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I have a Netgear DG834GT WiFi router, which also doubles up as an ADSL modem. I have been using it for the last 4 years, and did not have any problems until now. For the past month I have been observing that the WiFi access point is not accessible sometimes. Once I start using the access point, it would drop after some time, there is no specific time frame for that, the start of drop varies, and is not consistent.

I initially thought that it was interference, and tried changing channels, this works sometimes but not always, and in some cases just simple reboot without changing will also work, but again not always. My laptop does not pick any other access points so I dont think that this could be interference, and I don't know of interference devices being used in the home limits. I have other devices using the WiFi access point and none of them can recognize the AP once it drops.

I am able to access the internet through the LAN properly by connecting a cable.

I can consider a firmware upgrade, but since this was a device I have been using for 4 years, I dont think this could be a firmware related issue.

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migrated from serverfault.com Aug 30 '09 at 20:25

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3 Answers 3

Since this only happens sometimes, I don't think it has something to do with a wireless service provider. There might be some 2.4 GHz phones in the area that gets use every once in a while, or a microwave oven, or a really powerful microwave oven (mine is 2200W). It knocks out wifi with every use but you could also probably use a new access point.

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I had the same model for perhaps 3 years and it did exactly the same thing, and I went through the same investigation as yourself... One neighbour is using Sky (their broadband bundle includes a Netgear DG834 something), another neighbour has a really powerful connection, are we on the same channel, interference, etc.

I tried swapping channels, upgraded the firmware, same issue on 2 laptops, and consulted with a friend who installs lots of networks for small businesses. Ultimately, I replaced it with a DG834G V5. Everything works exactly as we were used to. Somewhere (I forget where) someone else posted a similar experience and they simply replaced their router too.

I did first buy a Linksys WAG54G2 thinking that if our neighbours were using a DG834 based router then maybe I'd just get the same sort of wireless dropouts because of interference, but the Linksys was so bad I gave up and returned to Netgear. I just put it down to wear and tear on a much used, taken for granted router.

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assuming that my neighbor had a router (of any brand), will that not come up for me in the list for wireless networks on my system. There are very few who do not broadcast their SSID. In your case did the other AP come in the list. I also have the AP and all devices in the same room, with just inches away –  Dinesh Manne Aug 30 '09 at 10:49
    
Dan, just to confirm, in your case interference was not the issue –  Dinesh Manne Aug 30 '09 at 11:16
    
Interference wasn't the issue because I'd look at what other networks were visible when my wireless disappeared and sometimes there would be none. The frustrating part like you said was not consistent behaviour - it would be much easier to reach a decision if the wireless just died and didn't come back! –  Dan Aug 30 '09 at 19:09

I've had this issue before with combination router/switch/wifi access points. Every time the wireless radio went bad.

After a few years...poof.

I eventually gave up and would buy another $50 router from Staples or NewEgg. After doing this three or four times, I got really agitated and bought a separate dedicated switch and a Netgear access point (just a wifi access point, not switch, not router, just a wireless access point).

That way I didn't have to deal with combo units dying on me or acting weird. If the WAP goes bad I just replace that one component.

(I had verified no interference, no channel hopping, upgrading firmware, etc...)

Considering that commercial routers and switches and access points can easily cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars while "SOHO" routers tend to be...well,...fifty bucks, it was pretty easy to write it off as just a quality issue.

The alternative would be to get a cheap computer with a wifi card and a couple network cards, install Linux and reconfigure it to act as a wifi access point and router. More effort initially but it wouldn't be hard to replace parts if they went kaput.

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