Nov 8, 2009

DLINK DIR-655 and the 1.32NA Firmware Upgrade

If it ain't broke don't fix it.
Well, it wasn't broken but it turns out it wasn't working correctly either. A while back I bought a DLINK DIR-655 router. It did provide better coverage throughout the house but it has always seemed somewhat slow. Several posts online indicated that upgrading the firmware from the 1.2 version to to 1.31 version improved the speed by a factor of two. When I looked at my firmware I saw it was at version 1.11 and the latest available was 1.32NA (The NA is the North American designation). I dutifully stored my current configuration and downloaded the latest version. There were warnings that you couldn't downgrade back to the original version so I knew there was some risk. After I saved the configuration I updated the firmware. Now of course when it reboots it goes back to its 192.168.0.1 address which is not how I set up my network. I went to my Mac and had it get a new DHCP address so it could talk to the modem. I then reloaded the saved configuration and then repeated the process of having my Mac get a new DHCP address. So far so good.
Everything but NET
A Quick check showed that all the wireless and wired devices were now connected to the router. Unfortunately the router was not making a good internet connection. I spent a good couple of days messing around with this. I could hook up my DSL modem directly to my Mac and get that to work so there was something about the Router itself not my ISP that wasn't working. (Plus it let me know I was using the correct name and password - which were saved as part of the configuration file).  I turned off the new SecureSpot feature in case that was finding all of the internet to contain unsuitable content. I also have my favorite Dilbert comic strip "Shut up and Reboot" in plain sight at all times so I also turned everything off, allowed electrons to drain, and rebooted multiple times all to no avail.
Good Dating Habits
I eventually did two additional things. I cloned my Mac address to the router using the button for that purpose on the manual setup page. This didn't appear to work (but I'm getting pretty superstitious by this point). Finally I went to the Tool->Time tab and unchecked the use NTP server option and manually entered the date and time. I think  I skipped the reboot everything dance and just saved the router settings and had it reboot. Lo and behold .... the internet was back. Why my ISP would care what my router thought the date was is beyond me. The mac address issue makes much more sense so it maybe it just needed a couple of reboots to work.
Oh yeah, the Roku box in the living room now streams data at almost TWICE the speed it used to, so at least the reports of the old firmware having a problem were true. The NetFlix videos now stream at level three quality instead of level two. The inaugural viewing was of  THX1138 and  it look great. I think the whole process would have been easier had I not been guilty of drug evasion.

Hope this helps someone save a couple of days.

About Me

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Tod Gentille (@todgentille) is now a Curriculum Director for Pluralsight. He's been programming professionally since well before you were born and was a software consultant for most of his career. He's also a father, husband, drummer, and windsurfer. He wants to be a guitar player but he just hasn't got the chops for it.