I recently purchased a new Netgear N300 (WNR2000v3) wireless router from a local Best Buy store. It seemed to work fine at first, but I started noticing connection issues shortly thereafter. I was getting disconnected anywhere from once a day to several times an hour. Read on to find out how I fixed the problem.
UPDATED 5/28/2012: The fix I originally wrote about only worked briefly. Read below for the eventual fix that worked. There are also several commenters who have provided additional solutions.
I should first mention that after playing around with the router, I took it back to Best Buy to explain the problem to them. They merely told me to exchange it for a new one, which I did. Only a couple of hours after installing the new one, I found myself disconnected yet again. The router’s exterior display showed no issues, but all of the devices in my network were offline. The only way I could seem to get back online was to unplug it and plug it back in.
Realizing that it was more than a coincidence that two N300 routers would have identical connection issues, I decided to hit up Google and see what I could find. As it turns out, the firmware pre-loaded onto the router was spotty. My router’s firmware version was V220.127.116.11. When I Googled that exact firmware version, it was immediately apparent that this version was the culprit. I updated to V18.104.22.168 and the connection issue disappeared. For a while. Eventually I had to downgrade the firmware to a version earlier than the version pre-installed on the router.
Fortunately, downgrading the firmware is a breeze.
Go into the router’s management by pointing your web browesr to routerlogin.net. By the way, if you can’t access it (which happened to me), you may need to restart your router first. The screen you see after logging in will show your router version at the top right. You will probably have 22.214.171.124. That won’t work. Neither will the version it wants you to install, which is 126.96.36.199.
Best Buy had lots of boxes of Netgear N300 routers – perhaps more than any other at my local store. It would be a safe assumption that all of those are preinstalled with the faulty V188.8.131.52 firmware, and everyone purchasing those routers could potentially have this problem.
To downgrade your Netgear firmware, go here. Click on the “Downloads” tab and check the “Show all version” box. This will reveal the original firmware version WNR2000v3 Initial Release Firmware Version 184.108.40.206 which is what you want to install.
Click the link and download the software. They recommend updating over a wired connection, which I did.
Log in to routerlogin.net and go into the “Advanced” tab. You’ll find an option to upgrade firmware (even though we’re technically downgrading). You will be prompted to navigate to the .26 version you just downloaded. At this point, the installation is automatic, and you should have the original .26 version installed.
One final step – do not ignore this part! You will be prompted to restart your router only if there is an error. Because I had no error, I didn’t restart my router – and found myself disconnecting again. I pushed the button on the back of the router to power it on and then power it off… and my disconnecting issue disappeared. I’m not sure why that final step is necessary, but it seemed to make a difference for me.
Let us know if this worked for you, or if you had any other problems with this router.