Monday, November 08, 2010

Linksys MediaCenter Extenders Terminate Themselves – Hack Required to Revive

Linksys Media Center Extender

All weekend I watched as more and more Microsoft MediaCenter users reported that their Linksys Windows MediaCenter Extenders (DMA2100 & DMA2200) stopped working – mostly in unison.  Users are understandably frustrated and thus far Cisco hasn’t provided any official response.  Fortunately there is a hack that gets the extenders working again.

You can follow the carnage of Linksys users on this GreenButton Forum Thread.  Several reports began streaming in as soon as Thursday evening, November 4th from users that had one or more Linksys extenders just stop working.

“So my DMA-2200 media extender is frozen.   All it says is network is connected.  It won't output via HDMI (like it has for years).  When I pull the cord and let it set for a minute I get the same result.  And I have hit the reset botton on the back.  I am at a complete loss.”

More and more reports began streaming in over the next few hours and throughout the weekend

“The exact same thing is happening to me also for all 3 of my extenders (2-DMA2200 and 1 DMA2100).   I usually run wired but I also had the same issue with wireless.   It says waiting for network c.   If I boot without wired/wireless connection, I can boot up until I plug the wired connection in.   It will get an ip address and lock up.   I don't think it is a linksys problem because I just used all 3 extenders last night.”

Some are speculating that Cisco just pulled a “kill switch” and others are saying it must be some problem with a DRM check.  Whatever the issue, it’s completely insane that Cisco has no response or even direction to users on their support page as of 8am CST this morning.  I understand that these devices were discontinued over a year ago, but this is crazy.  Some Linksys extender owners are saying they have reached a support person who says something like this:

“Called Linksys Support (11/6/10) and reported my problem with my DMA2100 not responding.  The support person informed me that they are aware of this problem and Linksys engineers are working on a fix.  It seems that Linksys has received many calls about this problem. The support person could not tell me when the fix would get pushed out, but it could be soon.”

At least the support person knew there was an issue, but It’s pretty frustrating to have your devices just shut down in unison for no apparent reason.

How To Revive Your Linksys Extender

It’s not a great fix, but this hack reported on that same Greenbutton Forum thread will get your extenders working again:

Steps for a wired network (you don't have to disconnect your router from the Internet).

1. Power off
2. Disconnect network cable
3. Power on - unit tells you that it is disconnected and asks if you want to setup a connection
4. Select "Next"
5. Select your connection type (I chose "Wired") - unit tells you cable is disconnected
6. Plug in network cable - unit immediately goes to settings selection
7. Select "Manually"
8. Enter an IP address outside or your routers DHCP range, e.g. my router range was 100 - 200, so I entered
9. Enter your gateway address, e.g.
10. Enter a bogus DNS address, e.g.
11. Select "Finish" (I think)

Now press the Green Button, and voila.

It’s not the end of the world, but a really significant failure on the part of Cisco for a product they may not sell anymore, but still should be supported by them.