Q

Do we need a more robust router?

We are a car dealership and have no real network administrator. We have 50+ PCs using Cisco switches. We are having a lot of connectivity problems with our Internet connection and RoadRunner swears it is not on their side. Our router is a D-Link DI-604 router. Specifically, we are having trouble getting into the Web-based configuration of the router unless we manually reboot it. Do we need a more robust router or do you have any suggestions?
There are several possible answers to your question depending on the real problem. The first step is to isolate the problem down to something measurable. With the D-Link DI-604, ensure that the firmware is currently up to date. The D-Link support Website lists several firmware updates and how to install them. Find the exact product you have and install the latest released firmware. This might correct any problems with the built-in firewall that is available on the router, which could possibly be disallowing access to certain Internet sites, etc. If this does not fix the problem, there are a few other options to investigate before purchasing any additional equipment.

For example, if you are using a DHCP address from the Internet provider, the lease may expire and the router might

be having trouble obtaining a new address from the cable modem. In this case, for businesses, discussing with the Internet provider a static IP address for configuration is the best option. This option tends to cost more but RoadRunner tends to have business-based Internet solutions to assist small businesses like yours with connectivity.

Also, you might have a switching or bridging loop if the switches on your network are unmanaged. With a switching loop packets will circulate the network until their Time to Live value expires, causing network floods. While you shouldn't need a new Internet router, you might want to evaluate the switches on the network to see if they are congested or seem to be extremely busy. Switching or bridging loops are also exacerbated with virus outbreaks and broadcast traffic. If the switches are constantly busy transferring data and congested (depending on the brand of switch, most have congestion indicators with yellow or gold LEDS) you would have problems accessing the web page to the router as well.

This was first published in March 2005

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