30 January 2004

Router madness

My router decided to crap out. It’s an SMC. It was over $200 when I bought it, back in the mists of time, but a few years later you can pick them up for $30. Mine suddenly decided that it would be a good idea to lock up (a) every time there was an incoming SSH connection, and (b) any time I attempted to log in to change its settings or reboot it.

So I stomped off to Staples and picked up a new router. This one’s a Netgear, it was the fastest and most reliable in PC Magazine’s tests, and it happened to be on sale locally.

In a glass-half-full kind of way, I must admit that router technology has improved a lot in the last couple of years. I plugged this one in, and was rather startled when it detected the cable modem, worked out the right settings for Comcast, and just worked. I disconnected the SMC, used the iBook to configure the Netgear to have the same SSID network name the SMC used to use, and all the other Macs kept working. No reboots.

Then came Linux. That seemed more reluctant to accept change. There were probably cache files for dhcpcd that I could have found, but it was easier to reboot and have everything just work again.

Then came Windows. It seemed to be confused by the sudden loss of base station, and wouldn’t renew a DHCP lease to get a new IP address. So, I tried rebooting it. Once I did that, it decided it didn’t have a network connection at all. I tried running the wireless card control panel, which told me I had the wrong driver version installed and that I should reinstall it.

So, I downloaded the Orinoco driver software on the Mac, wrote it to a USB memory stick, transferred it to the PC, and reinstalled. The installer seemed to finish, but when I rebooted there was no change.

Next I used Add/Remove Programs to remove the Orinoco software, rebooted, and installed it again. Still no change.

Finally I removed the wireless card, rebooted, removed the software, rebooted, and plugged the card in again. Windows helpfully started installing something it had found lying around somewhere. It got as far as installing Net Firewall, and complained that the code wasn’t signed by Microsoft. I told it to go ahead anyway, and it told me that a file was missing and the install had been cancelled.

Then it started the Net Firewall install again. And again. And again.

I rebooted again, pulling the wireless card as I did so. This time no spontaneous install. I plugged in the wireless card… and wonder of wonders, it worked this time.

So, I tried running the VPN software… and that’s broken. It just goes into an infinite loop of trying to set up the connection. Tech support can’t help. I’m gonna fiddle with it some more, but right now it’s not working, so I might be spending Monday doing a full Windows reinstall.

© mathew 2017