DSL support

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at toybox.placo.com
Mon Nov 8 01:27:37 PST 2004

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Danny MacMillan [mailto:flowers at users.sourceforge.net]
> Sent: Sunday, November 07, 2004 9:40 PM
> To: Ted Mittelstaedt
> Cc: R. W.; freebsd-questions at freebsd.org
> Subject: Re: DSL support
> On Sun, Nov 07, 2004 at 02:49:34AM -0700, Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:
> >
> > ...
> >
> > primary one we have always recommended has been the Linksys BEFSR41.
> >
> > ...
> >
> >   HOWEVER - we are no longer recommending the Linksys devices.  Why -
> > because over the last 3 months we have had an increasing number of
> > them which have been installed for several years, just fail.  And the
> > failures aren't pretty.  Usually the packet flows through the router
> > start getting slower and slower, and the user gets an increasing number
> > of disconnections from websites and such that they go to.  It is
> > insidious, and very very difficult to tell the difference from either
> > a congested ISP or virus activity, so most often the user just gets
> > more and more dissatisfied with their DSL line, never realizing it's
> > the cheap router that's the problem.  When things get bad enough they
> > start power-cycling the router and that 'fixes' things for a few
> > hours, and the customer gets the impression that this is 'normal' for
> > these devices.
> >
> > ...
> >
> Speak of the devil and he appears.

Oh geeze, sorry about that!

> My 3 month old BEFSR41 puked a few
> hours after I read your post.  In my case it seems to be related to very
> high bandwidth utilization -- ~470KiB/s down and ~50KiB/s up while
> grabbing 5.3-Release with bittorrent.

Yes, I forgot to mention this - the problem usually shows up under high load

> The upstream interface seems to
> have totally cratered, passing no traffic.  It did this three times in a
> row, and it didn't take hours to recur -- just about 10 minutes,
> seemingly until the traffic built up to a substantial rate again.  The
> first time, a reset did the trick, the next two I actually had to unplug
> the router and plug it back in.

I've heard the exact same description a number of times before.

Now, you can TRY playing with setting the MTU to 1483 or 1492 or
some such.  You can also try setting it to 1500 instead of 0 (default)

Some people have also reported that going to
and running the Exploits test will immediately crash their Linksys.
You can try this just to see if it's a firmware bug.  Current firmware
on the version 3 BEFSR41's is 1.05.00 that came out in April 2004.
Current firmware on the version 2 BEFSR41's is 1.46.2 this came out
in August 2004.

But I don't think this kind of thing does much good.

> I'm a little choked because the router is virtually brand new.

Well, your Linksys has a 1 year warranty on it, so don't throw it out
the window in a fit of pique just yet.  But of course, since it's past
the 30 day time limit, the retailer is off the hook to return it.  This
means you have to pay to ship it back to Linksys.  You can get an RMA
number off the Linksys website.

Now, what SOME people might do, and I am not of course advocating this,
is some people might buy another BEFSR41 from the store, then wait a
week and return their broken one, and tell the store that it is broken,
then get a refund.

In this way the Linksys will be put by the store into a pile of other broken
Linksyses, and all of them will be shipped back on the same pallet at one
time - which of course reduces the shipping cost - and in addition if the
store is big, like a Fry's, their agreements with Linksys force Linksys to
pay the shipping on the return.

Thus, the manufacturer - Linksys - foots the bill for their selection of
crap componentry.  And as we all know, if Linksys gets enough returns,
and those returns cost them enough money, they might possibly just be
convinced to select a slightly higher quality of componentry for their
future models, don't you think?

But, I of course am not advising anyone do this, after all it is
un-American to have the manufacturer bear the costs of their cost-cutting
on their products!!  The consumer is supposed to do that!! ;-)

Seriously, though, keep this in mind.  If you go the 'above the board'
route, you are going to have to call into Linksys and talk to a tech
support person to get a case number BEFORE you get an RMA number.  It
costs Linksys about $6 per call for someone to just talk to a tech support
person.  If you pull the refund switcheroo with a retailer, Linksys
has to pay about $6 per device in shipping costs because the retailer is
going to make them pay shipping.  So, your conscience should be clear
either way you do it, it just depends on whether you want Linksys to
pay their support guy, or pay Federal Express.  Either way, Linksys
has to pay out over and above the cost of a new device if you return
it.  (as you are entitled to do as it failed under warranty)

Now, once you get your new Linksys one thing you might consider is
chopping a big square hole in the top and using some silicon caulk,
silicone in a big cooling fan that blows right down on the circuit
board and all the chips.

I don't think this will help your fried Linksys because once electronic
components overheat, they are never again reliable.

But, I personally think that a lot of these problems smell suspiciously
to me like the same problems happen when a cooling fan dies on a PC.
And the BEFSR has no cooling fan and depends entirely on convection.

> It
> replaced a 3 year old Hawking Technology PN9245F that worked like a
> champ, aside from a couple of bad ports.

Well, I guess the lesson here is if the Hawking Tech product worked well,
and you didn't reward Hawking for making a solid product by buying another
one from them, you kind of got what you deserved, don't you think? :-)

I myself most recently bought a Hawking wireless bridge for my father.
It was a bit odd to setup, as the firmware had to be flashed from "access
firmware" to "bridging firmware" and no mention of this was made in the
manual.  But it has worked great since.  I am glad to hear that your Hawking
lasted 3 years, it gives me some hope that the one I got for my father
will also.


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