Router woes – the abysmal Netgear D7000

 

This is a narrative rather than a review but if you are considering buying either router mentioned you may want to take a note of my experiences.

The Openreach modem that was supplied with my Plusnet FTTC broadband was fixed to the wall. Over the years this had caused a huge dust stain reaching right to the ceiling. Being in a corner it was only really apparent when we came to redecorate. I decided it was time to replace the two box solution with a combined modem router. Unlike ADSL routers VDSL routers are quite thin on the ground. I decided on an Asus AC-DSL68U as my Asus RT-AC55U had been reliable.

During the summer months I spend long periods away from home with just short returns on a monthly basis. During one return I decided to make this change the local Currys were out of stock of the Asus router but a quick search found me a Netgear D7000 on offer at Maplins so I got one of those instead.




Netgear D7000 VDSL wireless router

Netgear D7000
A dual band wireless gigabit router with built in xDSL modem

It isn’t obvious from the picture but these are unusually large for routers being almost a foot wide. That with the 3 external antennas would certainly put me off having one on view as would the ridiculously bright LEDs. You can turn off most of the LEDs but the power LED remains on. None of this matters to me as the mess of router, SamKnows box, and Vonage VOIP box all live behind my sofa.

I connected it all up, found I had to use a backdated firmware for fixed local IPs to work, configured it and all seemed well. I had only been away from home a few days when it was obvious that my internet connection at home was down as no updates were made to my weathersat pictures page, my security cameras were inaccessible, and my VOIP phone wasn’t contactable. The phone was annoying as it forwards any landline calls to my mobile but my biggest fear was a power circuit trip which had happened once before and cost me a freezer full of food. My son M0XDK popped in and reported that a network switch seemed to have powered itself down and he had to power cycle everything to get it all working again. A few days later the failure repeated. I replaced the switch but the dropouts still repeated and I realised it must be the Netgear D7000. There were some posts in forums describing a very similar problem. The Netgear had to go.

As luck would happen Maplin had an offer on the Asus AC-DSL68u I had originally wanted and I bought one away from home. On my last return I found that the Netgear was still running and the local network was fine but the VDSL connection had lost sync and not automatically reconnected. The connection is specified as always on. Reconnecting it got everything going again but doing that from 100 miles away with no internet connection is a little difficult.

Asus DSL-AC68u VDSL wireless router

Asus DSL-AC68u
A dual band wireless gigabit router with built in xDSL modem

This is smaller and more vertical than the Netgear but as is obvious in the picture still has the three large antennas – these do help with WiFi range but are probably not appealing to wives. Certainly I would have problems getting away with one if it wasn’t behind the sofa.

Anyhow I went though the necessary config with the only issue being I couldn’t get it to support my D-Link provided dynamic DNS service. This is not a problem right now as Plusnet offer a fixed IP but could be later if I change ISP. I have continued to update the dynamic DNS to make sure it doesn’t lapse even though I don’t need it and will dig into getting the Asus to support it later.

So with it up and running I was reasonably happy although I did spot a connection drop. Overnight there were a couple more and the BT dynamic line management kicked in – the result being I now have an interleaved connection increasing latency from ~ 10ms to ~ 20ms and dropping sync from ~ 71Mbps to ~ 68Mbps. It has remained stable since and for me is no big deal although I suspect a gamer would be mortified with the increased latency. A bonus is that the upstream has increased from ~ 17Mbps to ~ 18Mbps.

A new firmware was released while I was at the van but I deferred installing it until reurning home today 16 Oct 2016 in case I lost the connection completely while away. Initial results indicate that Firmware Version:3.0.0.4.380_4026 has restored the downstream speed back to what it was on the Openreach modem and retained the better upstream. On the downside it is still interleaved for downstream. The reported interleave depth is less than it was although the depth reported is whacky enough for me to doubt its accuracy and the ping actually increased marginally.

At long last interleave was turned off today (9 February 2017). On checking the line stats to confirm what the big decrease in latency shown on the TBB monitor was indeed a return to fastpath I see there is another firmware update available.

I held off installing that for a while in case the DLM interpreted the drop in connection to be a problem using fastpath and my profile didn’t increase until after I installed the firmware update and rebooted the router. Now I’m at last on an 80/20 sync and a 77.4Mbps profile which is probably the best this line has ever been. It’s a great pity that Plusnet are apparently now being very sniffy about retaining past discounts. Looking at current broadband prices would see me returning to cable if my minimum term was up right now and Plusnet wouldn’t play ball on discounts.



List of SSH terminal commands for the Asus DSL AC68U

I came across this list on a forum and will repeat it here so I can find it easily myself later.

3ginfo.sh                   ftpput                      pscan
                            gctwimax                    psta_monitor
                            gencert.sh                  pwd
                            get_account_list            radio
acsd                        get_all_folder              radvd
add_account                 get_apps_name               rc
add_folder                  get_folder_list             rcheck
add_multi_routes            get_permission              rdnssd
app_base_library.sh         get_phy_speed               read_sms
app_base_link.sh            get_phy_status              readlink
app_base_packages.sh        get_var_file_name           reboot
app_cancel.sh               grep                        renice
app_check_folder.sh         gunzip                      restart_wireless
app_check_pool.sh           gzip                        rm
app_fsck.sh                 halt                        rmdir
app_fsck_all.sh             head                        rmmod
app_get_field.sh            helper.sh                   robocfg
app_init_run.sh             hotplug                     route
app_install.sh              hotplug2                    rstats
app_move_to_pool.sh         how_many_layer              run_app_script
app_remove.sh               httpd                       run_pptpd
app_set_enabled.sh          hub-ctrl                    run_telnetd
app_stop.sh                 icon.ico                    scp
app_switch.sh               icon.large.ico              scsi-start
app_update.sh               ifconfig                    scsi-stop
app_upgrade.sh              igmpproxy                   sd-idle-2.6
arp                         igs                         sdparm
arping                      infosvr                     sed
arpstorm                    init                        send_sms
ash                         initial_all_var_file        sendmail
asus_lp                     initial_folder_list         service
asus_sd                     initial_var_file            set_permission
asus_sg                     inotify                     setconsole
asus_sr                     insmod                      setup_dnsmq
asus_tty                    ionice                      setuprsa.sh
asus_usb_interface          ip                          sh
asus_usbbcm                 ip6tables                   showmount
asuswebstorage              ip6tables-restore           sigmon
auto_macclone               ip6tables-save              sleep
autodet                     ipset                       smbd
avahi-daemon                iptables                    smbpasswd
awk                         iptables-restore            sort
badblocks                   iptables-save               ssh
basename                    kill                        statd
bcrelay                     killall                     strings
blkid                       klogd                       swapoff
brctl                       l2tp-control                swapon
busybox                     l2tpd                       switchmode
cat                         led_ctrl                    sync
chat                        less                        sysinfo
check_spectrum.sh           lighttpd                    syslogd
chk_app_state               lighttpd-arpping            tail
chkntfs                     lighttpd-monitor            tar
chmod                       lld2d                       tc
chown                       lld2d.conf                  tcpcheck
chpasswd                    lld2d.rtn66r                tee
chpasswd.sh                 ln                          telnet
chroot                      logger                      telnetd
clear                       login                       test
cmp                         lpd                         test_disk1
comgt                       ls                          test_disk2
console                     lsmod                       test_endian
cp                          lsusb                       test_if_exist_account
create_if_no_var_files      madwimax                    test_if_exist_share
crond                       makemime                    test_of_var_files
crontab                     md5sum                      test_share
cru                         mdev                        tftp
cstats                      minidlna                    top
cut                         miniupnpd                   touch
date                        mkdir                       tr
dbclient                    mkdosfs                     traceroute
dd                          mke2fs                      traceroute6
ddns_updated                mkfs.ext2                   true
del_account                 mkfs.ext3                   tune2fs
del_folder                  mkfs.vfat                   u2ec
df                          mknod                       udevtrigger
dhcp6c                      mkntfs                      udhcpc
dhcp6c-state                mkswap                      udpxy
dhcp6s                      mod_account                 umount
diff                        mod_folder                  uname
dirname                     modify_if_exist_new_folder  unzip
disk_monitor                modprobe                    updown.sh
disk_remove                 more                        uptime
dmesg                       mount                       uqmi
dnsmasq                     mountd                      usb_modeswitch
dropbear                    mt-daapd                    usb_notify
dropbearconvert             mtd-erase                   usbled
dropbearkey                 mtd-unlock                  usleep
dropbearmulti               mtd-write                   vconfig
du                          mv                          vi
e2fsck                      nas                         vsftpd
eapd                        nc                          wanduck
ebtables                    netstat                     watch
echo                        netstat-nat                 watchdog
egrep                       networkmap                  wc
ejusb                       nfsd                        webdav_client
emf                         nice                        webs_update.sh
entware-setup.sh            nmbd                        webs_upgrade.sh
env                         nohup                       wget
et                          nslookup                    which
ether-wake                  ntp                         wimaxc
exportfs                    ntpclient                   wimaxd
expr                        nvram                       wl
ez-ipupdate                 openssl                     wlcconnect
fdisk                       openvpn                     wlconf
fgrep                       ots                         wlcscan
find                        pc                          wpa_cli
find_modem_node.sh          pidof                       wpa_supplicant
find_modem_type.sh          ping                        wps_monitor
firmware_check              ping6                       wpsaide
flock                       portmap                     write_3g_ppp_conf
free                        pppd                        write_smb_conf
free_caches                 pppoe-relay                 write_webdav_conf
fsck.ext2                   pptpctrl                    zcat
fsck.ext3                   pptpd                       zcip
fsync                       printf
ftpget                      ps