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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

An unscientific way to resuscitate a Netcomm NB5 Modem/Router

Recently, I was helping a friend to sort out their internet problem when they were changing ISP and they wanted to see if they could reuse their modem/router, a Netcomm NB5. They actually suspected that it was slightly faulty.

Of course I needed to get into the modem to alter settings to work with different ISP. Unfortunately they had forgotten the password, which had been changed from the factory default.

To cut the story short, they also wanted to get a WiFi router if they could reuse this modem. So I decided to take it home to replace my NB1300 Plus4 with this one in my home network infrastructure.

After the factory reset I managed to fire up the modem/router connecting to my ISP. For some reason when I switched it over to operate as a bridge providing modem service to my NetGear router, I accidentally caused the NB5 to go into a state that I could no longer acquire an IP address from it. I could not ping it and obviously could not hook the web browser onto it. It was dead for all intents and purposes.

I had met this kind of situation - comatose modem/router - before but with a different brand of router. In that situation, since it was still in warranty, I sent it back.

Since I could not use this comatose modem anymore, I left this powered down for a day or two and tried again with the same result.

Suddenly I vaguely recalled people had tried to hack into or by-pass those PIN protected car stereo unit by putting the device into a freezer. Out of desperation and seeing it couldn't do any more harm, I gave this a try.

I stuck the NB5 into the freezer for about 10 to 15 minutes (I nearly forgotten about it) and then I took it out (nice and cold like a block of ice) to thaw, making sure that I wiped away the moisture as it thawed.

When it reached temperature still lower than room temperature (I did say not very scientific, didn't I?), I powered it up, did another factory reset, plugged in my PC and a minute or so, the PC managed to acquired an IP address and I managed to browse into the settings page.

That boosted my confidence allowing me to change the NB5 to a bridge and providing the connectivity to my NetGear router. This would be my modem for the next few days to determine if it is faulty.

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