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A few weeks ago, I noticed that my Internet connection had slowed down to a crawl. I waited a few days hoping it would go away on its own, but it didn't get better. So I asked this question about how to make it faster.

The problem went away after I updated to the latest firmware, so I didn't follow up too carefully. But every few days since then, my Internet has slowed down again. Unlike before, all I have to do to fix it is open the router administration page and press the "Reboot" button. Nothing else seems to work, though I'm sure there are options I haven't tried.

If it makes a difference, my girlfriend and I both transfer large amounts of data fairly routinely for school (videoconferencing, downloading entire recorded lectures).

The router is a Cisco/Linksys WRT160N v3 that's about a year old. Most of the time, it deals with just two standard Windows 7 laptops.

The only thing I came across while searching for answers/dupes was this unresolved question, which seems similar superficially, but probably doesn't have the same root issue.

What could be causing these slowdowns, and how can I get rid of them?

EDIT :
After asking this followup question, I installed dd-wrt on my router, and I seem to be getting higher and more consistent speeds. Perhaps more importantly, my memory use is fairly constant. I know this isn't an answer — which is why I'm not posting it as an answer — but it is how I resolved the situation, and hopefully it'll be helpful for someone.

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Linksys routers, in my experience, need an occasional reboot. While I don't know the reason for it, I've learnt to live with it. –  user3463 Mar 12 '11 at 0:16
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I've had the same issue with an old D-link (very old, I no longer use it). The problem causing the issue is best described in technical terms as "dodgy firmware". In other words, there are firmware defects. –  quickly_now Mar 12 '11 at 0:20
    
What @RandolphPotter said. Linksys makes good routers, but they need a reboot every week or two. –  Shinrai Mar 12 '11 at 0:25
    
All SOHO routers are guilty of this. Linksys, Netgear, Dlink, Airlink101, Buffalo, Belkin, 3Com, etc, all will have this trait commonly. If you want a router that will last much longer and has more memory and faster processor clock cycles, purchase a Cisco, Samsung, Sonicwall, Adtran, Edgewater, etc. –  MaQleod Mar 12 '11 at 3:24
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3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I'd say that the problem is bad memory management in router firmware. Basically whenever router needs to have lots of connections open, it uses up its RAM, which is normal. When a connection is closed, that RAM should be freed up. It looks like in your case it isn't. As router has less and less RAM available, it becomes slower and slower and in the end you have to reboot it. When it is rebooted, contents of the memory are cleared and you have fresh memory to use.

If that's the case, then there's very little you can do. Your router may be supported by third party firmware like DD-WRT or OpenWRT (where's the rest of its name? I can't tell without it) so you could try installing one of then. Otherwise, you could hope for new version of official firmware which could fix the problem.

To check if I'm right, try opening lots of windows and tabs in your browser and go to as many websites as you can on as many computers as you can. Also, you could try finding a hot torrent and download it. Bittorrent will usually place heavy load on router and if the connection closing problem is there, it will occur quickly.

I had a similar problem on a Netgear FVG318 router and solved it by getting a router which supports OpenWRT. I haven't had any problems since then.

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In situations like this I love to take a cheap garden timer from Home Depot/Any Hardware store and set it to reboot the router on a daily basis in a time when theres generally little to no usage.

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That's... actually pretty clever. I'm guessing a garden timer is the thing that turns your sprinklers on at the same time every day? –  Pops Oct 25 '11 at 17:40
    
Or the thing you use to turn on your Christmas lights :) –  ErnieTheGeek Oct 25 '11 at 17:57
    
It always bugs me when I get downvotes and no explanation. –  ErnieTheGeek Oct 25 '11 at 17:58
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I do that manually. It's fun! –  Pops Oct 25 '11 at 17:58
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Here's an upvote for a solution to my once-a-day FVS-114 power plug removal. Seems like after it hits a certain number of NAT entries, it bogs or locks up. Has been upgraded to the latest firmware. When I answer whether DD-WIRT passes VPN traffic or not, I'll probably replace it, though wires breaking off the plug from flexing during reboot will be the real spur for change. Your solution would prolong it's life which might be the reason for the down vote. –  Fiasco Labs Oct 25 '11 at 18:08
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For Linksis Routers, go to Utilities tab and check the Firewall selection. By Disable (turn off) the router Firewall. It speed up the internet connection a lot. It is better than rebooting quite often.

You should turn off your router at night or at non usage time as routers that are turned on 24hrs are subjected to over heat and subject to hang due to triggering of the firewall feature.

After I solve my router problem by turning off the firewall, I switch off the router at night too to prolong the router life.

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Not really a wise thing to do, accessing the internet without a firewall can be dangerous. –  slm Jan 6 '13 at 15:44
    
And, of-course, rebooting the router frequently puts a heavy load on it at startup - by far the most likely time for a PSU failure - especially on Linksys devices (don't know this one, but the PAP2's are legendary for that). –  davidgo Feb 19 '13 at 6:00
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