New user, new installation questions

Short of it:
New member installing OpenWrt for first time, how do I get to having this build:

? Do I need to first install the base openwrt for my modem and then update it to the above or do I direct install that build? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Long Version:

I came across this community as I searched for a solution to our household routers (Netgear Nighthawk R7800) apparent issues. We have it tied to an Arris CM8200 but we have been experiencing a lot of issues (random drops, bad fluctuations, and overall very unstable) that power cycling does not address and our ISP reports that they pinged our modem and it did not have an issue but when they pinged the router it dropped our connection. The technician recommended I check the firmware and ethernet cord from the modem to the router which I did and it did not fix the issue.

My wife works from home so dropped calls and instability are not something we can deal with so the ISP has a technician coming out soon to check the tap, drop, and measure the signal in the house but the phone tier 2 tech said he did not see any glaring issues and was positive it was the router. I temporarily have my wife direct wired into the modem but she now as a result is getting random phishing SIP calls as her work phone client does not filter them due to it being an older system, the router seemed to do so but the apparent instability of it is not an option so it is a bit of an issue. My hope is maybe openwrt will help, if not I will have to go with my ISPs 2 in 1 modem-router which is a really bad knock off brand one that the previous tenants here (and neighbors) have warned us against. The problem is we are a bit tight on the financial side so picking up a new modem (if it is our equipment and not a line issue) is not an option.

So my final long shot is to try openwrt and see if maybe that will help clear some issues up. I read up on the installation but I am confused about builds and I have heard good things about the build I listed above. So my quandary is do I install the stock openwrt for my router first and then go to that build, or do I install that build first? I understand basics of how to flash but I want to be clear on what I do so I do not end up bricking or making things worse.

Thank you in advance to any and all replies and I really am impressed with a community like this dedicated to helping make networking easier.

Whether you start with standard openwrt or hnymans build: From vendor stock you have to start flashing with a factory.img.

What firmware version is currently running on your R7800?

Hi thank you for the reply, the router shows V1.0.2.68 which according to Netgear appears to be the latest stock firmware.

has the been happening for more than 3-4 weeks...?

are you noticing these drops mostly between;

  • 9am-11am 2-3pm, 5-6pm, 8-9pm more on Fri night and weekend midday?

because sounds identical to my covid congestion symptoms and hardware...

( NOTE: did not end up calling the ISP because connection drops over the last few days have been less than 10 )

No they have been present since our ISP inception at our present home (near 1 year now), however the issues have become a lot worse and more frequent in the last few weeks. I thought also maybe it was just the strain on the ISPs infrastructure and I brought that up with the tier 2 tech but he assured me that signals from neighbors running off the same tap were ok.

Odd thing is the tier 1 guy said he saw 47 errors for just this one day on the modem, said the line showed a lot of noise, and my neighbors were having issues (even gave me one guys name as insane and unprofessional that was) but the tier 2 guy said he did not have access to that type of information and only a line tech on site measuring things could say that.

I am not a big telephony guy but I ironically worked for AT&T as a Policies and Procedures manager for our line crews (mainly dealing with line conditioning), so I do know they can monitor those things. Makes me wonder if my ISP (a local small only one in town sort of deal) is mitigating issues to avoid customers asking for credit due to a poorly maintained infrastructure that is not holding up well under heavy load from everyone being at home.

The issue is we have to have the line clear so my wife keeps her job though and connecting via ethernet to the modem is giving her a solid nice ping and so far the connection seems good. The downside is the modem does not seem to filter whatever this SIP mass caller is so my wife is dealing with them pop up with random numbers (still shows the identity being SIP). Luckily it does not flag her work PC as a call taken affecting her numbers but it is not something we can have happening as a result of me putting my duck tape direct to the modem solution. I really hope that maybe installing custom firmware on the router will help us as this is a bit wild.

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I see... not the same underlying issue... but likely impacted / compounded by the congestion...

Keep phoning up and escalating it. Definately sounds like some local line issues... and often smaller providers have cost reservations when escalating up the chain.

Exactly my thought, the issue was always there but the ISP being hammered has indeed compounded the issue.

Again thanks for the replies gents and if I can have someone give me a little help understanding how to get the build I listed in my OP on I would appreciate it. Also any input you guys and gals may have as to why she is susceptible now to these odd sporadic SIP calls, and maybe how to deal with that it would be much appreciated because if openwrt does not solve our router issue she will have to remain tied directly to the modem.

Likely because with a router in place... SIP client will register with the SIPSERVER... thus any (control) connections are conntracked or "non-unsolicited"...

Without a router... All local ports would be open direct... ( subject to local firewall )... which means that random internet hosts can directly "knock-on-the-door"... ( thus SIP local software / hardware is where issues arise )... a local firewall rule allowing registration traffic to only your known SIPSERVER may be a non-client workaround... but that is just a rough layman explanation without knowing more about your setup.... ( I haven't touched SIP in years
someone else will probably help out :slight_smile: )

So, without the router... is it just a desktop connected direct to the Arris with a SIP softclient? ( explain your setup )

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Correct, only her phone is connected to the Arris modem if I disconnect the router, which would leave the rest of the household without an internet connection but her keeping her job takes priority.

The line runs from the modem to her phone, and the phone is connected to a laptop with the client software installed on it (the company provides the laptop, non-admin account). Do you think openwrt would help us in this situation over the stock firmware? I know it is a hard question to ask without seeing the setup hands on, I know the frustration of explaining a hardware setup to someone building say their first PC (took me 5+ hours with a buddy last week). Just trying to figure out how to deal with this and to make sure that if I do try openwrt that I do it properly and not makes matters worse. Read the installation guide but seeing that community build recommended by many and not knowing exactly what to do, well I don't want to screw things up worse do to my ignorance so I would rather asking facepalm questions in this situation rather than be presumptive and do something stupid.

  • It does help to debug issues of you have the some level of command skills and may offer some minimal resilience / more workaround options. But it likely won't address the underlying issue (i'd expect very similar behavior).

Hi you can go strate to the custem build. You flash the factory.img or factory.bin file and then away you go! From reding up about that router it's simple to go back to stock if you need to. You onley need the sysupgrade.bin file when flashing from openwrt to openwrt. good luck!

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Thank you, I will read up a little more and give it a go here shortly. I will leave the thread open for a little longer just to see if anyone has any tips on the SIP side of it or maybe some other insight into how to mitigate our situation here.

You all have been great and I really appreciate the help!

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