Phicomm K3C AC1900 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router Reviewed

  • ATTENTION! As of November 1, 2020, you are not able to reply to threads 6 months after the thread is opened if there are more than 500 posts in the thread.
    Threads will not be locked, so posts may still be edited by their authors.
    Just start a new thread on the topic to post if you get an error message when trying to reply to a thread.

Easy Rhino

Senior Member
I've been slowly exchanging emails with Phicomm's tech support in China regarding woes working this as an AP. No resolution yet, I've tried setting it up as a router-behind-myrouter and it's actually been working okay for a few days now.

Any OpenVPN support for this router planned for the future? Any acceleration built into this Intel chip??

Right now it's just PPTP and L2TP.

FWIW... I was able to set up L2tP with a free VPN service that I activated just for testing (uh... SecurityKISS), and it seemed to work. speedtest results were significantly slower but I don't know if that's due to the router or the service.
 

Easy Rhino

Senior Member
So to follow up on tidbits from my exchange with Phicomm support.

With regard to unreliable behavior as an AP, they said that it was designed to be used as a main router, and that "AP may not be the best way"... so that's disappointing.

I asked why the home page CPU utilization graph always reports the CPU as 800mhz. And she said the CPU is two cores running at 800mhz. Interesting, it conflicts with the review, although Intel isn't very forthcoming about clock rates on these CPUs, although the Koolshare teardown part number seems to match that of a 1600mhz Intel part.

Finally, she mentioned no plans for OpenVPN support.
 

CrystalLattice

Senior Member
band steering works under single ssid setting, as observed on app. can also divide and handle 16 groups of 3 mu-mimo 1x1 clients on 5ghz, then 16 more clients as su-mimo on 5ghz. handles 64 clients on su-mimo 2.4ghz, for 128 clients total. can only be tested in industrial strength situation, like classroom or office
 
Last edited:

Internet Man

Senior Member
So to follow up on tidbits from my exchange with Phicomm support.

With regard to unreliable behavior as an AP, they said that it was designed to be used as a main router, and that "AP may not be the best way"... so that's disappointing.

I asked why the home page CPU utilization graph always reports the CPU as 800mhz. And she said the CPU is two cores running at 800mhz. Interesting, it conflicts with the review, although Intel isn't very forthcoming about clock rates on these CPUs, although the Koolshare teardown part number seems to match that of a 1600mhz Intel part.

Finally, she mentioned no plans for OpenVPN support.
There is a lot of confusion about the specs of the various GRX350 parts.

It seems likely to me that Intel added the two 800 MHz cores together to reach their 1600 MHz claim.
 

CrystalLattice

Senior Member
There is a lot of confusion about the specs of the various GRX350 parts.

It seems likely to me that Intel added the two 800 MHz cores together to reach their 1600 MHz claim.

"With all due respect, Intel does not become confused." As reported by wikidevi, the GRX350 is 1.6ghz clock speed, 2 cores, Mips34kc architecture, Network capability 10G NPU(has 10gBE ethernet network capability). The firmware is flawed. see https://wikidevi.com/wiki/Lantiq
 
Last edited:

Internet Man

Senior Member
"With all due respect, Intel does not become confused." As reported by wikidevi, the GRX350 is 1.6ghz clock speed, 2 cores, Mips34kc architecture, Network capability 10G NPU(has 10gBE ethernet network capability). The firmware is flawed. see https://wikidevi.com/wiki/Lantiq
WikiDevi is not an authoritative source. I would trust what the firmware reports and the Phicomm support confirms over WikiDevi's guesses.

If you can find some other source of information that didn't just pull their information from WikiDevi's guess please share it.

All we get from Intel is "1600MHz" on the Ordering and spec information page but that doesn't even mention whether it is single or dual-core. No speed is listed for the non-1600 GRX350.

A SmartRG press release for the SR900ac claims that it contains a "Intel® AnyWAN™ SoC GRX350" and "A powerful 1.6GHz dual-core CPU" but I'm still not convinced that they are not just fluffing the number for marketing purposes by calling the 2x 800 MHz cores 1.6 GHz.

ASUS only claims that the Blue Cave has an Intel dual-core CPU with no mention of its clock frequency. A WikiDevi user tried to change the page to show that the CPU runs at 800 MHz but another user reverted that back to 1.6 GHz possibly just based on the ambiguous 1600MHz claim from Intel. This page says of the Blue Cave, "Network SoC: Intel AnyWAN GRX350 PXB4395EL1600 800MHz Dual Core Three-Thread"

Perhaps @thiggins could get an official answer from Phicomm or ASUS or else someone who owns these devices could SSH into them and use some of the techniques described here to determine the clock speed: https://www.snbforums.com/threads/how-to-check-cpu-size-rt-68u.30782/
 
Last edited:

CrystalLattice

Senior Member
WikiDevi is not an authoritative source. I would trust what the firmware reports and the Phicomm support confirms over WikiDevi's guesses.

If you can find some other source of information that didn't just pull their information from WikiDevi's guess please share it.

All we get from Intel is "1600MHz" on the Ordering and spec information page but that doesn't even mention whether it is single or dual-core. No speed is listed for the non-1600 GRX350.

A SmartRG press release for the SR900ac claims that it contains a "Intel® AnyWAN™ SoC GRX350" and "A powerful 1.6GHz dual-core CPU" but I'm still not convinced that they are not just fluffing the number for marketing purposes by calling the 2x 800 MHz cores 1.6 GHz.

ASUS only claims that the Blue Cave has an Intel dual-core CPU with no mention of its clock frequency. A WikiDevi user tried to change the page to show that the CPU runs at 800 MHz but another user reverted that back to 1.6 GHz possibly just based on the ambiguous 1600MHz claim from Intel. This page says of the Blue Cave, "Network SoC: Intel AnyWAN GRX350 PXB4395EL1600 800MHz Dual Core Three-Thread"

Perhaps Tim could get an official answer from Phicomm or ASUS or else someone who owns these devices could SSH into them and use some of the techniques described here to determine the clock speed: https://www.snbforums.com/threads/how-to-check-cpu-size-rt-68u.30782/
Yeah, and The Attacks on 9/11 Were an Inside Job! This is really buggy firmware. List:
doesnt report cpu freq. right?
doesnt report cpu cores
doesnt do "isolate ap"- snb
doesnt resize browser on pc or ipad
tells snb it doesnt do intelligent band steering, when it does
can't be used as AP
has AUTO radio power reduce!
it pings sites in china-snb
cant do most blocking chores-snb
who knows the security holes, no one has run a security vulnerability scan
there are no official answers from phicomm,

the only reason to own this router is experimental, & only if you paid $15. we all love a great conspiracy story! hava great weekend!
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: c84

Wutikorn

Senior Member

Internet Man

Senior Member
Correction, can't be used as an AP at all. At least not in my house.

But it would be interesting to determine the real clock speed of this chip more authoritatively. After all, the Asus Blue cave firmware reports three cores, which is probably wrong.
Could the third one be network accelerator?
It could be that the CPU supports three threads as described on this page which says, "Network SoC: Intel AnyWAN GRX350 PXB4395EL1600 800MHz Dual Core Three-Thread"

Kind of like how systems with Intel CPUs that support HyperThreading show more than just the physical cores.
 

CrystalLattice

Senior Member
Results of two weeks endurance test of Phicomm K3c:

Setup as AP to OpenWrt firewalling router, never exposed directly to internet
Uptime- 100%
No firmware problems. Closed firmware(LEDE?) w/ few settings means few strange glitches like asus, factory or curated in forums.
20 clients, no problems
Use iphone app which shows clients switching between 5 & 2.4ghz intelligent band steering on subnet
No client disconnects, no problems with clients connecting after sleep stage
Will play nice with surrounding networks on channel assignment, easily re-set
No wired problems, assigns IP on subnet
No problems switching radios off or setting lower radio power levels, has auto power reduce function
No problem on Wisp test
Handles the few mu-mimo clients attached, no need to turn mu-mimo off
Updates firmware no problem manually, auto update not tested.

Prices down on amazon, up on ebay?

No sense purchasing, or owning, better router than this until 802.11ax and wpa3 introduced at near end of year!
 

Easy Rhino

Senior Member
Lattice, can you go into more detail on how you set it up as an AP? (which ethernet connections, which ip addresses, etc) Because when I set it up, man, it just didn't work well when I tried to use it an an AP behind my DDWRT router.

Can you especially describe the DHCP setup you have? That seems to be where my failures are... clients can't get ip addresses.
 

CrystalLattice

Senior Member
double nat doesnt matter unless youre gaming. only game on main router. like the man captainstx says, just do it this way to get goin til a better solution comes along. yes, those r snb's articles. 2nat: https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/network/switch_router_gateway_and_nat . diff. subnet like captainstx sez. even more secure. btw, i like ddwrt as much as the next guy, but take a gander at jim salters arstechnica art. on routers, espec. the kong ddwrt on a netgear, hardly downloads for some reason! enjoy. when i figure a better way i'll pass it along.
 
Last edited:

Easy Rhino

Senior Member
Alas, I don't have time for gamin' lately.

Double natting is, (i'm pretty sure?) preventing me from doing two things:
1) printing to downstairs printer from upstairs
2) using a computer downstairs as a file share for upstairs.

So i'm not calling it optimal.

I may try re-switching the K3C so it's my main router. Last time I did, it bumped into some sort of problem... although it may have been cable modem related. so I might give it a shot.
 

CrystalLattice

Senior Member
could try letting k3c be the only dhcp server, re-arrange IPs and cabling
 
Last edited:

CrystalLattice

Senior Member

Attachments

  • IMG_0860.JPG
    IMG_0860.JPG
    44.7 KB · Views: 749
Last edited:

Easy Rhino

Senior Member
has anyone used the USB storage much?

When I attach a external laptop hard drive (that draws 1 amp from the USB port), it craps out on a transfer after about 2 seconds.
If I attach a USB thumb drive it works okay.

Unfortunately I dont' have a powered USB HDD enclosure to test with.

i'm wondering if the port isn't quite providing 1 amp of power, or there's some other problem. (the external laptop hard drive works fine when plugged into my computer).
 

Latest threads

Sign Up For SNBForums Daily Digest

Get an update of what's new every day delivered to your mailbox. Sign up here!
Top