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Devices that Reboot Your Broadband Router to Improve WiFi are BAD

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016 (2:38 pm) - Score 3,254
multinet_resetplug

An American firm called MultiNet has built a new device called the ResetPlug, which describes itself as a “smart plug” that monitors your WiFi router and “resets power if WiFi fails“. On the surface this might seem a good idea, but not if you’re on a DSL (ADSL) based broadband line like most of us.

Digging deeper the description states that ResetPlug, which costs $59.99 (£41.37 at today’s exchange rate, excluding UK shipping), “will act as a WiFi client to test the Internet connection” and “if the Internet fails to work, the ResetPlug will cycle power to the WiFi equipment to reset the Internet connection.”

Apparently it gets even better because the device then “continues to cycle power [reset the router] every five minutes until the Internet works again” 🙄 . Generally speaking if you have to reset the router a lot to get your WiFi working then it’s probably time to get a better router or at least change its position and network setup / settings.

Most WiFi drops don’t tend to be the fault of the router itself and are usually caused by other factors, such as a fault with your receiving device, a loss of signal as you move through your home or they can be mistaken for your broadband connection going down. See our article – 10 Top Tips for Boosting Your Home Wi-Fi Wireless Network Speeds – for some useful advice on that aspect.

The other BIG problem here is that most DSL based broadband lines don’t like to be disconnected repeatedly and indeed doing so can cause your sync speed to fall, which is due to how such lines are automatically managed and monitored in order to deliver the best stability. Not only that but you might lose work, especially if you’re in the middle of transferring some data between different devices on the same network. Too many disconnections might also look like a line fault to the ISP.

Most of the time if your Internet connection does drop then the router will usually resolve the issue automatically (give it time) or you can try a manual reset every 30 mins or so, but make sure that the DSL connection is definitely dead first so as not to risk negatively affecting your service performance (most routers will reflect this status via a front facing LED).

Otherwise the ResetPlug seems like a waste of money and you’d probably be better off putting the cash to more productive use, such as by purchasing a new router, WiFi extender or several bottles of wine. The latter will at least help you to forget about the sucky WiFi.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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11 Responses
  1. Avatar sentup.custard

    I expect their homeware division are offering a waterproof bath towel for a bargain fifty burger vouchers.
    😉

  2. Avatar GNewton

    This device is mainly for the US market anyway where some of the UK-specific issues with DSL might not exist.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      There are no uk specific issues it is how dsl is designed to work.

    • Avatar karl

      Err NO DSL was never designed to have DLM or as the story puts it…..
      “The other BIG problem here is that most DSL based broadband lines don’t like to be disconnected repeatedly and indeed doing so can cause your sync speed to fall, which is due to how such lines are automatically managed and monitored in order to deliver the best stability.”
      Stupid systems like that do not exist in other areas of the globe and never existed here back when real LLU ONLY providers such as Easynet, UKonline, BE and O2 were around. You could reset an BE router as much as you liked with no detriment to sync.

      About the only issue this may cause in other areas of the globe is for the router to somehow communicate to the ISP it is continually resetting leading to the ISP perhaps contacting you thinking the router has gone to silicon heaven.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      It is how it is designed to work

    • Avatar GNewton

      @karl: I think the article is right when it says:

      “On the surface this might seem a good idea, but not if you’re on a DSL (ADSL) based broadband line like most of us.”

      Then again, you wouldn’t use a DSL line for things like Security cameras, Smoke alarms,
      Security alarm, File servers, etc., which this device is targeted at. I think it makes sense for the US market which often uses fibre, or DSL with Point to Point Protocol over Ethernet protocol, unlike the UK, where is this hardly exists. And, I am not aware of a widespread usage of DLM for DSL in the States, again unlike in the UK.

    • Avatar karl

      “And, I am not aware of a widespread usage of DLM for DSL in the States, again unlike in the UK.”

      My sister lives in Portugal most of the year and her service has no DLM either, multi resyncs will not affect her sync. Fred is just being insolent again.

    • ‘I think it makes sense for the US market which often uses fibre, or DSL with Point to Point Protocol over Ethernet protocol, unlike the UK, where is this hardly exists.’

      Think you’ll find the vast majority of VDSL lines in the UK use PPPoE.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      Indeed it is

  3. Avatar Steve Jones

    Line management/monitoring software is not unique to the BT network. Indeed, there’s a company (Assia) which specialises in optimising DSL performance (and BT famously had a patent spat with them over certain aspects of DLM).

    To what extent line management systems are implemented willy vary country-to-country and operator-by-operator. None of them take too kindly to frequent resyncs.

    In any event, rebooting a router because of poor WiFi performance is a particularly dumb thing to do. It’s not very efficient, and if it’s a problem for people then they are better off looking at improving their WiFi network by supplementing/changing their router than switching devices on and off.

    • Avatar karl

      “Line management/monitoring software is not unique to the BT network.”

      Nobody said it was only that in many areas of the globe DLM is not used and thus this device there would in some respect (an over priced one IMO) be useful for some people.

      “In any event, rebooting a router because of poor WiFi performance is a particularly dumb thing to do. It’s not very efficient, and if it’s a problem for people then they are better off looking at improving their WiFi network by supplementing/changing their router”

      Indeed getting rid of junk like Thompsons and BT home hubs which are given away and notorious for wifi problems and replacing them with something with less (to be polite) quirks is the better solution. To be fair before you attack over including BT in that prior sentence it is not just ISP devices either, ive quite often seen forum posts about routers and wifi cutting out and the only way to restore it being to power cycle the device. Apples airports being a good example of something not cheap which does not always play well with others.

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