If it ain’t broke …

My router — a Netgear WGR614 v6 I found at a yard sale for $5 — is occasionally flaky, and as a result it has won the ire of the entire household. It has a tendency to drop wireless connections at a whim, leaving a lot of browser pages spinning indefinitely.

The fix is to unplug the thing for 10 seconds, then plug it back in. It happens maybe once a day, on a bad streak. The modem is unaffected, so it’s little more than an inconvenience.

I wrote a very simple script for my parents’ Ubuntu system that will restart the networking process, and usually they’re back up within a minute or two without a reboot. So on the whole, it works fine, but it’s cranky.

All the same, it does suggest that the router is on its last leg, and so yesterday I went to my local box store of choice and found a mid-grade D-Link WBR-1310 router that I thought could take its place.

No luck there. For some reason it would allow every computer but my parents’ machine to connect. It’s a dual boot, and of course the Windows portion did fine, but their Ubuntu 6.06.1 system wasn’t allowed to get an IP address for some reason.

I could see the network and scan it, I had the right key, the right AP, the right channel, none of the settings had changed, and every other Linux machine in the house was online … but losing that particular machine — especially the Ubuntu system (Mom is a fierce Dapper fan) — was a dealbreaker.

I even went so far as to turn off all the encryption settings as a troubleshooting measure — and then no one could get online. That’s when I decided enough was enough.

So I’ve reset it and I’m taking it back to the box store. I don’t consider this a bad review of the D-Link router, since I only used it for a few hours and hardly got to know it.

But there is a moral to the story, and this is it: If it ain’t really, really broke, don’t fix it.

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