Routers, VPN, and IP cams on the network, what makes thing run well/smoothly?

EdCaffreyMS

Occasional Visitor
To date I have received good/valuable information from my question on these forums (aside from some who used my threads as a soapbox), and would like to thank those folks for taking the time to answer.

As the title sates..... I'm curious to hear what more knowledge folks can tell me about the relationship on a home/small network of the Routers, and how it weighs on having a number of IP security cameras on that network? Specifically, I have a total of 16 Wyze Cams (generally 7 of them active at once) on my home network, currently being run via an Asus RT-AC88U, which also has a VPN setup on the router. I have noticed a significant difference in how well, or how poorly the cameras respond/relay their live footage, depending upon if the VPN is enabled or disabled. With the VPN enabled, the cameras often have as much as a 2 minute delay/lag, which makes them basically useless. With the VPN disabled, that lag is usually only a couple/few seconds. Cutting the cameras viewed on a single screen from 7 to 4 helps significantly, but also reduces camera coverage.

All that to this point.... the AC88U hardware includes a 1.4Ghz dual core. Is there any reason to believe that I could achieve better performance and/or less image lag on the cameras either with or without the VPN enabled, if I were to upgrade to better hardware specs in a router? And thoughts as to what might be a viable candidate in a router? I know just enough about networking to be a danger to myself. :)
 

degrub

Very Senior Member
 

eibgrad

Part of the Furniture
Regarding the VPN, it wasn't clear. Is that your own OpenVPN *server* on the router used for remote access purposes to the cameras? Or is it OpenVPN *client* on the router and you want those cameras (for internet access purposes) being routed through it?

The reason I'm asking is because if it's the latter, than obviously you could use split tunneling to have the cameras bypass the OpenVPN client. I realize it's far more likely you meant OpenVPN server, but I want to make sure.
 
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EdCaffreyMS

Occasional Visitor
You're correct.... it is the OpenVPN client, being run on the router.....the VPN service being utilized is SurfShark. The "split tunneling" is something I am unfamilar with... will go do a bit of research and try to educate myself. Thank You!
 

EdCaffreyMS

Occasional Visitor
WOW!! It's amazing just how much I DON'T know! :) I've got to see if I can dig up some documentation on the Asus router that provides some basic direction for us amateurs. I found the feature you were talking about (VPN Director), and also discovered that SurfShark has this feature.... with a different name (the call is "Bypasser"). I tried it by setting bluestacks, which is the app I use to monitor the WyzeCams via my PC, and it indeed solve the camera lag issue! As for the VPN Director on the router, I'll need to learn how and what to insert for "rules". You've given me lots of direction! Many Thanks!
 

EdCaffreyMS

Occasional Visitor
Now that I am digging deeper and deeper into the settings of my current router (RT-AC88U), I am finding that detailed documentation/explaination is difficult to find...if it even exists. The WIKI linked on the AsusMerlin site is woefully inaccurate and very limited in it's information. The Asus Manuals are even less helpful.... only identifying settings tabs, with little or no explanation of each works. And I've spent literally hours searching the net and it seems that in depth information on these routers' features, and how to us them simply doesn't exist.
 
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eibgrad

Part of the Furniture
Yep. When it comes to third-party firmware (or even OEM for that matter), it's assumed you have the prerequisite networking knowledge. May not be fair, but that's the way it's always been. It's one of those areas in computing where the average user is at distinct disadvantage. Took me YEARS to figure it all out! And it's pretty much the same for everyone else. Constant exposure and research is the answer. There are few quick and easy fixes. Just when you think you know it all, that same day you learn something you had NO CLUE about until someone else happened to mention it. It's mighty humbling.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
Sounds like you need an L3 switch or a faster router. An L3 switch with separate APs would solve your problem. I am thinking Cisco small business. This is much harder to setup than a wireless router.

I don't think you can deal software wise with 2-minute lags.
 
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EdCaffreyMS

Occasional Visitor
Both of those last two replies make sense. Many thanks to both eibgrad and coxhaus! That lag on the IP cameras is intolerable! I did a bit more experimenting over the weekend, this time, going back to unique SSIDs on two of the three routers/APs that connect the IP cams via wireless. I noticed that those cameras connected to the routers/APs that I had changed SSIDs on showed significantly LESS lag, and far fewer time outs. Just to clarify, I orinonally had 4 unique 2.4 SSIDs and the same for the 5.0 band, on 4 different routers/APs within the network. I may have to go back to that, as it seems to have less lag, and nearly no time outs on the IP cams. Many you folks can tell me why that might be? I don't have a clue. :)

Since you've been so kind as to answer my questions, I have another to pose..... I have the routers/APs with static IP addresses in the following manner..... 192.168.1.1, 192.168.1.2, and the others ending in 3 and 4 respectively. I ran across something online during my digging, that suggested setting up different routers/APs on the same network using the next to last number to differ the static IP addresses? Such as 192.168.1.1...192.168.2.1 and the same with 3 and 4. It that the "proper" way to do it? Just a different way? Does it make any difference in how things work/performance of the network?
 

Techwrench

New Around Here
Wifi security cameras are very susceptible to packet loss (appears as dropped frames and lag), caused by interference. If you have no wired option with those cameras, you could set channel width to 20mhz, divide the cameras up between different access points on channels 1, 6, 11 the only 2.4ghz channels that don't overlap. Run a wifi survey with an app such as Wifiman to see what nearby networks are doing. If the neighbors wifi is set to auto for channel selection, then what works somewhat on one day may be unstable the next. The network traffic introduced by even one camera with a poor connection is significant, as it continues to resend to dropped frames until the lag builds up and eventually times out and starts over sending what it just captured. This behavior causes congestion for other cameras on the same network and will induce lag and crashing in them as well. I have worked with wired and wireless camera systems for awhile, and only suggest wired for reliability but have kept wireless systems going until the people could afford wired cameras. Not to say the things you have been trying don't make a difference, but much of what you experience is synonymous with wireless cameras.
 

EdCaffreyMS

Occasional Visitor
Thanks Techwrench!! I used to have them all setup just as you said.... each router/AP on the network having their own SSIDs, and channels. The IP cameras still had lag and some time outs, but not nearly like now, with 4 routers/APs on the same network, each with the same SSIDs....and different channels. The idea behind that was to keep the cameras up, while getting devices to change to stronger wifi signals as I moved about.... I'm thinking now it's been a failed experiment.
I think as soon as it's warm enough outside, I'm going to go back to the way it was..... 4 routers/APs, each with their own SSIDs, and as much channel spacing as I can find/provide. It's kinda a pain in that each of the cameras have to be reset/reconnected to the wireless. In my situation, wired cameras are simply not a viable option. I'll just have to figure out the best overall configuration, with the least problems, and just suck it up. :)
 

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