Archer C7 C1750 V2 died

#1

My for YEARS functioning, C7 has started giving me issues of intermittent internet dropouts
Playing Path of Exile, a game where you don't get kicked out of the game, unless you dropout for more than 5seconds or so was extremely sketchy :stuck_out_tongue: Often dying because the game would catch up after losing connection.

I first thought it was their servers, but I plugged in an old DIR-615 and used that for a week, not even a single issue. But SQM/QoS?? was a mess, we can't watch basically any videos, let alone 4K (lol) and play at the same time.

So now I'm looking for a new router that supports OpenWRT because it's the only thing I THINK I know that supports SQM for a small budget.

I might not even need OpenWRT? I've been looking at routers for ages now, and am thinking about just getting the same Archer C7 (but newer version) to save myself the headache.. I can't help but think there's faster/better options for the same price though and would probably end up feeling scammed..
Also looking at the ASUS RT-AC58U, but I honestly don't really know anything about this stuff and the NAS I've got is running 4x 3TB HDD's in Raid 10, so bandwidth (LAN?) is also kind of a must, I guess.

I'm about ready to start pulling my hair out... wisdom tooth also recently removed and now this.. ahh!
Do I even need a new router? Can I somehow fix the "dead" Archer C7? I mean when it isn't losing the connection it works perfectly fine.. hah....

Thanks.. hope anyone can help me out..!

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#2

Like many consumer-grade devices, the workhorse Archer C7v2 (I own five of them) isn't built with military- or automotive-grade components. Assuming you've got a sufficient "wall wart" (1 A minimum, 1.5 A preferred, assuming no USB devices, with a 5.1 mm plug, as I recall -- the 5.5 mm plugs can be intermittent), it is possible that the power supply within the unit is beginning to fail.

The Archer C7 was a great router in its day, but that day is long past. Even at US$40 used, I think that there are better options out there.

SQM for rates over a couple hundred mbps is typically beyond what a single-core, MIPS-based router can handle. For a concise set of recommendations to start looking at, I find the post below and those that follow in the thread a good starting point. (Ignore the title, the post was a response to the flow of the thread, not its title.)

There are a couple "What's Your Favorite..." threads as well, but the above is a good starting point, in my opinion.

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#3

Thanks Jeff, I see a lot of people talking about bad vs good, and one guy even ending up buying a used Archer C7.. but I don't really get any clear answers :frowning:

I'm now looking at a bigger list, though one guy said the RT-AC58U isn't worth the price?
So my choices are, going from that thread and the comments:
Archer C7
AVM FRITZ!Box 4040
Linksys EA6350 AC1200

These are all basically the exact same price, here in Denmark.
A lot of the other routers mentioned are either 3x the price, or just not available :frowning: I'm definitely not going to risk ordering from out of country, warranty reasons, shipping etc.

Out of those 3, which one do you think would be best for my needs?
WiFi isn't really very important
LAN speed is pretty high up for NAS movie streaming etc
And I think they all support OpenWRT fully, so SQM shouldn't be an issue I assume..

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#4

Like @jeff said, always try a different power supply first, the C7 will run on almost anything that has 12 volts and at least 1 amp.

If your critical gaming use is wired, the no-wifi Edgerouter X is very good performance for the price. You could set up any old router, e.g. the 615, as a dumb AP to serve less critical wifi users. SQM would be handled in the main router.

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#5

An Archer C7 won't handle much more than 100-150 Mbps with SQM, or much more than 300 Mbps throughput with just NAT.

I think you're a lot better off with a recent ARM processor or an x86 as a forward-looking solution. If your Archer C7 can be made stable enough to serve as a "dumb AP" then an x86 (I own) or something like the Edgerouter X (I don't own) would be the path I'd take. (My Archer C7v2 units have all routing handled by x86 boxes.)

I've been following the EA6350v3 (must be v3!) development as I'm working on a similar device that is presently not officially supported. The ipq40xx platform has its faults[1], but seems to be a good "value priced" option. I would put either of the two you identified as above the Archer C7 in performance, and well above it in terms of "useful life".

[1] VLAN handling on the ipq40xx platform is "interesting" due to its hardware configuration. The newer qca8k drivers and DSA should help with this, but they aren't "mainline" OpenWrt yet.

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#6

The AVM FRITZ!Box 4040 has the advantage that there are no different hardware revisions. While the Linksys EA6350v3 would be just as good, there are huge risks to get an unsupported (v1, v2) hardware revision, especially as they don't seem to be marked on the box.

I would not recommend buying a new Archer C7 at this point (neither new, nor used (unless they'd be very cheap, in the ~20 EUR range)), as they're imho overpriced for what they can offer (the mentioned ipq40xx devices are faster and available for the same price, even slightly cheaper).

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#7

thanks for the suggestion @mk24 - I did just try 3 different power supplies, all rated 12V 2amps, and also just for fun I tried a 5v 1amp charger (but turned off the WiFi on the back) and all 4 of them had the exact same issue. Network completely disappeared, though nothing visible on the router LED's or anything.

The LuCi gui is also working fine when the internet cuts out, so it seems to be a hardware/software failure, though I doubt it's software as nothing has changed in the past years..

@jeff When you say the "ipq40xx has its faults", will it matter for me? I'm not sure what "mainline" means...
I think the maximum transfer rate on the NAS is somewhere around 250 MB/s, would either of the two routers mentioned have issues with that, with OpenWRT flashed?

Like, really, I'm a dummy when it comes to this stuff, I just read what other people say, and that's also how I flashed my router years ago... :slight_smile:

Thanks for all the help so far, helping my headache a lot. haha

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#8

Unless you're looking for some sophisticated networking that most home users never would need, the limitations with the current switch drivers are ones you'll never see. If "VLAN trunking" doesn't immediately click for you, then I wouldn't worry about them. They work quite well in a "standard" setup with one port for WAN (connection to your ISP) and the others for local devices. Even if that term is part of your everyday life, most of the limitations can be worked around or ignored. I just didn't want to say that it was a "perfect" chipset, in case you had some of those requirements.

It is unlikely that a single-core MIPS-based (Archer C7, for example) device can handle 250 Mbps (bits per second, I am assuming, as 250 Mbytes/s is faster than GigE can manage) and route at the same time.

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#9

Right now, for me, the FRITZ!Box 4040 is 97 USD
And the EA6350 is 90 USD
So if I can actually get the V3 of the Linksys, is that just an automatically better option? in terms of development, features/safety for the future?

And yeah we're really not doing anything fancy, we're just 3-4 people, playing games, some streaming 4K movies, but we backup almost everything to the NAS (like fulldisk images every now and then) and it takes quite a long time.. I don't really care much if they bottleneck the NAS write speed.. but, of course, more speed would be better :smiley:

And yeah, oof, I just realized 250MB/s would be well past 2Gbit. That's a bit far fetched for around the 100 USD mark I guess :stuck_out_tongue:

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#10

https://wikidevi.com/wiki/AVM_FRITZ!Box_4040 versus https://wikidevi.com/wiki/Linksys_EA6350_v3

Basically the same, aside from the flash (4040: 32 MB spi-nor, EA6350v3: 128 MB NAND), the EA6350v3 has the advantage of providing a dual-boot environment though (which can be very convenient) - but the 4040 has a robust ftp based recovery method instead (no idea if the EA6350v3 offers push-button tftp recovery).
The 4040 is already supported in OpenWrt 18.06.x, while the EA6350v3 currently needs master snapshots (or the upcoming 19.03.0).

Here in Germany, both 4040 and EA6350v3 sell for ~69 EUR (incl. 19% VAT), while I'd slightly prefer the EA6350v3 because of its larger flash/ dualboot, I'd probably go with the 4040 because of the risk of getting an unusable h/w revision (Broadcom) with the EA6350.

If your WAN speed is 250 MBit/s or faster, it might make sense to aim one step faster (ipq806x (e.g. Netgear r7800 or ZyXEL NBG6817) or mvebu (e.g. the Linksys WRT1200AC or Linksys WRT3200ACM/ WRT32x)), but those are almost twice the price…

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#11

Thanks so much @slh - To me it sounds like the 4040 is the safe option then. But just to be sure, "larger flash + dualboot" isn't really a huge deal right? I'm guessing it's just for quality of life, if a flash goes wrong?

Would you say that I (as a novice flasher) would be better off with the 4040, what with not having to wait for a "master snapshot"? Even if I could for sure guarantee that I would get the EA6350 >v3< ? I have the option of calling a few local places and asking if they can locate a v3 specifically.

Or is it just not worth the hassle of trying to find a V3?

And yeah, going up basically twice in price is not something I'm willing to do just for WAN speed (I'm guessing WAN is my entire "home network "?)

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#12

The EA6350v3 seems to be partitioned for 2*(3+37) MB (dualboot, kernel + rootfs), the 4040 seems to offer 28.4 MB in a single, combined, partition (using mtdsplit for kernel and rootfs), while not identical, these values are comparable.

Flashing the 4040 requires ftp, see https://openwrt.org/toh/avm/avm_fritz_box_4040#installation for details. The EA6350v3 can apparently be flashed from the OEM webinterface, snapshots will be fine but don't come with a preinstalled webinterface (19.03.0 will include it, of course).

My concern is mostly about getting the correct h/w revision for the EA6350v3, especially as the h/w revision isn't marked on the box either (only on the label directly on the device). For me personally, assuming I could guarantee to get a v3 device (instead of the unusable v1/ v2), I would prefer the EA6350v3 - but I'm not into a h/w revision roulette and returning unusable devices.

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#13

Were you using the router as a NAS as well or is it a separate NAS box? With a separate box the router really doesn't matter because you should be hardware switching at 1 Gb.

WAN speed is the megabit rate of service you have from your Internet provider. WAN means Wide Area Network, i.e. the Internet.

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#14

@mk24 - Ah... so WAN is actually your connection to the internet, i'm not very smart :smiley:

Yes it's a separate NAS box with 4x 3TB HDD's. So in reality no matter what router, as long as it's Gigabit ports it should be able to do 1Gb transfer speeds? That's good to know!

To be honest, now I'm not sure again... I just looked at the Zyxel Armor Z2 on a few different stores (the NBG6817 that @slh mentioned again ) and it's honestly not that much more expensive after combing through a lot of places.
If I decided to go up in budget for it, would the flashing process be easier aswell? It seems like a big jump up in hardware for very little extra cost!

Basically only 40 USD extra!

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#15

I own the nbg6817 and am very happy with it, in current master (snapshots) the firmware can be flashed from the OEM webinterface (see "OpenWrt master newer than r7959-g8e9a59a6b9 (2018-08-28)"), the nbg6817 also offers a 2*(4+64) MB dualboot setup (and a reliable tftp based recovery).

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#16

Sounds amazing @slh - I think I'm just going to go pick up a nbg6817

Am I correctly reading, that, I can flash this openwrt-ipq806x-zyxel_nbg6817-squashfs-factory.bin from the stock webinterface of the router?

The two firmware links in the top are both different though, squashfs-mmcblk0p4-kernel.bin and squashfs-mmcblk0p5-rootfs.bin

I'm probably being stupid and just not reading everything, but is the bin file I need either of those two?

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#17

The procedure differs between 17.01.x/ 18.06.x and current master (snapshots) or the upcoming 19.03.0.

I'd strongly recommend to first flash a current master snapshot (https://downloads.openwrt.org/snapshots/targets/ipq806x/generic/openwrt-ipq806x-zyxel_nbg6817-squashfs-factory.bin) from the OEM webinterface (just like you'd update to a newer OEM firmware) and ignore anything said about 17.01.x/ 18.06.x (or squashfs-mmcblk0p4-kernel.bin/ squashfs-mmcblk0p5-rootfs.bin, that is no longer necessary or even available in master).

If you then decide to stick to master (and install the webinterface/ luci manually) until 19.03.0 or want to downgrade to https://downloads.openwrt.org/releases/18.06.2/targets/ipq806x/generic/openwrt-18.06.2-ipq806x-zyxel_nbg6817-squashfs-sysupgrade.bin (sysupgrade -n openwrt-18.06.2-ipq806x-zyxel_nbg6817-squashfs-sysupgrade.bin) is a matter of personal preference. Personally I'm sticking to master.

This only matters for the first installation from the OEM firmware, as the convenient factory installation method only became available after 18.06.x was released.

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#18

Seems easy enough when you put it that way.
Flash current master from webinterface, install LuCi manually, update to 19.03.0 when that is released?

Since i've only ever used the LuCi interface to install software, is there a link to a guide for installing LuCi manually?

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#19

will this be good to follow?
https://fabianlee.org/2016/09/19/openwrt-installing-luci-web-interface-after-deploying-latest-openwrt-image/

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#20

Yes, that should work.

Another alternative would be to use a recent enough community build for the initial installation (newer than 18.06.x/ 2018-08-28, new enough, but including luci): Optimized build for the TP-Link C2600 / Netgear R7x00 / Linksys EA8500 / Zyxel Armor Z2

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