Custom firmware build for Orbi RBK50/RBK53 (RBR50, RBS50) v. 9.2.5.1.17SF-HW

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digital10

Regular Contributor
@Voxel

I would be greatly obliged if you could please look into the stability and speed issues experienced upon separating SSIDs (described in greater detail in my earlier posts on this thread.) I know that you have your hands full so please disregard this request if it is a bother! Many thanks for your excellent work.

When I first got my Orbi I really wanted t separate the channels, but I have seen the system magically choose the best spectrum which gives me the most convenience.

There is no reason to choose 2.4Ghz specifically unless your client doesnt like to work with 5Ghz. In an ideal world, we should have 3 options: 2.4, 5, and combined so we can choose what we prefer.
 

Anjadekar

New Around Here
You know, usually I do not change any QCA specific stuffs, namely their drivers. These stuffs are in the binary form in NG GPL source codes. So I can do not so much to change this. Unfortunately. Maybe. I'd interested in this too. I do not like this unified 2.4 and 5 SSIDs...

I hope to change this. But now: I am locked and I am extremely busy with my family, because of COVID-19. All this make me mad.

Voxel.
The issue I was referring to is completely insignificant in the larger scheme of things so please don't stress out about it! I hope you and your family are safe and well. Take care.
 

Anjadekar

New Around Here
When I first got my Orbi I really wanted t separate the channels, but I have seen the system magically choose the best spectrum which gives me the most convenience.

There is no reason to choose 2.4Ghz specifically unless your client doesnt like to work with 5Ghz. In an ideal world, we should have 3 options: 2.4, 5, and combined so we can choose what we prefer.
Yeah, I was perfectly happy with the Orbi out of the box for a couple of years but then got a soundbar that doesn't work well with it as it communicates with the subwoofer over a 5GHz link. If it weren't for the soundbar I wouldn't want to separate the SSIDs either.
 

digital10

Regular Contributor
Yeah, I was perfectly happy with the Orbi out of the box for a couple of years but then got a soundbar that doesn't work well with it as it communicates with the subwoofer over a 5GHz link. If it weren't for the soundbar I wouldn't want to separate the SSIDs either.

I hear a lot of people say they are happy with Orbi and its solid performance which makes me think Voxel firmware is placebo.

I have probably used Orbi on stock firmware for about 10-14 days but I have seen enough unstable behavior that I decided to install Voxel. Now its stable and reliable so far. I wonder if I just had bad luck. On the internet I have heard people reporting seeing 0 difference after installing Voxel other than the extra enabled features
 

Skippy Bosco

Regular Contributor
At least in my case I have unintentional tangible evidence that it made a difference in my wifi coverage that is not a placebo effect.

https://www.snbforums.com/threads/c...50-rbs50-v-9-2-5-1-17sf-hw.63554/#post-574587

I was stable before without issues so I can't comment on that.


I hear a lot of people say they are happy with Orbi and its solid performance which makes me think Voxel firmware is placebo.

I have probably used Orbi on stock firmware for about 10-14 days but I have seen enough unstable behavior that I decided to install Voxel. Now its stable and reliable so far. I wonder if I just had bad luck. On the internet I have heard people reporting seeing 0 difference after installing Voxel other than the extra enabled features
 

theoak

Regular Contributor
Using "satelliteinfo wifi" I have also seen for example 900/1100 backhaul connection rates on Netgear stock to 1300/1300 on Voxel. This was on Netgear 2.5.1.8.

I have also seen on the debug.htm page CPU rates being consistently lower when using Voxel.

There are a lot of factors at play of course with the above and could be challenged. However, these have been some observations I have seen.

With the above being said, I did get my Orbi router RMA'ed due to random reboots. I am on 2.5.1.16 Netgear stock now. Thus far I have been up 2.5 days without a reboot. If it ain't broken don't fix it as the expression goes. I am going to sit on stock for a while ... well ... until curiosity kills the cat and I get restless for something new.
 

digital10

Regular Contributor
At least in my case I have unintentional tangible evidence that it made a difference in my wifi coverage that is not a placebo effect.

https://www.snbforums.com/threads/c...50-rbs50-v-9-2-5-1-17sf-hw.63554/#post-574587

I was stable before without issues so I can't comment on that.
so for you it was just wider Wifi coverage?
One of the problems I had facing is that my portable devices need a second or two to reconnect to wifi after unlocking screen(LTE[1-3sec]->Wifi icon). No longer with Voxel, Again not sure if just coincidence.

I dont understand how we all run same hardware from same company with same software but the experience is different.

btw I learned to update the satellites first then the routers from your posts so thank you. Actually your posts about the improvement made me do the jump.
 

Skippy Bosco

Regular Contributor
so for you it was just wider Wifi coverage?

I did not have any issues prior. I use wired backhaul, keep default settings, have Disney Circle and Netgear Armor disabled. Everything just worked. The only reason I noticed the wifi change was because the vacuum cleaner mapping pointed it out, otherwise I would have said that there was not a noticeable difference for me.

One of the problems I had facing is that my portable devices need a second or two to reconnect to wifi after unlocking screen(LTE[1-3sec]->Wifi icon). No longer with Voxel, Again not sure if just coincidence.

That seems easy to test if it really was something you wanted an answer to. Do 10 tests of your portable device and note the consistency of the issue. Then flash stock firmware and do the same.

I dont understand how we all run same hardware from same company with same software but the experience is different.

Because there are so many variables:
  • Did you factory reset after the latest firmware update
  • Are you running default settings or did you modify
  • Do you have Parental Controls enabled?
  • Do you have Netgear Armor enabled?
  • Do you have Disney Circle enabled?
  • Are you reserving IPs or have static IP defined?
  • Do you have wired or wireless backhaul?
  • How far apart are your router and satellite if wireless, are your cables good if wired?
  • Who is your telco? What is their speed? What is the modem they provide? Is the cable run good?
  • Do you have other network gear like a switch or firewall?
  • Do you have devices plugged into the Lan port?
  • Do you have a congested wireless signal in your house
  • etc
I could go on and on at the various things that will make a difference to impact stability. It is always interesting to me when I suggest someone factory reset as a troubleshooting mechanism and they indicate they can't because they have 300 manual changes that they've made, but insist none of those changes are causing their issues.

Actually your posts about the improvement made me do the jump.

Happy to hear it and that you're having a positive experience so far! Continued success!
 
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digital10

Regular Contributor
I did not have any issues prior. I use wired backhaul, keep default settings, have Disney Circle and Netgear Armor disabled. Everything just worked. The only reason I noticed the wifi change was because the vacuum cleaner mapping pointed it out, otherwise I would have said that there was not a noticeable difference for me.

Out of curiosity, if everything was stable and fine, why did you install a non-official firmware?
 

Skippy Bosco

Regular Contributor
Out of curiosity, if everything was stable and fine, why did you install a non-official firmware?

The updated libraries and optimized configuration. Feedback from community was great so as long as it was the same or better it was a win for me.
 
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Vipz

Occasional Visitor
I did not have any issues prior. I use wired backhaul, keep default settings, have Disney Circle and Netgear Armor disabled. Everything just worked. The only reason I noticed the wifi change was because the vacuum cleaner mapping pointed it out, otherwise I would have said that there was not a noticeable difference for me.



That seems easy to test if it really was something you wanted an answer to. Do 10 tests of your portable device and note the consistency of the issue. Then flash stock firmware and do the same.



Because there are so many variables:
  • Did you factory reset after the latest firmware update
  • Are you running default settings or did you modify
  • Do you have Parental Controls enabled?
  • Do you have Netgear Armor enabled?
  • Do you have Disney Circle enabled?
  • Are you reserving IPs or have static IP defined?
  • Do you have wired or wireless backhaul?
  • How far apart are your router and satellite if wireless, are your cables good if wired?
  • Who is your telco? What is their speed? What is the modem they provide? Is the cable run good?
  • Do you have other network gear like a switch or firewall?
  • Do you have devices plugged into the Lan port?
  • Do you have a congested wireless signal in your house
  • etc
I could go on and on at the various things that will make a difference to impact stability. It is always interesting to me when I suggest someone factory reset as a troubleshooting mechanism and they indicate they can't because they have 300 manual changes that they've made, but insist none of those changes are causing their issues.



Happy to hear it and that you're having a positive experience so far! Continued success!

I think you captured this point quite well. As far as what's normal/stable - this will differ. I've had the Orbi RBK50 for about a year and recently switched to a carrier that offers 400Mbps download speeds which was an upgrade from my previous carrier that had 40 Mbps as the max. During the time prior to my service switch, I too saw zero issues with my Orbi and it was what I would consider "stable."

After switching to the new carrier, I noticed that within 2 to 10 days after reboot of the Orbi devices, download speeds on all wireless devices (sometimes the satellites, and other times the main router) would never go more than about 45 Mbps while wired devices could easily hit the 400+ Mbps. A reboot of the offending router/satellite would again fix the problem for the wireless devices until problem recurrence.

I suspect the problem of devices getting into this state has likely always been there but went unnoticed because my previous carrier was capped at 40 Mbps. This one change in my environment easily exposed the problem with the stock Orbi firmware. Seeing the number of posts about this issue on the Orbi forums, I knew I wasn't the only one running into it.

It's only been about 10 days since I upgraded to the latest Voxel firmware and so far so good! However, from speaking with a couple of other folks that were seeing similar problems as me (in their case, problems would start within 2 days of reboot), they are either no longer seeing the problem or are seeing it only after 30+ days of uptime on the Voxel firmware. Thus it's definitely an improvement, and I'm hoping that I may be able to localize and possibly troubleshoot the problem, with help from the community here, should it return! :)
 
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digital10

Regular Contributor
I think you captured this point quite well. As far as what's normal/stable - this will differ. I've had the Orbi RBK50 for about a year and recently switched to a carrier that offers 400Mbps download speeds which was an upgrade from my previous carrier that had 40 Mbps as the max. During the time prior to my service switch, I too saw zero issues with my Orbi and it was what I would consider "stable."

After switching to the new carrier, I noticed that within 2 to 10 days after reboot of the Orbi devices, download speeds on all wireless devices (sometimes the satellites, and other times the main router) would never go more than about 45 Mbps while wired devices could easily hit the 400+ Mbps. A reboot of the offending router/satellite would again fix the problem for the wireless devices until problem recurrence.

I suspect the problem of devices getting into this state has likely always been there but went unnoticed because my previous carrier was capped at 40 Mbps. This one change in my environment easily exposed the problem with the stock Orbi firmware. Seeing the number of posts about this issue on the Orbi forums, I knew I wasn't the only one running into it.

It's only been about 10 days since I upgraded to the latest Voxel firmware and so far so good! However, from speaking with a couple of other folks that were seeing similar problems as me (in their case, problems would start within 2 days of reboot), they are either no longer seeing the problem or are seeing it only after 30+ days of uptime on the Voxel firmware. Thus it's definitely an improvement, and I'm hoping that I may be able to localize and possibly troubleshoot the problem, with help from the community here, should it return! :)

This reminds me when my ISP would give me speeds between 15-30Mbps, unknown to me, I disabled WMM thinking it was some sort of QoS, when I upgraded to 100+ Mbps I learned that disabling WMM caps your speed at 30Mbps.

I believe I had the speed drop too, unfortunately it also happened on Voxel after I adjusted some settings on the router. I do not blame Voxel for this, I believe it has to be Netgear's core software.

If its a monthly thing then no issues, but daily or every other day it will be frustrating. After all, all electronics need a shutdown or reboot from time to time.
 

Derek O'Harrow

New Around Here
Hi. Noob (to this forum) here!

I've just found out about Voxel's FW for the Orbi. I have an RBR50/RBS50, connected to the internet using a BT Modem, with WiFi back-haul between the RBR/RBS. I'm looking to add a 2nd satellite which would be cable-connected to the router (for the garden).

If it's ok, a few general questions for your collective wisdom:
  • From what I've read, it sounds like installing this is fairly simple - download the new FW and re-flash, making sure to re-flash the satellite first and then the router, and NOT performing a factory reset. Is that about right?
  • Are settings reset when installing this - will I need to set everything up from scratch? Can I restore settings from a backup?
  • Do I need to upgrade both RBR and RBS, or can I start with just upgrading the satellite and leave it for a while for stability testing before upgrading the router? Will the router on stock FW work with the satellite on Voxel's FW?
  • Is there somewhere that describes the new features over and above stock? (so I can see if I really want to upgrade - my current setup seems to work fine) - I've found the README, but is that for the R9000 and not the RBR/RBS?
    • Multiple VLANs?
  • I've stopped using my Orbi for DHCP as the Orbi doesn't give you local DNS resolution - does this FW provide that capability?
Thanks!
 

BANsOnLn

Occasional Visitor
Just an update. My Orbi was rebooting everyday for some reason. I finally got around to resetting it and I wanted to share what I did.

  1. Saved config on main router
  2. Applied latest Netgear firmware to satellites
  3. Applied latest Netgear firmware to main router
  4. Did hard reset using reset button on satellites
  5. Did hard reset using reset button on main router
  6. Applied backup config to main router
  7. Applied latest Voxel firmware to satellites
  8. Applied latest Voxel firmware to main router
It has now been about 3 days and no reboots. Hopefully it will stay that way. I will send out an update if things change.
 

digital10

Regular Contributor
Hi. Noob (to this forum) here!

I've just found out about Voxel's FW for the Orbi. I have an RBR50/RBS50, connected to the internet using a BT Modem, with WiFi back-haul between the RBR/RBS. I'm looking to add a 2nd satellite which would be cable-connected to the router (for the garden).

If it's ok, a few general questions for your collective wisdom:
  • From what I've read, it sounds like installing this is fairly simple - download the new FW and re-flash, making sure to re-flash the satellite first and then the router, and NOT performing a factory reset. Is that about right?
  • Are settings reset when installing this - will I need to set everything up from scratch? Can I restore settings from a backup?
  • Do I need to upgrade both RBR and RBS, or can I start with just upgrading the satellite and leave it for a while for stability testing before upgrading the router? Will the router on stock FW work with the satellite on Voxel's FW?
  • Is there somewhere that describes the new features over and above stock? (so I can see if I really want to upgrade - my current setup seems to work fine) - I've found the README, but is that for the R9000 and not the RBR/RBS?
    • Multiple VLANs?
  • I've stopped using my Orbi for DHCP as the Orbi doesn't give you local DNS resolution - does this FW provide that capability?
Thanks!

1- Yes that is correct
2-I can tell you when you install voxel your settings will remain, at least thats what happened to me. I don't know if you can restore from a stock firmware backup. I imagine it would work but didnt test it. Voxel itself has the same backup feature

If everything is working fine for you why do you want to upgrade?
 

digital10

Regular Contributor
Just an update. My Orbi was rebooting everyday for some reason. I finally got around to resetting it and I wanted to share what I did.

  1. Saved config on main router
  2. Applied latest Netgear firmware to satellites
  3. Applied latest Netgear firmware to main router
  4. Did hard reset using reset button on satellites
  5. Did hard reset using reset button on main router
  6. Applied backup config to main router
  7. Applied latest Voxel firmware to satellites
  8. Applied latest Voxel firmware to main router
It has now been about 3 days and no reboots. Hopefully it will stay that way. I will send out an update if things change.

I am interested to know why was this happening to you. I would imagine stock firmware would be finicky but with Voxel tweaks should be reliable. So far it has been for me.

I am also glad to know that I can reset using the method you mentioned just in case.
 

BANsOnLn

Occasional Visitor
I am interested to know why was this happening to you. I would imagine stock firmware would be finicky but with Voxel tweaks should be reliable. So far it has been for me.

I am also glad to know that I can reset using the method you mentioned just in case.

I wish I knew as well. I was so frustrated that I was about to buy EERO and just throw away what I had. It was so frustrating. But, I am happy now so far. No daily reboots any more.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Vipz

Occasional Visitor
The readme file for version v9-2-5-1-9 mentions the following:

5. Options in nvram to disable Armor (BitDefender) and Circle update daemons are added.

Are the update daemons disabled by default? If not, then what's the proper way to do this? I checked what nvram output showed occurrence of 'circle' and came up with the below list. However, not entirely sure how to interpret this :)

[email protected]:~# nvram show | grep circle
circle_note=1
enable_circle_plc=0
dgc_func_have_circle=1
circle_jump=xx (redacted)
reboot_flag_for_circle=0
circle_login_mark=1

Similar question for Armor as well.. I searched the forum threads for any details about what parameters can be tweaked and how, but was not successful.
 

theoak

Regular Contributor
When you unpack the ZIP file there is a QuickStart.txt file. The instructions are in there.

...
7. Disable Armor (BitDefender) and Circle update startup.

To disable Armor update daemon run from telnet console the command:

nvram set noarmor=1
nvram commit
reboot

To disable Circle update daemon run from telnet console the command:

nvram set nocircle=1
nvram commit
reboot
...
 

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