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  • Router keeps "hanging" - running dd-wrt and connecting thru cellular hotspot via VPN

    Greetings, fellow nerds. It is with hat in hand today I come here seeking assistance. As many of you know already, I quite often am the one helping other people with their computer and networking issues, but this one has me stumped. I even have a thread going over on dd-wrt forums, but I am starting to think this issue may not be related to that. I know we have quite a number of talented, knowledgeable people around here, so I thought I would post this in hopes of garnering additional insights.

    I am by no means the be all end all of computer and networking knowledge, but simple issues are usually pretty easy for me to fix. But I do not think this is a simple issue, and therefore I feel I need to give all the pertinent info, so please bear with me as I explain.

    Symptoms

    The problem is, after some amount of time (variable), my router seems to "lock up." And by "lock up" I mean, all the LEDs stay lit continuously (or very near continuously), and I lose my connection. Power cycling the router brings the connection back up pretty quickly, and then I am good again for some variable amount of time (sometimes long enough to play, but usually not) until it happens again. Needless to say, it's quite annoying.

    Network Topology

    I think it is important to explain my network topology, as it is a little different than most:

    Gaming PC -> Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN client running on PC -> ethernet wire -> WRT54GSv2 running dd-wrt 13491 VINT in Client Bridge mode -> wirelessly connected to -> WiFi hotspot / AP on Samsung Galaxy S5 (SM-G900T) running Cyanogenmod 12.1 (Android 5.1.1) -> true unlimited voice / date plan on Metro PCS (T-Moblie) LTE network -> PIA VPN exit node -> Internet

    Things I Have Tried Already / Thoughts

    1.Due to the age of the router, and the intermittency of the issue, I initially thought perhaps the hardware was starting to fail (bad caps, specifically). So I went out on Craigslist locally and found the same router (WRT54GSv2) and flashed the same build of dd-wrt on it, only to end up with the exact same result (locking up)! So that's when I started to think the problem was either:

    1.A.That version of dd-wrt, in which case, I am currently working on flashing some other versions as recommended in my thread at dd-wrt forums, and perhaps that may solve the issue. Also considering perhaps switching to Tomato as an alternative (see #3, below).

    1.B.Something other than the router itself, like the VPN, or VPN in combination with router, or something like that as a result of my overall network topology (hence this thread). Or,

    1.C.I am extremely unlucky, and have bad caps / power supplies in 2 different routers. I think this option highly unlikely. I even switched the power supplies at one point (hooked new power supply up to old router) and it did the same thing. So I haven't opened up either router yet, and haven't ruled this out as a possibility, but I do think it pretty unlikely, and am focusing my efforts elsewhere (for now).

    2.I am using a different ethernet wire now. Too soon to tell if this is making a difference. I am also Googling to refresh my memory on how to test wires.

    3.I had started discussing this in game a bit the other day with [MENTION=10519]Jan[/MENTION] and [MENTION=122106]thefatz[/MENTION], who both recommended installing Tomato instead of dd-wrt. I have been a long time user of dd-wrt, and I am familiar with it's quirks, and I was just wondering why Tomato was recommended and what advantages it offers over dd-wrt, as I am aware of it as an alternative, but completely unfamiliar with it. My understanding was that it had a much more limited feature set, but I could be totally wrong in that. At any rate, I didn't want to unduly continue interrupting the operations of the squad, so I would like to continue that discussion here, if possible.

    These are the thoughts I have had and things I have tried so far, but I could be totally up the wrong tree, and so I welcome any other suggestions / ideas until such a time as the issue is resolved.
    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw




  • #2
    Re: Router keeps "hanging" - running dd-wrt and connecting thru cellular hotspot via

    OK, I tried replacing the ethernet cable with another I had laying around (both look fine from the outside mind you, but I have done no further testing), got in game (PS2 + TeamSpeak) and it seemed to work for a while, but eventually did the same thing. :(

    So, then I tried upgrading to a more recommended version of dd-wrt (14929, non-VINT), and after about 15 mins of doing next to nothing (reading forums with internet and VPN on in the background) it just dropped out again. So that didn't seem to do it either. :(

    So I'm back to scratching my head now.
    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Router keeps "hanging" - running dd-wrt and connecting thru cellular hotspot via

      Randy, I been at this since the 20th century.

      Buy a new router. The wrt54g/ddwrt hey day is over.

      It will be worth it in the end, I'm happy to make some suggestions if you like.

      Can you pull logs from the crashdump section? Linsys systems are notrious for not having Watchdog measures in place, which prevent crashes due to memory over runs or other old, but common hardware issues.

      The chipsets on those devices are not current, there is more to the router than just the Software image you are loading onto it.

      Sounds like you've done your due diligence.

      Current ARMA Development Project: No Current Project

      "An infantryman needs a leader to be the standard against which he can judge all soldiers."

      Friend of |TG| Chief

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Router keeps "hanging" - running dd-wrt and connecting thru cellular hotspot via

        I mean honestly you're working with low bid/low cost silicon from the mid 2000's. I'm surprised the thing hasn't caught fire yet. In regards to tomato, its a slim no frills firmware, small, simple, quick. The BCM5352 or BCM4712 runs at or around 200mhz with 16mb or 32mb of memory, which is admittingly low for any quasi-modern router. Randy, I'd take a look at an Asus router with the USB port as most of them can USB tether to the Android phone. This would free up the wireless channel.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Router keeps "hanging" - running dd-wrt and connecting thru cellular hotspot via

          Originally posted by Dimitrius View Post
          Randy, I been at this since the 20th century.

          Buy a new router. The wrt54g/ddwrt hey day is over.

          It will be worth it in the end, I'm happy to make some suggestions if you like.

          Can you pull logs from the crashdump section? Linsys systems are notrious for not having Watchdog measures in place, which prevent crashes due to memory over runs or other old, but common hardware issues.

          The chipsets on those devices are not current, there is more to the router than just the Software image you are loading onto it.

          Sounds like you've done your due diligence.
          I might consider a newer router, although from the little bit of reading I have done, it doesn't sound like any of the newer hardware is all that well supported in aftermarket firmwares like dd-wrt and/or Tomato. And I do need some of that functionality.

          To say nothing of the fact that hardware (and OSes, and everything else it seems these days) continue to be infected by ever increasing levels of proprietary, locked down software/firmware/bootloaders, and if you really want to put your tin foil hat on (which is the only real way to approach security and privacy), very likely hardware backdoors, etc...

          And your point on hardware is well taken (in particular as regards the chipset), but my counter point would be: it's pretty hard to beat 32mb of RAM and 8mb of flash for around $20 (although, again, my greater concerns center around hardware control for security / privacy reasons)!

          Where might I find this crashdump section (Googling that now)? Remember, I am running dd-wrt, which 1.I would hope might address / improve upon some of these common, old issues, and 2.certain things (incl. crashdump maybe?) might be in different places than they are in the factory firmware.

          I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet. I'm going to keep trying stuff with dd-wrt, if that doesn't work I'll probably try Tomato. If all of that still doesn't work, then maybe I will consider other hardware. Unless, that is, you can recommend something that has good third party (open source) support in alternative firmware(s). And not costing an arm or a leg would be nice, too (I know, I ask a lot). :)

          There is another aspect to this also. I have been running a very similar setup for quite some time now, absolutely flawlessly and with no issues whatsoever. And so, I can't help but think these issues have something to do with my topology, specifically the VPN, as that is the only thing that has really changed recently.

          I am hoping the crashdump leads to more clues...
          "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Router keeps "hanging" - running dd-wrt and connecting thru cellular hotspot via

            Okay Randy, Okay.

            ...I'll be here when you're ready.

            Current ARMA Development Project: No Current Project

            "An infantryman needs a leader to be the standard against which he can judge all soldiers."

            Friend of |TG| Chief

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Router keeps "hanging" - running dd-wrt and connecting thru cellular hotspot via

              free firmwares:
              • DD-WRT
              • FreeWRT
              • HyperWRT Thibor
              • OpenWRT
              • Tarifa
              • X-Wrt
              • tomato

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Router keeps "hanging" - running dd-wrt and connecting thru cellular hotspot via

                Originally posted by Dimitrius View Post
                Okay Randy, Okay.

                ...I'll be here when you're ready.
                As I said, open to suggestions in that area, but every time I've been down that road (albeit admittedly briefly) the support for aftermarket firmwares (especially, dd-wrt) just haven't been there.

                Originally posted by Jan View Post
                free firmwares:
                • DD-WRT
                • FreeWRT
                • HyperWRT Thibor
                • OpenWRT
                • Tarifa
                • X-Wrt
                • tomato
                Does anyone have any experience with any of these? I looked into Tomato, it seems like a very basic, stripped down firmware. Which is not what I am looking for. I love all the things you can do with dd-wrt, some of which I could not live without. Do any of them offer anywhere near the same feature set, and/or are as well supported (overall / in general) as a project? My initial/gut feeling is probably NO, however as I said, I'm open to hear it if anyone knows otherwise. But as it sits (and while I appreciate the suggestions) that just looks like a bunch of more research for me to do, without necessarily leading me to a solution that fits my needs.

                In the meantime, I'm trying out flashing a couple of more recommended builds of dd-wrt, and if that doesn't work, I will keep trying to pursue the crashdump angle. Thanks for the replies so far everyone. :)
                "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Router keeps "hanging" - running dd-wrt and connecting thru cellular hotspot via

                  OPENWRT is probably the next most popular, would be my guess.

                  Randy, have you considered programming your own router?

                  May I suggest The Raspberri Pi?

                  It really is quite delicious and pretty easy to pickup. You can run your own Router and I am sure there is quite a bit of support for it.

                  Plus, Open Source, Open Source everywhere.

                  Check out this article from two years ago. I use my Raspberri Pis for home automation, but the possibilities are endless.

                  http://lifehacker.com/turn-a-raspber...ter-1582672426

                  Current ARMA Development Project: No Current Project

                  "An infantryman needs a leader to be the standard against which he can judge all soldiers."

                  Friend of |TG| Chief

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Router keeps "hanging" - running dd-wrt and connecting thru cellular hotspot via

                    Quite familiar with Raspberri Pi, of course. I've even looked into some of the variants like Odroid which are slightly more powerful (as I'm super impatient, wouldn't want any lag in the system itself nor the UI), as home automation has long been an interest of mine.

                    On that note, are you familiar with MySensors.org? If you have an interest in HA, I'm sure you will find that site interesting. The problem with HA (IMO) has always been that -- as I have checked into it over the years -- it seems to be comprised of a number of disparate, proprietary (and usually, costly) systems to get it to do everything you want to. I would periodically look into it, do a little research, look at prices, and think, man that's just way too much money to do anything cool. Plus I never could seem to find "one system to rule them all" as interoperability was a joke.

                    But I think we are living in wonderful times now, with the advent of Raspberri Pi and other low cost devices and components, paired with open source software solutions, I believe the time is finally right for me to really get into HA more seriously. As a matter of fact, I was just about to pull the trigger on about $300 worth of various sensors and electronic components from AliExpress a few months ago, but then I had to move, and then move again... But now that I am getting settled into a new place/situation that seems a bit more reliable, I may get back into dabbling in that again soon. Really looking forward to that BTW, and perhaps that is something that we could rap about in the future. :)

                    In the meantime, I have just flashed yet another recommended build of dd-wrt, only to have it drop out in the time it has taken me to compose this post. :(

                    Alright, so I have one more recommended build to try...

                    As far as rolling my own, Dimi, I have (over the years) considered and looked into everything from Ubiquiti equipment (while I was looking into doing wifi links over great distances) to pfSense on some sort of dedicated box, but I haven't quite made the leap into full command line Linux just yet. I keep brushing up against it though everywhere I turn (Android, Home Automation, routers (and other embedded equipment), the only real option for an OS that respects your privacy, security, and flexibility on the PC), and so I figure it's only a matter of time until I really become well versed in it.

                    In the meantime, I'm going to keep trying to get by with dd-wrt, until that is no longer an option. I have one more recommended build to try... Now this one will be a much much newer version than the others, so I have hope... *fingers crossed* wish me luck...
                    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Router keeps "hanging" - running dd-wrt and connecting thru cellular hotspot via

                      I run pfsense at home on a low power PC I built. It's not Linux but FreeBSD based, webgui driven. It is very powerful, fast, and if you want chock full of features. I don't pair my pfsense box's (I have 4 of them in different locations that I manage) with a lot of features running, as I believe the firewall should have as little as possible of a threat vector. I also manage several Cisco ASA's at other sites, and I honestly prefer pfsense over the ASA. I will admit that the ASA's command line is much better than the gui of pfsense, but that doesn't effect many people.

                      Also, the PI makes for a lousy firewall/router.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Router keeps "hanging" - running dd-wrt and connecting thru cellular hotspot via

                        I would get a new Router, for the price of a date night or a few lunches: (50-100$) you could get an AC router with the latest (fast) chipsets.

                        Your samsung S5 would appreciate the AC speed. I also don't trust the Samsung S5 AP to be glitch free, Android(Cyanogen) does all sorts of things in the background.
                        Maybe get an dedicated Hotspot from Ebay or whatever that works with your T-Mobile provider and can be wired directly to the router avoiding the wireless stuff except at the Cellular level.

                        See router ratings here:
                        www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/charts/router/view

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Router keeps "hanging" - running dd-wrt and connecting thru cellular hotspot via

                          [MENTION=33568]Randy_Shughart_ClwFL[/MENTION]

                          After much deliberation, I have a suspicion that your issues might be MTU related. Between your network topology, and VPN overhead, I would wager that your packets are likely getting fragmented along the way and dealing with this mess of traffic could cause your router to lock up. Try setting the MTU down to 1440 on your PC and see if that does you any good.

                          Where are you getting your DD-WRT releases from? I usually pick mine up from HERE.

                          I've played with most of the OpenWRT based variants, including DD-WRT, Tomato, etc., but I always come back to DD-WRT in the end. I've also used pfSense at home (I use it in my lab at work too) as well as Smoothwall. For me, power requirements are a consideration so I spent more money up front on a decent router and justified it by the power savings from getting rid of my pfSense box.

                          In terms of your comments about home automation. There is and has been a VERY good solution out there for YEARS that is actually TRUE home automation vs. this lightweight version that's gotten popular in the media. You know, the one where you need a different application for every device type you have and very few actually work together in a unified environment. :) Check out the Vera device at http://getvera.com/

                          The Vera is open source, based on OpenWRT. You have root access to it via SSH and can make modifications. It's natively a zWave based system but there are VERY low cost bridges to allow it to control Insteon, X10 and others. IP based IoT devices can largely be integrated right out of the box. For example; I have some Hue lighting in my house but after setting up the Hue bridge, I paired Vera to the bridge and I never touch the Hue app anymore. Full control of Hue has been delegated to Vera. When I'm talking home automation, I'm referring to a lot more than being able to turn a light on or off remotely or adjust the thermostat. Here are just a few things that I have operational in my home;

                          * Vera monitors the projected outdoor temperature for the day. When we get to the spring weather, the system will see that the high for the day will be 64. Provided the indoor temperature meets the baseline I have set (which I believe is 55), if the outdoor temp will reach 64 it shuts down the heating system in my house while I'm at work. This prevents my furnace from running to keep the temperature up to the normal baseline of 62 during the day and saves me money.

                          * When I get within 1/8 mile of my house, my doors unlock. If the light level outside is below a certain threshold, the front lights on my house turn on too. When I leave the house, the system automatically starts shutting power off in various rooms, locks the doors, etc. Right now, the only outlets at my house that are even powered is a set in the basement that powers my router, Rasperberry Pi's, and the Vera. This kills all phantom power drain as the result of wall chargers, etc.

                          * My primary machine I use at home for non-gaming stuff is a Macbook Pro. It stays plugged in all the time but leaving the charger attached always-charging isn't great for battery health. The outlet that my Macbook is plugged in to automatically powers up for a couple hours a day to keep the battery topped off, then shuts down.

                          * When I go to bed at night, simply dropping my phone on my wireless charger activates a nighttime mode in the house. Thermostats drop down, lights turn off, but my accent lighting stays on for 10 minutes to give me some ambient light in case I want to grab a glass of water or somesuch and then it turns off.

                          * My kitchen fridge sometimes gets it's door left slightly open. The fridge runs through a module that monitors power usage. If the fridge is pulling too many watts of power for too long of a period. It triggers an alert to my phone and email letting me know that the fridge door is likely open. It's come in useful a couple times.

                          All-in, I spent about $1200 for everything. Return on investment from JUST power savings was 11 months.
                          Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Router keeps "hanging" - running dd-wrt and connecting thru cellular hotspot via

                            A general question related to this topic, is the integration with other wireless devices the primary motivation for the DD-WRT firmware?

                            I kept an old Linksys router(WRT54G) to one day get around to taking advantage of this. However, I run a smoothwall box and I get a lot similar features on the security and management side. Also, I have my gaming PC, Linux Box(Torrents/Media), and Xboxes all wired. So it really is just phones, tablets, the Wife's iMac, and the occasional laptop on my wireless network. I have a modern linksys wireless router that I use as just an access point since my Smoothwall does all the DHCP, routing, etc and I have GB switches. With that layout in mind, would there be a benefit for going back and modding my WRT54G if I have no specific wireless device I need an interface with?
                            |TG-12th| tHa_KhAn

                            XBL GT: Khan58

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Router keeps "hanging" - running dd-wrt and connecting thru cellular hotspot via

                              [MENTION=1]Apophis[/MENTION],

                              Thanks for the reply.

                              I tried what you said (actually, I followed this guide which seemed to dial in the maximum acceptable value in a slightly more granular fashion, resulting in a value of 1498. Or should I just disregard that and set it to 1440 as you instructed?

                              Also, I wasn't sure if I should set that on Local Area Connection, or Local Area Connection 2? I believe the former is my "real" adapter, and the latter is a pseudo adapter / TAP driver that was installed on my PC along with the VPN client. I like to do things in steps, so it's a little more controlled and scientific, and I can isolate the problem and learn. So I tried first setting Local Area Connection 2 (the VPN) to 1498, and after a few minutes, same problem. Then I tried (in addition to that) also setting the main Local Area Connection interface to 1498, and after a few minutes, same problem. I was going to then try and set them each to 1400 as you instructed, but then I got off on some other tangents and had another idea.

                              I think I've made a breakthrough that is going to lead to some useful result.

                              I was trying to watch my router's Status pages and look for climbing memory usage, or anything else that would indicate the router being overwhelmed with packets. I didn't see anywhere that directly showed any count of dropped packets (well only on the wireless side, and still not enough to hang the router) and so I started Googling "dd-wrt dropped packets" to figure out how to find that information, when I came to this forum post: DD-WRT dropping packets?. Quite an interesting read, and sounds a lot like the issue I am having (my wireless is also set as a Bridged interface, so I can be on the same subnet as other devices connected to my phone's AP (so the tablet, for instance, can watch a movie stored on the main PC)). At any rate, running ifconfig on my router generated the following results (eth1 is wireless side, eth0 is LAN side) (scroll down inside CODE box to see all results):

                              Code:
                              eth1      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr xxxxx 
                                        UP BROADCAST RUNNING ALLMULTI MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
                                        RX packets:426 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:1990
                                        TX packets:4423 errors:40 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
                                        collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
                                        RX bytes:252785 (246.8 KiB)  TX bytes:2784664 (2.6 MiB)
                                        Interrupt:4 Base address:0x1000 
                              		  
                              eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr xxxxx  
                                        UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
                                        RX packets:3058 errors:0 dropped:28 overruns:0 frame:0
                                        TX packets:2119 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
                                        collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
                                        RX bytes:1185176 (1.1 MiB)  TX bytes:2071740 (1.9 MiB)
                                        Interrupt:5 		  
                              		  
                              eth1      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr xxxxx  
                                        UP BROADCAST RUNNING ALLMULTI MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
                                        RX packets:987 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:10549
                                        TX packets:4858 errors:40 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
                                        collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
                                        RX bytes:654024 (638.6 KiB)  TX bytes:2875262 (2.7 MiB)
                                        Interrupt:4 Base address:0x1000 
                              		  
                              eth1      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr xxxxx
                                        UP BROADCAST RUNNING ALLMULTI MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
                                        RX packets:2567 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:178823
                                        TX packets:6272 errors:52 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
                                        collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
                                        RX bytes:1210573 (1.1 MiB)  TX bytes:3266555 (3.1 MiB)
                                        Interrupt:4 Base address:0x1000
                              These are a few to several minutes apart, as I was doing some other things in the background. Do note that the last eth1 result was after the router had only been up like 40 minutes or something. Shortly after this, the router hung, giving the same symptoms as usual.

                              My (very limited) understanding of this is that the router is sending frames to the phone's AP faster than it can deal with them, and they are getting backed up in the router (as explained in the linked post, above). I have no idea what to do about this yet, I need to read up some more (or have it explained to me by someone more knowledgeable) but I think this is putting us more on the right track.

                              I need to go get cleaned up now and head out to meet my nephew (who is visiting from out of town and I rarely see) at the beach, I just wanted to post this before I left in hopes that it moves the diagnosis forwards. My gut tells me this is a breakthrough, but then again what do I know. \_(ツ)_/ :)

                              Bye for now!
                              Last edited by Randy_Shughart_ClwFL; 03-11-2016, 04:08 PM.
                              "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



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