View Full Version : Issues with Fibre install and router appearing to crash - Any ideas what to look for

08-02-2016, 07:59 PM
Short version of a long 10 days.

Fibre installed in Christchurch. 200/100 plan. Supplied router is a Netcomm Wirelss NF5. Noticed VOIP kept deregistering / registering at random intervals ( even thought ISP swore blind it said registered on their end) and internet would drop roughly 3 to 5 times a day. Couldn't access router after it dropped out and got a timeout error each time. Had to keep rebooting it which unfortunately clears the logs. Sent out new router by my ISP.

Somewhat better in that after install I got 4 hours uptime before it crashed..then after a reboot about 35 hours uptime...ISP ( Actrix) have been as helpful as I guess they can be given they wholesale from snap who sub it out to downers ( i think ). Short of rebooting the router everytime the internet drops and it crashes we have run out of options other than escalate it to somebody. Still awaiting that call.

The router feeds my desktop from Lan1, and Lan 2 feeds a gigabit switch that is connected to 5 ports in my cat 6 patch panel. It also provides wireless for around the home - phones and ipads generally. Dropouts appear completely random and I first thought heat, ethernet cable etc so am ruling out everything one by one. I've changed ethernet cables around, keep the room fairly cool, have the router running on a UPS and have also disconnected my switch and patch panel so it's only feeding wireless to the house and one wired connection to my desktop. So far the internet has been up for 30 hours.

First thing I know its bad is the little exclamation mark in the bottom right of the screen and the kids all turn up saying their connection is limited. Can't login to the router admin at that time and it gives me a timeout error so I'm thinking the router has crashed. It still has lots of flashing lights on the front but the 'www' light is dead. The other thing to note is VOIP is still not working properly - still randomly unregistering my end - became unregistered overnight and is still off. If I leave it, it will fire back up at some point on its own or I can reboot the router and it generally finds it. VOIP is definintely not my wiring as the phone is plugged straight into back of router avoiding my old copper.

Any clues or suggestions would be helpful. Could something in my wiring be causing the internet issues? I'm stumped and short of continuing to run isolation tests over days and weeks not sure what else to think of.

Cheers for any ideas


08-02-2016, 08:21 PM
Sounds like one of those hard to pin down faults unfortunately. I know some routers just can't handle too much traffic, are you and the kids heavy users? As an example I was using the (then) xtra freebie router for a while on ADSL2+ and I discovered if any PC running XP was used to download a torrent the router would immediately crash, no matter what PC, port, etc, just as long as it was XP + a torrent. It also crashed a bit less frequently using windows 7 so something must have been a little easier on the router with that OS.

Point is, some consumer routers just aren't up to the loads some people subject them too, may or may not be your issue. Try and see if you can get everyone to agree to not download anything for a couple days and stick to streaming, games, what have you, see if it makes a difference? I had some good luck on VDSL using the supplied router in bridge mode and using a better one to do all the actual routing, DHCP, WiFi, etc. Dunno if that's applicable for fibre,you should at least be able to use an old DSL router as a wireless access point to reduce the load on the main one.

08-02-2016, 08:45 PM
Yup. Good points. We are heavy users but have deliberately kept them offline other than steam / gaming while this gets sorted. It drops out when we are at work / school as well. The disconnects although probably not, do appear random. I had 4 in the space of 10 minutes last week. I do torrent a fair bit so thought it might be that so stopped that as well to see. I just said the other day while sitting on the sofa " Router's been online for a good bit. fingers crossed " and I swear about 5 mins later my son walked through and said it's down. He was on WoW - wired connection in another room and I was doing some ftp which wasn't too onerours or demanding. Nothing else running. I nearly bought a new router but then realised it would be easy for whoever to point at that and say ' its not supported by your ISP ' etc etc. The VOIP issue gives me hope it's something connection or setup wise that is causing this and not something I've done insde the home. I'm also becoming wary of the various parties that have all combined to get fibre to my home. Not quite sure if its actrix, snap, 2 degrees or downers I should be chasing :) Thanks again

08-02-2016, 09:58 PM
Those Netcomm Wirelss NF5 routers are a complete waste of money, even if they are free from your ISP. Replaced with better Routers for many failures from customers.

Seen so many fail, even brand new ones can play up within hours. I once tried one for testing purposes,( brand new, I was given it) it worked a couple of times for roughly 5 minutes each time, then would never work again.

08-02-2016, 11:01 PM
I'm happy to invest in something that will last. I specifically asked Actrix helpdesk re the quality etc of the router and he genuinely seemed to indicate they were fairly stable. Can you suggest several makes and models and I'll have a dig around reviews etc.
Thanks again

09-02-2016, 07:10 AM
Also be aware the ONT sometimes fails, I don't know what the symptoms of that is but have heard from one of the managers in charge of the fault teams that they have to replace them from time to time. I work for one of the sub contractors but am not personally involved with faults or field work, it does give me some insights though.

On the router front, I've killed more than my fair share. A combination of bad luck and poor positioning but even a couple of the more popular models have died on me despite recommendations. I figured out mine was getting direct sunlight for an hour or two in the middle of the day so I moved it and made a cooler for it to sit on out of an old case fan and a 12V supply from a dead router (somehow I have a few of those :)) and have had very stable performance for the 2-3 years since. I'm currently waiting for my fibre to be connected up so hopefully I don't have these problems again.

09-02-2016, 11:16 AM
I'm with wainuitech, those Netcomm ones are a total waste of space...

It's a tough one coz I'd suggest the TP-Link TL-WR1043NDv2 (That firmware is _solid_ as a rock), but the problem is that they don't support VLAN10 by default on the WAN port which is required for a lot of UFB providers. I have an override but it requires being OK with SSH'ing in to the router to flash it.

If you wanna just go retail, a friend has the R7000 Nighthawk working well and his home would definitely be considered "power users".

09-02-2016, 01:56 PM
Make sure you are running the latest firmware on the device.


09-02-2016, 02:23 PM
So having spoken to a senior bod at the ISP today he indicated I wasn't the only customer seeing the above issues. He was confident they would be on top of the problems in the next week or two, having now identified the issues at play and believed I should see the disconnects and VOIP problems disappear. I'm still keen on exploring a new router however as firmly believe you get what you pay for in most cases.

Will update as it progresses / or not as the case may be.

09-02-2016, 03:32 PM
He was confident they would be on top of the problems in the next week or two, having now identified the issues at play and believed I should see the disconnects and VOIP problems disappear. I'm still keen on exploring a new router however as firmly believe you get what you pay for in most cases.

My money says no, seeing as those issues are going to be firmware related, unless they're rolling a new firmware specifically from Netcomm? I doubt it...

09-02-2016, 04:23 PM
Yep it's an interesting one. Give it a week and see if things unfold somewhat based on the discussion I had today. Suffice to say it's not just a hardware / tech issue they talked to me about. They did indicate they may install extra wiring to bypass the router VOIP connection and take it straight from the ONT.

20-02-2016, 01:12 PM
So. As an update. Still haven't swapped out the router as been reviewing several of the Asus models, in particular the ASUS RT-AC87U and the RT-AC88U. Actrix also indicated I shouldn't need to even though I've informed them I can't find anyone who has a good word to say about the supplie router. As an update to getting it all sorted ( or not as the case turned out ) Actrix management indicated they were moving from 2 degrees in Christchurch to Enable networks and assured me that would fix the issue. Apparently lots of customers down here in CChurch with my issues according to their head of customer service. No idea what or why would be fixed given it's same fibre, same cabinet etc ??.

They would also need to do some rewiring of my internal copper for VOIP which hasn't happened yet. I received a call last week to inform me that swapover had happened. Connection appeared more stable than before but to be honest it was hard to tell as its completlely random. All fine for several days apart from one dropout. No issues at all. Great speeds around the home. Get up this morning to see the router has rebooted at 5.30 am. Then successive crashes and forced reboots 3 times this morning.

It's not network load related. The dropouts are occuring when there is little to no traffic - during office time and school time. This morning there was barely anything on when it crashed again. What I have noticed is under load the router remains fairly cool and gets a little warm. When i find it's crashed, its roasting and very hot to touch. I'm presuming its getting stuck in a loop with some routine and is getting hotter and hotter.

Will let you know if this is fixed with a new router. Just need to make my mind up on what to buy. I have to say Actrix are slowly losing their shine with this. I used to be an advocate for them but this handover has made me think of returning to telecom/chorus after 10 years..It's getting to be that bad ! - a few things of note re their service - crashing hardware, random VOIP issues, double invoicing for old ADSL plan and new Fibre..and to top it off, when I sorted all that out, they didn't transfer the email accounts attached to my plan over to the fibre and the family started wondering why people were saying emails were getting bounced back. First world problems I know.... Would however be nice for it to just work.

Still not convinced its not my home network, all cabled and connected by me but other than a 16 port unmanaged netgear pro switch and a variety of Cat 6 cables there isn't much else in it. I think I'd be happy if it was - at least I can fix it.

21-02-2016, 09:31 AM
Yeah those symptoms are the same that my ex in-laws had with their Netcomm NF4v, it's a semi-common Netcomm issue across their whole line from the last couple of years. Restarting your router fixes the issue, yes?

Them changing their wholesale supplier just changes who backhauls the data from your modem up to their datacenter, it won't affect your connections drop-outs. They'd know it's an issue with their backhaul provider because _all_ people who are on that backhaul provider would have that same issue, at the same time. Chances of just one customer noticing that sort of thing are slim. Hell I'm not a large ISP myself but as soon as I have even a minor issue with international data to Australia, I have half a dozen people getting in contact with me immediately (Literally in under 2 minutes of the issue occurring), and it's something I can verify myself immediately too and then jump on my international supplier to resolve. I've not had a single issue with my national backhaul supplier, but I know how to diagnose issues if there were any, and I'd envisage Actrix can also do likewise.

tl;dr they're muddying the waters with that hoping a little smoke and mirrors might make you forget your main issue.

21-02-2016, 10:28 AM
As Chill says the move to enable won't affect the connection between the exchange and your router, nor should the backhaul provider have any impact on the stability of your router. The router should stay up and the DSL light on regardless of backhaul conditions.

As a bit of background, while it's true the copper or fibre line from you to the cabinet and from there to the local exchange is probably chorus owned and will not change regardless of ISP the connection from the exchange to that ISP and from there to the rest of the world is the ISPs part of the network and is not the same for every ISP.

At some exchanges some of the ISPs install their own equipment and link that to the chorus network directly, they can even use the copper lines directly. That's unbundling for you. Other ISPs use more of choruses network to get back their equipment.
Either way how much speed from chorus to the ISP and the ISP to international loacations is entirely dependant on what the ISP pays for and is why speeds are not consistant between them.