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.
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.
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:18.104.22.168.380_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