WAN instability on AC87U - Still life in 'er or is it time?

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TyantA

Occasional Visitor
I have an AC87U. I've been using Asuswrt-Merlin for years now. My internet (wireless point to point; tower is ~200ft away in neighbour's yard, tech, when installing said my connection was as good as ethernet) has been getting less and less stable over the last year.

I've been back and forth with my ISP and their support asked how old my router is. I looked it up, just rolled over 6 years old. So what? I've had routers last MUCH longer!

Still, it's BF/CM so I ran out and bought an AX86U on sale just in case, however, my hope is to return it as it was not an expense I was expecting.
  1. I was confused on the Sourceforge page that listed compatible devices: it had AC86U and AC88U but listed AC87U as unsupported. Yet, there's a DL page for it with the latest releases. Which is it? Still supported or no?
  2. The only thing that's really changed on the network is number of clients. Counting smart devices and such, it's now up to ~20 at any given time (wired & wireless).
  3. My internet is a piddly 5/1Mbit connection - there's no way that would even tax my ancient WRT54G.
The ISP tech has said he has seen dropouts on their end and made changes to my "dish". Apparently since then it's been stable, however, last night my connection dropped out 3x.

I noticed Asus put out an official firmware this past summer (surprised!) so I reverted to that. I haven't had time to do a factory reset yet, but that's next on my list. If that doesn't work, what else could I try to prevent me from having to keep this lovely looking AX86U?

TIA
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I have an AC87U. I've been using Asuswrt-Merlin for years now. My internet (wireless point to point; tower is ~200ft away in neighbour's yard, tech, when installing said my connection was as good as ethernet) has been getting less and less stable over the last year.

I've been back and forth with my ISP and their support asked how old my router is. I looked it up, just rolled over 6 years old. So what? I've had routers last MUCH longer!

Still, it's BF/CM so I ran out and bought an AX86U on sale just in case, however, my hope is to return it as it was not an expense I was expecting.
  1. I was confused on the Sourceforge page that listed compatible devices: it had AC86U and AC88U but listed AC87U as unsupported. Yet, there's a DL page for it with the latest releases. Which is it? Still supported or no?
  2. The only thing that's really changed on the network is number of clients. Counting smart devices and such, it's now up to ~20 at any given time (wired & wireless).
  3. My internet is a piddly 5/1Mbit connection - there's no way that would even tax my ancient WRT54G.
The ISP tech has said he has seen dropouts on their end and made changes to my "dish". Apparently since then it's been stable, however, last night my connection dropped out 3x.

I noticed Asus put out an official firmware this past summer (surprised!) so I reverted to that. I haven't had time to do a factory reset yet, but that's next on my list. If that doesn't work, what else could I try to prevent me from having to keep this lovely looking AX86U?

TIA

Did you check the router Log for clues? If you can't narrow down what is dropping where, then the simple thing to do is swap in a different router including WAN cable and power adapter and see how it compares. You'll be ok if you decide to keep the AX86U.

OE
 

TyantA

Occasional Visitor
Thanks for the reply. Last night I took a backup of my settings (just in case) and screenshots for reference, then did a factory reset. I only added the bare minimum settings back to get my internet online and am trying out the 'new?' Work-from-home QoS preset. Other than setting up my networks and disabling upnp, nothing else has been touched. We'll see how this goes.

As for the log, before I did the factory reset I grabbed a copy of it. Just looking through it now, I'm seeing a fair bit in here... this pattern seems to be recurring quite frequently:

Code:
Nov 30 01:24:40 dnsmasq[252]: Maximum number of concurrent DNS queries reached (max: 150)
Nov 30 01:24:46 dnsmasq[252]: Maximum number of concurrent DNS queries reached (max: 150)
Nov 30 01:24:52 pppd[359]: Serial link appears to be disconnected.
Nov 30 01:24:54 WAN Connection: Fail to connect with some issues.
Nov 30 01:24:54 DualWAN: skip single wan wan_led_control - WANRED off
Nov 30 01:24:54 nat: apply redirect rules
Nov 30 01:24:58 pppd[359]: Connection terminated.
Nov 30 01:24:59 pppd[359]: Modem hangup
Nov 30 01:25:09 pppd[359]: Connected to xxxxxx via interface eth0
Nov 30 01:25:09 pppd[359]: Connect: ppp0 <--> eth0
Nov 30 01:25:09 pppd[359]: CHAP authentication succeeded
Nov 30 01:25:09 pppd[359]: peer from calling number xxxxxx authorized
Nov 30 01:25:09 pppd[359]: local  IP address xxxxxx
Nov 30 01:25:09 pppd[359]: remote IP address xxxxxx
Nov 30 01:25:09 pppd[359]: primary   DNS address xxxxxx
Nov 30 01:25:09 pppd[359]: secondary DNS address xxxxxx
Nov 30 01:25:09 rc_service: ip-up xxxxxx:notify_rc start_firewall
Nov 30 01:25:10 wan: finish adding multi routes
Nov 30 01:25:10 rc_service: ip-up xxxxxx:notify_rc stop_upnp
Nov 30 01:25:10 rc_service: waitting "start_firewall" via ip-up ...
Nov 30 01:25:10 nat: apply nat rules (/tmp/nat_rules_ppp0_eth0)
Nov 30 01:25:11 rc_service: ip-up xxxxxx:notify_rc start_upnp
Nov 30 01:25:11 rc_service: waitting "stop_upnp" via ip-up ...
Nov 30 01:25:11 WAN Connection: WAN was restored.
Nov 30 01:25:30 BWDPI: fun bitmap = 47f
Nov 30 01:25:30 kernel: The For ALL DEVICES flag of Prof 1 has been set to ENABLE
Nov 30 01:25:30 rc_service: ip-up xxxxxx:notify_rc start_firewall
Nov 30 01:25:31 kernel: HTB: quantum of class 10001 is big. Consider r2q change.
Nov 30 01:25:31 kernel: HTB: quantum of class 20001 is big. Consider r2q change.
Nov 30 01:25:31 kernel: HTB: quantum of class 10009 is big. Consider r2q change.
Nov 30 01:25:31 kernel: HTB: quantum of class 20009 is big. Consider r2q change.
Nov 30 01:25:31 nat: apply nat rules (/tmp/nat_rules_ppp0_eth0)
Nov 30 01:25:32 kernel: HTB: quantum of class 30010 is small. Consider r2q change.
Nov 30 01:25:32 kernel: HTB: quantum of class 20010 is small. Consider r2q change.

Then a few hours will go by before something very similar repeats, over and over.

I just checked the logs since the factory reset and see some similar things... timestamps seem a bit screwy now jumping from 10: to 5: and back.

Code:
Dec  2 10:27:36 dnsmasq[487]: Maximum number of concurrent DNS queries reached (max: 150)
Dec  2 10:27:43 dnsmasq[487]: Maximum number of concurrent DNS queries reached (max: 150)
Dec  2 10:27:49 dnsmasq[487]: Maximum number of concurrent DNS queries reached (max: 150)
Dec  2 10:27:54 dnsmasq[487]: Maximum number of concurrent DNS queries reached (max: 150)
Dec  2 05:27:56 pppd[6641]: Serial link appears to be disconnected.
Dec  2 10:27:59 WAN Connection: Fail to connect with some issues.
Dec  2 10:28:00 DualWAN: skip single wan wan_led_control - WANRED off
Dec  2 10:28:00 nat: apply redirect rules
Dec  2 05:28:02 pppd[6641]: Connection terminated.
Dec  2 05:28:02 pppd[6641]: Modem hangup
Dec  2 05:28:12 pppd[6641]: Connected to xxxxxx via interface eth0
Dec  2 05:28:12 pppd[6641]: Connect: ppp0 <--> eth0
Dec  2 05:28:12 pppd[6641]: CHAP authentication succeeded
Dec  2 05:28:12 pppd[6641]: peer from calling number xxxxxx authorized
Dec  2 05:28:12 pppd[6641]: local  IP address xxxxxx
Dec  2 05:28:12 pppd[6641]: remote IP address xxxxxx
Dec  2 05:28:12 pppd[6641]: primary   DNS address xxxxxx
Dec  2 05:28:12 pppd[6641]: secondary DNS address xxxxxx
Dec  2 05:28:12 rc_service: ip-up xxxxxx:notify_rc start_firewall
Dec  2 05:28:13 nat: apply nat rules (/tmp/nat_rules_ppp0_eth0)
Dec  2 05:28:13 wan: finish adding multi routes
Dec  2 05:28:13 rc_service: ip-up xxxxxx:notify_rc stop_upnp
Dec  2 05:28:13 rc_service: waitting "start_firewall" via ip-up ...
Dec  2 10:28:14 WAN Connection: WAN was restored.

So what's with the "maximum number of concurrent DNS queries reached"? Is that a limit I can increase? Could that be causing the instability?

As for the AX86, I'm sure it's a nice router but I didn't get as good of a deal as I could have if I knew I was in the market sooner. I haven't checked to see if it lets me use a cellular connection when my primary internet goes out. Also, would really rather not spend the cash *IF* this can be resolved with my current setup.
 

TyantA

Occasional Visitor
Alright, I'm still getting dropouts with the AX-86U so... bought this router for nothing?

Code:
Dec  5 10:14:39 pppd[32044]: Serial link appears to be disconnected.
Dec  5 10:14:39 WAN Connection: Fail to connect with some issues.
Dec  5 10:14:39 nat: apply redirect rules
Dec  5 10:14:45 pppd[32044]: Connection terminated.
Dec  5 10:14:45 pppd[32044]: Modem hangup
Dec  5 10:14:55 pppd[32044]: Connected to XXXXXXXX via interface eth0
Dec  5 10:14:55 pppd[32044]: Connect: ppp0 <--> eth0
Dec  5 10:14:58 pppd[32044]: CHAP authentication succeeded
Dec  5 10:14:58 pppd[32044]: peer from calling number XXXXXXXX authorized
Dec  5 10:14:58 pppd[32044]: local  IP address XXXXXXXX
Dec  5 10:14:58 pppd[32044]: remote IP address XXXXXXXX
Dec  5 10:14:58 pppd[32044]: primary   DNS address XXXXXXXX
Dec  5 10:14:58 pppd[32044]: secondary DNS address XXXXXXXX
Dec  5 10:14:58 nat: apply nat rules (/tmp/nat_rules_ppp0_eth0)
Dec  5 10:14:58 wan: finish adding multi routes
Dec  5 10:15:01 BWDPI: force to flush flowcache entries
Dec  5 10:15:01 BWDPI: rollback fc
Dec  5 10:15:02 WAN Connection: WAN was restored.

Just prior to this in the log, I'm seeing the same:
Code:
Dec  5 10:14:09 wlceventd: wlceventd_proc_event(464): eth6: Deauth_ind XXXXXXXX, status: 0, reason: Deauthenticated because sending station is leaving (or has left) IBSS or ESS (3)
Dec  5 10:14:26 wlceventd: wlceventd_proc_event(499): eth6: Auth XXXXXXXX, status: Successful (0)
Dec  5 10:14:26 wlceventd: wlceventd_proc_event(527): eth6: Assoc XXXXXXXX, status: Successful (0)
Dec  5 10:14:37 dnsmasq[32032]: Maximum number of concurrent DNS queries reached (max: 150)

So this router's "max concurrent DNS queries" is the same as my old AC87U by the looks of it.
No idea why I'm hitting that limit. Lost of tabs open I guess? When my system reboots & I open them all at once perhaps? Doesn't happen that frequently though...
 

TyantA

Occasional Visitor
Now I've read somewhere else that Merlin firmware is dropping support for my old AC87U. Is that true?
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Now I've read somewhere else that Merlin firmware is dropping support for my old AC87U. Is that true?

From the changelog:

384.13_10 (28-June-2020)
This release will most likely be the last release for the
RT-AC87U and RT-AC3200, due to limited upstream support.

- UPDATED: amtm to 3.1.7.
- UPDATED: Root certificate bundle to June 3rd 2020.
- UPDATED: OUI database used by the webui.
- UPDATED: Dropbear 2020.80 (themiron)
- UPDATED: Wireless driver from 382_52230 for RT-AC87U and
RT-AC3200 (should in theory address Kr00k)
- FIXED: ssh/scp client would fail to connect while negotiating
a chacha20 connection (themiron)
[/code]
 

Dutchman01

New Around Here
I dropped the AC87U today as its almost EOL, replaced this for an RT-AX86U and so far i am pleased with the positive results.
it acts and reacts way faster then the old one. I think its about time to replace the hardware boys
 

El Mariachi

Occasional Visitor
As an owner of an 87U the thing was a misfire from the get go. Never worked quite right. Since getting an AX88U, chalk and cheese difference in 5ghz wifi, general stability and the hopped up CPU and ram just make it so much snappier.
 

TyantA

Occasional Visitor
Thanks for the replies. Ok, so support is being dropped. Time to move on, I'll come to terms with that :)

Anyone have any insight into the:
Code:
Maximum number of concurrent DNS queries reached (max: 150)
error I see on both my old AC87U and AX86U?
 

El Mariachi

Occasional Visitor
Thanks for the replies. Ok, so support is being dropped. Time to move on, I'll come to terms with that :)

Anyone have any insight into the:
Code:
Maximum number of concurrent DNS queries reached (max: 150)
error I see on both my old AC87U and AX86U?

Time issue: Assuming you have set your device time in administration tab, that should resolve the time issue. Once set and reboot, the log will have screwy date/times until it loads the time from memory. Once passed that do the time stamps look ok?

DNS Queries issue: Disconnect all devices, reboot. Start to reintroduce one device at a time until you see that error pop up. It is possible (though unlikely) you have an infected device that's spamming DNS queries. You could use the SKYNET or Diversion addons to see if its coming from a specific device and to which address it querying.

Internet Drop Outs: Have you setup a PPPoE connection or is there a modem behind the router managing the connection from your ISP? If your ISP is referring to a dish reconfiguration and you are hitting speeds of 5/1mbps this sounds like a fixed wireless connection like they have in regional/remote Australia under their NBN. This isn't a super reliable connection type on the best of days.
 

TyantA

Occasional Visitor
Time issue: Assuming you have set your device time in administration tab, that should resolve the time issue. Once set and reboot, the log will have screwy date/times until it loads the time from memory. Once passed that do the time stamps look ok?

DNS Queries issue: Disconnect all devices, reboot. Start to reintroduce one device at a time until you see that error pop up. It is possible (though unlikely) you have an infected device that's spamming DNS queries. You could use the SKYNET or Diversion addons to see if its coming from a specific device and to which address it querying.

Internet Drop Outs: Have you setup a PPPoE connection or is there a modem behind the router managing the connection from your ISP? If your ISP is referring to a dish reconfiguration and you are hitting speeds of 5/1mbps this sounds like a fixed wireless connection like they have in regional/remote Australia under their NBN. This isn't a super reliable connection type on the best of days.

Thanks for the reply.

Time zone has been set in the Admin > System > Basic Config area. Just scrolled through the log and things seem OK now. I have also since reverted to the 2nd most recently firmware release as there were a ton of bugs for me in the most recent. Maybe that was one of them.

DNS - I'll have to wait for the weekend before I have the luxury of doing such a thing. Too many devices all over the house! My guess at this point is my main desktop. I have several projects on the go and easily have a couple hundred Chrome tabs open. (Really trying not to be "that guy", but such is life right now). When my PC inevitably crashes, I have to re-open them again. Could be? Seems more frequent than my PC crashing though... I'm not familiar with either addons you mentioned. A quick Google search filled me in that there are such things as router addons! Yet another thing for me to explore, cool. :)

Drop-outs - I do have a PPPoE connection and you nailed it: fixed wireless. It had been solid: I'm about 200ft from the tower with clear line-of-sight and (years ago) the tech said I had such a strong signal I may as well have an ethernet cord run to the tower. It has become less reliable, especially within the last year. Their support has been pointing fingers at my AC87U, hence purchasing the AX86U but there have still been drop outs. They have been "working on it" for days, sent a tech to the tower, reconfigured the dish, etc. I get the impression they do not know why it's happening.

I had some drop outs when they said there had been a stable connection for days, so that did lead me to believe some of the issues were on my end. Now they can't blame my hardware when it's still dropping and there's nothing between their hardware and my PC but the new router.
 

El Mariachi

Occasional Visitor
Thanks for the reply.

Time zone has been set in the Admin > System > Basic Config area. Just scrolled through the log and things seem OK now. I have also since reverted to the 2nd most recently firmware release as there were a ton of bugs for me in the most recent. Maybe that was one of them.

DNS - I'll have to wait for the weekend before I have the luxury of doing such a thing. Too many devices all over the house! My guess at this point is my main desktop. I have several projects on the go and easily have a couple hundred Chrome tabs open. (Really trying not to be "that guy", but such is life right now). When my PC inevitably crashes, I have to re-open them again. Could be? Seems more frequent than my PC crashing though... I'm not familiar with either addons you mentioned. A quick Google search filled me in that there are such things as router addons! Yet another thing for me to explore, cool. :)

Drop-outs - I do have a PPPoE connection and you nailed it: fixed wireless. It had been solid: I'm about 200ft from the tower with clear line-of-sight and (years ago) the tech said I had such a strong signal I may as well have an ethernet cord run to the tower. It has become less reliable, especially within the last year. Their support has been pointing fingers at my AC87U, hence purchasing the AX86U but there have still been drop outs. They have been "working on it" for days, sent a tech to the tower, reconfigured the dish, etc. I get the impression they do not know why it's happening.

I had some drop outs when they said there had been a stable connection for days, so that did lead me to believe some of the issues were on my end. Now they can't blame my hardware when it's still dropping and there's nothing between their hardware and my PC but the new router.


Timezone: Full factory reset and manually reconfiguring usually fixes that stuff. Assume you are dirty flashing between FW versions?

DNS: hundreds of tabs? you must have a lot of RAM. Yea when you wake your computer up it'll smash DNS queries to reload the pages.

Drop-Outs: do you have the ISP provided modem behind the Asus router or have you removed it? The reason i say this is that, if you haven't put the ISP supplied modem in bridge mode, and you are using PPPoE on the Asus Router, you are connecting to your ISP twice. Your ISP's authentication system will usually only allow one connection. The result of this is that it will flip flop between the supplied modem and your asus router. The symptom is drop outs as it switches between devices as the gateway.

EDIT: Removed reference to the path modules. Had a blonde moment.
 
Last edited:

TyantA

Occasional Visitor
Just dirty flash, yes. The factory reset is what did it I believe as I haven't seen the issue since, not that I've spent much time in the logs.

Well, 32GB of ram which is often mostly consumed. Trying to get them under control again but that takes time - something I don't currently have a lot of. Yeah, it's that, that I'm thinking is causing the DNS query limit error. The last time I rebooted, Chrome had something like 433 tabs to re-open :S I think they're compounding...

I've been back-and-forth with my ISP a LOT over the last month. I think we're finally at a point where it's solid. It's hard to know if I can revert to my old router and it still be solid (I'm tempted to test this) but I think I just need to accept and move on; be happy with the AX86U. Just not happy with having to spend on it :). As per your question, with fixed point wireless there's really just a glorified power brick that powers the satellite/receiver and has two ethernet ports on it. It's not a router.
 

CW1

New Around Here
I'm still running my 87U, using the last Merlin release without any problems. My incoming WAN is Spectrum Cable 100/10 service (using Spectrum's modem). I get very stable and fast WiFi on both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. Pretty great coverage for the entire house and most of the back yard, too. I'm still holding out upgrading until I see some mesh 6E systems that support guest network on mesh (a must requirement for me). I'm in no hurry to upgrade so I might as well wait for 6E to be more widespread.
 

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