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I'm using a Belkin wireless router and I find that if I connect my laptop using wireless, the connection will drop after exactly 1 hour with no (apparent) possibility of re-connecting.

Other facts that I might add:

  • after the wireless connection drops, connecting the laptop using the cable will be successful
  • after the wireless connection drops on the laptop I can't connect any device to the router using wireless
  • rebooting the laptop made no difference
  • I did not reboot the router because the wired connection was working
  • OS: Win 7
  • I read some things here and there about the wireless security settings on the router being at the root of this but no hint as to the situation being actually hopeless (can't do anything other than change the router)
  • can't find any settings in the wireless area of the router setup interface that refers to an interval of 1 hour
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1 Answer

Many devices rotate the WPA or WPA2 group key (the key used for encrypting multicasts and broadcasts) after exactly an hour. As a diagnostic experiment, try switching to WEP or no security and see if the problem goes away. If it does, then you know the problem is likely the group key rotation interval, and you have something useful to discuss with your AP manufacturer.

Make sure you have the latest firmware on your AP. No use fighting a bug that's already been fixed.

Another thing that may be happening after an hour is DHCP lease renewal. If the DHCP server process on the AP is failing, you might not be able to get an IP address lease, which you might perceive as a failure to connect. You could try giving your client machine a static IP address that's within your router's NAT range but preferably outside its DHCP pool range, and see if that resolves your problem.

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I'll do the test with no security set. As to the DHCP, most of the time I am connecting the laptop using a cable and the laptop stays on day & night and I never had issues. Do you think DHCP would work differently for wireless devices? –  CyberDude Sep 6 '10 at 16:42
    
@CyberDude Good point, most wireless routers bridge LAN and wireless ports, so it's the same DHCP server process on both. I agree, not likely to be a DHCP problem. –  Spiff Sep 6 '10 at 17:52
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