Checkpoint: Router Life Expectancy

Checkpoint: Router Life Expectancy

posted in: Editorials & Features | 0

There was a time in the early to mid-2000’s where I expected wireless routers to just die after a year or so. It happened to my Linksys and D-Link routers. However, after purchasing ASUS routers, a new expectation was set; routers are supposed to last half a decade or more. I owned two RT-N16 and an RT-N66U and two of the three are still alive with only the RT-N16 finally biting the dust last year. 

I replaced my gateway router with a NETGEAR R7000 Nighthawk router in August 2015 and while it impressed me initially with its feature set and wireless range, its sudden collapse Friday did not impress me at all. I was already planning to demote it from gateway router to access point because of a UPNP issue this weekend but my plans were accelerated when the router inexplicably stopped accepting connections.

Trying to access the admin console was met with slow response and repeated disconnections. I tried clearing the NVRAM but it was a fruitless effort. It took a complete reinstall of the firmware to restore functionality but I’m not confident in the router’s stability whatsoever.

NETGEAR R7000 Nighthawk’s UPNP issue with TitanFall 2 & multiple consoles

My brother and I were unable to play TitanFall 2 together without one of us failing to connect to the match. We never had issues with other titles such as Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 or Overwatch so I didn’t put much stock into it being a router issue. 

I found suggestions to reduce the “NAT Filtering” from “Secured” to “Open” and sure enough that allowed the two consoles to join games without a fuss. This revelation points to the possibility of the router not opening ports properly through UPNP. I conducted a Google search to include the words “titanfall 2 upnp 2 consoles nighthawk” which produced a couple of threads from the official forums including “Matchmaking with another player on the same Local Area Network” where people narrowed it down to a Nighthawk issue. Ten there is this other thread where a forum member detailed the fact that TitanFall 2’s multiplayer works by “registering external IP addresses as opposed to just using port mappings“. Isn’t that just grand? It doesn’t even bother trying to work via UPNP.

Welcome Back ASUS

Despite TitanFall 2’s shortcomings, I need a router that’s flexible enough to deal with said shortcomings. I also need a router that works reliably which is why I’m happy to welcome the ASUS RT-N66U as top dog in my network.

I’m loving my time with The Last Guardian. Trico is a delight to interact with and I’m continually amazed by how lifelike he reacts.

Along with the usual, I returned to Overwatch to do my placement matches for season 3. Going solo is such a fruitless and empty experience. I don’t even get upset over losses due to questionable hero picks; it’s just part of the crapshoot. I placed 2911.

Savestate: Driving to Wait

posted in: Editorials & Features | 0

Valkyria Chronicles

Re: DRIVECLUB PS+ Edition Delay

Shuhei Yoshida officially delayed the DRIVECLUB PS+ Edition until further notice.

It’s understandable considering the networking side of the game has been a complete non-starter due to code issues. It’s been three weeks and if the tentpole feature of the game isn’t ready to go for paying customers, it makes sense to delay the freebie version.

I’m okay with the delay but I’m also someone who wasn’t waiting for DRIVECLUB to arrive in the first place. Some believe they’re owed this piece of shareware and claim their PlayStation Plus memberships were purchased because of it. It sounds ludicrous but I hope they learn their lesson: Never pay for potential unless you can exercise patience when something goes awry.

Re: Valkyria Chronicles coming to PC

Valkyria Chronicles was a fantastic PS3 title and now I can relive it with all the DLC that I never bought for $20? Sounds like quite the deal. I just need folks to confirm that it is a good PC port. If it is is, I’ll pick it up for $10 or so.

Now we just need Vanquish to make its way to PC. It deserves the 60 FPS treatment.

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The Results of the Second WDS Attempt

posted in: Editorials & Features | 0

I completely forgot about following up on the progress of my wireless bridging solution.

First a little recap of the inter-site wireless journey I went down. The first WDS attempt was a failure. Then I decided to try the wireless ethernet bridge but sidelined that idea after repeated router failures. I then decided to acquire new hardware and retry the WDS.

As I noted back in October, the second attempt was accompanied by a new router, the ASUS RT-N66U. With the new router’s wireless signal strength, I’m now able to establish and maintain the WDS without any issues.

Here are the settings that I employed on both the ASUS RT-N66U and Linksys E4200 v1 routers:

  • Channel 13
  • Channel Width: 20 MHz
  • 2.4 GHz band
  • WPA2 Personal + AES encryption
  • Spanning Tree Protocol enabled
  • Routing Mode: Router
  • Use user-entered gateway if WAN is disabled: On

Up next? Guest wireless networks.

ASUS RT-N66U First Impressions

posted in: Gadget Impressions | 0

asus-rt-n66u

My ASUS RT-N66U arrived from Amazon.ca yesterday. I installed Tomato (Shibby) on it and have it up and running.

The build quality helps justify the $150 price tag. It has heft and a solid feel unlike any router I’ve ever owned. It even has a power button and a stand which may seem like odd things to highlight but these are the kinds of features that I expect from a router this pricey.

Initial performance impressions are positive but it did not quite achieve the level of exterior wall performance I was hoping for. The 5 GHz antenna on my E4200 was good. It was able to reach all the way from the top floor to the basement with a reasonable signal. The RT-N66U signal, however, is excellent no matter where I am.

The WDS performance is better but it’s not a night and day difference. The signal strength and quality seems to be more stable than with the E4200 I previously used though. Stability with reasonable throughput (10+ Mbps) is the goal here and so far this RT-N66U is delivering on that front. I’ll check in after some days have passed. Hopefully the link stays up.

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