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WiFi Help


king of nothing
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My friend has an aging iMac and she just bought a new Toshiba laptop and Netgear WGR614 wireless router. She asked me to help her get it all hooked up to her cable modem. I thought.... well, I've never used WiFi, I haven't touched a Mac in ages, and I have limited experience with routers..... but hey... how hard can it be.

 

And well.... now I'm here asking for advice.

 

So here's what I did. I turned the iMac off. Plugged the router in. Connected the Mac to the router via network cable. Turned the iMac on. Netgear setup came up and seemed to find everything okay. I was a little worried because her ISP logs nic mac addresses and you have to call them if you changed nic's. But apparently the router took care of that and I was able to get online. I went to google and a couple other sites and it seemed to be working okay. In retrospect, I probably should have done a more thorough test.

 

With that working I went to the laptop. Turned it on and flipped the little switch in front that makes the WiFi work. It immediately found the router (strong signal) and I was able to get online. I thought.... that was easy.

 

Then I tried to register her copy of MS Office for her. Well... it couldn't find the Microsoft registration page. I tried a couple of times and thought it must be down or something. Then I went to download Firefox... and it couldn't find the site. Went to google.... worked fine. Dfi-street... fine. Microsoft.com.... fine. Tried registering office again..... can't find it. I tried a bunch of different sites..... some worked, some didn't. Weird.

 

Well... sitting in her living room... I also get a faint signal from some neighbor with WiFi. Hook up to it and everything is fine.

 

I go back to screwing around with her setup and eventually get to where I can't get online at all.... from the laptop or the iMac. Grrrrr. Neighbor's still works fine.

 

It's getting late and my kids are fussing so I pull the router out and hook her iMac back up to the modem. Restart the iMac and it's good.

 

So now.... I'm going back tomorrow night to try again. I don't think the problem is with the laptop.... because everything is fine at the neighbor's. The iMac has been doing fine for a long time with the modem. Link signal is strong and doesn't seem to be dropping. So that leaves the router settings. From the way it was acting, the best I can come up with is that it was using a crappy DNS server.... which is why I wish I'd surfed some more on the iMac.

 

I don't know.... any advice/suggestions before I go give it another try.

 

thanks.

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i have the same router...works ok for me, most of the time. i can't be positive, but you're more than likely right. it's along the lines of a DNS issue, depending on the error you get. i've noticed with the WGR614, it seems to have trouble handing DNS. somewhere between it getting the DNS entries from your ISP, then sending it back to the desktop, the router gets lost. try hooking up a desktop via cable and using the wireless at the same time. if you can get to a site via cable, but not the wireless...that signal is being dropped somewhere.. it'd be easier for me to do a tcpdump on the thing, but since Netgear doesn't have it. it's all speculation. if you can return it, i'd get a Linksys...not as user-friendly, you can't go wrong with Cisco. :)

 

if needed, send me a PM and I'll try to help you with it. I should be available around 6:00pm PST.

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I have experienced the same behavior before, but without the router. I could get on the internet, and sometimes sites would pop right up, sometimes they could not be found. It may work for a few minutes, may not work at all until I reset the cable modem. I finally found out that I had a neighbor stealing cable from me, and I was having a 44 percent packet loss.

 

Sounds like you are having a packet loss between your router and the computer. Either your signal is varying or your router isn't configured correctly. I don't have a router, so I'm not very familiar with the settings. I just know it sounds just like my packet loss problem.

 

Good Luck

 

DS

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Thanks for the input. Glad to know I'm not totally crazy.

 

I'll give it another try tomorrow and spend some more time comparing the wireless connection and the 'wired' connection. Maybe I'll take along an extra cable and try the laptop both ways.

 

saperboy-- I was using DHCP. The router setup program sorta took off that way and I just went along with it. Maybe I'll try digging around in the Mac OS to see if I can figure out how it is set up currently.

 

Anyone know how to do a full reset on this router? I figure I'll do best starting from scratch again.

 

thanks.

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there's a hidden button between the antenna and the uplink cable, it's the circular hole among the square ones. push that for 10 secs and poof, default config.

 

good luck with the router. i may replace my WGR614 with a Linksys.

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My friend - cable modem.

On my cable system which is DOCSIS compliant, they register the mac address of the primary device. If you have a single PC and a cablemodem they register the mac address of the cablemodem. The cablemodem will serve DHCP for up to three devices.

 

If you add a router to the system, the cablemodem becomes a passthrough device and they register the mac address of the router since it will be the DHCP server.

 

You usually have to restart the cablemodem(let it sync up) and then the router. Reboot the PC and start a browser session. This will allow the system to detect the new hardware. You get a message to register the new hardware. You then restart the cablemodem and router and reboot the PC.

 

As I said, this works on my system but I believe it's the same for most DOCSIS cablemodem systems.

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Well.... I finally got everything working okay.

 

The biggest problem is that the netgear dns sucks really bad. Strangely the iMac would work fine but the laptop would get dns errors about half the time. It didn't matter if I was using the LAN port or the wifi. I finally disabled the router dns and manually assigned IP addresses and dns sites and stuff started working right.

 

Thanks for the help.

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On my cable system which is DOCSIS compliant...

 

If you add a router to the system, the cablemodem becomes a passthrough device and they register the mac address of the router since it will be the DHCP server.

 

...As I said, this works on my system but I believe it's the same for most DOCSIS cablemodem systems.

 

As for my ISP, my cable modem, is the only device whose MAC address needs to be registered. My router's MAC does not need to be registered to the ISP.

 

KoN, that's good to hear... yeah, sometimes the DHCP does not work properly, then you have to assign all the IP and DNS to your machines manually. Just in case you want to tinker some more and try putting back DHCP, you might want to see if NETGEAR published any new firmware that fixes this problem.

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As for my ISP, my cable modem, is the only device whose MAC address needs to be registered. My router's MAC does not need to be registered to the ISP.

If that's the case you would need to replicate the mac address of the cablemodem in the router. This way the router is seen by the cable network and will provide DHCP and NAT.

 

Give them a call since you already pay for their tech support.

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