Question

Routers for home use

Hi all,

I am having a bit of an issue and am looking for some suggestions. I was using an Asus RT-AC87R/U and was having issues with my wifi thermostat intermittently losing connection to its server (it is a HVAC brand specific unit, not a Nest). The company suggested I try another router as it seemed to them like there was an incompatibility with the router. So I tested that by switching to a Linksys WRT1900ACS router. Upon connecting that, the thermostat lost 100% of its connection (where with the Asus, it would only sporadically drop connection) and my garage door gateway device also lost 100% of its connection.

This is used in a home setting but my only real data transfer occurs on wired connections - blazing fast wifi isn't necessary, as really only mobile devices are on the wifi portion, along with low data devices.

I am wondering if these high dollar "hype" routers are causing compatibility issues. I am considering going back to a wired router and a decent wireless access point. Would this be worth trying?

If so, I was looking at the NETGEAR ProSafe 8-port Gigabit VPN Firewall (FVS318G-200NAS) router, but noticed that both its LAN - WAN and WAN - LAN throughput is under 25Mbps. My ISP provides 200Mbps down, so I am afraid that won't work. Does anyone have any suggestions on a good wired router to be used at home?

OR, if you have any other suggestions as to why I may be having so many compatibility issues, that would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!!

-David

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Answer
Or ... Babylon.

One of my favorite tricks to stabilize many routers is pretty simple (once you know.)

1. Latest firmware.
2. Router defaults (to start.)
3. Now about Babylon. If your router is set to 802.11abgfn compatibility you may find it not working well with all devices. On the worst ones I pull it back to 802.11g. Most of the time I can go with 802.11n.
4. OFDM. Yes, it's an acronym you can do deep research on but in short try it on 20MHz mode.
It's very technical what this is and why. Another Wikipedia...

5. Router specific settings. I like to be sure the router's not in some "client isolation" mode. I even have to turn off the router firewall on some systems. Don't freak here. Routers still have a natural fireware due to NAT (oops another TLA and trip to Wikipedia.)

6. Finally. Site specific settings. The hotspot names and passwords are set.

7. Last thing really. Location. If they put it in the basement, you can usually move it to a better location. Anywhere but there.

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Not just wireless issues

Thank you for the info. Regarding your steps:

1) I have confirmed that I am running the latest firmware
2) I tried router defaults
3) The garage gateway is a wired connection and that device will no longer reach its server when connected to the WRT1900ACS.

4) I will try turning off CLIENT ISOLATION if possible. I will also try turning off the router firewall if possible.

6) SSID and passwords are correct on all devices - in the event of the thermostat, it is connected to my LAN (as confirmed by both the thermostat and the router) but it will not go outside of the LAN to connect to its server.

7) Location is excellent, actually. Central in the house, (not in basement). Wifi signals are great throughout the house (thermostat showing constant 4-5 bars).

Anything else it could be?

Thanks!!
-David

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That garage gateway device.

Since it's wired that points to wire or device troubles. But with router firewalls and client isolation that alone can and does block things connecting to servers.

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Garage gateway

That gateway runs through a switch that also has some security cameras attached. The device was working with the previous router and the cameras are still working, so I think that rules out wire. I also tried replacing the gateway with another one, with the same results, so that rules out device. Firewall is the only remaining thing...and I am concerned about completely opening the SPI firewall.

All things considered, would it be reasonable to go with a good business class router and see if that solves the issue? Or stick with this router and an open SPI firewall?

Thanks!

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That's what I run into over and over.

Routers never needed firewalls because NAT was a great firewall. Unless I'm there with a blackboard and a hour to go over how we got here with firewalls added into routers, well, I understand the angst but in short...

No hacker has been able to get on the other side of a router with router defaults due to NAT and that all incoming unsolicited packets are dropped. It's a quick test to see if that's the issue but given the cameras and more, you may need on site techs to sort it.

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PS. DNS.

Sorry but the above does not point directly to DNS issues but I can't know if said device needs to call a server/service in the cloud. Some ISP's have dated or lagged DNS so my choice most of the time is to use a Google DNS like 8.8.8.8

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Offline again

I turned the SPI firewall off on the WRT1900ACS and the thermostat was working, but it has since lost connection again. So, not a firewall issue. I guess it is incompatible with the WRT1900. I will switch back to the ASUS and turn off SPI and see if the thermostat loses connection.

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Sorry but I didn't suspect firewall for the thermostat.

It was this "garage gateway" device that makes me think firewall and DNS.

I may not have a clear picture of the system at large but WiFi does drop connections all the time. It has to. Why is steeped in deep engineering but it should come back after a bit. If not, it points to programming errors in the connection autorecovery routines.

My hat. I write embedded apps that are connected with WiFi, Bluetooth and more. The goal is to make such drops autorecover without bothering the users.

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Gotcha...

It is so strange how these devices are behaving. I think I am going to return the Linksys WRT1900ACS since 2 devices are clearly not at all compatible with it. Perhaps I will switch to a stand-alone wired router and separate AP just as a test and see if I get any better compatibility with the devices that are causing problems - would you recommend any of these? I do not really need VPN, so that isn't a consideration:

Cisco Dual Gigabit WAN VPN Router (RV320)
Cisco VPN Router (RV180)
NETGEAR ProSafe Dual WAN Gigabit Firewall (FVS336G-300)
Linksys Gigabit VPN Router (LRT214)

NETGEAR ProSafe 8-port Gigabit VPN Firewall (FVS318G) (This one only has a 25 Mbps WAN-LAN throughput)

If none of these, which would you recommend that doesn't have a steep learning curve? I would probably also disable VPN at this time.

Thanks!!
-David

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maybe it's the thermostat

or it's battery.

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