I just got a Orange Broadband since they have a deal for Microsoft UK employees. They conveniently provide a wireless b/g router from Seimens, unfortunately its not the most high-performance access point on the market. For the last few days I’ve been scouring the internet on forums for a firmware update, fix, or workaround all the while getting up every 20 minutes or so to reset my router. At first I thought the wireless part of the hardware was malfunctioning but even the hardwire connection would die after a while. Luckily, Windows 7 built-in network diagnostics really helped me isolate the problem with each problem.
After a while, I realized that the router wasn’t passing DNS server information so I manually configured that in IPv4 setup directly with the adaptor properties. That kept me on a little longer, that is until the gateway itself stopped responding. Once again, I had to go back to the switch to reset. With the weekend, there was no Orange Broadband support even on the business line! It got to the point where I fell back on my iPhone 3G connection with tethering…not fun for getting hardcore IT work done.
Anyways, I finally had a chance to call Orange today and they were very prompt in letting me know it was a known issue. They proceeded to tell me to block UDP port 500 in the router config under “access control”. I created a new rule and so far since, my router has only crashed once since then (about 2 hours). Overall not a perfect fix, but it certainly helps. For those of you wondering what’s up with port 500, its there to pass certain types of security key headers, IPSEC and meant for VPN access. I haven’t VPNed in to my corporate network, but hopefully its not required for our systems. *crossing fingers*
Moral of the story broadband companies, if you’re going to ship routers to your customers, test your routers and ensure they work reliably! There are too many poorly built routers that fail with high traffic loads like VOIP, multi-connection apps, and P2P, but in my case it was failing the browser/email workload. Props to Orange Broadband Business Support for great service though!