Wireless Drops Completely

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by ladysman, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. ladysman

    ladysman Network Guru Member

    Not really sure how to title this but i've had this problem forever really. I've been using 3rd party firmwares on WRT54GS's for a while now. In particular, I have 3 WRT54GS v2 and two v2.1's. Obviously with 32mb of RAM and 8mb flash. I don't do WDS as I don't need too with the coverage I have. I just like to keep these routers in a safe place. :)

    It even happened on the old Thibor firmware I use to use (HyperWRT). It's also happened with Tomato 1.21-1.25 and now Victek's firmware (Latest non ND).

    What happens is this, over a period of time, anywhere form a week to months, the wireless just completely drops. Lately, it seems more like every two weeks. All I do is reboot the router and everything is fine.

    Problem for me, is it happens when I am at work and my wife needs the wireless. (And no, holding the wireless button does NOT work, you either have to get in the router or unplug it)

    Any idea what causes this? If so is there a fix?

    Is it a bandwidth issue? I do stream video via AppleTV upstairs via wireless. This is the only thing i could think to cause it. The rest of the wireless clients are just iphones or standar web browsing email PC's.
  2. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    What do you mean by "get in the router"? Are you able to ssh, telnet or http(s) to the router via ether or from the Internet and reboot it?

    If all you want is to enable your wife to reset the router when it fails every two weeks or so, perhaps you could plug it into a power bar with a switch, and then your wife can toggle the switch.

    If you are hoping that someone will say: "this is a known problem with an easy fix which is ...", you will be disappointed. (Sometimes ND helps, but you seem to imply that ND is not an option).

    If you really want to investigate this problem, it is likely to take significant time, energy, thinking, and effort. The fact that it happens so infrequently makes it all the more difficult.

    But if you have an inherent interest in problem solving, then you may well consider such an effort worth it. :) If so, you may want to read this:

  3. ladysman

    ladysman Network Guru Member

    Yes I mean HTTP into the router without a problem. all wired connections work fine as well.

    Yeah, I know, I was just seeing if there is a fix. I can also setup an auto reboot every week or so as well.

    I didn't imply ND was not an option, I just used the non-ND version from what I read, you need a 9 or higher and mine is a 7. I can't remember what the number represents though sorry. This could cause a bricked router on older models like mine.

    I'll check out the thread later, thanks for the link!:)
  4. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    Well, if it were me, I would eagerly look forward to the next crash, and then ...

    try to mess with wl, dnsmasq, arp, etc.
    I'd also mess with the clients to see whether they see the router, associate, etc.
    Also, I'd check out the GUI -- "Device List", and see what the router sees.
    Ditto for "Wireless Survey"

    sounds like an interesting problem to have. :)
  5. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    I had a similar, not sure if it's the same, issue years ago. Everything was rock solid with WEP, then I decided it was insecure and went to WPA PSK TKIP. Basically the whole time I was using that encryption I had issues of dropped connections and dropped WDS links. Going to WPA PSK AES improved everything enormously. I now take havign a solid VPN connection all day long for granted but it wasn't always that way.

    This might not be your issue at all but it's the only thing remotely similar in my experience.
  6. ladysman

    ladysman Network Guru Member

    I should have mentioned that I don't use encryption at all. i've always just used Mac address filtering. I do this simply because i've noticed better video streaming (HD) with the AppleTV. Otherwise, I would have security. :biggrin:

    Antenna power is set to 60mw as well. I also have the 7db antennas on the router.
  7. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    Hmm, weird. My WRT54G v2.0 seemed prone to overheating when I tested it and I ended up going with 42mw which coincidentally also became the Tomato default. I can't say if this might be an issue with your WRT54GS. 60mw doesn't seem THAT high but if the router issues seem to be worse when it's warmer you might consider lowering the setting or putting a fan on it.
  8. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    Texasflood, that's very weird. Unless it's a coincidence, an increase of 18mW is really next to nothing. I think the 42mW level was selected as a default only because of the power levels allowed by law in some countries. TX PA chip is actually rated at 251mW (I'm assuming the G v2 used the same chip as the GL) and the routers do not generally overheat even if you select this power level. So I think it must have been due to something else, or the chip in your router may actually be faulty. There was a thread about this here:


    a look at the transmitter itself:


    Ladysman, this may be relevant so here's a little recent history. There are issues with wireless cards when using the earlier non-ND drivers, where a particular card tries to associate the router would become unstable and often reboot. This happened mostly with Intel cards, and some Atheros, but the issue mostly went away last year when we discovered the trick to use the ND drivers correctly.


    Since then, I've seen much fewer problems but there are still some issues remaining even with ND drivers. The cards still having issues here are some Intel "N" cards, iPhones, iPods, the occasional Apple laptop, D-Link USB adapters based on Ralink chipset. You'll notice Apple devices are troublesome. I have several in this block. Oddly enough some associate fine while others of exactly the same model always give problems. I have no idea why. Occasionally one AP will become unstable or reboot, and I have tracked it down to an iPod.

    Since you mention you have Apple devices, it might just be this problem coming up again in a new guise. But since it only happens infrequently, it's going to be hard to tell. Next time it happens you could have taken a look at your logs to see if it coincides with a device associating. Unfortunately, when these devices do cause a problem, though, they don't succeed in associating and there is nothing in the logs.

    BTW - I too noticed a general slowdown of the router when using encryption. WEP is the least secure, the least processor intensive but it is the most stable of the options.
  9. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    It's been many years since I tested this. The router wirless seemed to become unstable as I increased the TX power setting. I assumed this was due to overheating but never had any proof of this, rather it was an assumption on my part at the time. 42mW did give me the coverage I needed with stability and I've been using that setting with success for years - since long before Tomato changed to that default setting, in fact before Tomato existed.

    I was grasping at straw a bit by bringing this up. It is based on my actual experience, although it was years ago and obviously with different firmware and I have not retested as 42mW seems to be working for me so "if it ain't broke don't fix it", :grin:
  10. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    I'm also somewhat grasping at straws with the association thing. It might just be that, maybe not. Certainly there are still wireless issues. The thing which strikes me most when I trawl the web looking for answers whenever one of the residents here has a problem, is this. ALL routers and wireless cards seem to have issues of one sort or another, the whole wifi technology is not really mature.

    Any of these "straws" may be the cause!

    EDIT: One way to eliminate the tx power might be just to up the power immediately to 251, with U.S. selected as country on channel 1-11. If that were the problem it should show something up quite quickly.
  11. ladysman

    ladysman Network Guru Member

    First off I want to thank everyone for replying. I really think you might be on to something. I say this because it just happened and I had to reboot the router. I am working for this business as a side job. I am preparing 3 brand new macbook pros. As soon as I tried to connect the wireless, wahla! wireless is dead (My iphone and the appleTV were connected as well.) My wife's iphone isn't as she is xmas shopping already. :hearts:

    Anyway, I think the intel N card thing might be pretty right, although i'm not 100% sure apple using an intel N card? I will check the macbook in a minute but i'm not sure what card the appletv is using. Might have to google that.

    So I really don't think it was a power nor did I really.

    EDIT: This log shows up a lot in the ast 100 lines.
    Nov 19 20:18:45 unknown daemon.warn dnsmasq[26779]: not giving name Apple to the DHCP lease of because the name exists in /etc/hosts.dnsmasq with address

    So device names are the same??
    So am I safe to use the ND version? I'd rather not brick a v2 GS. :wink:
  12. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    I thought you had already found that not to be an option. :)

    Do this:

    nvram find core

    if you see:


    Go for ND. If less than 9, then don't.
  13. ladysman

    ladysman Network Guru Member

    I was pretty sure as well. Mine's a 7 as I stated in a previous post.
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