Best Router for Packet Priortization

Bensam123

Occasional Visitor
So, I've scoured the reviews here for quite some time and last year I upgraded from a AC68u to a AC86U, hoping that the improved hardware would more then make up for the fact that you can't install third party firmware on it besides Merlin. Losing DDWRT is kinda a big deal. After installing it, I noticed almost no improvement in either latency or bandwidth, which is to be about expected.

Fast forward to this year, I have a lot of computers on my network and have noticed when they're using it (regardless of hitting no where close to bandwidth cap or anywhere near it 460/22 package) I get large amounts of latency spikes. I'm definitely familiar with QoS, but in this case it has nothing to do with bandwidth and has everything to do with what packets get to leave first and take priority with being routed. The CPU shows almost no load and turning on the Asus packet prioritization seems to do absolutely nothing. Since I no longer have DDWRT that restricts the level of QoS I can enforce as far as port prioritization. Asus firmware seems to be based entirely around bandwidth management and not packet priority.

While you'd think a 86u would be enough, apparently it isn't. I looked over all the benchmarks here before ordering the 86u and attempting to make an informed decision, but sadly almost all the tests here are focused around wireless and very few actually tackle a multi-device workload, especially when juggling high priority traffic. Something that really matters, how well a router... routes.

I was hoping CES this year would present a better option and when I purchased the 86u I was pretty much willing to pay up to $400, but it doesn't seem as though this is something where the more money you throw at it, the more likely you will be to cure your problem. I thought the 86u was the best SOHO solution I could get for this and I guess I was wrong.

So that being said, does anyone have a suggestion for a router with powerful and recent hardware that is great for QoS, specifically packet prioritization? Also being able to install DDWRT would be an great addition. Word of mouth doesn't cut it nor reading the marketing material/box. There aren't many, if any places that benchmark routers outside of a simple bandwidth test besides SNB. Really wish there were more objective home networking review websites.
 
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System Error Message

Part of the Furniture
mikrotik or pure linux/unix based gives the highest customisation for QoS in so many ways that goes beyond your imagination but they arent for the light hearted.

Consumer routers all differ for their target QoS. A lot of people report high ping with asus but good QoS will put pings to the back of the priority. The best way to do is to find a router that does QoS the way you want if you dont have the skill to set it up, and a lot of routers have it even tplink and dlink that cost lesst than $100.

So take your pick, auto QoS (this costs lots and depends on your use case), simple QoS (cheap but limited), complex QoS (inexpensive but capable of any config and requires skill). Take your pick.

ASUS prioritises video and gaming. It will put gaming at top, followed by videos, followed by other things, and to the lowest would be downloads, then ICMP for stuff like pings. You will get a bad bufferbloat score with asus QoS because the test involves downloading and pinging so its easy to trick the test, but your experience is the one thats important.

You will not see anything with QoS turned on if you arent fully utilising your internet. Sometimes the problem can be with the ISP or source server. At least set your internet speeds in the QoS setting to be 5% lower than your speed test.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
QOS is not as important today as it was in the past since internet speeds have gotten so fast. If you need QOS you just buy a faster internet speed.
 

Bensam123

Occasional Visitor
Yup, I agree, QoS doesn't really do anything unless you're nearing capacity on your line, which is why it doesn't really do anything for me or my usage scenario. Also understand how ICMP pinging works, some games don't use ICMP and use the packet delivery for estimating your latency. Having used the Asus implementation, it really doesn't seem to do anything and I get a lot of ping thrashing while in game (once again not measured with ICMP). Playing something like HOTS or Fortnite, the variance is all over the place.

Specifically looking for good packet prioritization. Also listing off features from a box doesn't really help what I'm looking for, I can do that already.

Are all new routers firmware locked like Asus now?
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
ASUS prioritises video and gaming. It will put gaming at top, followed by videos, followed by other things, and to the lowest would be downloads, then ICMP for stuff like pings.
You can actually change priorities, by dragging them around. Here's my own setup:

upload_2019-1-22_12-52-58.png


QOS is not as important today as it was in the past since internet speeds have gotten so fast. If you need QOS you just buy a faster internet speed.
I disagree. Today, we use a lot more latency-sensitive services than back in the day. We now have VoIP which has to contend with torrents. Netflix having to deal with gaming consoles downloading gigabytes of game patches. Online gaming competing with online backups.

Sure, a 1 Gbps link might make QoS no longer necessary. But the majority of people in North America don't have such luxury, and we have to deal with 30-100 Mbps instead.

Are all new routers firmware locked like Asus now?
People have no problem flashing my firmware, Tomato or DD-WRT on Asus routers. They're not locked down.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
Spectrum cable offers 400 Mbps for not much more money than 200 Mbps and is much more widely available than 1 Gbps. 400 Mbps should take care of any QOS problems for home users. Spectrum is in the process of upgrading all 100 Mbps connections to 200 Mbps and 300 Mbps connections to 400 Mbps for free. QOS at some point should not really be a problem in the future. Yes 1 Gbps is the ultimate internet connection right now. I am sure in the future internet connections will become even higher bandwidth.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
mikrotik or pure linux/unix based gives the highest customisation for QoS in so many ways that goes beyond your imagination but they arent for the light hearted.
pfSense can get pretty surgical on QoS - lots of knobs to twist... it's not a point and click perhaps, as pfSense is very network focused compared to Consumer oriented off the shelf devices...

These two are ARM based (Marvell) - these are a bit more costly that alternatives, but considering that Netgate is directly funding upstream development on FreeBSD...


No wifi, as they are very focused on security, and gateway performance....

There's always going with netgate direct on their appliances for x86, and DIY options are available - couple of good threads here on SNBForums....
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
People have no problem flashing my firmware, Tomato or DD-WRT on Asus routers. They're not locked down.
OpenWRT supports some of the Asus Routers as routers - their big issue is the quality of the open source drivers across different chipsets for WiFi (the proprietary WL driver), with the primary SoC - CTF is obviously a problem, but netfilter hw flow offload is looking interesting on the trunk...
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
OpenWRT supports some of the Asus Routers as routers - their big issue is the quality of the open source drivers across different chipsets for WiFi (the proprietary WL driver), with the primary SoC - CTF is obviously a problem, but netfilter hw flow offload is looking interesting on the trunk...
If I wanted to run OpenWRT, I would definitely avoid Broadcom and look at a Qualcomm-based product.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
If I wanted to run OpenWRT, I would definitely avoid Broadcom and look at a Qualcomm-based product.
I believe the major issue with OpenWRT on Broadcom comes down to the state of the wireless drivers - wl is proprietary, so OpenWRT uses b43/b43legacy (and limited support for brcmsmac/brcmfmac).
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
I believe the major issue with OpenWRT on Broadcom comes down to the state of the wireless drivers - wl is proprietary, so OpenWRT uses b43/b43legacy (and limited support for brcmsmac/brcmfmac).
That's correct. Last time I checked (a few years ago), even the old RT-N16 still wasn't fully supported on the wifi front. I bet that's even more a problem with routers using a BCM4366E.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
That's correct. Last time I checked (a few years ago), even the old RT-N16 still wasn't fully supported on the wifi front. I bet that's even more a problem with routers using a BCM4366E.
The older b43 stuff - yep, N16 is pretty old, and likely is wl and/or one of the b43 variants.

brcmfmac supports the 4366 at least, don't know if 4366E is that much different - but perhaps the biggest challenge is nobody on the openwrt team appears to be pursuing things with 68U/R7000 and similar platforms - might be a question of interest, time, and available resources. Basic BSP for the CPU/Switch and it does run sans wireless for now - so it might just be someone taking the time to complete the work needed.

I know that openwrt does work with the Pi's wifi chip that is also brcmfmac...
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
The older b43 stuff - yep, N16 is pretty old, and likely is wl and/or one of the b43 variants.

brcmfmac supports the 4366 at least, don't know if 4366E is that much different - but perhaps the biggest challenge is nobody on the openwrt team appears to be pursuing things with 68U/R7000 and similar platforms - might be a question of interest, time, and available resources. Basic BSP for the CPU/Switch and it does run sans wireless for now - so it might just be someone taking the time to complete the work needed.

I know that openwrt does work with the Pi's wifi chip that is also brcmfmac...
Doesn't the bcm4366 family require uploading the firmware to the SoC so it can actually run it (through dhd)? If so, then that might be a legal obstacle.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Doesn't the bcm4366 family require uploading the firmware to the SoC so it can actually run it (through dhd)? If so, then that might be a legal obstacle.
only if it's the WL, for bcm4366, it's in the kernel tree...

https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linu...ux-firmware.git/tree/LICENCE.broadcom_bcm43xx
https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/firmware/linux-firmware.git/tree/brcm
https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linu...n?id=211de1679a68b8ab0f841a8058df35e13e3963f0
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
The Cake package on OpenWRT is surprisingly good at QoS... and not that many knobs to twist -- set the Upstream/Downstream, and Cake works it from there...

https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user...nd_dance_on_a_tight_rope_without_a_safety_net
This. Times 1,000. Can't believe packet queuing didn't come into play earlier in this thread.

@OP, IMHO it's really queue management that you're after, not legacy classing/shaping. Find a platform that at the very least offers fq_codel, if not CAKE, as a qdisc, and your problems should all but disappear (at least for small, flat topologies, which is what we're dealing with 95% of the time on SNB).

As for "just buy more bandwidth": that doesn't solve the issue of a gateway's inability to egress all packet streams at acceptably low enough latency, jitter and packet loss. If you've got an under-powered engine and/or poor packet queuing platform (ie. most consumer routers out there), there's a high chance that buying more pipe will not solve latency/jitter to the endpoint on its own.
 
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sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
This. Times 1,000. Can't believe packet queuing didn't come into play earlier in this thread.

@OP, IMHO it's really queue management that you're after, not legacy classing/shaping. Find a platform that at the very least offers fq_codel, if not CAKE, as a qdisc, and your problems should all but disappear (at least for small, flat topologies, which is what we're dealing with 95% of the time on SNB).

As for "just buy more bandwidth": that doesn't solve the issue of a gateway's inability to egress all packet streams at acceptably low enough latency, jitter and packet loss. If you've got an under-powered engine and/or poor packet queuing platform (ie. most consumer routers out there), there's a high chance that buying more pipe will not solve latency/jitter to the endpoint on its own.
pfSense 2.4.4 has fq_codel implemented, and one can "fake" things by turning the knobs and levers with the shapers at hand... and good very good results... but it's not hands-free here.

That being said - it's cool what OpenWRT has done with Cake/SQM, and with some platforms looking forward, flow offload, even though like CTF/FA, it's a bit fragile at the moment.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
As for "just buy more bandwidth": that doesn't solve the issue of a gateway's inability to egress all packet streams at acceptably low enough latency, jitter and packet loss. If you've got an under-powered engine and/or poor packet queuing platform (ie. most consumer routers out there), there's a high chance that buying more pipe will not solve latency/jitter to the endpoint on its own.
You may have a point but with todays faster routers your point is melting away as technology gets better and faster.

On top of that I use a super fast Cisco layer3 switch which is definitely not under powered for a home residence. Way faster than any consumer router.
 

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