2x RT-AX86U for AiMesh and Merlin 386.2 Beta 3 and some AddOns... where to start?

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Rassal

Regular Contributor
Hi Everyone,

Been a while here, but, now, i am facing somewhat a challenge. I am already using an RT-AX86U i got last black friday, which was working great, but after a couple of addons, and dirty flashes, i have some random reboots and crashlogs, and since i got my 2nd AX86U for AiMesh routing, i wanna start fresh on both routers.

So i plan on building my new AX86U as the main router, in parallel of the old one, in order to do everything in the proper sequence, and make sure it works flawlessly. I am thus wondering what order should i do things.

I want to start by flashing the new router, fresh out of the box, to Merlin 386.2 Beta 3, and configure everything manually, without Mesh routing.

Then i need to add some addons, so i will need a USB 3.1 drive, format it, prep it to get ready for addons... but i need the proper sequence of adding everything. So i was planning on doing this order:

  1. Install Merlin 386.2 Beta 3 on new RT-AX86U
  2. Install new USB Drive and format it with router.
  3. Format JFFS partition.
  4. Do a specific DNSMASQ config for DHCP option 66 for VOIP Config.
  5. Test my VoIP 3CX server that devices are gettting their DHCP66 option correctly.
  6. Install AMTM
  7. Entware Package
  8. Skynet
  9. Scribe
  10. uiScribe
  11. FlexQoS
  12. nsrum
  13. connmon
  14. spdMerlin
  15. Vnstat
  16. Configure the rest of all my router parameters.
  17. Reboot and let sit for a while.

Then i plan on running this a couple of days, before attacking the 2nd AX86 as an access point... then go with AiMesh, once both router are stable.

Is this a good order? I might be missing a couple of reboots in between some addons, but i am seeking advise on the proper order for all those, in order to get a somewhat stable installation.

Any suggestion?
 

Rassal

Regular Contributor
Anyone?
 

CaptnDanLKW

Regular Contributor
There is an M&M guide created by @L&LD which is a good start for the main router. I've not looked his over in a while but here's my two cents.

Make sure you use the UI and remove your AI Mesh Node, which will factory default it - easier than NVRAM and less prone to a mistake by not having it at factory. Then unplug it until you are ready to add it back.

I do an NVRAM reset on primary, and since that process does not format (or clear) JFFS, I perform a couple of additional steps just to be sure the JFFS partition is cleared AND that whatever the router OS writes into JFFS during first configuration are done in a consistent manner.

Assuming your current config is still both of them in AI mesh
  1. Install Merlin 386.2 Beta 3 on both RT-AX86U
  2. Use UI and remove Mesh node
  3. Once node disappears from the UI and finishes rebooting, unplug it
  4. Select Format JFFS partition on next reboot. Reboot
  5. Login Go to Admin -> Restore/Save/Upload and Restore Factory Defaults WITH the Initialize box checked.
  6. Configure your basics following the M&M guide
  7. Configure your specifics
  8. Add AI Mesh node
  9. move on to usb drive, amtm and addons...

For the USB drive, use one that has already been NTFS formatted on a PC unless you know how to use fdisk. it's just easier to let amtm find it and give you the option to overwrite it. That way you get it right.

speaking of amtm, its built in to merlin for a while. Use it to format the usb drive, set up the swap and install entware.


I don't know your ISP speeds or your home usage characteristics, but since I'm in the sharing mood, let me pose this challenge to you.

Use the Trend Micro features
Minimize your use of addons, skip Skynet and FlexQOS and spdMerlin
(I used to run them all, also had Adaptive QOS enabled without FreshJR/FlexQOS at one point) - Foy my VOIP service

I now only run scribe, uiScribe and conmon. No QOS enabled at all. (my ISP is 600/20)
(though I am intrigued by vnstat - but last i saw the readme said I needed some portions of diversion installed even if they were not enabled - so that scared me away)

While I enjoyed the extra addons, I found they were incompatible with my personality and seemed to require me to do constant tweaking. Once I simplified, I found less need to check and tweak... the settings just worked for me - even VOIP quality was fine under heavy usage so I never looked back. Granted I have a great ISP and speeds.

good luck.
 

pdc

Regular Contributor
Nice summary by @CaptnDanLKW, that's what I would do too.
I now only run scribe, uiScribe and conmon. No QOS enabled at all. (my ISP is 600/20)
(though I am intrigued by vnstat - but last i saw the readme said I needed some portions of diversion installed even if they were not enabled - so that scared me away)
Diversion is only needed if you want vnstat to send you email reports.

While I enjoyed the extra addons, I found they were incompatible with my personality and seemed to require me to do constant tweaking. Once I simplified, I found less need to check and tweak... the settings just worked for me - even VOIP quality was fine under heavy usage so I never looked back. Granted I have a great ISP and speeds.
Merlin 386.2 (Beta 3 currently) includes cake support, which is truly set and forget. If you are good without then no problem, just something to keep in mind if you start noticing problems that QoS would help.
 

CaptnDanLKW

Regular Contributor
Nice summary by @CaptnDanLKW, that's what I would do too.

Diversion is only needed if you want vnstat to send you email reports.


Merlin 386.2 (Beta 3 currently) includes cake support, which is truly set and forget. If you are good without then no problem, just something to keep in mind if you start noticing problems that QoS would help.
So if I run the vnstat setup it’s not going to slip in a full diversion install? What happens if I go into the vnstat email section, does it simply say “can’t do - missing diversion”?

I though I’d try Cake but I don’t like the idea of HW acceleration being shut off since that would likely cap my throughput since I’m at 600/20 and about to upgrade to 1G/1G since fiber is available.

FWIW my bufferbloat grade is an ‘A’ at both dslreports and waveform with no QOS. I know going down the rabbit hole I could probably get it to ‘A+’ but I don’t want to pick up that addiction again. :)
 
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pdc

Regular Contributor
So if I run the vnstat setup it’s not going to slip in a full diversion install? What happens if I go into the vnstat email section, does it simply say “can’t do - missing diversion”?
I'm afraid I don't know for sure since I have Diversion, but I recently had read through the vnstats thread and that was my impression.

I though I’d try Cake but I don’t like the idea of HW acceleration being shut off since that would likely cap my throughput since I’m at 600/20 and about to upgrade to 1G/1G since fiber is available.

FWIW my bufferbloat grade is an ‘A’ at both dslreports and waveform with no QOS. I know going down the rabbit hole I could probably get it to ‘A+’ but I don’t want to pick up that addiction again. :)
Wow, you have a great ISP, I'd say you are good! I always forget about the HW accel, I have a much less demanding 85/6 plan... *With* cake I can improve to an 'A' :)
 

Rassal

Regular Contributor
Thanks everyone! It helped a ton. Followed your advises, looked at M&M config also, and also did Nuclear Reset on both routers!!
 

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