OK, I’ll Restart the Router

The other day I was in a Starbucks café in Sofia, Bulgaria. Once I’d got over the issue of cold milk in ‘black’ tea (an abomination in the Balkans), and having confirmed they had free WiFi (no password) I sat down, turned on my PC, and attempted to join the Starbucks network on my iPhone.

‘Unable to join the network.’

The usual troubleshooting, restarts, disconnections, connections, to no avail. My tea is getting cold.

‘Your network doesn’t seem to be working,’ I said to the girl at the counter.

‘OK, I’ll restart the router.’

She said it in a nice and generous way, but clearly she’d been saying it hourly.

On the second attempt it worked.


But why, why, why are we always restarting the router? Can anyone tell me? I just don’t understand it. We do it at home, at the office, we ask hotel receptionists to do it, waitresses and counter staff in cafes do it. People spend minutes of their lives switching off that little switch, waiting a few seconds (is that just superstition?) and then switching on again.

Why doesn’t the router know its in trouble and cure itself?

3 thoughts on “OK, I’ll Restart the Router

  1. This could be many things. One common cause is bad power to the router. A small brownout/spike sends a device into an unusual state.
    Also the usual reason is that most of the cases such places are using the cheapest devices on the market. These kind of devices can’t handle all the connected devices, they easily get overloaded and just stop working and need restart. Of course in many cases (most cases usually) it’s a software/firmware issue and many of these devices become more stable by installing them DD-WRT firmware.
    I don’t like to say it but you get what you paid for. Cheap devices usually mean cheap service.


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