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Help With RT-N16 Stability Problems...

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by eddielasvegas, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. eddielasvegas

    eddielasvegas Networkin' Nut Member

    Hello All,

    My name is Eddie and I just joined linksysinfo.org hoping the members can help me solve a problem.

    I'm using an ASUS RT-N16 running "Tomato Firmware v1.28.9054 MIPSR2-beta K26 USB vpn3.6" and I need to power cycle my router ever few days as clients cannot get access my network or the Internet. It seems the router does assign an IP address but that's about it.

    Last week I upgraded from "Tomato Firmware v1.28.9049 MIPSR2-beta K26 USB vpn3.6" thinking that may help, but build 9054 seems to have the same issue.

    If anyone has any ideas of suggestions, I'm all ears as I know Tomato is usually rock solid, but it is not happening with my above setup.

    Thank you.

  2. rhester72

    rhester72 Network Guru Member

    How long has the router been in service? Did you originally run something other than Tomato? Have you always had this problem with Tomato? All clients or specific ones? Wired or wireless?

  3. eddielasvegas

    eddielasvegas Networkin' Nut Member

    Hi Rodney,

    Thanks for your reply and I should have added some info to my first post so here ya go, plus a little more info.

    The router has been in service about 6 months, with the first few months (at least as I remember) problem free running the 9049 build. About 2-3 months ago, I noticed our two PC's could not access our network or the Internet. I also have wireless printers, Ooma VOIP (using QOS) and an i-touch. Omma and i-touch were added in December. All clients on this router are connected using N and the router only serves N clients.

    Wired devices are harder to check since we do most stuff through wireless PC's, but I'll check Ooma the next time this happens and report back if our phone still works.

    Also, the transmit power is 47 and the router is seldom busy as it's not used with gaming, movies or any other apps that keep a router busy.

    Thank you and I'll be glad to provide more info if you or anyone else needs it.


  4. EricCartman

    EricCartman Addicted to LI Member

    Hi Eddie i had simular problem you can use under Administrator Sceduler and reboor every night and use static IP for printers and fileshare or use it as needed :)

    After the update have you cleared Configuration file?
  5. eddielasvegas

    eddielasvegas Networkin' Nut Member

    Alberti, IAEli

    Hi Eric,

    I have all devices using static IPs using MAC address reservations.

    Also, I was doing a weekly reboot, but that did not seem to help so I may need to go to a nightly reboot like you recommend.

    But I really hate to do that for so many reasons like I'm running Tomato (as opposed to stock FW) and I shouldn't have to; I have a WRT54G v2.2 running Tomato that is rock solid and never needs a reboot + others I cannot think of. :biggrin:

    Thanks for your suggestions.


  6. rhester72

    rhester72 Network Guru Member

    Did you start out on Tomato (i.e. straight from stock to Tomato) or was DD-WRT involved at any point? Did you do a thorough NVRAM erase as soon as you loaded Tomato the first time before you configured it?

    Routers don't normally change behavior like this (and please ignore everything you've read about power and cooling with the RT-N16, I assure you neither is the problem). I had build 54 (after the IPv6 one-line fix) running for over 40 days without issue, but since you didn't indicate you've changed the Tomato revision in the past 6 months, it seems unlikely that the software just "broke".

    Sadly, it honestly sounds like you might have failing hardware...while the power "issue" was blown totally out of proportion thanks to the DD-WRT folks, the 3-6 month failure rate on this hardware is a bit high. You can always try loading a newer build (I'd actually recommend either taking the git tip or waiting for build 55, since 54 _will_ crash if you try to use IPv6 at all) and see if that changes things, but it sounds unlikely.

    *If* the kernel isn't failing, and you have USB-attached storage, you can always try dumping /var/log/messages to a USB mount so hopefully there will be some sort of visual account of what's going on. See the TomatoUSB forum for ray123's post on how to do this.

  7. eddielasvegas

    eddielasvegas Networkin' Nut Member

    Thanks for the info Rodney. I did start with Tomato. I don't recall about the NVRAM reset. Will it help and can it hurt to to it now other than needing to reenter all network info?

    The router did sit in the house for a few months before I installed it a few months ago. I was suspect of it just sorta flaking out to the point of needing a reboot, but my only other experience with Tomato was that it was rock solid. I hope it's not HW, but I'll look into this as well.

    The problem occurred today....I could access my LAN IP's but not the Internet. I've now scheduled a reboot everyday to eliminate the problem until I can correct it.

    Does anyone know if I need to reinstall the stock FW for ASUS warranty work if it comes to that?

    Also, thanks for the messages dump idea. I'll do that when I can pickup a cheap USB drive.

    Thanks all and especially to Rodney. :biggrin:

  8. rhester72

    rhester72 Network Guru Member

    There's no harm doing a thorough NVRAM reset except that you have to do all the setup again, as you observed. It's not a bad place to start, though it is a major PITA.

    You would need to restore the stock firmware for a warranty claim.

  9. xtacydima

    xtacydima LI Guru Member

    Did you change the default wireless transmit power? Mine is set to 42, not 47, and you say most of your clients are wireless, not many wired... just a thought why there could be bad stability.

    Although, an nvram reset would probably set that value back to stock as well.
  10. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    There are ways to lessen the pain though.

    Some of the methods I've see are to use the scrapbook plug-in for Firefox, the HTTrack Website Copier, or...

    Toastmans NVRAM export to a file and edit so it can be used to re-enter all the nvram settings. You might want to exercise some caution with the latter as I once bricked a router with a similar approach, some nvram settings it just isn't good to try and re-enter them in this fashion. I never really knew what it was that killed it, boardflags or what but I did kill it. Should probably only re-enter variables that you know & understand are needed. Or as Toastman stated in his post, as I see now upon review, "cherry pick only the variables from the text file that are a real pain to do manually (Static DHCP and Access restriction lists in particular)".
  11. rhester72

    rhester72 Network Guru Member

    I would rather he -not- attempt to recover the existing settings, on the off chance that it's one of them that actually led to the problem.

  12. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    That's an excellent point. So probably Toastmans batch approach is not advisable in this case

    He could capture the GUI entries with the scrapbook plug-in for Firefox or the HTTrack Website Copier for reference. Then refer to that and put the settings back in judiciously making sure all if well before the next change. So he wouldn't be starting from scratch, he'd at least have a reference of the current settings but can put them back in stages so any problems could be tied back to the "last thing touched".
  13. rhester72

    rhester72 Network Guru Member

    TF, good idea - a visual snapshot couldn't hurt.

  14. wasp87

    wasp87 Network Guru Member

    The default is 17...... not 42 or 47...
  15. bkmo

    bkmo LI Guru Member

    The default is 17dBm , which is ~50mW. Your signature for TX power is incorrect. The actual specs for this model state:
    Output Power [all modes]:15.8~19.5 dBm
  16. GhaladReam

    GhaladReam Network Guru Member

    It's interesting, I'm running Tomato RAF on my RT-N16, and in the Advanced-->Wireless it actually says 17 mW is the default Transmit power, not 17 dBm. That could just be a typo on the GUI however, not exactly sure.
  17. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    I think 17dBm may be the default setting out of the box with Asus firmware. On Tomato it's easy to check from a command line on the router with the "wl txpwr1" command.

    Results of that command with Tomato GUI transmit power setting on my RT-N16 of 17, 42, 50 and 0:

    TxPower is 49 qdbm, 12.25 dbm, 17 mW Override is Off
    TxPower is 65 qdbm, 16.25 dbm, 42 mW Override is Off
    TxPower is 68 qdbm, 17.0 dbm, 50 mW Override is Off
    TxPower is 127 qdbm, 31.75 dbm, 1496 mW Override is Off
  18. xtacydima

    xtacydima LI Guru Member

    I don't know why I have 42 as a default then. Although, I did do my upgrade based off of initially having DD-WRT on it because back when I purchased this unit that procedure was the only one available, as opposed to the one I see now where you can go straight to Tomato via ASUS restoration firmware.

    Not sure if that could have affected it but I did two routers in that manner, one for me and one for a friend, and each defaulted to 42. And yes I did do an NVRAM reset... odd

    In any case it is running perfectly fine, I get a reboot maybe once a week and only if I really tax the system with torrents and major gaming. I did mod it though, I am using the serial pin to power a small fan blowing horizontally across the main heatsink and I put VGA heatsinks on other various chips that I felt get warm, some of which I suspect are memory.
  19. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    I just did a thorough clear of NVRAM on my RT-N16, after backing up the config of course. I was curious what the default is. So on my RT-N16 running TomatoUSB "v1.28.9054 MIPSR2-beta K26 USB vpn3.6", the output of "wl txpwr1" is as below. So on mine the default is 17mW, not 17dbm. I like 42 so going back to that.
    TxPower is 49 qdbm, 12.25 dbm, 17 mW Override is Off
  20. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    I've just been experimenting here to see if I could cast any light on the wireless problems reported here and on TomatoUSB.org. I used an RT-N16 with latest git build of Teddy Bear software.

    I had a Dell Lattitude laptop, an ACER N laptop, and HP laptop (Intel wireless) and three USB sticks - D-Link, TP-Link, and Tenda N available to test. I have to say I can't reproduce any instability or loss of signal with any of these. I am able to change the transmit power under almost any conditions on any channel and with most countries, 20 or 40Mhz channels.

    I still find a figure of 60 (approx) to be the maximum power output of the transmitter - on B, G, or N with the wireless driver in the RT-N16, subject to the limits "hardwired" into the wireless driver.

    Assuming this corresponds with the maximum power output of the power amplifier chip at around 250mW - i.e. 250=60x4 - that would mean that 17 represents 68mW on the older routers and 42 would now represent approximately 160mW. Anything above 60 has no effect.

    I found that Singapore was a good choice of country for experiments, it allowed a bigger range of frequencies and power than most other countries.

    I also found the maximum signal from the RT-N16 (at 60) was almost identical to the WRT54GL (set to 250).

    An interesting observation the Dell Latitude showed a discrepancy of two channels in the INSSIDER graph when compared with the other wireless cards - meaning that the INSSIDER graph cannot be trusted to show the correct frequencies on the graphs.
  21. tongyang

    tongyang LI Guru Member

    I was wondering about my router (flashed with the latest TomatoUSB firmware) rebooting once every 3-4 days. I've already cleared my NVRAM and redoing my settings manually, but the problem still exists.

    I guess I'm not too bothered by it since it's not too often, but I do feel curious about it.
  22. wasp87

    wasp87 Network Guru Member

    I'm still confused then. If I want to run my N-16 at the TRUE stock transmit power....... what number would I put in Tomato? 17 or 42? I'm not even going to list measurement because it seems like Tomato is labeled wrong.......
  23. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    It's been a long time since I had the stock Asus firmware loaded but found an old post of mine that stated 'I just got my RT-N16, running the "as shipped" firmware v1.0.0.6. I ran "wl txpwr" from the Main_AdmStatus_Content.asp page and got "31.75 dBm = 1496 mw".' which was later confirmed by others. This is the same result I got by entering 0 for transmit power for "hardware default" with Tomato. Not sure I want to do that but seemingly that is the answer if you want to.
  24. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    RT-N16 power level

    It's actually rather a can of worms. As TexasFlood says, the "stock" setting is probably "0" - meaning that the wireless driver handles the power according to the country code. But does it really matter what the "stock" level was? Does anybody actually know what these setting really mean?

    The "stock" setting on the original firmware of 1496 is nonsense, of course - as the RT-N16 is not capable of 1496mW - it is capable of only 250mW. My guess is that the entry of "0" merely hands over control of the power level to the wireless driver, which then sets it "internally" according to the country code. Possibly the "1496" is some as-yet unused setting that may be used on another piece of hardware in the future.

    Now, the power level permitted around the world differs from country to country, as do the permitted channels of operation. Presumably if you enter your own country in there, you will then conform to whatever is legal there.

    If you want to actually vary the tx power yourself, you must enter some setting into the tx power box. I would suggest that you initially enter 17. Some people find a setting lower than that is more stable - possibly their PC is too close to the router and the lower power prevents overload.

    A figure of around 60 is the maximum power output - higher than that, it won't change. Some people say that whatever they do they can't change the tx power at all, but I've never been able to reproduce that here.

    It appears from my experiments that Singapore is a good country to choose as it gives you rather more control of channel and power level than most of the others. I would recommend that you turn off the "interference mitigation" in Advanced/Wireless page, which seems to be responsible for a lot of dropped connections and other problems.


  25. TexasFlood

    TexasFlood Network Guru Member

    I use 42, because, well, I've been using that for years, even before Tomato started using it as a default. This was based on my own testing way back with a WRT54G v2.0 to find the best balance of range vs. negative symptoms like heat or signal degradation. I'm sure that testing does not apply for example to an RT-N16. But if it ain't broke I haven't tried to fix it you know. I might try 17 and see what that does. I have no real reason to try anything higher than 42 as it works well enough for me.
  26. crimsontwo

    crimsontwo Networkin' Nut Member

    Toastman, this is slightly off-topic but what software did you use to run these test (measure signal/etc.)? I would like to experiment with different settings but not sure how to measure the results. Thanks in advance.

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