Date Thu 01 January 2009 Tags linux

Some time ago I upgraded my ADSL to ADSL Max. This worked very well indeed for quite a long time. However, several months ago I noticed that my Zyxel 660H D1 router kept disconnecting, sometimes for several minutes. I have tried all the usual things like disconnecting everything else on the phone line. My router is already plugged into BT's master socket, so it isn't dodgy internal wiring and I have tried a Netgear router which showed the same symptoms. Wizards my ISP were very helpful, but we couldn't really pin down the problem. The next step would be to get BT to test the line. However, if they can't find a fault they charge you £169 for the privilege of testing your line. Given that the fault was intermittent, it's quite likely that they wouldn't find anything wrong.

Recently I stumbled across an article on The Register "ISP blows the whistle on router chip 'fault'", which described a router problem very similar to mine. In a nutshell many ADSL routers us a Texas Instruments AR7 chip, which ''may'' be causing the disconnect problems. BT's engineers use ADSL modems with a different chipset, which doesn't seem to have this problem, so when they test your line they can't find any thing wrong.

So I have decided to get another router. Unfortunately, most router spec. sheets don't tell you what chipset they are using. However, I have found out that Thompson Speedtouch ADSL modems (as used by BT) use a different chipset. My problem is I need a fairly specialized type of router. I have a block of fixed IP addresses from|%20Wizards, which I can map to specific computers on my network. This means that I can then access these computers from anywhere that there is an Internet connection. In order for this to be secure these connections need to pass through the router's firewall. This require a feature called multi NAT, which isn't standard on most routers. After some research I found the Thomson SpeedTouch 780WL Wireless ADSL 2/2+ VoIP Router from Broadband Buyer , which supports multi NAT. It also has several VOIP features, which means I'll be able to replace my Sipura VOIP box.

You might wonder why I would want to access my computers from the Internet, so here are a few reasons:

  • I can program my MythTV box, so when we go out and I have forgotten to record Coronation Street or Dr Who, I can do it via my mobile phone.
  • I can make cheap calls anywhere in the world from my mobile using my VOIP account.
  • Access to my data from anywhere.


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