ASUS WRT - how to properly restart the web/httpd admin UI (GT-AC5300 Router)?

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ForkWNY

Regular Contributor
Would anyone be able to provide details on how to properly restart the web admin UI on the ASUS GT-AC5300 (or any of the ASUS routers running stock firmware)? I'm running on the latest 3.0.0.4.386_42643-g16dc577 firmware, but I randomly run into an issue where login to the web admin UI completely fails...auth works, but GameDashboard.asp fails to load, and the UI is entirely inaccessible. It just sits there indefinitely. The only method that seems to get things back up and running again is powering off ALL of my AiMesh nodes, then powering off the main router (GT-AC5300), disconnecting the WAN cable, then powering up the router and each AiMesh node in a staggered manner. It's a real hassle.

When the web UI isn't working, the router is still accessible via SSH. All network functionality is generally fine as well...no connection issues, wireless clients are all connected and functioning, it's just the web UI that "hangs" and is entirely unusable. Also, accessing the router from the "ASUS Router" app on a mobile device, such as Android or iOS, is not possible - the ASUS Router app will not properly load when this issue is occurring.

service restart_httpd does nothing to resolve the issue, the web UI still will not load after restarting the httpd service via SSH.

I'm not sure what causes or triggers this problem as I'll have no issues with the web admin UI for weeks at a time, but then the issue might occur within a matter of a day or less, or even minutes after the router is restarted or power cycled. The problem is often reproduceable by making a change to the DHCP manual IP assignment table (Advanced Settings > LAN) and hitting the APPLY button - that causes the router to do a soft reboot afterward, and the web admin UI nearly always hangs/crashes after auth. Scheduled automatic reboot can also cause the issue to arise. There's no rhyme or reason for it otherwise, it's an intermittent and unpredictable issue.

I've installed 3.0.0.4.386_42643-g16dc577, factory reset (w/full reset of all settings/configs/logs), manually input all my settings, the issue still happens. It's a firmware bug no doubt, and ASUS has not corrected it. It's been an issue with this router since 386.xx was released about a year ago.

If there's a way to just fully restart the web admin UI from SSH without going through the hassle of power off and power on (including 5 AiMesh nodes having to be fully power cycled), that would be a huge time saver. Thanks for any input.
 
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ForkWNY

Regular Contributor
Had the opportunity to test the GT-AC5300 "web UI hang" (where the web UI won't load after auth) on a factory new GT-AC5300.

Note that I'm using the GT-AC5300 as the primary Wifi Router, with 5 AiMesh nodes (4 68U's and 1 86U), in ethernet backhaul mode. I do have about 2 dozen manual IP assignments in the DHCP settings, and I have a few port forwarding rules set up for IoT devices. I also use AiProtection and the Traffic Analyzer. About 50 devices on my network, mix of wired/wifi clients on both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands. Otherwise I use default settings for the most part (no QoS, etc.).

I unboxed the router, immediately installed 9.0.0.4.386_43576-g649d261 on it, factory reset from the web UI, THEN factory reset using the power off + hold WPS button when powering on, then proceeded to configure manually. That's about as fresh as a start as possible, considering the router was never used, brand new.

It seems the culprit is.......
Enabling GUEST network on any of the 3 bands. As soon as I flipped on the Guest network on 2.4Ghz, bam, problems with the web UI resulted immediately. There's no known way to fix this issue (once the UI hangs after auth, you're NOT getting in to view settings or make config changes) without powering down ALL AiMesh nodes, then powering off the GT-AC5300, removing the WAN cable, powering on w/o WAN cable attached, logging in to ensure the web UI loads, then powering on all the AIMesh nodes again.

Removing all guest networks seems to fix this issue, and the problem does not seem to occur IF no GUEST networks are configured. Bummer because I like having a guest network on 2.4Ghz, for, as you would guess, guests at my home so they don't have to enter passwords (no access to the LAN). Guess I won't be able to use this feature until it's confirmed fixed.

Those who are not using AiMesh may not even encounter this issue, I'm not sure. Also, the web UI (with AiMesh nodes) will load up and sometimes work with a GUEST network configured on any of the Wifi bands, but the UI is likely to hang up and crash at some point in the future, either after updating settings or restarting the main router, it's intermittent. This is definitely a firmware related issue, not hardware, considering an existing (1 yr old) GT-AC5300 had this issue, in addition to a factory new one.

Hopefully ASUS reads this post and fixes this in a future firmware release. This has been an issue since the 386 firmware version was released for this router. I'm running 9.0.0.4.386_43576-g649d261 on the GT-AC5300, which is the latest beta (that I know of). Fixes issues with people using Pi-hole DNS servers on the LAN.
 
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BeeJayVee

Occasional Visitor
I have the same problem with my GT-AC5300 mesh network, but I don't use the guest network. I have five GT-AC5300 routers (one is the mesh router, the others are nodes) plus two RT-AC5300 nodes. The only way that I can access the web UI after a system restart is to first power on only the main router and then power on the nodes one by one, waiting until each router is visible on the UI before powering on the next one.

It seems to me that the issue is related to the amount of free RAM in the main router. It seems to fill up fast, and if the amount of free RAM becomes less than about 50MB (or so), some features stop working, such as the traffic analyzer and, later, the UI. In one case, after my network had been running without reboot for a few months, it stopped connecting to some clients. I also have found that when I upload files to the USB disk connected to the router's USB port, the amount of RAM used increases rapidly.

When the amount of free RAM gets too low, the only way that I have found to recover is to restart the entire mesh network with the method I described above.
 

ForkWNY

Regular Contributor
That's definitely perplexing...I've never seen my GT-AC5300 (which is my main router) exceed 55-60% RAM utilization, but I'd still encounter the UI crash issue quite regularly, sometimes just minutes or hours after power cycling everything on the network. My power-on procedure was very similar to yours, power up the AiMesh nodes one by one as they come up in the web UI on the main router, then things would work (well, anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on luck).

There were 2 things I did that (so far) seem to have resolved the problem...the first was to delete all my 68U and 86U mesh nodes from the 5300's web admin UI, hard reset them all using the WPS button. I then completely factory reset the GT-AC5300 primary router. I reconfigured the 5300 manually, then added the AiMesh nodes back one by one. I've resisted setting up any unnecessary features, and have not created any Guest networks, as enabling the Guest network seemed to trigger the issue after a factory reset.

Are your 5300 AiMesh nodes on wired or wireless backhaul? That many 5300's should cover a massive amount of square footage!

Clearly ASUS has some serious bug fixing to do on the GT-AC5300 firmware. No reason that UI should be going down the way it does...and you're right, when it happens sometimes other problems follow, including loss of network stability.
 
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toaruScar

Regular Contributor
GameDashboard.asp fails to load
I would then go to web inspector, and copy the failed request as cURL command, and run it in a terminal in verbose mode, and see at which stage it goes wrong.

Also, if you can still login via SSH when website hangs, maybe you could look at the logs?
 

ForkWNY

Regular Contributor
SSH login works fine when the website hangs...which logs would you recommend checking (and file paths if you know them) for the most useful info on what's happening? When the website hangs up, the router is also inaccessible to the ASUS Router app (android/iOS), but it does remain accessible via SSH.

If I encounter the issue again, I will try out the cURL command suggestion.
 

BeeJayVee

Occasional Visitor
That's definitely perplexing...I've never seen my GT-AC5300 (which is my main router) exceed 55-60% RAM utilization, but I'd still encounter the UI crash issue quite regularly, sometimes just minutes or hours after power cycling everything on the network. My power-on procedure was very similar to yours, power up the AiMesh nodes one by one as they come up in the web UI on the main router, then things would work (well, anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on luck).

There were 2 things I did that (so far) seem to have resolved the problem...the first was to delete all my 68U and 86U mesh nodes from the 5300's web admin UI, hard reset them all using the WPS button. I then completely factory reset the GT-AC5300 primary router. I reconfigured the 5300 manually, then added the AiMesh nodes back one by one. I've resisted setting up any unnecessary features, and have not created any Guest networks, as enabling the Guest network seemed to trigger the issue after a factory reset.

Are your 5300 AiMesh nodes on wired or wireless backhaul? That many 5300's should cover a massive amount of square footage!

Clearly ASUS has some serious bug fixing to do on the GT-AC5300 firmware. No reason that UI should be going down the way it does...and you're right, when it happens sometimes other problems follow, including loss of network stability.
My RAM utilization was similar to yours until I added the USB disk. With the disk attached, when starting up the router with 386 firmware and then adding the nodes as describe earlier, free RAM is initially about 15%. This drops to less than 10% if any disk activity occurs, and it gets progressively lower. The utilization never decreases. If you lose the UI but are pretty sure that the RAM is not fully utilized, maybe the RAM isn't the problem with the UI. I assumed that the RAM utilization was the problem because I know that on my router it was just about full. I do know that other features stop working as the RAM utilization gets very close to 100%.

FYI, I use dedicated wireless backhaul. It works pretty well when all of the routers are three-band. I had problems when I used to mix the two- and three-band routers in the same AIMesh network, but using only three-band routers has worked well for me.
 

ForkWNY

Regular Contributor
I've posted a screenshot...nothing too exciting with RAM or CPU utilization, and I do use AiProtection as well as enabling the Traffic Analyzer (it has been at least a week since I've rebooted any of the AiMesh nodes or the main router)...

5300_status.png


I've never used the USB disk feature...sounds like it loads up a lot of overhead though so I'll probably continue to avoid using it. Unfortunately all my nodes are dual band, so I reserve one of the 5G bands for dedicated connections for devices nearby the main router. Wifi performance is really good on the 5G "Roaming" band for everything else, as the AiMesh nodes (wired backhaul mode) will pick up the 5G clients on that one effectively.

I'm 99.99% confident the UI issues aren't caused by RAM utilization, though I would imagine once RAM is maxed out issues are sure to follow. Most of the time, when the UI issue was a problem, network connectivity would be fine across all clients, though sometimes a new client joining the network would be an issue. From the digging I've done over the past several weeks, the ASUS networkmap function appears to be to blame...I read that killing the "networkmap" process from SSH will restore the web UI without a total reboot of all network devices. I haven't had the opportunity to test it yet...if you run into the problem, and you can SSH into your main GT-AC5300, run the "top" command and look for "networkmap" and determine its PID. Run a "kill -9 [PID]" on it and see what happens to the UI before you reboot all your stuff. If it works, it would be a nice workaround compared to power cycling and resetting everything on the network.
 
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