Well, I had hoped I’d fixed my modem, and I did get it working, but it hasn’t stayed fixed very much in the past few days. I’ve had a couple more calls to ATT ‘tech support’–one guy was very helpful; though he didn’t solve my problem, he did have information that helped me live with it. Another guy was abysmal. Basically, he just wanted me to go away. He suggested I try connecting just with the computer for awhile to see whether that helped. Nope.
Here’s what I’ve learned, at least in my situation. When I’m connected using my Airport Express, I should have three green lights (power, ethernet, and DSL), but the Internet light won’t light up, since the modem hasn’t made the connection in Bridge Mode. The green light on the Airport shows that. And I do get the occasional flash on the Activity light.
My connection will last anywhere from a few hours to a few minutes using the Airport as my router. When it loses the connection, sometimes I can get it back if I disconnect and let it reconnect. That’s what I try first.When that doesn’t work (more than half of the time), then I have to connect directly to my laptop and change my settings.
To do this, I turn off Airport on the laptop to force it to use ethernet. Then I often try making a connection over PPPoE using the laptop (I set that up as part of my troubleshooting.) Invariably that doesn’t work, but it seems to help me establish an ethernet connection to the modem in the next step. I enter the physical address of the modem 188.8.131.52 in my browser (you can bet I have this bookmarked!). Usually when I get there, I see an error message that Broadband is down. I have to restart the modem a couple of times to clear this, and as I’m doing this, I change my setting from Bridge Mode to PPPoE On Modem using Advanced Settings/PPP Location (to get here, I need the access code on my modem, though I’ve saved this to my Notes, so I can copy and paste). That causes a restart. Then I try to connect by clicking on Connect — I need my access code again at this point, and the modem restarts). That usually still gives me an error, but the second time I connect after changing my settings to PPPoE on Modem, I can get online.
Sometimes I operate like this for awhile, if I’m the only one who needs internet access. Sometimes I change to PPPoE on Computer (entering my code again, and restarting the modem) but let my laptop do the dialing for awhile. Things seem to work best if there’s just the computer and the modem with the modem logging in the PPPoE connection, but even then, I have had brief outages several times last night. They only lasted half a minute or so, and the modem was able to reestablish the connection. When my laptop does the PPPoE, my connection seems to last longer, but I still run into problems eventually (and of course, I can’t print, and no one else can access the internet). When I plug back into the Airport, everything is fine again. That is, until the next outage, which can be anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Over the past few days, I have lost my connection at least 5 times a day; some days it seems more like 50 (probably closer to 20). I do sense another call to ‘ATT tech support’ coming on, since this is not acceptable, especially for a brand new modem and a brand new Airport. (I’d call Apple, but I really don’t think the problem is with the Airport, since it happens with my laptop as well.)
Will post more if I come up with a solution that is more permanent (or if ATT has more answers).