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Strange Networking / Router (/Electricity?) Issues

TL DRTL DR Not at all confident in his reflexive opinions of thingsRegistered User regular
edited January 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Hi, and thanks in advance. I'm working on a new server running Windows Small Business Server 2008. About 3 weeks ago the old server died and wouldn't boot, so it was replaced. Last week, the router stopped responding and it was determined that the power adapter was dead. Yesterday, the replacement router stopped responding.

When I arrived today, all the router's lights (power, status, WAN, 1,2,3,4) were illuminated. I was unable to access the router's configuration page via web browser, and ping came back 'destination host unreachable.'

I guess my situation is, I'm trying to determine what is causing these repeated problems. The DSL ISP said there had been outages in the area on the day the server died (the internet actually went down a little before the server did). Also, the electricity grid in the area is old and poorly maintained, although there is some sort of surge protector on the building as well as a (somewhat old) UPS for the server and whatnot. Is is possible for a power surge of some kind to come through a DSL line and fry a modem or unprotected server? Do I just need a higher-end router to deal with the traffic from the office (running 6 or so PCs, lots of centralized file storage, etc).

Any help or information appreciated.

TL DR on

Posts

  • TL DRTL DR Not at all confident in his reflexive opinions of thingsRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Update: When plugged in, none of the lights on the router lit up. I unplugged it and left it for a minute, and plugged it in again. The power light only was illuminated, but after 5-10 minutes all the lights are illuminated again, including those which shouldn't be.

    Router is a TRENDnet TW100-S4W1CA

    TL DR on
  • TL DRTL DR Not at all confident in his reflexive opinions of thingsRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    RMA'd the router, which seems to have fixed the issue for the time being. Looking over old invoices, it seems the UPS is about 5 years old, and since 2004 he's been buying a new router at least once a year. I'm trying to find the old IT guy's notes and maybe get more info on what those issues were.

    TL DR on
  • westomwestom Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Looking over old invoices, it seems the UPS is about 5 years old, and since 2004 he's been buying a new router at least once a year. I'm trying to find the old IT guy's notes and maybe get more info on what those issues were.
    Let's assume external transients are the reason for repeated failures. IOW destructive transients seek earth ground. The most common source of such transients is AC mains. Incoming on AC mains. Outgoing to earth such as through communications equipment. Why? Because all phone lines and latest installed cable wires must connect to earth before entering the building.

    To suffer transient damage, first, electricity must have both an incoming and outgoing path through the transistor. For example, the most commonly destroyed part on modems was the PNP transistor that controlled the off-hook relay. Surge incoming on AC mains. Through motherboard. Through modem (via that PNP transistor). To earth ground via phone line.

    Those who only know from observation (also called junk science) assume surges entered on the phone line only because the phone line side of that modem is damage. They assume using only observation - classic junk science. they did not even know all phone lines always have a 'whole house' protector.

    Your analysis must do same. Collect facts using observation. Then temper those observations using well understood facts and a detailed understanding of what is already inside your building. Yes, electronics life expectancy (for transient protection) involves a building wide analysis.

    Now, if you AC mains enter without a 'whole house' protector, then you have left everything at risk. No plug-in protector or UPS addresses or solves this threat. Just like the phone line, the effective solution must be back at the breaker box with a short (ie 'less than ten foot') connection to earth ground.

    Not just any earth ground. Single point earth ground. If the telco 'installed for free' protector is only connected short to the same earth ground used by AC electric (and all other incoming wires), then you have ineffective protection. No protector provides hardware protection. The 'whole house' protector is so effective because it connects transients to protection. That protection is the single point earth ground.

    Already you have probably read something nobody has ever discussed. Worse, what was just posted is well proven, routinely installed, and understood even 100 years ago. For example, your telco does not disconnect their equipment from overhead wires all over town. Instead, your telco has been doing just this solution for 100 years. Suffers about 100 surges with each thunderstorm. And how often is your town without phone service for four days while they replace their computers? Never? Why?

    Your telco also takes every wire in every cable into an underground vault. Connects every wire as short as possible, via a 'whole house' protector, to single point earth ground. And wants that protector up to 50 meters distant from the electronics. Yes, better protection means distance between the protector and electronics. But again, how many peers knew any of this? Most of us are educated only by retail salesmen.

    For AC mains, only more responsible companies provide the effective 'whole house' protector. General Electric, Siemens, Keison, Intermatic, Square D and Leviton to name but a few. Most every name you should know as highly respected. Ineffective solutions have names such as APC, Tripplite, Belkin, and especially Monster Cable. Notice the latter protectors have what any protector must always have. A dedicated wire for that short (ie ' less than 10 foot') connection to earth.

    The effective Cutler-Hammer solution sells in Lowes for less than $50.

    One final point - overstress. Overstress is damage done days or months before electronics finally fail. One symptom was classic of overstress. First a transient found earth destructively via that router. Then the router failed later.

    A few concepts that will completely unknown to the overwhelming majority. You can learn what has been standard for over 100 years. Or you can believe a myth that the UPS does something for hardware protection. The UPS has only one function. To provide power during blackouts. To protect data - not to protect hardware.

    westom on
  • EclecticGrooveEclecticGroove Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    westom wrote: »
    The UPS has only one function. To provide power during blackouts. To protect data - not to protect hardware.

    westom, there was some good info there... if a bit hard to read... but this last point is a fallacy as well.

    UPS systems for enterprise level, or even just "above consumer level" systems do more than that.

    Their primary function is of course to be a giant battery in case power goes out, but (good) UPS's in situations like this also provide protection from under and over voltage situations as well as monitoring.

    Had this equipment all been hooked into a good UPS system, they could have looked at reports for as long as they kept them about what was going on power wise. That would have provided them a good data point to confirm/deny the probability of power related issues.

    As to the rest of what you posted, it's true that most people go with observation. Phone line related issues are more common in a residential location where many DIY jobs would have degraded or removed the protection you are talking about. Anything commercial grade shouldn't suffer the same potential pitfalls... not that is is impossible, just that most telecom work is done via a contract, and the company/workers that did it are generally held responsible if they mucked things up.

    And as for the OP's situation. If your UPS has not been regularly serviced, that's something that should be done ASAP... it sucks to have a power outage and find that your UPS isn't reliable anymore.

    EclecticGroove on
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