New NetGear R7800 - Where to start

Hello.

I'm a new comer to OpenWrt world and as a newbie, you all probably understand that OpenWrt is an huge world to me or any other newbie.

I know there's a lot to read out there, and that there are already many threads with many starter subjects and etc, and therefore, one will get lost easily without knowing where to start. And also, I didn't want to just invade other user's thread with questions of mine.

So, my request was that I could be told about a couple of settings (or any other thing) to start playing with so that I can start see some improvements, namely in strength of the signal and perhaps better stability.
Yesterday I tried to change the channel of my 5Ghz radio but I lost the signal in my laptop. Channel 36 was working (kind of) fine, so laptop supports 5Ghz. But after changing it to channel 153, I guess, laptop stopped "seing" the ESSID.

My network will have to handle 1 laptop, 2 smartphones, 1 tablet, 1 IPTV box and perhaps a couple more of smartphones when having visits at home (out of the pandemic crisis, of course)

So, are there any couple of settings I can start with?

There isn't really anything special about the r7800, aside from it being a pretty good router, you can just use the 19.07.2 release images of OpenWrt (maybe hnyman's more current community builds, which are very well maintained).

Apart from that, just set it up to cope with your ISP and your needs (WLAN settings, country settings according to your location, WPA2PSK/ CCMP), everything else will arise as needed. OpenWrt's defaults are secure and should be fine for most usage scenarios. There are no must-change settings, to make OpenWrt bearable.

153 is most probably a DFS channel in your region, which means the router must wait 60s and listen if the channel is free (no radar in range), before it is allowed to use it, so some patience is needed.

Thanks for replying.

Ok, I know OpenWrt is almost usable just tout of the box.

However, I think there are settings that can be improved because I have the feeling that signal strength is a bit weaker than the shitty ISP router before. As an example, today, while I was in my home office (by other words, bathroom), signal was like with 2 out of 5 bars on my smartphone. Usually I get all the bars with ISP router, so is it reasonable that something might just be improved?

I'm also looking to change the DNS servers but I'm not sure where that should be changed. Too many options for a newbie to pin point it right away. :stuck_out_tongue:
If you can give me a hint on where to change that, I would appreciate. I'm trying to do things from SSH where I have already configured SSH keys to connect without the need of sending plain text passwords, so I'm trying to use SSH, for now!

Edited;

Is the way to setup different DNS servers the one stated here:
https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/base-system/dhcp_configuration

on section DNS Forwarding??

Edited 2;
I guess it's a bit down further in the page.

DNS provider section, right?

I’d recommend hynman’s build for the r7800. If you like the latest features select his master build sysupgrade package from his drop box. If you want a “stable“ build that is slower / gets less updates look to 19.07. Features are on the first post: Build for Netgear R7800

Post your wireless settings and a dsl speedtest of what your internet looks like - we can probably help. Put your router high and not obstructed by any large furniture.

For wifi settings:
-pick a single non DFS channel
-Pick a transmission power that is allowed for your country (Towards the higher end of what’s allowed)
-5ghz is much faster than 2.4ghz - use 5ghz for the devices you listed. Use different SSIDs for 5ghz and 2.4ghz. Use 2.4ghz for internet of things / low bandwidth devices.
-turn off legacy rates if you have all newer devices (last 5 years)
-consider a prime number for a beacon interval like 101. Theoretically could minimize collisions if there are other 5ghz networks nearby.

For DNS I found my ISP had the fastest / best DNS for my case (the default)

Here are my r7800 settings that work well:


root@OpenWrt:~# cat /etc/config/wireless

config wifi-device 'radio0'
        option type 'mac80211'
        option channel '36'
        option hwmode '11a'
        option path 'soc/1b500000.pci/pci0000:00/0000:00:00.0/0000:01:00.0'
        option htmode 'VHT80'
        option txpower '22'
        option legacy_rates '0'
        option country 'US'
        option beacon_int '101'

config wifi-iface 'default_radio0'
        option device 'radio0'
        option network 'lan'
        option mode 'ap'
        option ft_over_ds '1'
        option ssid '*********'
        option ft_psk_generate_local '1'
        option key '************'
        option ieee80211r '1'
        option encryption 'psk2+ccmp'

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Oh, ok nice.

I'll have to carefully check for how to safely upgrade my current (factory) OpenWrt 19.07.2 with that one.
I also need to see what a DFS channel is (don't tell me, I want to find it for myself) and I also need to fin out what are the allowed parameters for my country. Are these parameters about transmitted power over the air or frequencies? I'm aware of legislation about frequencies, as there are frequencies that cannot be used but I got the idea here that we are talking about power, no?

The speedtest shoul be done with all wired and wireless connections down, right? I did that yesterday but I haven't saved the results, I know it was something like 100~110 Mbits download and about 96Mbits upload.

About my settings, they are all default but Wireless ESSIDs, different for 2.4Ghz an 5Ghz, passwords and SSH connection with RSA keys. That's all. I changed nothing else in terms of configurations. Well, I did a small change in VLANs to be able to correctly redirect/route (witch ever is the best word here) traffic from ISP modem to router WAN so that I can watch TV (IPTV) using a Formuler Z8 box.

Edited;
Ah, I also added, just now, DNS servers of Cloudflare and OpenDNS. Those ones 1.1.1.1, 1.0.0.1 and 208.67.220.220.

Hynman’s sysupgrade package can be flashed straight from the stock firmware. He has a nice set of features, it’s a clean GUI - makes it easy. I’m personally running his latest master build.... I like having the latest features and have found it stable. “Stable” builds like 19.07 are a branch off of master from July 2019. They get security updates but no major new features.

As long as you pick the correct country code - It’ll guide you to the safe transmit power settings for your adapter. The default setting is ok- I’d pick the transmission setting that best fits your needs.

Speed is both throughput (mbps) and latency (how many ms do I have to wait). If your speed throughput is in the low 100’s - that’s good. Check your latency and see if OpenWRT can help. Latency reduction is a major benefit of OpenWRT - you might benefit from SQM to lower the latency of your internet connection “bufferbloat”. The r7800 has plenty of CPU for your speeds. Use DSL reports with the high resolution bufferbloat setting and see if bufferbloat is a problem for you.

Here is a recent thread on SQM and the r7800:

2 Likes

Ok, I'll have to go step by step on those settings. I need to find them one by one.
I'm a little bit afraid of jumping right on to the firmware upgrade because I cannot afford to let anything go wrong due to my daughter is having online classes and I can't let her miss her classes. She's only 8 so I don't want to mess around with things that I might "break" and then I don't have other means to provide internet with quality for my daughter classes.

ok, this said, time to go bed here. I'll look to those settings better tomorrow!
Thanks for now

1 Like

Just want to chime in to add another vote for hnyman's build here. I flashed my Netgear R7800 with hnyman's stable build of OpenWrt a couple weeks ago. Flawless experience, and it's my first time with OpenWrt.

I had some issues related to PPPoE (I am on DSL) that turned out to be a line problem that my ISP corrected on Monday, and since then I've had flawless uptime. I use cake > piece_of_cake SQM and get A and A+ on dslreports bufferbloat scores, whereas with stock Netgear firmware (even with QoS on) I saw consistent Fs.

Here is the thread for hnyman's R7800 build with links. He's been maintaining this for years:

https://forum.openwrt.org/t/build-for-netgear-r7800

I've flashed the upgrade packages twice since installing OpenWrt and they installed flawlessly both times.

Hello.

I'm very tempted to install his firmware. And I'm going to. Does he host his project somewhere like github?

In Dropbox folder I see many files. Which one should I download?

In didn't undderstand the "in the low 100's"... You mean download speed? If so, why is it good to be in the low of 100's ???

Also, my internet package, the one I purchased to my ISP provider is 200 Mbits downlink / 100 Mbits uplink.
So it should be way higher...

The firmware ones. xxx-factory.img is for installation from the OEM firmware.

(The download directory also contains also source diffs (*.patch), package manifest, config and rebuild scripts, so if you want to add your own tweaks to my firmware and compile your personal one, that is easily possible)

1 Like

heheh, no, not for now... I'm too newbie for such thing.

I just want to know which is the correct file to download for my case.

Uou have several folders, master and owrt. Several versions, and then inside each folder you have several files. I'm completely new to OpenWrt, so please bare with me. I cannot afford to mess up due to the reasons I already mentioned above.

Edited;

Ok, I think I'm getting the hang of it.

I guess this is what I'm looking for:
owrt1907-r11007-55312cc202-20200418

and as there is only a single .img file, I think that is the one, right?

Take the "stable release branch" openwrt-19.07 version. Just download the ...factory.img file, which is meant for flashing from OEM firmware.

This one, right:

R7800-owrt1907-r11007-55312cc202-20200418-1951-factory.img

Edited;

Ok, thank you and I'm sorry!

Sorry, newbie question.

Do I need only the .img file? I'm getting this warning in (kind of) light brown:

image

Yes, but in case of sysupgrades it's a bin

You are using the wrong one, since you are upgrading from OpenWrt already. Use the sysupgrade:

(Unless @hnyman suggests otherwise)

1 Like

Oopps, you are already on OpenWrt.

Then it is the sysupgrade.bin file, like @DjiPi says.

My mistake, as I thought that you were still on OEM firmware.

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I flashed the firmware but I can't get a new IP address for my computer and I cannot connect to the router.

I tried sudo dhclient -rv and then sudo dhclient -i but I keep getting avahi devices next to the normal ones when I do sudo ifconfig.

At the end of dhclient, I get "NO DHCOFFERS received"

Are you using an ethernet cable? Is your router the only device your network that advertise DHCP on 192.168.1.* ?

What if you manually set your computer's IP address to 192.168.1.10 and try to ping 192.168.1.1 (the router) ?

Ok, I have Internet in my laptop but the message waiting for the router to become available is still waiting. You know, that message that says in luCI waiting for the router to become available.

And my smartphones and IPTV box is connected but can't reach the Internet.

Just close the browser window, and reconnect.

As my build has ssl support built in, connection to LuCI will be https.