We had a power outage the other day while the power company did some maintenance. When I got home, much to my horror, we’d lost wifi. You forget how much you rely on wifi when it otherwise just works all the time.
We still had internet through ethernet, but it was damn inconvenient not having wifi. Our 3G coverage is rubbish and I hate to use that when at home, chewing through my meagre data allowance. No control of my LIFX bulbs and tethered connections to our laptops was just not going to cut it. So I jumped onto Google to see if this was a know issue and if there were any easy fixes.
Thankfully – it appeared to be a well documented issue, as per this Whirlpool thread. From there I found a handy pic of the wifi module showing some corrosion and, even better, this great PDF detailing how one user fixed their loss of wifi.
While I was already going to pull the modem apart to see if I could identify the issue, armed with all this information I had a great understanding of where I should start. So here’s how I fixed wifi on my Billion BiPac 7407VNPX.
Firstly, remove the sticky rubber pads on the bottom and remove the 4 Phillips head screw located underneath (after disconnecting from power of course).
Next, flip the unit over and carefully take off the top of the case.
I decided to unscrew the antenna connectors from the side, remove and flip over the circuit board to check the bottom for any corroded or fried spots. Thankfully, it was all clear, so I put the board back in and put the antennas back in place.
Next was to inspect the wifi module, where I noticed the adhesive gunk didn’t look too crash hot. Based on the PDF it looked like some of this was bridging some of the connectors on the EPROM or RAM chip (whatever it is) on the left in the pic below. With a pointy tool I carefully chipped and scraped this away (did it on the right bracket first as a test). That’s what seemed to be the problem in other posts, so I hoped that would do the job here and didn’t bother removing it from where the antennas are glued onto the module (bottom of the pic).
Then, I simply replaced the top and screwed the unit back together. Powered up, re-enabled wifi via the admin GUI and Ka-Pow! Wifi is working again. It may have just been a fluke of power-off, power-on but as this didn’t work originally, I’m putting it down to my de-gunking as being the fix. Hopefully I’ll get several more years of hassle free use out of what has so far been a very reliable unit.
—– UPDATE 16/10/2016 —–
We had crazy weather which took out the power for a couple of days and when it came back, I had nothing, even after several reboots of the modem. Not even ethernet worked. I had to go to work, and when I came home everything was working properly again. Weird.
I suspect that this (my) router likes running hot and after a day of thermal expansion or something, whatever caused the problem fixed itself. Something to be aware of I guess.