We had a power outage this morning that knocked our Netgear R6300 Router out of commission. The router wouldn’t fully turn on. The green power LED light on the front blinked slowly, but the router wouldn’t even respond to a factory reset using the pinhole button on the back (hold it down for 10 seconds). It was bricked. A search of the Netgear forums revealed that this was due to corrupt firmware, but it might be fixable.
This post describes how to debrick a Netgear R6300v1 router. I don’t know if it will work for a Netgear R6300v2 router or not.
First things First
Try a 30-30-30 reset on your router to make sure it’s really bricked. Hold down the “Reset” button in the back with a bent paperclip for 90 seconds. During the first 30 seconds, keep the router plugged in, then unplug it for 30 seconds, and plug it back in for 30 seconds, all the while keeping the “Reset” button depressed. Then release it and wait for a few minutes to see if any other router lights turn on.
How to tell if it’s fixable:
- Plug the router directly in to the LAN port on your computer. Connect to one of the four “Ethernet” (LAN) ports, not the yellow “internet” (WAN) port. If you’re using a laptop, you may want to turn off your WiFi so you don’t accidentally connect to a different device.
- Right-click the Network icon in your system tray (next to the clock) and click “Network and Sharing Center.”
- Click “Change Adapter Settings” , then double-click “Ethernet,” scroll down and select “Internet Protocol version 4 (TCP/IPv4)”, then click “Properties.”
- Select “Use the Following IP Address” and enter 192.168.1.2 for the IP address, and 255.255.255.0 for the subnet mask. Leave the other settings blank and click “OK.”
- Open a command prompt. In Windows 7, search for cmd.exe in the start menu. Right-click on it and select “Run as Administrator.” In Windows 8, press Windows Key+X and select “Command Prompt (Admin).”
- Type this command (without the quotation marks): “ping 192.168.1.1” and hit Enter.
- This will ask the router if it still lives. If you get a response, it’s still alive! There’s hope! A response looks something like this:
- If the router is dead or not responding, you will get a message that says something about “Destination Host Unreachable” or “Request Timed Out.”
- If the ping is unsuccessful, you can still try assigning an IP address using the MAC address on the bottom of the router. If your MAC address is AABBCCDDEEFF, then you would enter this for the command:
arp -s 192.168.1.1 aa-bb-cc-dd-ee-ff
- …where aa-bb-cc-dd-ee-ff is the MAC address with a hyphen inserted between every two characters. Then try pinging the router again and see if it responds. If there’s no response, your router will take some intense work to debrick, involving wiring a special USB cable to the main circuit board inside the router, which is beyond the scope of this article.
Downloading the Firmware
- Download the basic firmware for the router. You can download it directly here: http://www.downloads.netgear.com/files/GDC/R6300/R6300-V126.96.36.199_1.0.16.zip#
- Extract the files from the zip. Find the “R6300-V188.8.131.52_1.0.16.chk” file and copy it to the clipboard (Ctrl+C).
- Navigate to the C drive of your computer and create a new folder. Name it “Router.”
- Paste “R6300-V184.108.40.206_1.0.16.chk” into that folder.
- Select the file and press F2 to rename it. Rename it “R6300.chk” (don’t change the extension.)
- Open the “Programs and Features” window from the control panel. (In Windows 8: Windows Key+X, then F)
- Select “Turn Windows features on or off”
- Wait for the “Windows Features” list to load.
- Scroll down to TFTP client and check the box next to hit. Then click OK.
- Wait for the installer to finish.
Pushing the Firmware to the Router
- Return to the Command Prompt. Enter this command (no quotation marks): “cd c:\router” to open the “router” folder you created earlier. Then enter this command:
tftp -i 192.168.1.1 PUT R6300.chk
- If the command is successful, you will see a message that says “Transfer Successful” and the amount of data that was transferred.
- If it worked, the rest of the lights on your router will turn on!
- If it didn’t work, make sure the path contains the “.chk” file, and that the filename in the tftp command matches what you renamed the file. You also may need to make sure the firmware you’re using is for your router. You may want to try a different firmware download from the Netgear website.
Updating the Firmware
- Open a web browser and enter “192.168.1.1” in the address bar. The router intranet page appears. You should be able to update the firmware from here using the Router’s instruction manual.
- Alternatively, if you need more features, you may consider switching to DD-WRT’s open-source firmware, which is what I did. I found the firmware for the R6300 here: http://www.myopenrouter.com/download/43860/DD-WRT-for-R6300/. The instructions to install are here: http://www.myopenrouter.com/article/42769/How-To-Install-DD-WRT-On-NETGEAR-s-R6300-802.11ac-Wireless-Router/. Note that this option is not supported by Netgear, so don’t do this if your router is still under warranty or you’re not really sure what you’re doing. It is easy to make the situation worse using this option.
Back to Normal
- Return the router to its accustomed place in your office.
- Return to the “Internet Protocol Version 4” window we accessed at the beginning and select “Obtain an IP address automatically” and “Obtain a DNS server address automatically”, then press OK.