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Troubleshooting a Linksys Wireless Router

written by: •edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 5/24/2011

Even the most reliable devices go wrong sometimes. Routers can seem like black magic to some. Read this for an overview of how to troubleshoot a Linksys router if it does stop working or gives you trouble.

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    The Linksys range of home routers are the most popular around. Not only are they pretty good devices, they are cheap, configurable and easily upgradeable with firmware like DD-WRT or Tomato.

    Linksys is a division of Cisco the network giant, which gives the brand automatic credibility. Fortunately that has been backed up by solid performance and reliability of the devices. As reliable as they may be, nothing is infallible and there will inevitably be problems at some point in its lifetime.

    Problems with these routers can be anything from poor wireless reception, no IP address being given or a connection that keeps dropping.

    The first and easiest way to troubleshoot it is reboot it. The software it uses is a Linux firmware and is immensely stable, but things can still go wrong. Rebooting is the best way to start. Leave the power off for a few seconds then put it back. Leave the router to boot for at least 30 seconds, and then see if the problem persists.

    If the problem is still there you have some options. Check the online troubleshooter on the Linksys website and follow the directions for your particular fault. This is quite an intuitive site, and tries hard to help you troubleshoot your problem. The ability to follow it online also helps, but only if you can get online in the first place!

    If the problem is a wireless device not being able to connect, first check you have an IP address. Open a CMD window and type: ipconfig /all. You should then see a read out of all your networking info. If you see it populated, and the IP address is something other than 169.***.***.*** then you have an IP.

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    IPConfig 

    Try connecting the modem directly into your computer, thereby removing the router from the equation. That is also a good way of seeing if the problem lies with it or not. If the problem goes away then chances are it is, if the problem persists, it may be your computer, or the connection.

    You can access the control panel of the router by typing http://192.168.1.1 into your browser, and entering the username and password.WRT54GSetupscreen 

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    Check that the router can see your computer by checking on the Device List. If your machine is there, the connection is intact. Ensure that the wireless connection is enabled on the client machine and that any firewall is allowing the connection through. On a Windows machine, go to Control Panel, Network and Internet, Change Adapter Settings, right click, select Properties, Configure then scroll to the Channel setting.

    Ensure the wireless channel on the client machine matches the one configured on the router. To be extra sure, change them both to something different and save the settings. If this makes no difference, very briefly turn off all security on the wireless connection and try to connect.

    If you can connect, reset the security, and the username and/or password. If it makes no difference, switch it back on again. Next check the type of wireless connection you have configured. Making sure whatever settings you have on the router are mirrored on the client PC. Especially things like security settings, channel, security type, connection type, 802.11b and so on.

    As long as all the settings mirror each other on the router and client, the connection should work.

    As a last resort, at the back of the router is a small hole, which is the reset button. Pushing a pen or pencil into the hole and holding it for a couple of seconds will reset the router to its default settings. This will give you a baseline to work from, but means you will have to configure it again. This can often resolve issues, as all the settings are entered again, and any configuration issues are addressed with the new commands.

    If that doesn’t work either, refer to the Linksys site, and go to the Support section. Follow the troubleshooter I linked to above, or find the latest firmware for the router model. If yours is older, update it.