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Optus Cable Broadband modem woes

Posted & filed under Random Thoughts.

Setting up a Wireless Router is easy. Right?

I must have setup at least two dozen Wireless Router / Modems over the years and usually it is pretty simple (once Telstra has done their part). So when I was asked to setup a new router for a client I thought nothing of it.

An hour later I still can not get on to the internet. The bizarre thing was that the desktop PC would work fine but when I plugged the ethernet cable into anything else, no internet. What was happening?

The setup was that the client had an Optus Cable Broadband modem (which I had not seen before) with ethernet cable directly connected to a desktop PC. They had a wireless modem but it had gone to Silicon Heaven and this was what I was replacing. The PC was connecting to the internet perfectly, but when I connected the ethernet to the router – no internet. I tried connecting the ethernet to both the clients and my laptops – no internet. I checked the networking settings in the PC and it was set to ‘Get IP / DNS automatically’ – so were the laptops and router. No matter what I checked – no difference. No matter what I tried – no internet – expect on the PC which was working fine. Googling the issue found instructions from Optus that said to reset or power off the modem (which I had already been doing). So basicly everything was telling me that it should ‘just work’, but it wasn’t.

Now this modem did not have a reset button so I had been removing the power plug from the back of the unit which was located with a bundle of cables underneath a desk. Because of the cramped space I had been turning the modem around to get to the back of the unit to remove the power, then turning it back to the front to check the connection on the status lights. I thought that I would try this one more time. For some reason this time I checked the front of the unit to see that the unit was actually switched off – only to be greeted with a bunch of very active status lights! A closer inspection found that it had a backup battery! Remove the battery, reconnect the power, recycle the network connection – we have internet! Problem solved.

So I was following all the correct steps, I just did not know about the battery backup (and it wasn’t in the instructions I had – but they may not have been the right instructions anyway). Just when I thought that I had seen everything.