Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Netgear DG834 woes

For quite some time I've used the Netgear DG834 as my router of choice, particularly as a low end router providing easy site-to-site VPN's. These little white routers will support up to 5 VPN tunnels and have proven themselves to be quite reliable under most circumstances.

Unfortunately, I think I've discovered the circumstances that these routers do not work well under. I have two sites under my management that have had no end of trouble with these routers. Here is the situation and the symptoms:
  • both sites are ADSL2
  • both sites have a single VPN connection to them as the responder
  • both sites have appropriate ADSL2+ capable filters and short cables etc
  • both sites drop their ADSL connection (not line sync) after 13 to 16 days and then fail to reconnect.
  • A restart of the device (soft or hard) and the connection will stay up for anywhere between 5 and 16 minutes - whatever the time length is, it will always die after that time e.g. if it's 10 minutes, then it will lose connection every 10 minutes.
  • both lines have been tested (and charged to the end user) by the carrier and the wholesaler and no line problems have been found. There are some very mild anomalies but nothing that should cause these sorts of issues
  • both routers have the latest firmware, have been reset to default and still show the same errors.
Netgear have shown no willingness to engage with me on this issue. After calling them four times and speaking with four different 1st level techs I can't get them to acknowledge that the routers might have a problem. Mind you, it's only 2 routers out of 40+ that I have in place out in the real world. Replacing the routers with devices running different hardware results in a stable connection again so it's not the lines! Once everything has been eliminated as points of failure, the final location of the problem is the Netgear Router. So I've had to replace them and that's the subject of my next entry.

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