Beginner seeking help with router issue.

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by TobiasFrost, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. TobiasFrost

    TobiasFrost Reformed Router Member

    Hello all,

    I am having a problem with an Asus WL-520GU router on our small home network that I suspect is being caused by overload, but I am very much a beginner when it comes to networking and would appreciate any insight.

    Let me describe the setup here and then I will explain the problem. We have a cable internet connection that tests at about 30 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload. The router is hooked up to the cable modem, with 4 wired connections to 3 desktops and 1 laptop running either Windows 7 or Linux distributions. We also have telephone service over the internet and the device that handles this is on a wired connection to the router. We also have a laptop, netbook, tablet, and iPhone that can connect wirelessly.

    One desktop is used for gaming, streaming video, and web browsing. The other two desktops may occasionally stream video from websites but usually just regular browsing. One laptop is used as a work computer and connects to a remote VPN as well as web browsing. These are all on wired connections to the router.

    The wireless laptop may sometimes stream video on websites but is also mostly used for regular web browsing. The other wireless devices are rarely even turned on aside from the iPhone.

    We have not had any issues with the router until recently. It is using Asus firmware which we just updated to the latest available but that has not helped.

    Now to the problem. The gaming desktop is being used to play an online game called Warframe that uses peer to peer connections with one player in a 4 player team hosting, instead of having its own dedicated servers. When nothing else on the network is being used besides the gaming computer playing online, it seems to work fine at first. After several hours the game sometimes begins to lag to varying degrees but often becomes nearly unplayable. This does not always happen. When the gaming computer has been playing for some time, the other computers using the router will be unable to access the web at all (Server not found messages, stuck at Looking up... or Waiting for...). Additionally, sometimes the gaming computer itself loses all bandwidth, the game reports connection lost and websites cannot be opened. Power cycling the router temporarily fixes all the computers connection issues. Connecting the gaming desktop directly to the cable modem causes all problems to cease, but this was done just to narrow the problem down to the router.

    As I mentioned above, based on what I have been able to find out from searching the web since this started, my suspicion is that the router is overloading and dropping packets. Which leads me to my questions. Is it possible to fix this problem with Tomato firmware and proper QoS rules, or is this router not adequate for our needs?

    I'm willing to take the time to change the firmware and learn how to setup QoS rules, but I'm not sure if we would be better off getting a newer router with a better processor and more memory.

    Thanks in advance for any advice, I will probably have more questions later.

  2. Inkrypted

    Inkrypted Serious Server Member

    If you have to power cycle the router to fix the issue it certainly seems like a memory issue. With that router having 16 Megs of Memory and 4 Megs of flash memory I would bet that your assumption is correct. I think that using Tomato and QOS would be a mistake. I would invest in a more powerful router such as the RT-N16 you can find them on amazon for $80 and under sometimes if they are used. I would however recommend Tomato on the RT-N16 such as Shibby or Toastman's builds.
  3. Marcel Tunks

    Marcel Tunks Networkin' Nut Member

    If you have an old computer sitting around, you could run pfsense or a Linux-based firewall distribution on it and use your existing router as a wireless AP. Cost would be minimal upfront but more electricity (some people prefer old laptops for that reason).

    Asus RT-N66U/R is the best router that runs Tomato. The Tomato QoS is easy to use.

    A router with a fast Atheros-based CPU could run Gargoyle. Varying reports on stability and ease of initial setup, though, and their forum is also less active than this one.

    Netgear WNDR3800 can run CeroWRT, or you could go with OpenWRT if you're really adventurous.

    Either way, I think you're probably right that it's time for a new router.
  4. Porter

    Porter LI Guru Member


    Please don't go out and buy a new router, yet. It is very likely that this problem can be solved purely on a software basis. The problem seems to be that your NAT table runs full because the connection timeouts are too high and then the router doesn't have enough free RAM anymore to NAT new connections, thus leading to connection issues.

    I don't know if the ASUS firmware gives you access to the connection timeout parameters. If it doesn't, flash Tomato.

    Those are the parameters in Tomato:

    TCP Timeout
    Established 1800
    SYN Sent 30
    SYN Received 20
    FIN Wait 20
    Time Wait 20
    Close 10
    Close Wait 20
    Last ACK 20
    UDP Timeout
    Unreplied 30
    Assured 180
  5. TobiasFrost

    TobiasFrost Reformed Router Member

    Thank you all for your replies.

    Here's what has happened over the weekend. At one point, the gaming desktop was turned off, as well as the work laptop that uses a remote VPN. I was told that the internet did not work until the router was powered off and on again. There should not have been any significant traffic to the router when this happened, and the decision was made right then and there to order a new router. I had previously suggested the RT-N16 after learning about it while researching this problem, and that is the one that was ordered. So I am glad we will have a much more powerful router in the next couple of days.

    I can't say whether or not we will change the firmware on the RT-N16 when it arrives. My suspicion is we will decide to run the router as is and not change it unless there are problems, which I can't imagine there will be.

    I'm still very curious what the traffic on the router looks like when the game Warframe is running. If it's true it handles the multiplayer matchmaking in some way that is similar to P2P file sharing / torrenting, I wonder if the router is not getting overloaded by lots of connections from other players. Even though there is a 4 player limit in any one game, the matchmaking process could cause lots of incoming connections from other players clients checking to see if your game has room in it still. I would imagine the matchmaking servers the game itself runs would prevent this, but I don't know.

    Is there any software I could run while the game is open to see the connections? I've heard of WireShark before but don't know exactly what all it does. The stock Asus firmware on the router doesn't provide anything to monitor incoming connections / bandwidth usage that I can find.

    Edit: Yes we did consider using an old computer to act as a router. We certainly have a few laying around. However we decided that based on the types of computers they are, that the cost of electricity to run them 24/7 in a year would not make it worth the amount saved on a new router after only a year or two. The laptop we have could also be used but it is still used on a daily basis and would have to be given up or replaced.
  6. TobiasFrost

    TobiasFrost Reformed Router Member

    Another interesting update. This morning the gaming desktop was hooked up directly to the modem until other people got up and wanted to use the internet. The router was hooked back up as usual and seemed to be working. One laptop was on the web wirelessly as well as the gaming desktop. I was on the gaming desktop reading this post and typing the above response. After that I tried to open another page in a new tab and could not get a response. I logged into the router and noticed there were 6 clients listed as connected but didn't pay much attention to it. We had talked about wireless interference earlier and I decided to try disabling the wireless radio on the router via the web interface. As soon as it finished processing the request, I was able to browse the web as usual, without resetting the router. The connected clients showed 2, the gaming desktop and another device which I'm fairly certain is the internet telephone service device.

    The problem could still be the router overloading, as disabling the wireless on it would give it less tasks to handle. For the time being I'm leaving the wireless radio disabled and seeing how the connection fairs.
  7. Marcel Tunks

    Marcel Tunks Networkin' Nut Member

    Consumer routers are generally very stable when wireless is disabled.

    I'm obviously biased, but your mix of devices and applications may benefit from the traffic monitoring and QoS available from Tomato. The N16 is "unbrickable", so it's worth a try.
  8. TobiasFrost

    TobiasFrost Reformed Router Member

    After disabling the wireless radio on the router this morning another desktop was able to browse the web normally with the gaming desktop actively playing. After a few hours of this, however, the work laptop was started up and showed limited/no connectivity and could not open any connections. It was still able to login to the router via the web interface, though.

    Power cycling the modem and router let both computers get on the web again. I can't test if both continue to work with the game running now, though, so as to not interrupt the work laptop connection.
  9. kthaddock

    kthaddock Network Guru Member

    I think this is your problem:
    If this download from you then you don't have bw-left to others. Turn wifi security on and see if it's be any better.
  10. Inkrypted

    Inkrypted Serious Server Member

  11. TobiasFrost

    TobiasFrost Reformed Router Member

    Hi, yes we have WPA encryption with a passkey on.

    I downloaded Wireshark earlier but will have to learn how to interpret what it shows.
  12. Porter

    Porter LI Guru Member

    The number of NATed connections can only be found out by accessing the router. If your firmware doesn't show this in the GUI like Taomto does, then you will need to connect to your router with SSH.

    That's the command you'll have to use:

    wc -l /proc/net/ip_conntrack
  13. Inkrypted

    Inkrypted Serious Server Member

    Taomto. That version is in complete harmony with the universe. Sorry couldn't resist.
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