Death Of A Switch

My morning commute consists of walking down the stairs most mornings, coffee cup in hand. I love working out of my house, but that makes me dependent on Internet connectivity. One recent morning, I fired up my PC and discovered no internet connection. So I swore under my breath at Comcast because, you know, it’s always Comcast’s fault.

Except it wasn’t.

Since I use Comcast Business, including fixed IP addresses, I’m required to use Comcast’s own gateway hardware (actually built by SMC). My router, 24-port gigabit switch, and the Comcast gateway all connect to a UPS for power filtering and the rare power outage. I always hit the power switch when resetting the gateway and router, leaving everything powered down for 30 seconds or so, then firing it all back up again.

Sure enough, Internet access worked after the reset.

So I started working. About ten minutes later, I lost access to the Internet again. Power-cycling yielded the same result: Internet access for a few minutes, then nothing. I checked the Comcast Business web site for outage info, but found no issues. I then thought maybe I had a gateway fault, or maybe something flakey with the cable connection.

Then I noticed that WiFi access always worked, even when my main production system lacked Internet access. Why could WiFi-connected devices connect when wired devices could not? On a hunch, I unplugged the gigabit switch and then back in again. Sure enough, I got five minutes of Internet access on the wired connection, then nothing.

Fifteen months, then poof!
Fifteen months, then poof!

I’d replaced a pair of old Netgear 16-port gigabit switches with a single, 24-port Trendnet TES-S24DG Green switch in late 2014. The Netgear switches saw good service for over five years, but tended to run a little hot and consume a fair amount of power for just a pair of switches. The Trendnet switch received hundreds of glowing user reviews and offered good aggregate throughput, so seemed like a good choice. And, of course, the warranty had expired.

I ordered up a D-Link DGS-1024D, another 24-port, green switch, conveniently available from

Hope this lasts longer than the last one.
Hope this lasts longer than the last one.

Amazon on same-day delivery for free. That weird coincidence made me briefly paranoid — could Amazon have known about the failure? That paranoia subsided; that seemed a tad extreme, even given modern algorithmic buying and selling.

It’s always a little weird when the simplest device in a chain fails, instead of the most complex. Wired networking now works as it should, though I occasionally look askance at the D-Link, hoping its engineered a bit better than the Trendnet. I really don’t want to make “switch replacement” an annual event.

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