Router slowing down internet

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by llamafilm, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. llamafilm

    llamafilm Addicted to LI Member

    In the past, I've had a Time Warner Cable connection with 20Mb down, 2Mb up, and everything was fine. I recently upgraded the service to 100Mb down, 5Mb up, and now my router is stopping me from seeing these speeds.

    Computer connected directly to modem: 80/3, 16ms ping
    Computer wired through router: 15/2.5, 35ms ping

    I updated the router to the latest Shibby mod (1.28.0005 121 ND USB BTgui), flashing NVRAM before and after. QOS is disabled for now, until I fix the speed. The router is an Asus WL-500gP v2.

    I don't know if the problem is with tomato config or the hardware itself. Any ideas?
  2. koitsu

    koitsu Network Guru Member

    If I'm reading between the lines right, the issue is not with your router per se, but with the use of QoS, i.e. disabling QoS solved your problem. Correct?
  3. llamafilm

    llamafilm Addicted to LI Member

    No. I have the slow speed even with QoS disabled, and only one computer connected to the router.
  4. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    You likely have exceeded the limitations of your router. Every packet that gets moved from LAN to WAN and vice versa is moved by the CPU inside the router. When you have more packets to move than you have CPU time to move them, you end up not being able to fully utilize your internet connection.

    For 100Mb you'll likely need a RT-N66 (or something equivalent). The RT-N16 can get you up to around 50Mb but nowhere close to 100Mb.
  5. llamafilm

    llamafilm Addicted to LI Member

    I believe you're right, my router just can't keep up.
    Are you speaking from experience about those two models? Here is a thread where a user measures the RT-N16 just over 100Mbps with Tomato, and over 300Mbps with stock firmware.
    I would like to be future-ready, since Time Warner should have 300Mb service in a few months, but I'm also balancing a budget.
  6. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    Well, I speak from experience with QoS enabled running Tomato.

    If you disable QoS and opt for just the right firmware configured the right way, you can certainly get better performance.

    I had an RT-N16 with a very stripped down configuration in Tomato, not even performing NAT or QoS, and it couldn't break 100Mb. But if you have a firmware with hardware CTF enabled, it certainly is capable of fast performance... but then you have to live with the limitations imposed by hardware CTF. At least I think the feature is called hardware CTF... doc won't let me have coffee anymore so it's a groggy Monday...
  7. llamafilm

    llamafilm Addicted to LI Member

    I definitely want to use QoS, so I guess I'll look into more powerful routers. The RT-AC56 sounds nice for its price. I have no need for AC wireless, but apparently these ARM routers will be much more powerful?
    It's too bad that series can't be wall mounted.
  8. Grimson

    Grimson Networkin' Nut Member

    Yes the ARM routers should be more powerful, but the Tomato builds for them are in a very early stage. Just remember this.
  9. llamafilm

    llamafilm Addicted to LI Member

    Any recommendations? I want to run torrents, use QoS, and have 300Mb WAN connection, without spending much money. I thought of ASUS just because I've had good a experience with my current model, but I could go with any brand.
  10. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    If you have your heart set on a 300Mb connection, I don't think any consumer hardware is really going to do it. You're better off using Tomato as a wireless access point (to bridge wireless to wired) and setting up either an old PC or a new, custom built, PC as a router. You can use free distributions like monowall or pfsense and get all the features you need with the ability to route gigabits of data between (ethernet) interfaces. You could also opt for professional/commercial equipment but that'll run you a hell of a lot more and (usually) won't be nearly as user friendly.

    100Mb is a lot to ask for consumer routers to handle and you're tripling it. An N66 should be capable of 100Mb with QoS and most bells and whistles enabled, though if you start doing things like VPN tunnels it'll probably fall down too.
    koitsu likes this.
  11. llamafilm

    llamafilm Addicted to LI Member

    Hmm interesting. I already have a low power media center PC, maybe I could add a second Ethernet card to it. Do you think this would be powerful enough? It's an Asus AT3IONT-I Deluxe, with 1.6GHz Atom 330 CPU and 4GB RAM. This machine plays HD video, but that's mostly handled by the ION GPU.

    As for the N66 option, I don't need VPN, but I do need to a VLAN for guests (wired only). Is that one of the bells you think would slow it down?
  12. remlei

    remlei Networkin' Nut Member

    Well you can use that and install pfsense or monowall. Microtik os is much better handling qos but with a price.
  13. koitsu

    koitsu Network Guru Member

    Atom CPU is almost certainly not going to handle that kind of throughput, sorry to say, especially with QoS (and definitely not with a VPN). A high-end Core i3 or low-end Core i5 would be a better choice. Or if you can find an older system, a Core2Duo would be more than enough. A Pentium 4 would probably work too, though you'd be better off with a Northwood revision (Prescott rev ran extremely hot (like 15C hotter than Northwood) and the trade off wasn't worth it -- just go C2D in that case)).

    You have to remember that there really isn't a lot of hardware offloading when it comes to packet processing on consumer devices (including desktop or server CPUs (yes, Xeon)). The kernel at some layer has to handle all the parsing and processing (even more so with QoS), it can't hand off everything to some "magic chip" somewhere. Hardware offloading features of common NICs (ex. IPv4, TCP, and UDP checksum calculations) don't play that big of a role either -- you'll save 1-2% CPU (if that). But one of the big advantages to x86 CPUs is that most software and open-source operating systems are designed and intended for x86; it's still the most popular architecture today (but that's all because Intel dominated the industry). At least ARM is giving Intel a run for it's money, but there's still no real comparison performance-wise as of this writing -- x86 still beats it.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  14. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    I keep seeing refurbished Core2Duo PCs going for $200 and under from places like NewEgg, you certainly could slap a NIC or two into one of those and get the performance you need. Cheaper still would be to look at craigslist or the like.

    But to be honest an N66U with a guest VLAN on a 100Mb line should be perfectly capable and workable. If you went from 100Mb to 300Mb you'd need to look into either better hardware or builds with hardware CTF support. At that point spending the $200 on a PC makes a lot more sense than spending more than that on a high end consumer/prosumer router.

    It's very easy to get a reasonably priced reasonably fast PC that has enough power to push 1Gb of data between interfaces, and at 300Mb you don't even need that much power. You could even replace the CPU in the system with a faster CPU, upgrade RAM, etc. if you bump up against the limits of your particular system. That kind of flexibility can't be matched by off the shelf consumer hardware. And since there's a billion and one ways to setup an x86 PC as a router, if you don't like how, say, pfsense looks then you can wipe it out and set it up with monowall, etc.

    But I wouldn't recommend trying to set one up as both a wireless access point and a router. It introduces a lot of complexity and compatibility issues. You can do it, but you're better off just repurposing your existing wireless router(s) as access points (disable DHCP server, disable WAN, switch from gateway to router mode) to keep their broad compatibility with wireless devices intact.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  15. llamafilm

    llamafilm Addicted to LI Member

    I think I'm going to settle with 100Mb for now. I can get an RT-AC56 cheaper than an N66, and it's faster in every way, right? Only downside is internal antennae, but I think that should be ok in a small house.
  16. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    It's a MIPS vs. ARM CPU issue too. N66 is MIPS, AC56 is ARM. ARM support under Tomato is fairly recent.
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