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Accessing 192.168.1.1 was supposed to be quick and easy because it's accessing something "local". But it has been problematic with my Linksys WRT54G router.

I have attempted visiting 192.168.1.1 through both wireless and Ethernet cable. Many times, the loading circle would just turn and turn but never pull up the router Management GUI. Sometimes I could load into the Management GUI, but when I, say click on a link in the Management GUI, sometimes the link doesn't load (the loading circle would turn and turn and never found the page), sometimes I get luck, the loading circle turns and turns for about 30 sec and then the page is loaded. This is with both wireless and wired Ethernet connection.

Lately this router is having issues, sometimes it would just die (decides not to serve [or transfer] data to computers on the network). I must unplug the router's power and then plug it back in to make it working again. I have considered that my firmware may be out of date. What do you think is the problem with this router?

Note: It's very strange that after the router dies(supposedly doesn't transfer any data to computers on the network), if I had a torrent connection established prior to router dying, the connection continues to transfer (download). [I have not try to see if ordinary file transfer would also work]

Added: I was hoping to make my router more robust, so I upgraded it to DD WRT. Router connectivity problem already existed before the DD WRT upgrade. I have not changed any default settings in the DD WRT. Currently, this router serves 3 laptops at home, plus an ipod touch, an Android mobile phone, and Ethernet connection to a VoIP phone.

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Out of curiousity, does accessing the management GUI still take forever even after unplugging and plugging back in? I have similar problems with my own WRT54G, but only after it's been running for an extended period; it works flawlessly (for a while) after power-cycling. –  goldPseudo Jan 5 '13 at 5:52
    
its responsiveness gets slightly better after power cycling, but it goes bad very quickly (I would say after opening about 5 to 6 pages) –  user22105 Jan 5 '13 at 5:56

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The router can only handle a certain number of active connections at a time; once the connection table is full, no new connections can be opened (even if they're just over the local network). This can be exacerbated if you're handling the load of multiple computers, and especially if you're stuck using an 8MB model (which has less available RAM for maintaining active ports).

BitTorrent and similar P2P applications, however, work by opening a lot of connections to a lot of different computers simultaneously. This can easily overload the connection table of any router — especially a cheap consumer-grade router — if it's not controlled.

Since you're using DD-WRT, you can go to the Management GUI, under Administration -> Management -> IP Filter Settings (at least that's where it is on my own, build 14929), which has a handful of settings for controlling active connections. In particular, the TCP Timeout setting, which defaults to 3600 seconds, can be reduced; this setting controls how long the router holds a connection open even if it's not (apparently) being used. The shorter it is, the faster you can recycle inactive connections (of course, if it's too short, it'll start dropping connections that are sluggish but still active). I currently have my own set to 300.

You can check out this page on the DD-WRT wiki for a more in-depth explanation and other workarounds.

There would also (presumably) be settings in your torrent client of choice which controls how many active connections to open at a time. These would be worth looking into as well, but are out of scope for this answer.

This isn't a guaranteed solution (my own router gums up similarly, but it often lasts weeks to months without needing a power cycle if I don't have torrents running; I would attribute this more to either overheating or memory leakage, as suggested by Brett's answer) but that's just because you typically get what you pay for: Robust hardware is rarely cheap hardware, and cheap hardware is rarely robust hardware.

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Even after a power-cycle, I noticed the used memory dialog in DD WRT shows that is 95%! I only have 1 computer connected to it and there's no torrent running. Do you think this abnormal? –  user22105 Jan 5 '13 at 16:17
    
@user22105 My own (8MB model) hovers between 92% and 97% Used, even after a power cycle. –  goldPseudo Jan 5 '13 at 16:24
    
do you know why is it taken up so much memory? I don't think it should do this =( –  user22105 Jan 5 '13 at 18:45
    
@user22105 No clue. I would blame cheap hardware requiring more software control combined with low RAM, but that's just a guess. –  goldPseudo Jan 5 '13 at 19:19
    
Sounds like your router doesn't have enough memory to use DD-WRT. I would use a DD-WRT image with a lighter footprint. –  Ramhound Jan 15 '13 at 17:47

Something obvious to check is that you are within range and that the router is not be overloaded because there are too many users.

Obvious and not directly related causes out of the way this is a problem with the WRT54G. The problem particularly occurs when the router is under a heavy load. My suggestions are:

1) Reset and if required update the firmware. Ironically you need to be inside the management console to do this. You can download the latest firmware from the Linksys website. See: http://homesupport.cisco.com/en-us/support/routers/WRT54G

Tip: make sure you have a stable power supply before updating the firmware or you will destroy your device.

You can also consider to the tomato firmware but proceed with caution as novices have bricked many a good machine doing this (http://www.polarcloud.com/tomato).

2) Keep the router well ventilated as this mostly happens when the routers get hot.

As @goldPseudo pointed out a restart helps with this problem but obviously it is not a resolution you would want to use often.

If the management console continues to have issues try using WPA with a short SSID. You would be surprised how often this decreases the load.

One final thing to keep in mind is that torrents really add to the load and hence exasperate any memory leak problems.

Remember these modems operate best when there is only 2-3 users. Good luck!

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I have considered that my firmware may be out of date. And I was hoping to make my router more robust, so I upgraded to DD WRT, but I have not changed any default settings in DD WRT. As for your point of having too much load on the router, my access to 192.168.1.1 was already sluggish after a power-cycle, no device was connected at that time. –  user22105 Jan 5 '13 at 6:18
    
How long did you leave it off for after power cycling? And is it in a well ventilated area? These guys heat up real fast. –  Brett Jan 5 '13 at 6:27
    
yes, it's well ventilated. and the weather is pretty cold right now. Do you think there's a setting in dd wrt that can reduce some router load? –  user22105 Jan 5 '13 at 6:29
    
Do you a second modem to share the load with? –  Brett Jan 5 '13 at 6:30
    
that's the only one. You really think that's too many devices? –  user22105 Jan 5 '13 at 6:30

Let me ask, does this happen at the same period of day and to all systems on your LAN? Do you live in a populated area, have neighbors in the vicinity?

If you can say yes to both of those than I'll elaborate in another answer the reasons I'm asking.

Assuming you haven't patched the Linksys (d0 they still make firmware for it or dropped support),I'm hesitant to believe it is failing because my experiences with Linksys routers is they just die, one day, no more functionality and the rest of the world is unsumpathetic because it didn't cost as much anyway, you already got good advice to hard reboot since these and other SOHO edge devices start to suffer from what seems identical to a Windows memory leak until it gets cleared out, the next common issue I get with Linksys devices is their power supplies still seem to just stop working, it has been that way for years with their devices like their old hubs and dedicated switches and I still can't seem to find a model of Linksys, pure linksys not a rebranded Cisco 850 cheapnened into a Linksys the way mercedes did when they cheapened an SLK into the chrysler crossfire, and although those power supplies have improved, they're still the second leading cause of death.

I get to say as much because as a member of a team I support a few thousand remote based users working from their homes and locally controlled networks and offices with our remotely managed gear and those are the reasons they die and usually a lot quicker than the agaonizing issues you're having, I don't get the impression you'd be comfortaqble starting a LIVE Linux box to run KISMET based on your lack of terminology usage and it would be irresponsible at this moement to allude as to why without your answers to my opening queswtions.

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i would say no to those two questions (except the outage indeed happens to all computers on the network), i've added a few more details to the post. ie. I have installed a Linux based firmware dd wrt –  user22105 Jan 5 '13 at 6:47

You're running bit-torrent, hey I'm not criticizing at all, I do to, but the answer was in front of you the whole time.

Just based on your dialogue, I'm not getting the impression you can assure yourself or the audience you're Bittorrent clients aren't also sharing files for others download and those synchronous transfers are soaking your routers performance.

ISP's hate torrents and I doubt they're doing anything to kill your routers performance because eventually that is a question everyone asks but for them to do so, could be considered illegal, but who would care about our complaints even if they were.

Spend a few bucks, hell just buy a used one at Amazon for $13 http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0019SHGEU/ref=dp_olp_used?ie=UTF8&condition=used and test it for comparison and keep it as a spare since even if you were an unemployed trust fund kid, you've wasted more than $130 by now just in lost time trying to narrow down why your screen door boat doesn't go fast on the lake.

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This answer is complete non-sense. There is NOTHING the ISP could do that would effect the network between his computer and his router. His internet can be slowed down but the local traffic within HIS network CANNOT be touched by his ISP. Why did you post two incorrect answers? –  Ramhound Jan 15 '13 at 17:51

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