EVDOinfo Tip of the Week #35: Power Cycle your 3G/4G Router

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Thursday, 31 December 2009

tip of the week by has long been your source for tips, tricks, hacks and suggestions for getting the most out of your EVDO service, and each week we will be highlighting a particularly interesting or popular topic in the "Tip of the Week" feature. To suggest future Tips of the Week, contact us at or post your suggestions in the EVDO Forums.


Power Cycle Your 3G/4G Router

Regardless of the reliability of particular brands or models of mobile broadband routers, some users still experience occasional problems. Some of the common problems users experience are easily cleared up by cycling power to the router, which forces the router and the internet connection to re-set. For users who find themselves having to manually re-set their router on a regular basis, our suggestion is that they put their 3G/4G router on a digital timer that is set to cycle power on a pre-defined schedule, completely rebooting the router without the need for human intervention.

Why would anyone want to do such a thing?

Some carriers (like Alltel) appear to have programming in place that limits the maximum length of time a modem can stay connected with their network, and when they trigger the disconnection from "their end", the router might not cause the modem to reconnect. Customers who have found themselves in these situations often tell our tech support staff that the only way to get re-connected is to remove the modem and reattach it to the router, or to cycle power to their router. Using a timer eliminates the need for manual re-setting.

This suggestion is also useful for customers who have set up their mobile broadband modem and router combo in remote locations to allow utility monitoring equipment to send reports back to a central office over an internet connection. Many of these remote locations aren't visited by staff on a regular basis, making it difficult to reset the router if needed. Putting the router on a digital timer could mean just waiting for the next scheduled power cycle, and keep from having to send someone out on an expensive and time-consuming roadtrip just to reboot a router.

There are also certain conditions (usage patterns) that can cause a router to suffer from degraded performance that clears up after being power cycled. Some customer swear that internet connectivity during the course of a business day just goes much smoother when their mobile broadband gear is power cycled each morning before staff starts working.

Here are some symptoms for which power cycling may be the solution:

  1. Computers dropping off of the router's WiFi network
  2. Router's WiFi SSID disappearing/vanishing 
  3. Log files filling up, resulting in slower performance on the network
  4. Slow-loading web pages even when attempting to load the Router Admin pages
  5. Router appears to be frozen or LED's not behaving normally

What sort of benefit can someone expect from following this suggestion?

  1. Router's Log files will be cleared (log files have been known to cause routers to lock up)
  2. WiFi radios will be reset which can lead to better uptime, especially when wireless connections are heavily relied upon.
  3. 3G/4G connection will be forced into a new connection that can often result in higher bitrate on frequently congested towers. 

You can actually have your router automatically rebooted when internet connectivity is lost or at specified dates & times with the 3Gstore IP Switch. With this device you can even power-cycle your router remotely! For more information check out our 3Gstore IP Switch Review!

Cycling power to your router and modem once a day in the wee hours of the early morning is the most popular option, and some customers who do this for remotely located gear will do it as often as every 6 to 8 hours, ensuring them a shorter wait for a power cycle event in areas where dropped connections are more of a problem.

While this tip can be done by everyone, it isn't something we think everyone should have to do... its really only for those folks who tire of having to manually reboot a router to resolve a dropped connection or a performance issue that nothing else but a reouter reboot seems to fix.

Before you resort to setting up your gear on a digital appliance timer, customers should discuss the issues they have with their equipment by calling our tech support department to make sure some other solution isn't available to clear up their problems.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 March 2010 )
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