Joe Levi:
a cross-discipline, multi-dimensional problem solver who thinks outside the box – but within reality™

Linksys WRT54GP2 "Router still restarting. Please wait a moment."

I have a Linksys WRT54GP2 Router/VoIP Gateway. It’s a neat little box. It does 802.11b/g with WEP and WPA. It’s a router. It’s a 3-port switch. It’s a 2-line VoIP gateway (locked to Vonage). It’s served me well. Until yesterday.

Linksys WRT54GP2

My wife called me at work about some unrelated topic, then said “oh, and our phones don’t work.” Typically this is caused by one of the following:

  • One of our children unplugs the cordless phone from the wall by our bed
  • Someone upgrades the computer to Windows Vista and the modem isn’t compatible, and forgets to handle the phone cords that used to plug into it (don’t ask)
  • Something gets hot and needs to be reset (cable modem, router, etc.)
  • Comcast’s cable line goes down (once in the last year)
  • Or (once in the last 3 years) the Vonage service went down for two hours

This time nothing worked.

The symptoms:

  • No dialtone
  • The phone 1 and phone 2 lights on the router blink together (2 fast, 2 slow, 2 fast, pause; I think)
  • The Status > Voice page it says “Router still restarting. Please wait a moment.” or “Router is synchronizing services. Please wait a moment.”

The troubleshooting:

  • Unplugged the Cable modem and WRT54GP2
  • Disconnected everything but the cable modem and the WRT54GP2 (which I did uncable and reseat the connectors, and even tried with a new CAT5e cable)
  • I’ve tried resetting the WRT54GP2 to the factory defaults (via the router’s GUI)
  • I’ve tried holding in the red button on the back of the WRT54GP2 and resetting
  • Internet access through the router seems fine, just no dialtone
  • Checked to see if similar problems have been reported: “jdr30” claims this means the router is dead and needs to be replaced. I put in a private message to him to see what he can do for me, but his reply was written in 2005 to a post written in 2004.

Lucily, Vonage has a fall-through feature called “network availability number” which lets you set another phone number to forward your calls to should the network fail (whether it’s the Vonage network, your ISP’s network, or the internet in general). The bad news is, this eats up our cell phone minutes.

More to come as this story unfolds.

I gave in and called Vonage. I spoke with a first level customer care representative who checked all my connections with me, then instructed me to power-cylcle my cable modem and Vonage box in succession (which I’d already done several times): same symptoms.

He then advised me to hard-reset the Vonage box by pressing and holding the reset button (with the power to the Vonage box on) for 30 seconds: again, same symptoms.

He instructed me to clone my MAC address: again, same symptoms.

At that point I was transferred to an “Advanced Customer Support Representative” who confirmed everything that I’d done with the prior representative; we then proceeded to do all the steps again.

After 1 hour and 15 minutes I was told that there is a “known issue” on this device, but that all the troubleshooting that we’ve done should have fixed that. Also, the firmware (1.30.01) is up-to-date, so no firmware update is needed.

However, the Vonage box, I was told, is out of warranty, and the only resolution is for me to go and buy a new one. I was assured that the process to associate the new device to my account would be fast and wouldn’t cost anything extra.

That wasn’t acceptable to me. I told the representative that after being a loyal customer for 3 years, and already forking out $120 for a new Vonage box once, that if I have to buy a new box it will be for a competing service. At that point she asked me to hold while she transfered me to someone else.

We went over the problem — again — and tried rebooting the Cable modem then Vonage box — again. This time he sent me the firmware to see if reflashing might fix the problem.

2 minutes and the firmware was re-flashed with the same version I’d had previously (the filename is WRT54GP2_v1.30.01_000_VM_3.1.06_LI_combin_code.bin for anyone that’s interested). The router rebooted, and Viola! She Lives! I have a dialtone and successfully got a phone call. Happiness!

Apparently when one side of the device goes out (and the other keeps working) that’s more likely an indication of a corrupt firmware than it is of failed hardware.

1 hour 42 minutes of time on the phone with 3 people at Vonage, but the problem is resolved and everything works just like it should. All it cost me was my own time, a little frustration, and (hopefully) 102 minutes of free “nights-and-weekends” minutes on my cell phone.

Still a loyal Vonage customer, thanks to Jaroslaw Sakowicz at Vonage! Thank you, sir!

Oh, and if you want to sign up and get 2 months free, just drop me an email (I’ll also get 2 months free).


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6 Responses

  1. Antonio says:

    Very nice site! Good work.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Nice design, good graphical content. I think I’ll come back later again;)

  3. Ulrich Bang says:

    Hi and thanks for thourough walkthrough the problems with the WRT54GP2 and “Router still starting”-error message. I can add that I have had excactly same problems with my router and axcactly same respons from my wife: “Phone doesnt work – fix it” 🙂
    I tried dozen of things: hard-reset, restore factory settings (couldnt do it) and up-grade firmware (stopped in the middle of the proces). None of these things worked but the machine it self decided to turn on the phones again because sudddenly they worked without me doing nothing??? I did not understand it but – hey – they worked and the wife was happy.
    Now unfurtunately the same thing has happened again – no reason – and I am trying everything to make it work.
    I dont get it. It still doesnt work. It doesnt allow me to upgrade the firmware. It doesnt allow me to restore factory setting and the phones dont work. Internet and WiFi work fine.
    I thing I just have to wait and hope that the WRT54GP2 Router will fix it self as it did some months ago.
    If I clear this problems I will return, and i would like to hear if you have some good ideas.

    Regards, Ulrich Bang

  4. Joe says:


    Have you made any progress with your router? If not, what are the steps that you’re taking to re-flash the firmware? Are you getting an error, and if so at what point?

  5. Martin Martinez says:

    Hello, great Blog!! i have a big problem and i need some help, my son Richard takes the WRT54GP2 router and connects by mistake another power supply and i want to repair it!!
    ONLY need a HiQuality internal photo to replace the electronics components.. Somebody can helpme?? tnx a lot!!

    Martin from Uruguay – LATAM

  6. Martin Martinez says:

    Sorry again.. y post my email for some reply..

    again..tnx. 🙂

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