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Ms. SmallNetBuilder provided the first indication that something was up the NETGEAR WNDR3700 v1 we have been using for the past year or so. She kept asking me if I had turned off the wireless, which I do whenever I'm running wireless tests. I had not. But since I only use wireless during my morning coffee, I didn't pay much further attention.

The next morning, however, I saw what she meant. While I was able to connect, I could only browse a page or so before Safari told me that it couldn't retrieve my desired page because the iPad was not longer connected to the Internet.

RIP WNDR3700

My first step was to reboot, which didn't solve the problem. I then tried swapping the router's power supply, since bum power warts are all-too-frequently a cause of "router" problems. But the new supply didn't solve the problem either.

Fortunately, I have plenty of spare routers on hand. So I swapped in a Cisco Linksys E4200 (v1) and once again had reliable wireless. Total time spent: less than 30 minutes, including the time it took to copy the old router settings over to the new.

I write this because I often see folks in the Forum pulling their hair out trying to figure out why their wireless connection has suddenly become unreliable. And while sometimes it can be a neighbor with a new wireless router or gadget, it also can be as simple as a router gone bad.

Routers can sometimes just quit completely. But more often, as in my case, they start acting flaky. This can happen sooner than you think, because these products are not built to last.

So if you suddenly find yourself with a router doing things that don't make sense, it's probably not ghosts in your network. Just a consumer product designed for lowest cost meeting its logical end.

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