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I have a couple of servers running at home (for personal use) that are inaccessible to me when I'm out on the road and the cable-modem goes wrong. Whilst it is rare, from time to time it is necessary for me to power-cycle the modem.

The modem connects to my internal network (no USB connection) and does not offer a reboot option in its web-interface (if that is working).

Programming isn't a problem, so I want to implement a sentinel service that periodically looks for life and in the event of seeing nothing, ensures that the modem is power-cycled -- ideally with some delay, but immediately restarting if that's all I can do.

My hardware configuration options seem to be:

  1. have my server connected to an Intelligent plug which switches off other peripherials when the main PC is powered down. In this case I would need to set a BIOS wakeup which waits a few minutes. I'm not keen on this as I can't be certain that I can safely power-down the server.
  2. have a power-outlet that lets me control its switching using USB or other serial connection. This seems best, but I can't find anything suitable.

Are there other options I'm missing?

[Modem running latest firmware and is my only option because of the Cable company's requirements, and it's a 50Mbps one too... :-)]

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4 Answers

It's odd not to have a reboot option in the web interface. I don't know how proficient you are with computers but you might want to poke around a little bit. Besides the web server modems usually allow connection in other ways, for example via telnet. It's a long shot, but if there is a reboot option that way, you could code something up to run periodically on the server and when it can't connect to the net reboot the modem automatically. On the other hand of course if it freezes completely then you'll need hardware intervention.

Edir: This just came to me... have you tried googling your modem and looking for hidden features? My old DSL router for example would turn on it telnet service if you added something like "?debug=1" in the web service url.

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Old hand at low-level software development, so coding isn't a problem at all. I haven't dug into the modem too much as it is newish (three crashes in the last 8 weeks, fortunately my wife was at home and could toggle the power for me). The modem itself only has stats on its web-server, no options. It's new and I don't have any docs yet. –  Ray Hayes Aug 27 '09 at 11:02
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We use a product here called iBoot. With it you can monitor a remote IP, then should your modem freeze and lose the internet, the autoping to the remote IP will fail and trigger a power cycle of the device (modem) attached to the iBoot device. Which in turn 'should' give you your internet back.

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Looks perfect, but a little out of my budget.. This home-made solution may be where I need to go to chezphil.org/slugpower –  Ray Hayes Aug 27 '09 at 11:18
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If you want a horribly low tech approach just get one of those mains timer switches and use it to restart the modem every day at 3am.

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I'd already considered it, but I just know it would be 5am I discover a problem (shift for any preselected time). I even considered 5 minutes every hour, but that would drive me nuts when I'm at home (and if I could disable it, Murphy's Law will dictate that I forget to enable it)! +1 because it isn't so stupid! –  Ray Hayes Aug 27 '09 at 12:46
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up vote 0 down vote accepted

I think I have found the solution to my problem, a Phidget kit that provides 4 AC switches controlled by a simple USB interface.

PhidgetInterfaceKit 0/0/4

Minimal assembly required to get what I want... more even!

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