd and select Run as administrator - accept the UAC then enter these commands -

    netsh interface ipv4 show interfaces

    This can list 3 or 4 interfaces depending upon if you have MS's Virtual Miniport installed and that will be listed as Wireless Network Connection 2

    It's just the first Wireless and Local Area Connection we are interested in.

    In the left Idx column you could see each of those listed as say, 12 for the Wireless and 15 for the LAN.

    To change them to 1492 - we'll do the Wireless first - enter -

    netsh interface ipv4 set subinterface 12 mtu=1492 store=persistent

    Then do the same for the LAN using its Index number.

    Repeat the netsh interface ipv4 show interfaces command to confirm then enter exit to close the cmd window.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2014-12-29 at 05:54.

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