R8000 Stability

I saw a few similar posts here on the forum over time, unfortunately without any clear answers, so here goes again.

I have an R8000 and every once in a while, it will just stop responding. It could be hours, it could be days.

  • I thought it could be a power brick issue, so I bought a new power brick. No change.
  • I thought it could be power brownout issue, so I out it on a UPS. No change.
  • I thought maybe I just have a faulty R8000 so I bought 3 more, flashed them to OpenWRT. No change, they all do it.

I currently have an ethernet galvanic isolator on order just in case the upstream connection is sending down power surges that are nuking my R8000, but I don't really expect that to fix it either.

So maybe OpenWRT just isn't anywhere nearly as compatible with R8000s as expected, and there is some secret sauce in Netgear's own firmware that keeps them going with coat hangers and sticky tape.

If anyone has a solution, that would be great.
If not, I'll gratefully take a workaround.

Has anyone configured a watchdog / watchcat to at least auto-reboot the R8000 with reasonable results?

Normally what happens is that it gets stuck in a state where all 3 radios are showing up on a scan, but none are connectable. So at least some of the router doesn't crash out completely.
On the other hand, what I find with the R8000 is that restarting the radios, even under ideal conditions, tends to make them not work any more until a full reboot happens.

Any advice gratefully received.

Just my 2c - on https://openwrt.org/toh/netgear/r8000
It says:

 For a proper performance use:

    radio0 for the higher 5 GHz band (channel 149 or something else, depending on country)
    radio2 for the lower 5 GHz band (channel 48, or something like that and lower)

My problem isn't WiFi dropouts and poor speeds, my problem is complete crashes across all 3 radios where the only way to get them working again is to power cycle the router.

And as I explained, I don't think it is a hardware fault because I have multiple different R8000s (one is the older UK market model with 12V input, the other 3 are newer EU market models with 19V power inputs), and they all exhibit similar crashing behaviour.

Do you have some logs of the crashes?

They normally end up in /tmp/ and don't survive the reboot. I did investigate in a few cases where only one or two of the radios went down, but IIRC all I got was it saying that it failed to reset the radio. Similar to what sometimes happens when the radio is restarted from luci, it gets itself into a hung state and only a power cycle cures it.

I am guessing that this is because the driver and firmware blob aren't fully open and some secret magic is missing from fully open source implementations.

Are the new Linksys WRT3200ACM and WRT32X generally considered rock solid when it comes to stability and open source support?

Simply put, no.

The wireless side (mwlwifi) of them has been out-of-tree and abandoned for years. It's limited, lacks features (WPA3 is not possible), has quite serious interoperability issues (IoT, Espressif and more) and can only be described as buggy to broken.

The SOC support and wired side of it is supposed to solid and fast - however openwrt-22.03 (still) has a quite serious problem with the switch drivers/ setup, which has only been reported recently, after over one and a half years...

So, no, I wouldn't recommend this hardware (even less if wireless support is deemed important).

May I suggest to test a different 3rd party fw like freshtomato that is based on the original broadcom sdk?

At this rate it is looking like I may have to try to go through my ancient spares bin and see if I cam find up one of my old modified WRT54GS routers with 64MB of RAM. Sure, they were only 54g and 100Mbit ethernet, but they have always been 100% rock solid.

I'm guessing you're willing to give up speed for stability. Those devices were only able to use 802.11b capability. Additionally, since they don't effectively use the wireless spectrum via newer protocols, they also cause congestion for newer devices.

No, they were good for 802.11g, 54Mbit.
But since I'm now living out in the sticks where I only get 24Mbit of internet connectivity, 54Mbit wifi is more than I'll be able to use up anyway.