Yes, Routers do die

Discussion in 'Wireless Article Discussions' started by Amadeus1756, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. Amadeus1756

    Amadeus1756 Occasional Visitor

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    This is a thread discussing the topics Tim brought up here:

    Strangely enough, I have exactly the same problems with the same router. I bought it when it was first released (3 years ago?) tho I got a replacement a few months later when it died. I'm currently considering what to replace it with (but that's an entirely different question).

    My question is, how long to people expect such devices to last? In the UK we have an EU law which means that devices are covered by a 2yr warranty, regardless of what the supplier says (I wish I'd known that when my Draytek modem died 2 days over 1 year and when I spoke to them, I was told that it was out of warranty, a year was acceptable for the money I paid etc), but if I pay £150 for a router, I think it should be expected to last more than 3 years.
    What's your opinion? I'd also be interested to hear if you're someone who upgrades when new tech comes out just because you want to, whether you replace when a device dies, or somewhere in the middle.
     
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  3. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    When solid-state products have no moving parts and are used in a benign temperature controlled indoor environment, they should last until you don't want or need them anymore.

    All my previous routers including an original SMC "Barricade", Linksys WRT54G and D-Link DGL-4500 lasted until I retired them (multiple years each). I switched to the NETGEAR because it was so popular and so that I could easily answer questions about it.

    The problem with many of today's routers is that high speeds on wireless and wired = high heat = shorter life. That plus cheap, crappy power bricks. Routers can be designed with better heat removal, but that costs money, which few consumers are willing to pay.

    I'm not really a "latest-and-greatest" product kinda guy. I'm frugal so frequently buy factory refurbs and last-generation products. The only exception to this is notebooks, where I'm a sucker for light travel notebooks.
     
  4. DaveMcLain

    DaveMcLain Regular Contributor

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    I've had a couple "die" on me but mostly I've had them become flaky too. For instance, I had a Linksys WRT610N wireless router that I bought off of E-Bay as a refurb that worked perfectly and then suddenly the 2.4ghz wireless AP section just quit working. Everything else works fine, 5.8Ghz wireless, wired switch etc. That was after just about 2 years of use in my home.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  5. Amadeus1756

    Amadeus1756 Occasional Visitor

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    Someone in the office suggested just reflashing the firmware - he said it's given life to flakey devices that he's had. Not sure I believe that but may be worth a go.
    If there was an obvious choice for a replacement I'd go and get one now but the 2 best looking options to me are the Asus models but the firmware seems to be work in progress on those.

    I'm also looking to get fibre in the next month or so; I will get a router provided with that but I'm not sure how functional it'll be - almost certainly they won't be aimed at home techies like myself.
    Maybe I need to get in the current world but to me, a £150 router should last longer than 2 years. Maybe £150 is becoming throwaway money to most.

    As Tim has said a number of times in his reviews, an expensive router does not necessarily make a good router.
     
  6. jramskov

    jramskov Occasional Visitor

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    Funny you should make such a post as I too have exactly that router and my MBP are often loosing the connection and I need to force a reconnection.
     
  7. Amadeus1756

    Amadeus1756 Occasional Visitor

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    I read somewhere that a lot of routers fail because dust gets in them, settles on chips and/or contacts which causes heat buildup and on to the issues Tim described in an earlier post. Maybe I'll take mine apart when I decide on a replacement to see if I can see if that's true (or at least, a possibility).
     
  8. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    That's possible, but not likely. Dust buildup is usually a problem in forced air systems due to the increased volume of air.

    In passively cooled systems like consumer routers, dust isn't going to be a real problem unless you are in a really dusty environment.
     
  9. Amadeus1756

    Amadeus1756 Occasional Visitor

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    That would make sense but playing devil's advocate to some degree, we all know what our PCs look like when we take the side off after they've spent a year or so tucked under our desks... :)
     
  10. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Exactly illustrates my point about forced air systems....
     
  11. TonyH

    TonyH Very Senior Member

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    Hi,
    If cooling fan is inside. Dust build up can raise temperature. Actually all commercial stuff with air cooling has filters like furnace in our house.
    Most devices come with MTBF but I don't think they specify it on consumer product. Higher rate of failure is discrete components like big value low voltage cap., voltage regulator, TX/RX chip where RF analog signal is involved, etc. Sometimes mechanical failure like cold solder joint. Buying refurbished item maybe a good idea if the refurbishing job is done properly. Weakest link component is weeded out by refurbishing. Some times poor quality control let slip thru bad batch of component which will ripple down stream causing end user problems. This kinda issue is usually dealt with recall procedure. One rule of thumb, Heat is No. 1 enemy on electronics devices. I spent many years on Mil-spec. products in the military. Material quality control is very very important.
     
  12. Amadeus1756

    Amadeus1756 Occasional Visitor

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    Fair point - I assumed by a forced air system you were referring to systems like I have at work which sound like jet engines taking off rather than a home PC, but sure, a PC is a less extreme forced air system.
     
  13. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Actually no matter how you you dissipate heat, in electronics such as routers without moving parts, minus the wall wart, it'll still fail within about 5 years.

    It is an open secret that many consumer electronics manufacturers order components with specific lifetimes. It actually costs more for to produce these date expiring components, because in their normal states, they'll last for decades. When a few percentage do fail under warranty, they are easily fixed and shipped as refurb units to places like Newegg.com, Frys, etc.. or as new by simply giving it a brand new plastic enclosure.

    You guys do remember what happened to the makers of the so called lifetime lasting incandescent light bulbs.... They ALL went out of business...
     
  14. tipstir

    tipstir Very Senior Member

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    DOA, DUFF or just plain and simple bad hardware. Many routers come to mind that fall into this category. All you can do is either get them to replace the faulty router or just go out and buy a different brand. Keep on trying until the right one works for you. Warranty on these devices have limits and most will cost you to ship it back to them. If they don't get it in a certain time frame they'll charge you for device and shipping. I just rather not play those type of business games and just go and buy a different brand.
     
  15. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Very Senior Member

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    I'll tell ya what I've noticed Tim.....
    Plug routers (and broadband modems...and network equip such as switches) into regular surge protectors (or worse..just outlets)....and you will probably notice a short life. Premature death. Odd quirks.

    However...get one of the small battery backup units like an APC ES350 or ES550..plug them into that, and you are likely to experience a long happy problem free life with them.

    After doing residential and SMB computer/network support for nearly 20 years now...and with broadband routers taking up around 15 years of that since the first Linksys befsr41 routers came off the assembly line with version 1.0 firmware...I have noticed this trend.

    The cheaper electronics they now use in equipment like this seems to not tolerate the irregular (dirty) power that comes out of outlets and that plain surge protectors do nothing about. Little dips like brown outs, and little spikes.

    Yet...with a little battery backup unit in place..they get nice clean power.
     
  16. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Thanks, Stonecat. I should mention that all of my gear has been on UPS since I learned a lesson about 10 years ago.

    UPS is no guarantee, evidenced by my dead WNDR3700. But I agree it tilts the odds in your favor...a lot!
     
  17. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    @Tim - really do appreciate your posting that article on the main site.

    First general suspect is the AC Adapter, but once that's checked, move quickly to a new AP and don't waste much time after that...
     
  18. Jeff146

    Jeff146 Occasional Visitor

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    My Netgear WNDR3700 v2 2.4ghz just died but my 5ghz is working without any issues and I'm looking for a replacement too!
     
  19. tipstir

    tipstir Very Senior Member

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    Multi-tester you can test your AC adapter to make sure the correct current is what it's putting. I too have APC or Cyber version for battery backup. Down here we get brown out like you spin the bottle and where it lands you never know when it comes. Also lighting strikes are common also. PSU on these units can go or the PCB too.

    If designed right they should last longer. The older models did but somehow the newer ones don't. QC is not the same. TP-LINK and EnGenius have made some great network gear but they're not 100% but getting there. Linksys prior to Cisco take over had some great product prior that never gave much issues but the E series and EA seem to have much more trouble prone than it should. Trendnet routers too much glitches like with Belkin ones too.
     
  20. Amadeus1756

    Amadeus1756 Occasional Visitor

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    Tim, what did you eventually decide to use as your daily router?
     
  21. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    I'm currently using a Cisco Linksys E4200. No particular reason other than it was handy. Most of our wireless use if for iPads and phones.
     

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