New firmware seems to finally fix WNDR3800 2.4G wireless connection issues

Discussion in 'hardware' started by SoCalReviews, Apr 5, 2012.

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  1. SoCalReviews
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    SoCalReviews Registered Member

    The Netgear WNDR3800 Premium Edition was a much anticipated router with all the bells and whistles when it was released last year as an improvement over the very popular WNDR3700 router. There was a well known 2.4G wireless disconnect issue that seemed to be plaguing this particular router for months since its release in late summer/early fall of 2011. While a few previous firmware updates were intended to fix this issue it now is being reported by WNDR3800 users that this particular ongoing issue has been finally been resolved with the recent v1.0.0.32 firmware update released on 3/28/12.

    If you plan on updating the firmware make sure you follow all the recommendations Netgear has noted such as only updating the router with a wired Ethernet connection. It might also be advisable to read the latest posted information in the Netgear support forum for the WNDR3800 router and backup your router settings before applying the firmware update.

    http://support.netgear.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/20264/~/wndr3800-firmware-version-1.0.0.32

    New Features and Enhancements:

    Fixed - For 2.4G wireless connection, wireless client might be disconnected easily in heavy/noisy traffic environment.
    Fixed router log issue (Stops collecting router logs after a few days.)
    Enhances the NTFS file system write speed for ReadySHARE function.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  2. Bill_Bright
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    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Most (if not all) Netgear routers (most of the major makers for that matter) in recent years have an upgrade wizard option accessible through the router's admin menu. I recommend using that option as it ensures the correct update is applied. After reading this post, I checked mine to see if an update was available (though I have the Netgear WNR3500L) and there was. The upgrade process was totally unremarkable - that is, the router firmware upgraded in about 1 minute and I did not lose connection for even a second.
  3. SoCalReviews
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    SoCalReviews Registered Member

    True. The auto detect and install for the latest firmware update is a great feature that most newer Netgear routers have. There were some reported issues with lost settings with one of the previous firmware release updates ( I believe involving firmware v1.0.0.18 ) for the WNDR3800. Some users were reportedly losing their own customized settings after applying that specific firmware update. There were also some users in the Netgear forum reporting after this most recent firmware update they were having a problem being able to log out of and sign in to their router on their wired local network with their password but re-applying their backed up settings supposedly solved that issue without having to do a full reset of their router's settings.

    http://forum1.netgear.com/forumdisplay.php?f=120
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  4. Bill_Bright
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    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Yeah, I wish there was a reliable way to determine what "some users" really means. A couple dozen users complaining about an update can sound like a lot, until put into perspective of 1/2 million users not complaining. If each of those couple dozen users were complaining about the exact same problem, then it would be something tangible to put your finger on (and for Netgear to isolate, duplicate, and patch).

    And duplicating the problem in the lab is typically the most difficult.

    Nevertheless, it is often best to read the readme or change document for the update first. It might not affect you and if not, no need to update.
  5. SoCalReviews
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    SoCalReviews Registered Member

    With a new firmware release you never know from a few early complaints if it is an isolated issue or a real issue. If the issue isn't impacting you then sometimes its better to wait days or weeks so you have time to read all the way through the user threads to get a good idea what is going on with bugs and fixes. I was burned a years ago with an automatic Windows XP update that forced my system into an infinite boot up loop with no access to safe mode. It might have been with the SP3 update. I never could resolve that particular issue and I learned my auto update lesson. With routers there is always a chance of bricking them with third party firmware. I almost always update router firmware to the latest available regular version but I like to wait a while before updating.

    Apparently this 2.4G wireless disconnect issue didn't effect all users but Netgear was aware of it for sure and had been working on a fix for months. The latest firmware v1.0.0.32 seems to have fixed the disconnect issue. With the v1.0.0.18 firmware update Netgear told users that the new firmware would delete their settings so although there is the easy auto detect new firmware and auto install feature then unless users wanted to reconfigure their settings again a backup of the router user settings was recommend not just by their forum users but by Netgear support.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
  6. Bill_Bright
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    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    That's the problem, it only affected a very few users (compared to the total numbers) and Netgear was unable to create a set of circumstances that would duplicate and expose the problem. If you cannot duplicate and expose a problem that only a very few (but apparently very vocal) users are experiencing, then it is very difficult, if not impossible to create and release a fix for that problem - and a fix that does not break something else, often a challenge in and of itself.

    I am not saying Netgear could not have done any better - but I am saying I believe they did the right thing by (1) first and foremost acknowledging there was a problem, (2) worked hard to duplicate it, and finally (3) releasing an update to fix it.

    As far as updates deleting settings, I think that some times, that should just be expected with a major firmware upgrade. At least Netgear tries to give advance warning about that.
  7. SoCalReviews
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    SoCalReviews Registered Member

    Bill, Hold onto your WNR3500L router. It's Gigabit and Wireless-N so you don't have much to gain compared to most of the newer ones. I know you didn't mention you were going to replace it but I still have to recommend this to you and others because many of the newer routers that have come out in the last year have quality issues more than I ever remember reading about. The firmware updates for bug fixes are one thing but many newer name brand routers seem to be suffering from China mass production woes (an excessively high number of brand new units not working out of the box, bad power supplies, problems overheating, high failure rates within the first year, etc.)

    I like what Netgear offers for feature set and the WNDR3800 seems like it should be good quality. Up to this point the ongoing firmware bugs had set it back a ways though. I also don't like that some of the newer routers (including the 3800) don't have blinking activity lights. Cisco/Linksys has been promoting this home equipment minimalist visual trend with its E series routers because many people put these routers in their living room and bedroom areas. While I am ok with the lack of external antennas for cosmetic reasons I still prefer the old school blinking activity lights on the front.

    Out of the newest routers the new ASUS RT-N66U Wireless N-900 router seems to be generating the most interest for me as a possible future upgrade. It appears to be quality made. It has a physical design geared towards improving reliability and function (the case and internal heat sinks was designed specifically to maximize cooling, large upgradable external antennas improve wireless performance). The specs are great. The reviews on its performance look promising. The feature set looks great. It's also upgradable with third party firmware.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
  8. Bill_Bright
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    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Yeah, I have no intention of replacing my 3500L. It has served me well and I expect it to do so for some time to come. And FTR, my house is wired with CAT5e and CAT6 Ethernet and I run 1Gbit networking through the house via this router and remote 1Gbit switches. So the wireless side is mostly unused, but available if needed.
  9. SoCalReviews
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    SoCalReviews Registered Member

    I was content with basic networks with simple equipment. Just like you I prefer wired Ethernet but I do now have several active wireless networks broadcasting for various devices like phones, gaming consoles, etc.. After years of strictly using the famous Linksys WRT54G's and just ADSL connections I finally upgraded my home and business networks. Last year I purchased three Netgear WNDR3700 routers (because I was thrilled with their performance and features). I also have a Linksys E4200v1 plugged into my Netgear router on my home network. Double NAT!...I know it sounds strange...but I have a logical reason for this...I really do ;) .

    At home I now run both extreme speed Cable internet and a high speed ADSL2+ service for my internet. I upgraded my DSL modem. I also have the latest Motorola DOCSIS 3.0 Cable modem. I would have gone with Cat6 but I had a 1000 ft. spool of high quality solid copper Cat5e available so I am using Cat5e for the long runs under the house. I am using Cat7 (ya...I know...I have read from some that it's a marketing gimmick but I wanted good patch cable and fell for the the supposed EMI/RFI shielding hype) for the shorter patch cables between four routers, two modems, two switches and other various other equipment. To save time I won't get into describing the business network. All this is just for my home network. :blink:
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
  10. Bill_Bright
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    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    You have cable and DSL? That is a bit odd.
  11. SoCalReviews
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    SoCalReviews Registered Member

    Yes it is odd and it's not very cost efficient either. What happened was I had just moved and I wanted to switch to cable internet because in my area it offered higher speeds for less cost. The local cable company had some really good new customer deals at prices that were hard to refuse so I added cable. My intent was to have the cable internet installed and to keep the DSL so I could compare the two internet services for a few months. After years of reading about the differences I felt this was my opportunity to settle the question for myself with a true real time side by side comparison of the two technologies. What I found over the months was that I really liked the cable speeds but the new ADSL2+ was also a big improvement over my previous ADSL that I had been using for a long time.

    The cable is faster overall and great most of the time but there are occasional strange fluctuations of the speed and reliability during peak hours. It doesn't vary all the time but it can get a bit sluggish and unpredictable once a week or every other week during some evenings. The DSL has been a bit more predictable and steady service 24/7 but I have seen it drop connection for a minute or so once in a great while. This is almost exactly what you will read about when others have written about the differences. There are pros and cons to both technologies. Cable usually has an overall faster throughput but because the physical coax line carrying all the cable company's services (TV, phone, internet, etc.) is shared with your neighbors the service quality can fluctuate. DSL is more predictable because the line bandwidth isn't shared out to the ISP's servers but it's generally a less robust technology than cable.

    For the last year I got used to having both and decided just to keep both for redundancy. I am still trying to convince myself I need to get rid of the DSL to save on cost but I have had DSL for so long that I have a strange emotional resistance to dropping it. There has been one nice advantage of having both services. I have told both ISP's that I have both services. I was able to leverage a really good deal with my cable company to extend a significantly lower cost special deal for an extended period with no long term commitment. I plan on giving it another three to six months and then deciding. What to do? :doubt:
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
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