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RT-N66U Firmware Options?

Discussion in 'ASUS N Routers & Adapters' started by OllieNZ, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. OllieNZ

    OllieNZ Occasional Visitor

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    Hi All,

    My current ISP Provided router is doing my nut in so I dug out my trusty old RT-N66U which after some basic testing has proved to be superior in both signal strength and quality the ISP provided unit. I'm after some advice regarding the optimal firmware it. I've just updated it to the latest version from Asus but recalled reading something about the router being vulnerable to VPN Filter malware and the search for info has lead me here, which has opened my eyes to some interesting options.
    I'm a pretty basic user and I'd like to optimise the router for gaming (xbox live) and streaming (amazon prime, youtube, videos on NAS). I don't have VPN or any remote access needs.
    I'm assuming from a security standpoint the latest version of the Asus firmware is going to be the best? Feature wise, based on my rather basic intended usage would something like Asuswrt-Merlin be better? looking at either the legacy 380.70 or the 374.42 fork, is one better than the other? it seems the fork still has current update support.

    Thanks in advance

    Regards

    Ollie
     
  2. ColinTaylor

    ColinTaylor Part of the Furniture

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    Mainline support for Asuswrt-Merlin ended with 380.70. So IMHO the only options are stock Asus or John's fork (which is what I currently use on my AC68U). Both of which are being actively updated.

    Regarding prioritising your devices: the N66U has a weak CPU so using QoS will limit your download speeds to about 100Mbps in my personal experience with my old N66U. The QoS settings are very basic but they can be made to work effectively if you do it right. QoS in Asus' stock firmware was broken for a very long time. I don't know whether they ever did fix it, but it definitely works in John's firmware.

    Who is your ISP and what are your line speeds?
     
  3. OllieNZ

    OllieNZ Occasional Visitor

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    My ISP is Virgin Media (I'm in the UK) 100mbps down no idea what the up is supposed to be but it seems to max out around 20mbps. The modem/router is the abortion otherwise known the Super Hub 3. It's sad that their flagship router is so bad it's easily out performed by a 7 year old router. I've just had the latest firmware update for it which according to my BQM has improved the latency slightly but it seems to actually be worse, taking longer to load web pages and has network stability issues. It's finally gotten so bad it prompted me to dig out the N66U.
    I'm going to try the fork, I tried loading it on last night but was having issues with the restore tool not recognising that the router was in recovery mode. I've come across a thread with some fixes so I'll try those before I give up and run it on the stock firmware. I don't want to invest significant time into it at this point because if it works well I'll look at picking up an AC86U
     
  4. OllieNZ

    OllieNZ Occasional Visitor

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    Got the Fork loaded via CFE on 192.168.1.1 opened in an incognito window in chrome. Tip for anyone else that tries this method, when it says it's done it aint. Set it to load and go do something else for half an hour, should be good to go after that.

    Any tips for default settings that should be changed to improve security? (Other than the SSIDs and admin login details)
     
  5. ColinTaylor

    ColinTaylor Part of the Furniture

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    Glad to hear you got it working. I'm also with VM using a SH3. To be honest I've not found the Puma problem to be an issue with the latest SH3 fimrware. But then my line speed is 350Mbps so that would hide a lot of problems.

    If you haven't already done so put the SH3 in modem-mode.

    I would recommend that you set fixed wireless channels rather than using "Auto". Also, for the 5GHz band use channels from 36 to 48. I tried using the higher channels (DFS) but found that the N66U was particularly sensitive to radar and would frequently change channels, resulting in clients being disconnected for 60 seconds.
     
  6. OllieNZ

    OllieNZ Occasional Visitor

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    My issues with the SH3 are latency spikes and poor wifi performance rather than outright speed. The latency issue is so bad I've given up playing online FPS's. I'm hoping running the SH3 in modem mode will take some of the load off the CPU and improve the latency issue, the WiFi on the N66U is much more stable (eg it will sit at -40dbm where as the SH3 on the same device, in the same position, at the same time was varying wildly between -50 and -75dbm) and is at least 10-15dbm better in in all areas of the house.
     
  7. ColinTaylor

    ColinTaylor Part of the Furniture

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    I'm aware of the latency issues with the SH3 but I've not experienced any problems with the latest firmware. That said, I only got my SH3 a couple of weeks before they updated the firmware so didn't really have a lot of time with the old firmware. But the latency spikes were very noticeable then and they aren't now. YMMV.

    Yes, the WiFi on all the hubs has always been diabolical which is why I never use it.
     
  8. OllieNZ

    OllieNZ Occasional Visitor

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    This shows when the .608 update occurred for me a couple of days ago.

    [​IMG]

    I've not tried an online shooter yet to see if there's been a real world improvement but whatever the update did it seemed to nerf the WiFi even more and even my living room TV which is hard wired was suffering buffering issues on prime video and youtube.
    I've definitely noticed an improvement in performance since bringing the N66U online this morning
     
  9. ColinTaylor

    ColinTaylor Part of the Furniture

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    Yes I'm on 9.1.116.608 as well.

    021bd85b058eee933315645207dbdd21d0b94d4e.png
     
  10. OllieNZ

    OllieNZ Occasional Visitor

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    Seems my issues are possibly not just the router then......... time to bang in a call to Virgin this week then
     
  11. ColinTaylor

    ColinTaylor Part of the Furniture

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    What does www.speedtest.net look like. Do you get a nice flat line on the graph?

    My area suffered for years from VM's over-subscription of their services. But it was fairly obvious; as soon as the kids in the area came home from school the speeds went through the floor. Also, there's a lot of university students in the area. As soon as term finished and they went back to their parents house the internet was wonderful.:rolleyes:
     
  12. OllieNZ

    OllieNZ Occasional Visitor

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    Graph is nice and flat but it does seem to be self smoothing, the needle bounces about a lot.
     
  13. MarkyPancake

    MarkyPancake Senior Member

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    As I understand it, the latency issue caused by the internal hardware of the SH3 is not bypassed by running it in modem only mode. I've heard it affects online gaming, as it causes constant, repeating lag spikes. Last time I checked the VM forums, there was a huge thread about it.

    I'm on VM's 200 service, but still have a SH2 (modem mode with AC86U as the router), as I don't want the broken SH3 anywhere near my setup, as it's used heavily for gaming.
     
  14. ColinTaylor

    ColinTaylor Part of the Furniture

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    Hearsay is one thing reality is another. Yes, until the recent firmware update the lag spikes were very noticeable. After the updates there's been mixed reports. I think you'd have to take it on a case by case basis. I won't deny people are still reporting having problems. All I know is that my son plays online with his PS4 all the time and has no problems at all.
     
  15. OllieNZ

    OllieNZ Occasional Visitor

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    Part of my reasoning for trying modem mode was to help the latency by reducing CPU load (which as I understand it is the root cause of the issues) and I can honestly say it seems to have made a huge difference, streaming youtube/amazon has improved and I can play Neverwinter (an MMO) without getting booted every 10-15mins due to poor connection. I still need to try an FPS like Titanfall or Halo as they're far more sensitive to latency than any other type of game.
    My experiment seems to be working well so the next step will be to upgrade to a newer router. Unless some one wants to talk me out it I'm probably going to pick up an R7800 and run Voxel firmware on it, it seems to be the best fit for my needs.
     
  16. OllieNZ

    OllieNZ Occasional Visitor

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    Pulled the trigger on the R7800, should be here tomorrow.