A wireless camera keeps dropping from my network

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OFark

Occasional Visitor
So I've given this weeks of my time trying to diagnose and I can't see what the issue is. Basically I have a Next Outdoor Cam (Backdoor) that keeps disappearing off my network. It just goes offline. After a random amount of time, could be hours could be days.
I have another of these cameras (Front Door) plus a Nest Indoor (Kids room) camera, they are both fine. However, the Front Door one connects via an Asus RP-53 in AP mode, the Indoor one is usually on this too, it's closer. Everything other than the Backdoor Camera in the network is fine.

The router is an Asus RT-AC3200, the camera in question is maybe 2 meters away, through an external wall, but back garden coverage is great.

The initial thought is that it's the camera that's faulty, but if I power cycle the camera, it makes no difference it doesn't come back. If I reset the router, that fixes it, the camera is back for a bit.

Things I've tried:
  • Turning off the RP-53 repeater
  • Setting up a dedicated Guest SSID network for the camera
  • Connecting the camera via its own RP-53 Repeater
  • Clearing the NVRAM of the router and setting it all back up again.
  • Moving DNS to a PiHole
  • WiFi roaming assistant on and off
  • WiFi Smart Connect on and off
I've noticed somethings in the log:
  • As soon as the camera disappears I get:
    Code:
    Aug 11 22:05:57 dnsmasq-dhcp[22642]: DHCPDISCOVER(br0) 64:16:66:85:21:20
    Aug 11 22:05:57 dnsmasq-dhcp[22642]: DHCPOFFER(br0) 192.168.1.72 64:16:66:85:21:20
    Aug 11 22:06:00 dnsmasq-dhcp[22642]: DHCPDISCOVER(br0) 64:16:66:85:21:20
    Aug 11 22:06:00 dnsmasq-dhcp[22642]: DHCPOFFER(br0) 192.168.1.72 64:16:66:85:21:20
    Aug 11 22:06:03 dnsmasq-dhcp[22642]: DHCPDISCOVER(br0) 64:16:66:85:21:20
    repeating for 13 minutes and then:
    Code:
    Aug 11 22:35:13 roamast: wl0.1: add client [64:16:66:85:21:20] to monitor list
  • The MAC for the camera never shows up again in the log.
  • The TV is constantly doing DHCPDISCOVER but it gets an OFFER, REQUEST and ACK and an IP so I'm not bothered about that, I just thought I'd mention it.
  • The MAC for the camera keeps appearing in the Wireless Log tab, and then disappearing each refresh, it has an IP assigned but: RxTx = ?? / ?? RSSI = 0dBm Flags = _S_A_G. It's still doing this 12hours after it disconnected.
    Code:
    Stations List 
    ----------------------------------------
    idx MAC Associated Authorized RSSI PHY PSM SGI STBC Tx rate Rx rate Connect Time
    64:16:66:C8:F3:EF Yes Yes -47dBm n No No Yes 1M 65M 00:38:30
    1 64:16:66:85:21:20 Yes 0dBm n No Yes No 00:00:05
    This is showing up under the SSID of the main wifi assigned to that band, not the Guest SSID that the camera should be connecting to, but I'm assuming that's an oversight.

Additional Info:
  • I used to have a problem whereby the router would become inaccessible, via both SSH and Web, but it was still serving up internet, if you'd already got an IP. Any new clients wouldn't get an IP, both wireless and wired. This again occurred randomly after a few days. This hasn't happened since I cleared the NVRAM.
  • QoS os on, not sure if it's always been on. We had some unrelated Internet issue and I wanted to prioritise traffic.
  • AiProtection, MAC filtering, etc; Nothing is switched on that would stop a device connecting
  • IPv6 is on, Passthrough.
  • WPS has never worked, or at least I've never seen it work
  • The Guest WiFi that the camera connects to is isolated and hidden
  • Bluetooth Coexistence is enabled
 

CaptnDanLKW

Regular Contributor
I bet these are both 2.4Ghz devices. I did not see the mention of, so try these on your 2.4Ghz radio (though these are best practices on both 2.4 and 5):

1) Fixed channel
2) 20MHz Only (2.4Ghz Only - on 5Ghz leave 20/40/80)
3) Disable Airtime Fairness
4) Disable Universal Beamforming

Make sure you dont have any special characters in the SSID name.
Also, try to not hide the SSID name. Since its not broadcast I suspect you manually had to type it into some type of setup app. These (typically cheap) devices have very poor network stacks and who know what 'other than default' network configurations were validated against.
 
Last edited:

RAH-66

Regular Contributor
2) 20MHz Only (2.4Ghz Only - on 5Ghz leave 20/40/80)
3) Disable Airtime Fairness
4) Disable Universal Beamforming
don't matter in any condition, the problem is in the camera, and you need to deal with it first of all before manipulating the router with working devices. at least check the problem camera on another router.
 

chewmull

Occasional Visitor
For the most part, I have no issues with my router. The only exception is 3 Nest cameras that constantly bounce around between 2.4/5ghz and at times disappear all together. They are relatively close in proximity to the router and I just can't figure it out. Had them for years (in the same locations) without any problems, started having issues since 384.16. Nothing noteable in the logs. Using an RT-88U (Router) on 384.18 and RT-68U (Mesh Node) on latest Asus firmware.
 

OFark

Occasional Visitor
Yes, Nest have made the UK cameras 2.4Ghz only.

don't matter in any condition, the problem is in the camera, and you need to deal with it first of all before manipulating the router with working devices. at least check the problem camera on another router.
But resetting the router fixes the problem, doesn't matter what I do to the camera.
 

shabbs

Regular Contributor
I've had very similar issues with my Nest outdoor cameras. Here in Canada they are "crippled" to 2.4Ghz and every now and then they'll all start to go off regularly. 99% of the time it's due to channel interference with neighbours wifi. There are so many damn wireless networks nearby.

So, it's an exercise in finding a cleaner channel for them to operate on and be stable.
 

OFark

Occasional Visitor
I bet these are both 2.4Ghz devices. I did not see the mention of, so try these on your 2.4Ghz radio (though these are best practices on both 2.4 and 5):

1) Fixed channel
2) 20MHz Only (2.4Ghz Only - on 5Ghz leave 20/40/80)
3) Disable Airtime Fairness
4) Disable Universal Beamforming

Make sure you dont have any special characters in the SSID name.
Also, try to not hide the SSID name. Since its not broadcast I suspect you manually had to type it into some type of setup app. These (typically cheap) devices have very poor network stacks and who know what 'other than default' network configurations were validated against.
Well, I appreciate the input, but none of this has fixed anything. :( Also these are Google Nest Cameras, I'm not going to blow smoke up their ass but I'd be surprised if they were cheap poor network stacks.

The hidden SSID was something I tried, just in case, I've tried it with and without a separate SSID, hidden and not. No difference. I'm going to go get rid of that now.
 

OFark

Occasional Visitor
So I rebooted the camera, no effect. I've moved it back to the main SSID, and it's now working again. No reboot of the router. Now incidentally the router keeps kicking back to the home page whenever I visit the Wireless -> WPS page. That was until I removed the Guest SSID I had just for the camera. Then the kernel crashed, some services restarted and now I can access that WPS page again. Log here: Log

Side note, I've just set all three of my cameras to Static IP, the backdoor camera (The problem camera) has taken this IP address as it was added AFTER I made the reservations. The other two haven't moved. They're still DHCP with there pre-existing IP addresses. The "Client Status" on the router home page isn't showing me that they've been set to Static, it's still saying DHCP.
 

OFark

Occasional Visitor
At 22:00 last night, the router stopped working again. Hung the WebUI, SSH, and any new DHCP requests. Last time I posted here the RAM usage was around 90%, now it's 54%. Wonder if something is eating up the RAM?
 

CriticJay

Senior Member
Doesn't it seem like your router is sufficiently messed up to just go ahead with a nuclear factory reset + reconfiguration?
 

OFark

Occasional Visitor
I did that, NVRAM Clear, didn't make any difference. Or are there some more settings to clear?
 

OFark

Occasional Visitor
I've setup a swap file using AMTM on a USB and after 2 crashes and 3 restarts it seems like it's now using the swap file, and everything's been stable. I've left the wifi settings like CaptnDanLKW said and the cameras have been fine for a while now.
 

OFark

Occasional Visitor
I had to say something didn't I? 20:40 last night the thing fell over again. CPU usage went up on IO and SYS for about an hour and a half, peaked at 75% and then died. The same issue, the Internet is still working, but the UI is unavailable, no logging is occurring, no DHCP is being offered.
 

shabbs

Regular Contributor
Have you tried rolling with just stock Asus firmware for a bit?
 

OFark

Occasional Visitor
Have you tried rolling with just stock Asus firmware for a bit?
I had the problem with the stock, I tried moving to Merlin because it was supposed to make it more stable. I've tried DD-WRT, Advanced Tomato. Neither worked for me.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
When you tried RMerlin firmware, did you do a full reset to factory defaults afterward, including checking the 'Initialize all settings...' checkbox? Did you format the JFFS partition? Did do a minimal and manual configuration without importing any saved config files and without 'blindly' putting in settings that once worked?

Simply doing an NVRAM 'clear' sometimes isn't enough. At least it seems the case for your situation.
 

OFark

Occasional Visitor
When you tried RMerlin firmware, did you do a full reset to factory defaults afterward, including checking the 'Initialize all settings...' checkbox? Did you format the JFFS partition? Did do a minimal and manual configuration without importing any saved config files and without 'blindly' putting in settings that once worked?

Simply doing an NVRAM 'clear' sometimes isn't enough. At least it seems the case for your situation.
I did just clear the NVRAM, I was following instructions, and I'd never heard of JFFS till a couple of weeks ago. My setup is/was to setup an SSID and password, reserve some IP addresses, setup a LetsEncrypt Certificate with a FQDN DDNS, forward DNS to a PiHole. And that's about it. The last time I reset the router, thinking that might help, I did start from scratch.
 

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