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Simple (fundamental) Performance Question

Discussion in 'ASUS AX Routers & Adapters' started by frankhere, Mar 25, 2020 at 3:58 PM.

  1. frankhere

    frankhere Occasional Visitor

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    Simple question:
    What could one do to improve / increase the performance of a router ?
    Note this is more academic than an actual need...

    The way I look at it is the router is like a fire hose. You turn it on and you have max. throughput to begin with. The only thing you can do is reduce that throughout ( Gal per min = Mbps) by monkeying around with the settings.

    Now I know some one will mention " if you change the volume and pressure (* the fire plug or Internet provider speed and the modem) you can improve the performance. Yep I get that. That aside ( and understood as a critical part of the performance chain) , is there other things that should be considered?
    This goes under the mind set of optimizing the Router to get the best performance.

    Thanks!!
     
  2. ColinTaylor

    ColinTaylor Part of the Furniture

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    You'll have to define exactly what you mean by performance.

    Just about all current routers can achieve gigabit WAN to LAN throughput. Anything beyond that and you need to go into very specific scenarios, many of which will vary depending on the particular model of router.
     
  3. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

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    The thing with a firehose is that it misses a lot of the 'right' targets because those targets are not easily apparent. :)

    Those firehoses/routers are also not all built the same. Some are better than others with the same/identical connection to a water/ISP source.

    Apart from buying the best firehose/router available at any given time (and invariably, this will likely have the most ram, most storage, and CPU power), turning off all features/options that you don't need to use will give you the most 'performance'. In addition to optimizing the settings as per the M&M Config guide, as an example. :)

    Past this? Overclocking is a possibility for some routers, but nothing that is newer than a few years old already.

    Or, thinking from the other end, upgrading the cooling system properly may help at the performance extremes too. Particularly for a warmer climate.

    https://www.snbforums.com/threads/rt-ac88u-cpu-temperature.31212/#post-563349

    I have found that merely using a USB drive with a swap file, even with no scripts running, seems to give a more responsive GUI on some of the midrange routers. That wasn't a test, just what was noticed while I was setting them up (some over a few days, to rule out other interactions). ;)

    But a more responsive GUI isn't more network performance either. :)

    I can't think of any other ways to make a router perform better. If I did, I would be doing it already. ;)
     
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  4. OzarkEdge

    OzarkEdge Part of the Furniture

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    You'll never know unless you can qualify, quantify, and measure it. If you are not capable of doing that, then you simply twiddle with the settings until it works well enough for your usage. Soon, you'll buy a new router that works even better.

    OE
     
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  5. frankhere

    frankhere Occasional Visitor

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    Good stuff.... I am curious on the USB drive experience. Do you have an opinion on why a more responsive GUI would occur? Do you think some temp file was being utilized? Or just by merely having the USB port active ( plugged in with a device) caused something to occur in the router?


    re: Cooling system . That makes sense. I have installed a fan system used to cool laptops and placed my router and cable modem on it. I am not in need of it yet ( I place this equipment in my garage just to avoid excessive cabling and crap in the house; since I am in San Diego, it is only 'serious hot' for some 4 months.) I used past equiment ( Netgear) with a small fan for the summer months and now will try this fan table ; 3 fans blowing upward.

    Existing equipment - 15 devices ( 2 Asus AX mesh routers)
    I have an Dell XPS notebook that is getting 1.2 Gbps though put to the router ( Killer AX1650 in the N-book itself); other devices are getting 500 Mbps; Both 2.4 and 5 MHz are in use within the home.
    Again performance has not been an issue.


    thanks!!!
     
  6. frankhere

    frankhere Occasional Visitor

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    Good points ( vs. an anecdotal thinking approach)

    thank you
     
  7. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

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    @frankhere I think that having a USB drive and swap file active allows the router to manage itself with less stress. :)

    There was no swap file usage reported in the GUI, but identical routers (all attached to the same network) with or without the swap file were noticeably different. So, it wasn't just my imagination. :)

    I guess having more 'resources' available for the RMerlin Asuswrt OS is what gives it a boost?
     
  8. raven-au

    raven-au Regular Contributor

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    It's probably because having swap allows the memory management system to use most of the unused RAM as buffer cache.
    It's a bit surprising there's any improvement though since everything is on fast(ish) storage.
     
  9. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

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    @raven-au not too surprising, we can't set up the swap file on that fast(ish) storage so the router needs to manage itself more. :)
     
  10. frankhere

    frankhere Occasional Visitor

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    Raven-au / L&LD

    so, for an experiment I will add a thumb drive to the USB port to see what occurs.
    I also will turn-on the port so the router can have access to it.

    Yet that said,
    1. Was there any file you saw created by the router that was identifiable ? ( hidden or visable)
    2. can you tell that the router accessed the USB drive? If so how? ( I'd think any read-write file size change, or a change of date, etc)
    3. Did you try writing or utilize the USB drive? and if so, I wonder if the router segments a section and thinks 'this is mine' or its programmed to not use the drive if it's actively being used by a user.
    Again, I am not certain the router even has this routine available to it ( and I am just making this up).

    thanks guys... appreciated.

    fyi on USB and Routers : https://dongknows.com/how-to-turn-a-wi-fi-router-usb-port-into-a-nas-server/ regarding USB 2.0 vs. 3.2 etc.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 10:06 PM
  11. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

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    @frankhere the reliability/stability testing I was doing on a few routers back then was to be able to re-sell them with a warranty (many customers had upgraded to RT-AC86U's and RT-AX88U's in the second half of January). From my notes:
    • Routers were each full factory reset/Initialize all settings (twice) and one final time via the WPS Button reset method.
    • RMerlin 384.15_0 was flashed at least twice on each router (interleaved with the above resets).
    • RT-AC66U_B1's, RT-AC68U's and RT-AC3100's (up to four examples of each model, 9 routers total).
    • The following were changed/added to all routers.
    • Enable JFFS custom scripts and configs: Yes.
    • Rebooted all routers 3 times in the next 15 to 20 minutes.
    • amtm was used to create a 2GB swap file on various (spare) USB drives I had, 16GB or larger.
    • amtm was also used to install/enable the 'dc' disk check utility.
    • No other scripts were installed or tested on any of the routers.
    While all the routers were set up exactly the same, they were not all done at the same time. Nor were the steps above performed in sync for each group of routers either. That is how I was able to observe that the USB + swap file using routers were more responsive than the routers without a USB drive attached (and a swap file enabled).

    And to repeat myself for completeness, the comparison/observations I am stating were for otherwise identical models, except one had a swap file and one didn't at the time I accessed the GUI on both.

    I don't think just adding a USB drive will do anything? I would use a different router to format it 'empty' if you want to test it properly though.

    Have fun. :)
     
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  12. mteicher

    mteicher Regular Contributor

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    Its been a while since I have dealt with linux etc. I have been following this swap file usb drive stuff here. Last I knew for a swap file or any partition to be utilized it needs to be in fstab, mounted , etc. Adding a usb device and creating a swap partition will not automatically have the OS utilize it unless its in fstab? Is it automatically added to fstab after one does their stuff in USB application?
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 11:30 PM
  13. Klueless

    Klueless Very Senior Member

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    Or think of funnels and look for the "pinch points"?

    The most obvious is the Internet connection. You've a bunch of Gigabit clients all funneling into 10 Mbps. Now that's a pinch point. The obvious answer is to upgrade service speeds. But maybe that's not an option so you implement QoS.

    Instead of dumping a gallon of water into the funnel all at once you only dump a cup at a time. That way if you have a high priority cup (fortnite) you can move it ahead of the lower priority cups (file transfers).​

    Look for other pinch points. Maybe you have a media server on WiFi. Let's call it 450 Mbps. Because you have other clients sharing WiFi now you're only 150 Mbps. Let's make it obvious and add a Gigabit Ethernet client (1,000 Mbps). The media server is on a pinch point so move it to hardwired Ethernet.

    Now let's get silly. You have a server connected to the router at Gigabit. You have a 16 port Gigabit switch connected to the router at Gigabit. Now all those clients are using that same Gigabit port to talk with the server, the Internet, printers and whatever else you have going on. You move the server onto the switch and you eliminate all that "client to server" traffic going over that switch-to-router link.

    Or let's say you've a lot of stuff on WiFi. It's shared by multiple clients so it is what it is. But one of the clients is on the fringe (kinda far away). He takes more time to do less thus getting more than his fair share at the expense of everyone else. So you wire him, move him closer, add an AP or fine tune some obscure parameters.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020 at 4:46 PM
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  14. raven-au

    raven-au Regular Contributor

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    Usually, yes, that's the "normal" way to tell whatever is used as the init system that a swap file is present, where it is, and that it's to be used.
    But it doesn't have to be done that way, all the fstab entry does is tell the init system to run the swapon command and provide the argument it needs.
     
  15. mteicher

    mteicher Regular Contributor

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    Not to go back and forth. I agree but its necessary to give guidance via fstab. Is there another way as fstab gives guidance.
     
  16. raven-au

    raven-au Regular Contributor

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    Perhaps but there's not much guidance needed for swap.
    In any case there's nothing to discuss when your operating system doesn't use an fstab, such as most router firmware, including AsusWrt(+Merlin).
     
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  17. frankhere

    frankhere Occasional Visitor

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    So, to ~ practice~ I added a USB thumb drive to 1 node of the Asus Zenwifi router ( not to the router that is connected to the modem);
    Yet I do not 'see' this storage device when viewing from a Windows 10 computer. I do not have a need at this time to access storage remotely... this setup would be only to share files
    between devices within the home network.

    Hence my question:
    1. Is storage only supposed to be attached to the main router/connected to the cable modem?
    2. Is there another switch I have yet to turn on that I have missed?
    3. Does Windows 10 require some additional configuration ?


    I did look at what ASUS' tech briefs and did not find the solution there...perhaps I missed it.

    Any coaching is appreciated.

    upload_2020-3-31_11-16-8.png

    upload_2020-3-31_11-17-16.png
     
  18. Grisu

    Grisu Part of the Furniture

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    not supported on Aimesh nodes.
     
  19. frankhere

    frankhere Occasional Visitor

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    Hence, not on the node, but the primary router connected to the modem.... is that correct?

    ... and thanks for responding.
     
  20. Klueless

    Klueless Very Senior Member

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    On the off chance I actually understood the question;

    (Samba) SMB File Servers have gone through some number of updates. Routers typically support the older version (smaller footprint). Windows 10 has moved on.

    I don't remember the details but you might be able to re-enable Windows support for SMBv1 through "Windows Features" (which you might have to get from the Windows App Store since it's no longer standard with Windows 10? )

    Or through Windows File Manager by right clicking on "this PC" and manually mapping "network drive".

    Or something like that, it's been awhile.
     
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