Mac Hardware forum


Problem with ethernet router?

by Terri N. Peate / December 29, 2012 12:16 AM PST

Occasionally, I wake my Mac from sleep and find I have no internet connection. This is almost always fixed by rebooting the computer and the ethernet router.

Is there a way to determine if this indicates a problem with the router or something happening external to my network? It is not a major nuisance in itself, but since the Mac will be taking over as an over-the-air DVR, and communicates with the tuner by ethernet, reliability of ethernet has become much more important.

The geniuses at Sony who designed my standalone DVR made it utterly dependent on the TV Guide over-the-air service. There is no way for the user to set the date and time, or for the device to acquire this info from any other source. Hard to believe, but true. Rovi, who provides the OTA guide has decided to pull the plug on their North American service, making all such Sony DVRs virtually useless.

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Clarification Request
I can't find which router.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 29, 2012 10:43 AM PST

Recently I ran into some router issue that is a big name. The issue is wider than first reported and the fix is to roll the firmware back a version until this name gets a fix out.

As to the genius issue, this is pretty simple to explain. Folk often don't like why so I'll see if you really want to know.

All Answers

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Not unusual for a machine to lose its network
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 29, 2012 4:38 AM PST

connection as Airport shuts down during sleep mode.

Usually it takes three or four seconds for it to catch up and re-establish the link with the Router.

Have you tried reconnecting manually or just leaving it for a while?

Alternatively, if this is a big deal with your move to using the Mc as a DVR, you could always tell the Mac not to go to sleep.

How are ou configuring the Mac to be a DVR?


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Mac as DVR
by Terri N. Peate / December 29, 2012 1:03 PM PST

I'm not using Airport, but a regular hardwired ethernet router. I think it has to be rebooted to restore connectivity; though there may be a way to automate this by people who actually know what they're doing. It reboots when you unplug the power supply briefly and plug back in.

Mac DVR: My rooftop antenna is connected to a Silicondust HD Homerun dual tuner. It communicates with the ethernet router via a plain ol' cat 5 cable. DVR functionality is provided by EyeTV software installed in the Mac, and this software will wake up the Mac for a scheduled recording. An Applescript I found on the web will even put the Mac back to sleep when the recording is finished. This all goeth awry, of course, if the ethernet is down for some reason. I'd prefer on principle not to leave the computer awake all the time, and depending on what is causing the connection to be dropped, that might not prevent the problem anyway. When my DSL modem began requiring frequent reboots it meant the device was about to fail. I wonder if something similar is going on with the ethernet router, or if these occasional interruptions are due to another cause. Just trying to get ahead of a potential problem.

As far as the geniuses at Sony, that is a simple case of design malpractice. Even a VCR has provision for the user to set the date/time, and a $50 Radio Shack converter box can get date/time info over the air. It is contained in the broadcast stream.

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Neat idea.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 29, 2012 10:53 PM PST
In reply to: Mac as DVR

I had assumed wireless but see now that you did not mention wireless in the beginning.

That said, you have a DSL system which usually involves a modem device from your ISP.
With DSL, the modem is usually paired with an Internal Router (modem/router) which does away with the need for the user to purchase another Router to create the home network.

If you DSL modem is a Modem/Router, AND the Router you are referring to here is something that you purchased, then remove it from the equation and install a standard switch. 5 or 8 port, as suits your needs.

Having 2 routers on the same network is fraught with danger and can lead to losses like the one you describe, unless configured correctly.

Bottom line, what brand and model is the DSL modem you have?


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DSL modem
by Terri N. Peate / December 30, 2012 4:50 AM PST
In reply to: Neat idea.

The modem is a Netgear ADSL2+ modem from Best Buy purchased this year. My DSL provider no longer supplies modems. The ethernet device is a Belkin Cable/DSL Gateway Router some years old.

This setup works seamlessly and without any problems 99.44/100% of the time. I'm just trying to sort out if the occasional dropped internet connection is an early warning of a device problem or something else. For instance, my previous DSL modem, an Actiontec supplied by Qwest many years ago, eventually died, but only after gradually becoming more unreliable.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 30, 2012 10:50 AM PST
In reply to: DSL modem

Netgear's latest firmware versions are indeed a problem. The problem extends far past the iPad connection issues you read about most.

Try the same fix. Go back a version until it works.

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by Terri N. Peate / January 5, 2013 12:50 AM PST
In reply to: Bingo.

I'm not sure why rebooting the ethernet router would restore connectivity, as it does, if the dropped connection is due to a problem with the DSL modem. Note also, this is a wired Netgear DSL modem. The Netgear firmware problems discussed elsewhere on the web seem to be with wireless modems.

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Then let's say you are not going to try anything.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 5, 2013 12:59 AM PST
In reply to: ????

At this point we call it a bad modem and you replace it. I was under the impression you wanted to avoid that.

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Let's say ...
by Terri N. Peate / January 5, 2013 10:12 AM PST

... it has nothing at all to do with the DSL modem, which is new. If it were the DSL modem, I would lose the internet connection, but ethernet-connected devices would continue to work. They don't. The HD Homerun no longer sends a signal to the computer. So let's say it is a problem with the ethernet, possibly with the gateway router. A little searching on the web reveals that it isn't really too uncommon for ethernet networks to go down and require rebooting of the router. There is even a device that senses a dropped connection and will automatically reboot the router, but before forking over a hundred clams for one of those I'd like to explore any other troubleshooting measures that might address the problem.

I suppose I ought to see if there are firmware updates from Belkin for the router.

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The story however
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 6, 2013 2:56 PM PST
In reply to: Let's say ...

Mimics a recent spat of router issues. It appears that you are fixated on not discussing this area.

Good luck with your efforst.

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PS -- The Bonehead Fix
by Terri N. Peate / February 5, 2013 12:09 AM PST
In reply to: The story however

There are no firmware updates for my router.

The cheap and easy fix for this appears to be to just pre-emptively reboot the router by manually power cycling it daily. Since starting this practice, I haven't woken the computer from sleep once and found the connection dropped.

The router can also be rebooted through the browser interface, so this preventive rebooting might be possible over the internet for a remote user. If the router is not easily accessible, an inexpensive digital timer could be set to reboot it at some time when the computer is not normally in use.

This fix may not be satisfying for some, but so far it has prevented any loss of scheduled recordings due to dropped ethernet.

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