Nvidia Shield TV PLEX Server Slow Access to Asus RT-AC68U USB HDD

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Never Ready Eddie

New Around Here
My setup is an NVIDIA Shield TV Pro (2019) running a PLEX server with the media stored on a hard drive plugged into my Asus RT-AC68U (Merlin Firmware 384.17) acting as a NAS. I moved the USB drive from the Shield as it would loose access to the plugged in HDD for some reason. Having it on the Router seems much more reliable and easier to access over the network from my PC.

My issue was very slow to start movies and shows but once started they were fine to seek through etc. I Googled it and found many saying it was the SMB2 and SMB3 protocol causing this (https://forums.plex.tv/t/slow-playback-start-on-most-movies/531119) so I set my Asus to just SMB1 and voila, it works really quickly now. The details are that the underlying issue with SMB2/3 is the Opportunistic Locking (oplock) in the SMB2/3 protocol it seems. People with Synology NAS drives have an option in their settings to turn this off selectively. I could only drop it to SMB1 on my router to fix it but given the security issues with SMB1, I would like to keep SMB2 and just disable the Opportunistic Locking (oplock). How can I do this and keep it through firmware updates? Note, I have never done anything other than update firmware and change settings the the UI. I don't know how to use the terminal but am willing to learn.
 

venomo160

New Around Here
How did you move it back to SMB1? The official firmware release does not have this option.

Edit: I do have the same setup and same issue as yours: slow playback on some files.
 

QuikSilver

Very Senior Member
Suggestion: Get a real NAS instead of overloading your router :)
I'd take this a step further and say use an older PC to be the media server. I tried using a Synology Nas as a plex server and it was painfully slow.
 

dosborne

Very Senior Member
I tried using a Synology Nas as a plex server and it was painfully slow.
Depends on the model and / or upgrades. :) Although I don't like Plex and don't currently use it, it runs perfectly well on my QNAP TS-563 w/16GB, but I wouldn't even bother trying it on my QNAP TS-231P, or my D-Link NAS.
 

dosborne

Very Senior Member
Use an SSH client (PUTTY for Windows for example) to connect and log in to your router.
 

Never Ready Eddie

New Around Here
Sorry for my late reply.

1. Firstly I can select SMB with a drop down menu thanks to my Merlin firmware.

2. I wont spend another £200+ on a NAS to solve a small issue as plenty of people complain about their performance issues too so its seems a waste of money. The ASUS router attached HDD works very quickly and reliably. I can start up 4K movies with >80Mbps bit rates instantly if using say VLC over SMB or DLNA from Windows or Android and seek without any noticeable delay. The ASUS router's dual core CPU has more power than some entry level NAS dries too so its a fine enough NAS drive for what it is.

3. I started my life with the PLEX server on a PC. It was a mini Shuttle PC with an i3-2120 CPU, 4GB Ram and an SSD main drive so plenty quick. The Media was stored on the a USB drive plugged into the mini PC. However as Windows has a tenancy to do all kinds of daft background shirt it often buffered mid movie while Windows 10 installed updates or indexed files. Again I did disable indexing and all kinds of things but it was still just too unreliable. I also kept it off when not in use which probably compounded the back ground update issues but I was not willing to run a PC 24-7 for the odd PLEX use.

The Plex Server on Shield is amazing. It can run multiple streams, even transcoding them (which I don't use as all my devices can direct play but have tested). Its ready to go at all times on any device and works as a nice update to my older living room TVs old Smart TV interface for all the streaming services to boot. As I said the only issue is the slight buffering delay when starting movies or shows. The SMB1 setting on the router has improved things but it does sometimes take a good while longer to start shows in PLEX than say a VLC direct stream. But as it works so flawlessly in all other respects, never buffering mid stream and seeking incredibly fast once the show is up and running, I can live with it.

My main question was not how to replace it but how I could use a fancy terminal command to disable opportunistic locking in the ASUS router running Merlin firmware so I can go back to SMB2/3. I am sure there is a command to do this but I don't know it and have very little experience with the terminal interface. I have installed PUTTY but I don't really know my way around the basic navigation commands or where to write new commands to so they are 'permanent', at least until a firmware update. So I need some helpful person to provide the command to disable opportunistic locking and talk me though every step of entering them one by one please.
 

Ronald Schwerer

Very Senior Member
Sorry, I can't help with the opportunistic locking issue, but you mentioned a long start-up delay when you started streaming from the 68U's HDD. This is might be because you have set the drive to spin-down (hibernate) when not in use for a (configurable) period of time. Default is 300 seconds. This is set in Administration/System/USB Setting. If the drive has hibernated, it could take 4-5 seconds to get back up to operational RPM. You could disable this on that drive. Hibernating mainly reduces power draw. Modern HHDs are fine spinning 24/4. BTW, is your external HD powered from the router's USB? It's better to use an enclosure with a separate power supply.
 

Never Ready Eddie

New Around Here
Yes I am aware of the power down option and have it set to off. I used to use it when it was a dumb DLNA server before I started using PLEX but as you say, I disabled it to try and speed things up. No real difference seen though. Its USB powered but as I said, accessing and playing from it using Windows or Android non PLEX players like VLC are instant so its not the HDD or even the router but something involving the ShieldTV + PLEX.

My LG OLED TV's onboard PLEX app is a bit faster at starting videos too so it might just be something in the Shield TV Plex client app too (everything is wired btw). But running SMB1 on the router makes PLEX certainly faster starting videos than it was on SMB2/3 so it must be something else slowing the start down now. But really it is quicker than it was (5-10 seconds now vs 20-30s before) and very tolerable now given how slick and reliable the setup is in all other respects. The LG OLED plays high bit-rate 4K movies really nicely in PLEX with no buffering and very rapid seeking once its started. I have none of the issues I used to get running it from a low powered Widows PC and I am not about to run my gaming PC 24-7 either to gain 5 to 10 seconds quicker movie startup. I'll just stick with SMB1 and my current setup then.
 

Yooshaw

Occasional Visitor
Did you upgrade the Shield to 8.2 yet? Has SMB fixes in it.
 

appleseed

Regular Contributor
You're asking a lot from the limited resources of the AC68U (or any router) considering the background tasks from Plex. You can do it, yes, but it's probably the least effecient way of running a Plex server. You should probably solve why the HDD keeps disconnecting from the Shield, it may end up being something simple like a reformat, reset, or exchanging the HDD or Shield.

check here to find out if anyone has your model ext. HDD:
 

Never Ready Eddie

New Around Here
You make a fair point in that if I could have the USB HDD running reliably on the Shield itself, that would be the best option from an access and performance perspective. It was also slower to copy files too over my network when mounted on the Shield but I will try it again. Perhaps I gave up too easily after trying it initially. I will try reformatting it on the Shield, though its going to be a pain moving the media to other locations ahead of doing it. Also maybe the new 8.2 update (I have not checked if I have it yet) might make it more reliable too.

The hard drive I am using is the WD 4 TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive but formatted a long time ago in Windows as NTFS, so maybe a reformat will do the trick for use on the Shield directy.
 

Yooshaw

Occasional Visitor
I'm running a Plex Server on a Shield Pro (2017) as well. I have a 4 TB USB hard drive hooked up to the Shield for media storage only. This HDD has been rock solid in terms of performance, needing about 8 seconds to spin up if it's in hibernation. I also used to have a 1TB SSD hooked up to my 68U, where I would get similar delays in starting a video on PLEX, usually about 30 seconds or so. The 68U log had some messages about it about it timing out. Moved to an AX88U, and had similar messages. After a full reset of the AX88U, it's been rock solid. I've had no ill effects after updating the Shield to 8.2 - still need to do some performance tests to see if I gained any speed. The 8.2 update ditched SMBv1 for SMBv3.
 
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