Monday, June 19, 2006

Linksys Woes

A while back, I was trying to get our then-new Mac to talk to my Linksys wireless router, (a BEFW11S4 wireless router, version 2). It would connect and get an IP address, but I couldn't talk to either the internet or even the router's config page. At the time, I punted and ran a cable up from the basement to the Mac, and was happy. Now I'm wanting to use my work laptop from the couch, and am not interested in running a cable across the room, so it's back to troubleshooting.

I started out on Saturday, poking around their help docs. To my encouragement, the first one listed for my router described my problem to a tee, but after making the setting changes, nothing had changed.

I then got onto the Linksys customer service chat. We tried a couple of things, at which point Wife called me to go out to eat, and good Italian food at Buca di Beppo's beats troubleshooting wireless any day. This morning, I tried again, and got CSDude#2, who was also helpful, and we tried a few more things.

But one of the attempts severed my chat connection. When I got back online, I got this dud, CSDude#3, who wouldn't even look at my previous logs, nor connect me to CSDude#2. Finally I gave up on him, and reconnected, getting CSDudette#1, who walked me through the rest of their script, reflashing my firmware, and even trying some things I couldn't see making any difference, like spoofing the router's MAC address. But I dutifully played along at home, and finally (after 3 hours, total) ran out of CSDudette's ideas.

I then browsed for a new router, toyed with the idea of buying a D-Link router out of spite, and decided to power cycle and hard reset everything one last time.

As things came back up, I reconfigured the router, and decided to look through all the options one last time. On the last page of the setup browser, the wireless tab, I found an option for TX Rates, which defaults to some odd text like 1-2-5.5-11 or somesuch; I changed this to 1-2 MBps, and tried to connect one last time, and whaddya know, it worked!

It took at bit more playing to get the DNS correct, but that was more to do with my laptop's setup than anything with the router. I'm still not sure why my change got things to work, but I'll take what I can get.

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