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View Full Version : Warning: Linksys WRT110 Rangeplus Wireless Router & Squeezebox



grantmasterflash
2008-06-17, 20:47
A word of warning: Had a dreadful experience with the Linksys WRT110 Wireless Router.

I had been using SBv3 (firmware 88), Squeezecenter 7.0.1 on Ubuntu (various versions as they came out, but now at 8.04), and a Netgear WGR614 for about a year with no wireless connectivity problems despite upgrading Squeezecenter, SB firmware, and Ubuntu whenever new versions were available. I decided to "upgrade" my router due to a few patchy areas in the house for my laptop reception, gave the Netgear to a friend, and got the Linksys WRT110. I upgraded the WRT110 to the latest firmware available on the Linksys site and had no problems with router setup. However, as soon as I connected Squeezebox wirelessly to the WRT110, I had nothing but buffering problems. It sometimes took 30 seconds for an mp3 to start playing and rebuffering dropouts happened frequently. The "Network Test" plugin on the Squeezebox showed that as soon as I got above 320 kbps, I was getting significant drops below 100% and it only got worse above that. Flac was out of the question - completely unplayable. I had never had any buffering delay with flac or mp3 files with my previous (older) Netgear router. I played around with the WRT110 wireless settings (fragmentation, CTS, frame burst, different channels, etc.) with no luck. The wireless signal strength was always in the 60-70 range. There didn't seem to be any obvious explanation for the buffering problems and I didn't have the desire to run Wireshark traces and try to debug Linksys' router problems.

I gave up on the Linksys WRT110, returned it to the store, and bought a Netgear WPN824v3. This Netgear router is working like a charm with SB and Squeezecenter, just like the previous Netgear I had. No buffering delay at all when I start playing and the Network test shows no drops from 100% until I get into the 4000-5000 kbps range (and not significant drops even there).

Not sure if I got a dud Linksys, but wanted to put this out there for anyone considering the WRT110. You may be in for a rude awakening with this router.

Sike
2008-06-18, 01:10
Routers are like a box of chocolates...

I have a WRT160N and a WRT310N and bot work great without crashing or any other wierd side affects. Routers are always a bit of hit or miss...

pfarrell
2008-06-18, 08:15
Sike wrote:
> Routers are like a box of chocolates...
>
> I have a WRT160N and a WRT310N and bot work great


WiFi routers for sure. I've had great luck with the WRT54GL

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

Sike
2008-06-19, 01:45
Ahhh the WRT54GL.. a timeless classic. Ugly as hell but highly reliable.

Range is not that great as it's not a MIMO.

Linksys made this device due to all of the custom firmware made for the WRT54G, which was no longer supported by the WRT54G after version 4 of the router (Version 5 of the router, they changed the OS to VxWorks and no longer used linux)

ralphy
2008-06-19, 04:32
Ahhh the WRT54GL.. a timeless classic. Ugly as hell but highly reliable.

Range is not that great as it's not a MIMO.

Linksys made this device due to all of the custom firmware made for the WRT54G, which was no longer supported by the WRT54G after version 4 of the router (Version 5 of the router, they changed the OS to VxWorks and no longer used linux)

Out of interest dd-wrt supports all versions of the WRT54G/L/S. For V5 hardware and newer it's a two step process, replace the VxWorks image with a new boot loader and then use that to flash the dd-wrt image. You can even reload the original firmware on it. I have a old v3.1 which has been running dd-wrt for ages, never touch it, just keeps working.

I just bought a Version 8.2 which I immediately upgraded to
the latest dd-wrt v24 release. Works great. I use it as a client bridge for an SB3 wired only.

http://www.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv3/index.php

Ralphy

Sike
2008-06-19, 06:55
I use it as a client bridge for an SB3 wired only.

http://www.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv3/index.php

Ralphy

Is there a way of turning a Linksys N router in to a bridge yet? A WRT160N for example?

Sike
2008-06-19, 07:06
Just read up on it .. it is possible, only narrowband though .. dd wrt has come a long way!

lanierb
2008-06-19, 10:10
Ahhh the WRT54GL.. a timeless classic. Ugly as hell but highly reliable.

Range is not that great as it's not a MIMO.


I have played with several recent G routers (linksys and others) and the WRT54GL had identical range to the others in my experience. (I have played with swapping them around and used netstumbler to measure the signal.) Also, with the third party firmware you can pump up the transmit power and increase the range beyond that of the others. Based on this, I settled on using the WRT54GL as it seems more reliable (got sick of rebooting my router every few days).

Sike
2008-06-20, 01:09
Also, with the third party firmware you can pump up the transmit power and increase the range beyond that of the others.

The problem with that is that SNR is too high. (The signal is disturbing itself) And the devices are not built for the "100%" transmit power and will burn out of not propperly cooled.

I have a couple attached to antennas on my roof. Great boxes!

lanierb
2008-06-20, 13:47
The problem with that is that SNR is too high. (The signal is disturbing itself)

Are you suggesting that cranking up the transmit power can actually make reception worse? Should I turn it back down? I have one distant squeezebox that was at 30% SNR before I cranked the power, and now it's at about 45% with the power at 200 (from 40). I thought this would make it more reliable long term, though I have to admit it was working perfectly before (not one drop out that I know of).

MickeyG
2008-07-18, 15:03
Is anyone else having an issue connecting Squeezeboxes to this router? If so, please post in this forum the details about your problems.

We're still hunting down compatibility issues with routers, and if this is posting reflects a typical experience then we'd like to fix it.

Thanks!

Mickey

MrSinatra
2008-07-19, 10:20
in my exp, linksys makes junk. you never know if what you are buying is going to be any good or not, and toms hardware routinely bashs them, sometimes scathingly.

my advice to people who want really good wireless? get a so called gaming router and spend the $100. its so worth it.

jpastore
2008-07-21, 21:20
I have a Dell m90 with a Intel3945 a/b/g card. When upgrading (if you can call it that) to this router (WRT110) I noticed that large throughput (bit torrent's, CentOS iso downloads, large db dump file downloads) all cause my wireless to die and I have to manually reconnect via network manager every 5 minutes...

I got dell to replace the wireless card twice, bought the N version of the card. Fought with Linksys support. They want me to RMA the device but I've found enough evidence online to support the fact that there is something wrong with the firmware...I did update the firmware, reloaded various kernel modules and libraries. I compiled my own driver. BTW when I talk to other wireless routers...no problem...

/sigh the long and short of it is: don't buy this router. Not until a firmware revision past 1.0.4 comes out that addresses this. I made sure the 4th tech in India forwarded on our chat session with supporting data (this forum) to the firmware developers...

maybe that'll get us some help =)

musictappy
2008-07-21, 22:19
I also have this router, and have experienced issues playing flac files. Sometimes the file would stop in the middle, and other times it would not play a file at all. The duet controller would show that the file is playing for about 20 seconds, but there would be no audio. After about 20 seconds it would restart the file, again with no audio. When it is doing this the light on the receiver is blue. I assumed interference since I can pick up multiple networks in my house, but I can't tell for sure. Resetting either the receiver or the router would always fix the problem.

If it helps at all, my Network Test settings were always very good, but I still had these problems. I fixed it (I hope) by purchasing a homeplug system and bypassing the wireless. If this router could be made to work better, it would benefit me greatly!

Pat

MickeyG
2008-07-22, 11:26
Thank you musictappy and jpastore for confirming that the Linksys WRT110 router, in its current incarnation, will encounter issues when you are wirelessly streaming music on your home network to Squeezebox players.

It looks like the Linksys WRT110 needs bugs fixed in its firmware to solve this problem. That's too bad, because it looks like a pretty cool router otherwise.

Mickey

musictappy
2008-07-29, 19:28
I went back to using this router a few days ago after I continued getting very poor network test results with my homeplugs. I upgraded the firmware on the router to the latest that was offered, and when I connected the Duet using wireless to the router, I still had dropouts when I started playing songs.

I went into the router setup and turned off the router firewall. I tried playing music again and it worked! I have had no dropouts for the last four days playing flac files. I am seeing excellent network test results, and have a signal strength of about 68%. Everything now works as it should.

This may not be the best option, but it is working for me right now and I am finally able to enjoy the Duet as it should work. Hopefully it will continue to work! Could the router firewall have been causing the problems?

Pat

zay
2008-10-26, 17:56
not to thread hop, I havea wrt110 as well, and it works great for me. I do have a client however that is constantly losing connection. She has a linksys range expander, and they are expensive. I am considering switching to another brand of wireless router. She still has the old wrt54g, I am considering just setting that one back up. Does anyone know if any other brands work with the linksys expander?

byKnight
2008-10-27, 04:56
My WRTG54 died several months ago and I replaced it with the WRT110. I had all manner of problems with it. Most annoying was that occasionally none of the devices connected to it (either wirelessly or wired) could talk to any other of the devices, nor the internet. Only cyclying the power on the router would correct this, and then only for a short while.

I systematically worked the problem until I hit on the answer for me. I changed the routers MTU from "Automatic" to 1400 after some experimentation.

Now this value may not be appropriate for you. Google for procedures on how to find the best MTU value for your setup.

mvalera
2008-10-27, 08:18
Are you suggesting that cranking up the transmit power can actually make reception worse? Should I turn it back down? I have one distant squeezebox that was at 30% SNR before I cranked the power, and now it's at about 45% with the power at 200 (from 40). I thought this would make it more reliable long term, though I have to admit it was working perfectly before (not one drop out that I know of).

Exactly... turn your power way down.

In reality this is not really ever a solution because you are increasing the power on only one side of a 2 way radio communication.

Mike

Millwood
2008-10-28, 13:05
I just got a WRT110 - didn't search the forum first :-(

I'm seeing a reconnect failure with my SB3 - something I used to see but not in a long while with my now dead WRT54G

The SB3 gets into a state in which its screen is blank. If you press power on, it says trying to wake up squeezecenter, trying to connect to squeezecenter and then goes blank again.

It can't be pinged.

If you hold down the power button, it restarts, reconnects, and works.

Also - at the moment I'm running in B-only mode. I have a laptop with a B only card, and B is good enough.

I am not yet sure if this only happens when the router restarts or by itself. I've been playing with config and so restarting the router a lot.

Whatever the problem with the WRT110, it would be nice if the SB3 saw that it wasn't talking to the network and tried to reconnect.

(I'm running the router B-only since I have a B-only laptop. But I think I had more trouble in B-G mode).

Firmware is 1.0.04 build 10 (sic). The fact that it's build 10 tells me this is a work in progress.

lanierb
2008-10-28, 15:49
Exactly... turn your power way down.

In reality this is not really ever a solution because you are increasing the power on only one side of a 2 way radio communication.

Mike

As long as we're dredging up old threads... I followed the advice to turn the power down back in July when I first responded to this thread and... no dice! I tried 80 (default is 40 I think) and 150, but I need it at 200+ for reliable streaming on my most distant SB3. The higher power works great. Doesn't hurt the reception anywhere in the house, and helps it tremendously far away (and through a few walls). So, while you guys *may* know what you are talking about in general, there are obviously conditions where the higher power purely helps.

Ross L
2008-10-28, 16:09
See also:

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.php/RouterStatus

Seems we used to be OK with WRT110, I'll have to try to find one and test here in the QA lab. Thanks for sharing.

Millwood
2008-10-29, 06:21
See also:

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.php/RouterStatus

Seems we used to be OK with WRT110, I'll have to try to find one and test here in the QA lab. Thanks for sharing.

As an update - for the last 24 hours, things have worked - so I can't even reproduce the problem right now! I'll report again if trouble reoccurs.

(I am running 128bit WEP)

Millwood
2008-10-29, 09:35
Spoke to soon - it's back into that funny state.

WRT110 thinks it is associated.

Screen is blank.

Power button yields

Waking up SqueezeCenter ...
Connecting to SqueezeCenter ...
blank screen again

SB3 does NOT respond to pings.

Push and hold power till reboot and it reconnect on its own. There is a DHCP exchange, for what its worth.

I'm running with DHCP reservation, so it always gets the same IP.

It seems as if its not really on the network but doesn't know its not. Or alternately, the WRT110 is ignoring it.

Nothing in the logs. No recent DHCP, in particular.

Millwood
2008-11-03, 06:24
I returned the thing. Happily, I'd bought it a radio shack, not on the web, so they just scowled and took it back.

Reinstalled my failing WRT54G and all the (new) problems are gone. So I'm pretty sure the WRT110 is not something you want to try!

It's final trick was to suddenly change into a state in which all the devices were seeing much lower power - 40% for the SB3 five feet under the WRT110 instead of 90+. Unplugging/replugging the router cleared it.

Based on other comments here and easy availabilty, I've order a netgrear WPN824

Millwood
2008-11-07, 12:33
I've learned something that might be useful.

After returning the WRT110, I reinstalled my failing? WRT54G. It behaved similarly. In reading the Tomoto (alternate firmware - I'm not using it - I run the latest linksys) it suggested two things.

1. Don't run in B only mode if there are G devices around.
2. Don't enable frame burst (a WRT54G option) if you have more than 3 wireless devices.

Changing both, I got much better behavior. Still wide power variation, but lowest not as bad.

I've now installed a Netgear WPN824V3, which seems to work somewhat better maybe??? It doesn't have a frame burst option, by the way.

I way maybe??? because although the power is more stable, my max speeds are down I think. (Things vary enough that its hard to get reliable facts).

rbz5416
2008-11-07, 14:45
See also:

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.php/RouterStatus

Seems we used to be OK with WRT110, I'll have to try to find one and test here in the QA lab. Thanks for sharing.Ross,

Any chance of some input to this (http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=54691) thread please?

Millwood
2008-11-07, 15:43
I returned the WRT110 before learning of the frame burst issue.

Also, I have 2 SB3, a receiver, a controller, and 2 wireless computers on the network, and the issue may be multiple stations.

So far, the Netgear 824 seems OK but not much better than my old WRT54G, which is now working again. I can get 2000kb reliable running G on a station with 70% signal strength.

What I do see is more stable signal strength over time, although still lots of swing. The above, in a few hours, sees a high of 90% and a low of 66%.

As an aside, if I were working your network software, which I am not competent to do without more learning than I have time for, I'd very carefully review the lost packet protocol to make sure it was really robust in the face of transient burst errors in the network. I say this because, given the size of your buffers, which represent many seconds of music, glitches seem to drop the stream more often than they should.

DeVerm
2008-11-07, 16:01
I posted on these issues before, but I'll repeat it here:

- signal strength is not as important as the signal-to-noise-ratio!!!
- n-routers are better, even if you only have g-clients. they have mimo technology for further range which helps g-clients too and a faster cpu which is the biggest bottleneck in bitrate issues combined with encryption.
- disable any b-client support (so g-only or g-n-only). Support for b will seriously limit performance. Experiment with short vs long pre-amble settings too, these settings are all related and differ between routers.
- more signal strength is best done with a better antenna instead of more power
- reducing noise is even better than increasing signal strength. The best way to reduce noise is by using directional antenna's. The cheapest one is printing a pattern (search google) on your printer, cutting it out and covering it with aluminium-foil and sticking it on the antenna's. Directional hi-gain antenna's are even better and cost little.

Example: using a 180 degree antenna on the router gives you a quick 3 dB increase on signal strength (that's doubling it!) plus a 3 dB reduction on noise in the routers receiver (it only receives noise from 180 deg instead of 360 !!). Next logical step would be directional antenna at the SB but I think only the SB2 can do that without modification. But you can decrease the angle further, like to 90 or 60 degrees with more gain and more noise-reduction.

I stand by my choice for good wifi router: Dlink DGL-4500.

cheers,
Nick.

pablolie
2008-11-07, 22:43
My experience with the WRT54GX4 was great until I got a Duet. And the iPhone did not get along that great with it, either.

The dual band WRT610N has operated flawlessly at all levels. Signal coverage is a bit compromised because of the internal antenna, but other than that there have been no issues, and all Squueze models (SB3, Boom and Duet) operate very well.