Byte Me Article 275 – Routers & Passwords

Router Issues are Best Left Alone

If you are a regular reader then you will have read my articles about Microsoft’s forced Windows 10 upgrade antics.  Despite world-wide pressure to revoke this hard line approach Microsoft has not changed their current method of tricking people into this upgrade and it continues to catch users.  In particular many people with paid for 3rd party software such as accounting programs are finding that they need to either spend money to upgrade their software or try to roll back to their previous version of Windows.

The other thing that we are noticing a lot of lately are customers with router problems.  Largely due to the NBN upgrades that are happening around Central Queensland there are a greater than normal number of Telco outages – especially Telstra / BigPond ADSL connection issues.  These outages are due to telephone exchange upgrades or simply the telecommunication pits on our sidewalks getting disturbed.

If you have an ADSL Internet connection that all of a sudden stops working it may not be the fault of something inside your house but rather a Telstra issue that they need to resolve.  In fact chances are that if you were not doing anything to you router, not installing new software and not shifting your PC then you are best not to try to ‘fix’ things yourself for a period of time.  Usually Telstra will restore outages due to their own fault within a few hours.

When customers leap in the deep end and try to go fault finding is when things are often going further pear shaped and one of the worst things is the dreaded factory reset on the router.  So what is this all about?  All ADSL modem/routers have a tiny little semi concealed button which is often just labelled ‘reset’.  This button can normally only be pressed by a sharp pen, lead pencil or paperclip and it resets the router back to the factory defaults.

This is totally different to simply ‘power cycling’ the router which is simply unplugging it from power and then plugging it in again.  Power cycling is safe and is no different to what happens to your router when the mains power goes off.  A factory reset is much more severe than this and has far reaching consequences.

When you first got your Internet router out of a new box and started to set it up you would have needed to browse to its interface with a computer and enter a username and password.  This is varies between brands but is usually along the lines of – Admin / admin or Admin / password – which then gains you access to other fields within the router that need to be filled with your ADSL username (usually your email address) and an ADSL password.  You are also often called on to configure the Wi-Fi details and security as well as time zones, date etc.

Lastly you would normally change the password which gives you access to the router in the first place from admin or password to something unique (which you would write down somewhere safe).  All of the above configures your router and gets it connecting to your Internet service provider.  It is a factory reset that destroys ALL of the above settings and requires it to be done from scratch.

A router will never connect without these correct settings and it will rarely ever lose them or let them change by themselves.  So next time your Internet stops working out of the blue, feel free to power cycle your router and wait but do not let anyone tell you to factory reset it as well – unless you have good technical ability and all of your connection details at hand.

If the power cycle does not work then get a friend to check for Telco outages or call your Internet service provide to see if it is in fact something that they have done. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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