I hate routers

Oh boy, do I.

Was having stupid problems this morning sshing between systems and decided to blame my router (Linksys WRT-310N) and its firmware (a scarily new dd-wrt build for all the recent IPv6 faffing). So I thought, sod it, I'm buying another - the 310N has always been a bit flaky anyway, and it's always given me very poor wireless speeds, nowhere near 802.11n levels.

So, out I go and pick up a D-Link DIR-825. I make a first attempt at setting it up and find that its DHCP reserved lease feature doesn't accept that there can possibly be MAC addresses that don't start with 00 - d'oh. I find an updated firmware that fixes this, set that up, and this time all seems fine and worky. I test the wireless connection - glorious! Over 2.4GHz I get 6-7MB/sec (byte, not bit) and over 5GHz I get over 10MB/sec. With the old router and firmware I couldn't get past 2MB/sec.

So I'm happy as a lamb until I notice my mail isn't working. Then I try browsing to my own site - this one - and it fails. But it works from my phone. Oh, crap: this means NAT loopback isn't working, and this is a major problem for me: I need to set my laptop (and other mobile devices) to use happyassassin.net addresses for all mail and web stuff so that they will work when I'm outside my local network. If the router can't do NAT loopback, this means I can't use happyassassin.net addresses from inside the local network. Crap.

So...back to good old dd-wrt, which does have NAT loopback. (Except there's a bug if you're using pretty recent dd-wrt builds: see http://svn.dd-wrt.com:8000/ticket/1868 for the workaround). I flash to dd-wrt, reset everything again (which takes a while - 12 static DHCP leases, and another dozen port redirects...), and it all works...test the wireless speed, and I'm back down to 2MB/sec.

Le sigh. So, I get either working NAT redirection or decent wireless performance. Both is apparently out of the question. Plus the dd-wrt page for the DIR-825 says that a sudden decrease in WAN performance after the router's been up for some time is a commonly encountered issue, so I've got that to look forward to!

mjg59, can we line the router engineers and firmware authors up behind the BIOS and EFI people in the lists of people to be put up against a wall come the revolution?


hbt wrote on 2011-06-15 08:20:
You should try OpenWrt (10.03.1-rc5 or trunk). Please don't support that messy, non-free ddwrt and their attitude
adamw wrote on 2011-06-15 15:58:
hbt: if I wanted my router to be a fullblown debian install i'd make it a computer with debian on it. openwrt is just too much for me.
coling wrote on 2011-06-15 10:03:
I can't remember the details, but I found there was a setting in dd-wrt that seriously affected my 802.11n speeds.... If you ping me when I'm at home, I'll see if I can remember what it was.. :p
sander85 wrote on 2011-06-15 10:56:
Did you use port forwarding or virtual server? I had the same loopback problem with my TRENDnet router until i found out that port forwarding is the wrong way to go and if i use virtual server then i can access stuff from local network too.
adamw wrote on 2011-06-15 15:59:
I don't recall, I use one for some things and the other for the other.
Palin wrote on 2011-06-15 19:47:
adamw: is there any reason to use port forward/reverse nat instead of a local dns view pointing to the right hostnames?
adamw wrote on 2011-06-15 20:27:
palin: yes. the ports are different, notably for SMTP: since my ISP blocks port 25, to deliver mail through my personal SMTP server, I forward a different port (in the tens-of-thousands range) to port 25 on my mail server machine. So a DNS server can't do the job, as even if I make mail.happyassassin.net point to the right machine in both cases, I'd need to connect to port 25 if I was on my own network, but port xxxxx if I was outside.
mgalgoci wrote on 2011-06-15 20:23:
I do get a real world 45Mbps at a negotiated 54Mbps with my Cisco (NOT linksys) access points at home. They work well but they sure aren't cheap. Uptime on my current ap was close to 6 months before I rebooted it to move it.
[...] An exciting and very-nearly-as-good sequel to the classic I hate routers! [...]
matej.ceplovi.cz wrote on 2011-08-10 09:04:
@adamw couldn't you redirect on the server (w/iptables) all traffic from port xxxx to port 25?
adamw wrote on 2011-08-10 17:05:
mcepl: well, yeah, I guess. at that point it's turning into a rather heath robinson setup, though, don't you think? i kinda like / understand the port forwarding setup better.
gill turner wrote on 2011-08-26 04:01:
i have very little with routers, my belkin is doing prettygood i run linux, and windows on it.