[SOLVED] Would love some opinions of the most stable router firmware (company-wise) that is preferably up-to-date for gaming/video streaming

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baybiz85

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Basically I am fed up with my Nighthawk R7000 having to remain on old firmware just for a shot at stability, since Netgear is only putting out unstable firmware updates for this thing for ages. I have recently been experiencing lots of packet loss as well and I have done many things to try and remedy the issue, but I'm ready to give up on Netgear at this point. I've used DNS Benchmark to find the best DNS server for my specific location and I'm in the process up upgrading my ethernet cables. I've played around with different firmware and have not seen anything more stable than the old version 1.0.9.42_10.2.44 but it only resolved my problem for a few weeks and now it's back.

I've been looking around and have been playing with the idea of either getting a Asus router or a TP-Link, but I would like some more insight. Below are links to the two that I have given the most thought to and that price range is most likely where I'll be in.

https://www.amazon.com/ASUS-RT-AX82U-Dual-Band-Acceleration-Dedicated/dp/B08BJJ3RGW/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=asus+ac5400&qid=1629228435&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-AC5400-Band-Gaming-Router/dp/B076HRZJ66/ref=sr_1_5?crid=21QQ1Q344MT28&dchild=1&keywords=tp+link+ac5400&qid=1629228471&sprefix=tp+link+,aps,235&sr=8-5

Thank you to any and all contributors!
 

gggplaya

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Netgear firmware has gone downhill alot in the last few years. They either don't have the same programmers they used to, or they expanded too much and their new teams suck. I haven't been happy with netgear in the last few years.

TPLINK might have gotten better, but I had issues with them a few years ago. I had to reset their router a few times, it sucks when you're not home and people are having issues at your house. However, that was maybe 5 years ago. I don't have first hand experience with their products since then.

Asus software is based on OpenWRT. It's well maintained with the latest features. If you want experimental features, you can install Merlin software which uses the ASUS code but integrates newer features from the latest OpenWRT software. I've been very happy with Asus's software, it has served me well.
 
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It would be very rare for a router to cause packet loss. I will assume you are not using wifi for gaming since wifi no matter what you buy is subject to packet loss.

Most times packet loss is a problem with your internet connection.

You can test by leaving a ping run to the router IP. It would be very rare to see packet loss ping your router on a ethernet connection. If it does it is not likely firmware but a failed router.

So many things you need to learn rather than just chasing bigger numbers.

You do not need better that cat5e cables. They are rated to 1gbit at 300 meters. Key though is not buy fake cables and huge number of the cables you see sold on amazon and other sites are fakes. Wire need to be pure copper (no CCA) and wire size 22-24 (no flat or thin cables)

DNS benchmark is almost silly. First always set the DNS in the end device do not use the router as a proxy/cache. The router proxy function causes all kinds of issues but is the default way most router function but has all kinds of issues. You will be best served by using 8.8.8.8 or 1.1.1.1. These are extremely stable DNS. The performance does not matter too much. DNS is only used the very first time a site is accessed. After that is uses the IP addresses and will not use the DNS until the session closes and even then it keeps it in a cache. Maybe it would make a difference for a web page that had many links in it but it will do nothing at all for a game or video stream that hold the session open for longs times.

The router you picked seem you are trying to chase the biggest number you can find. This is the marketing guys trying to scam you. Key here is your end device is 1/2 the equation and if it does not support all the features of the router it will just drop back to a slower speed and you have wasted your money on the router.

Both asus and tplink make quality routers but this is the issue with those particular routers.

The asus is a wifi6 router which is already obsolete. It gets the so called 5400 number by using 4x4 mimo and 160mhz channels. Almost all end devices only support 2x2 with 80mhz channels so you will only get a 1201 data rate.

The tplink router is telling the standard lies. It has 2 5g radios each running 2167 so they add them together. Your end device can not actually use both radios as the same time so your top speed is limited to 2167. BUT again this assumes 4x4 mimo which is very rare. Most devices are 2x2 but some are 3x3. This give a rate of 1300 at 3x3.


Key here is you need to be a educated consumer and understand what all the numbers mean.


Your first step though is to ping your router IP using a ethernet cable. Then ping a common ip like 8.8.8.8 and see if you get packet loss. If you see no loss to the router ip but loss to 8.8.8.8 you should call your ISP and show them the results. If you are using wifi there likely is no magic solution. The problem is interference from neighbors which will not change by buy other equipment. Now if you want to be cutting edge you could hunt down wifi6e routers and nic cards. This runs on the 6g band. Since so few people have this you likely would not get interference.
 
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gggplaya

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Netgear firmware has gone downhill alot in the last few years. They either don't have the same programmers they used to, or they expanded too much and their new teams suck. I haven't been happy with netgear in the last few years.

TPLINK might have gotten better, but I had issues with them a few years ago. I had to reset their router a few times, it sucks when you're not home and people are having issues at your house. However, that was maybe 5 years ago. I don't have first hand experience with their products since then.

Asus software is based on OpenWRT. It's well maintained with the latest features. If you want experimental features, you can install Merlin software which uses the ASUS code but integrates newer features from the latest OpenWRT software. I've been very happy with Asus's software, it has served me well.
 
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baybiz85

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It would be very rare for a router to cause packet loss. I will assume you are not using wifi for gaming since wifi no matter what you buy is subject to packet loss.

Most times packet loss is a problem with your internet connection.

You can test by leaving a ping run to the router IP. It would be very rare to see packet loss ping your router on a ethernet connection. If it does it is not likely firmware but a failed router.

So many things you need to learn rather than just chasing bigger numbers.

You do not need better that cat5e cables. They are rated to 1gbit at 300 meters. Key though is not buy fake cables and huge number of the cables you see sold on amazon and other sites are fakes. Wire need to be pure copper (no CCA) and wire size 22-24 (no flat or thin cables)

DNS benchmark is almost silly. First always set the DNS in the end device do not use the router as a proxy/cache. The router proxy function causes all kinds of issues but is the default way most router function but has all kinds of issues. You will be best served by using 8.8.8.8 or 1.1.1.1. These are extremely stable DNS. The performance does not matter too much. DNS is only used the very first time a site is accessed. After that is uses the IP addresses and will not use the DNS until the session closes and even then it keeps it in a cache. Maybe it would make a difference for a web page that had many links in it but it will do nothing at all for a game or video stream that hold the session open for longs times.

The router you picked seem you are trying to chase the biggest number you can find. This is the marketing guys trying to scam you. Key here is your end device is 1/2 the equation and if it does not support all the features of the router it will just drop back to a slower speed and you have wasted your money on the router.

Both asus and tplink make quality routers but this is the issue with those particular routers.

The asus is a wifi6 router which is already obsolete. It gets the so called 5400 number by using 4x4 mimo and 160mhz channels. Almost all end devices only support 2x2 with 80mhz channels so you will only get a 1201 data rate.

The tplink router is telling the standard lies. It has 2 5g radios each running 2167 so they add them together. Your end device can not actually use both radios as the same time so your top speed is limited to 2167. BUT again this assumes 4x4 mimo which is very rare. Most devices are 2x2 but some are 3x3. This give a rate of 1300 at 3x3.


Key here is you need to be a educated consumer and understand what all the numbers mean.


Your first step though is to ping your router IP using a ethernet cable. Then ping a common ip like 8.8.8.8 and see if you get packet loss. If you see no loss to the router ip but loss to 8.8.8.8 you should call your ISP and show them the results. If you are using wifi there likely is no magic solution. The problem is interference from neighbors which will not change by buy other equipment. Now if you want to be cutting edge you could hunt down wifi6e routers and nic cards. This runs on the 6g band. Since so few people have this you likely would not get interference.
The problem is I have already pinged my router and various IP addresses with zero packet loss. The packet loss only comes while playing one game, Valorant. After changing DNS servers my connection became more stable, not sure what to tell you there... Had issues again and changing my firmware to the older version gave me better stability in the game again, so those were my only two solutions that produced visible results. After buying cat8 copper 24 ethernet cables I've also noticed increased performance.

The routers I chose are not for big numbers, they both offer automatic QoS for gaming that requires no manual set up. QoS has offered me noticable benefits for gaming traffic and these features are attractive.

Seems like I'm going Asus after the two recommendations though.
 
Your problem is you just "feel" things are better you have no data to back it up. Again you are chasing big numbers purely based on marketing crap you read without understanding what you are buying.

Almost all cat8 cables are fakes. I don't think the standard is even final.

Cat8 is suppose to be for 40gbps or maybe 100gbps. If you hook it to a 1gbit port it still only runs 1gbit. The data does not travel any faster or in any different format that a cabt5e cable. This is like putting airplane tires on your car it doesn't make it fly.

QoS is a waste of time unless you are overloading your internet connection. Even then only a very special form of QoS can help over used download rates and the magic auto qos things don't do that.

QoS purely is a function to decide which packet goes first when there is a queue. When there is no queue the data will be sent immediately so there is no need for QoS. QoS can actually hurt your performance when it is used when you don't need it. QoS is like traffic lights they allow cars to flow smoothly when the roads are congested. When there is no congestion you would prefer that they did not exist because you may have to wait when then there is no other traffic.
 

gggplaya

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The problem is I have already pinged my router and various IP addresses with zero packet loss. The packet loss only comes while playing one game, Valorant. After changing DNS servers my connection became more stable, not sure what to tell you there... Had issues again and changing my firmware to the older version gave me better stability in the game again, so those were my only two solutions that produced visible results. After buying cat8 copper 24 ethernet cables I've also noticed increased performance.

The routers I chose are not for big numbers, they both offer automatic QoS for gaming that requires no manual set up. QoS has offered me noticable benefits for gaming traffic and these features are attractive.

Seems like I'm going Asus after the two recommendations though.
If you want QOS, then definitely buy an Asus router but not the model you listed above. Instead get one that can load MERLIN firmware, a list is on the Merlin website. Since Asus uses an opensource firmware(openwrt), they're required to publish their firmware. Merlin then modifies and updates the firmware with newer OpenWRT features. https://www.asuswrt-merlin.net/ Merlin installs just like any other update you make on your router, because it basically is factory firmware.

In particular, you can use advanced QOS algorithms like FQ_Codel or Cake. These QOS algorithms are also traffic shapers, so they'll actually shape bandwidth on your network and enforce fairness on your home network. This is great if you have multiple people in the house, multiple computers or game consoles. One game update can cripple a home network unless you have like 500+mbps internet. Traffic shaping comes into play here and will allocate bandwidth so no one is crippled.

Regular QOS found in most routers, even "GAMING" routers doesn't work anywhere near as well as these advanced QOS algorithms because they don't have traffic shaping.

The biggest downfall with these traffic shaping QOS algorithms is they require alot of CPU power. On a higher end ARM router, you can expect the shaping limit to be around 300-400mbps on the best ARM routers. I had to build my own x86 router to traffic shape my gigabit internet.
 

baybiz85

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If you want QOS, then definitely buy an Asus router but not the model you listed above. Instead get one that can load MERLIN firmware, a list is on the Merlin website. Since Asus uses an opensource firmware(openwrt), they're required to publish their firmware. Merlin then modifies and updates the firmware with newer OpenWRT features. https://www.asuswrt-merlin.net/ Merlin installs just like any other update you make on your router, because it basically is factory firmware.

In particular, you can use advanced QOS algorithms like FQ_Codel or Cake. These QOS algorithms are also traffic shapers, so they'll actually shape bandwidth on your network and enforce fairness on your home network. This is great if you have multiple people in the house, multiple computers or game consoles. One game update can cripple a home network unless you have like 500+mbps internet. Traffic shaping comes into play here and will allocate bandwidth so no one is crippled.

Regular QOS found in most routers, even "GAMING" routers doesn't work anywhere near as well as these advanced QOS algorithms because they don't have traffic shaping.

The biggest downfall with these traffic shaping QOS algorithms is they require alot of CPU power. On a higher end ARM router, you can expect the shaping limit to be around 300-400mbps on the best ARM routers. I had to build my own x86 router to traffic shape my gigabit internet.
Thank you so much for your super helpful reply, I will definitely check this out because I do often have multiple devices going at once between my wife, kids and myself with sometimes two TVs streaming and multiple game consoles going. You're awesome! I went from 345down/10up to 486down/12up after I made all my recent adjustments: DNS server change, upgrade ethernet cables and rolling back firmware on this POS Netgear. I also flushed the DNS cache as well just in case. My CPU is a i7 7700k as well. Do you think I'll experience any issues with the QoS algorithms you mentioned? Also, any specific Asus router you recommend?
 

baybiz85

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Your problem is you just "feel" things are better you have no data to back it up. Again you are chasing big numbers purely based on marketing crap you read without understanding what you are buying.

Almost all cat8 cables are fakes. I don't think the standard is even final.

Cat8 is suppose to be for 40gbps or maybe 100gbps. If you hook it to a 1gbit port it still only runs 1gbit. The data does not travel any faster or in any different format that a cabt5e cable. This is like putting airplane tires on your car it doesn't make it fly.

QoS is a waste of time unless you are overloading your internet connection. Even then only a very special form of QoS can help over used download rates and the magic auto qos things don't do that.

QoS purely is a function to decide which packet goes first when there is a queue. When there is no queue the data will be sent immediately so there is no need for QoS. QoS can actually hurt your performance when it is used when you don't need it. QoS is like traffic lights they allow cars to flow smoothly when the roads are congested. When there is no congestion you would prefer that they did not exist because you may have to wait when then there is no other traffic.
Well after changing DNS servers, upgrading my ethernet cables and rolling back my router firmware I have increased my bandwidth both down and up, but more importantly all the packet loss spikes in the mentioned game have completely been resolved including the associated "teleporting" of the player character during said packet loss. Also the in-game indicator showing "Network problems" has vanished as well. After speaking with game support, apparently this game was coded in a way that it's frequently accessing the DNS server. Not sure why they chose this route, but getting away from Google DNS helped a lot. I'm now using OpenDNS, which DNS Benchmark steered me towards after seeing that I had a better connection with their servers. Additionally, I think it had something to do with the game not "playing well" the Google Anycast system. Also, QoS helps me a ton because my house regularly has multiple devices going at once and it allows me to send the gaming packets first on the PC rather than any of the consoles or other devices running at the same time (wife and kids).

Not sure what to tell you man.....
 

gggplaya

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Thank you so much for your super helpful reply, I will definitely check this out because I do often have multiple devices going at once between my wife, kids and myself with sometimes two TVs streaming and multiple game consoles going. You're awesome! I went from 345down/10up to 486down/12up after I made all my recent adjustments: DNS server change, upgrade ethernet cables and rolling back firmware on this POS Netgear. I also flushed the DNS cache as well just in case. My CPU is a i7 7700k as well. Do you think I'll experience any issues with the QoS algorithms you mentioned? Also, any specific Asus router you recommend?
I'm talking about the CPU in the router itself, not the computer. Most consumer grade routers all have ARM cpu's, which can't handle the algorithm as well as an x86 processor. To get an x86 processor in a router, you'll need a commercial router for $600+. It's actually cheaper to just build your own router and load OpenWRT or DDWRT onto it.

High end ARM routers will be able to handle about 300-400mbps of traffic shaping QOS.

Most router's QOS don't do traffic shaping. They just use packet tags to identify and prioritize traffic. The problem is, packet tagging doesn't work well because some traffic isn't tagged properly and may get extra priority when it shouldn't.
 

baybiz85

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Unfortunately at this point, I think the algorithm is single threaded, so it'll only use 1 core. You basically need a cpu with more IPC and the fastest clock rate possible.
I just read your updated post from earlier. Yeah I think $600 is a no go haha. I probably won't attempt building my own, so maybe I'll just browse around for decent cpu speeds and grab the one without all the frills since I'll be using Merlin anyway.
 
Well after changing DNS servers, upgrading my ethernet cables and rolling back my router firmware I have increased my bandwidth both down and up, but more importantly all the packet loss spikes in the mentioned game have completely been resolved including the associated "teleporting" of the player character during said packet loss. Also the in-game indicator showing "Network problems" has vanished as well. After speaking with game support, apparently this game was coded in a way that it's frequently accessing the DNS server. Not sure why they chose this route, but getting away from Google DNS helped a lot. I'm now using OpenDNS, which DNS Benchmark steered me towards after seeing that I had a better connection with their servers. Additionally, I think it had something to do with the game not "playing well" the Google Anycast system. Also, QoS helps me a ton because my house regularly has multiple devices going at once and it allows me to send the gaming packets first on the PC rather than any of the consoles or other devices running at the same time (wife and kids).

Not sure what to tell you man.....
You can believe what you want but it trivial to prove you are wrong at least on the DNS. The others are similar but will take too long to explain espeically to someone who wants to believe in magic solutions. Just using the QoS on a fast connection can actually cause issues as mentioned by gggplaya, you are better off not even using if you do not have the proper equipment.

DNS only function is to translate a url like www.tomshardware.com to some ip address x.x.x.x. It has no other function.

So the way it works for a game company is you need to look up the DNS entry for the login server. So you get ONE request to the DNS server. The session is now opened with the IP address with the loging server.

The game then likely lets you choose some kind of world server. The game passes you the IP address over the session you have open with the login server. It does not even give you a URL that you need to look up with dns.

Your game opens a connection with the world server and you play.

So now you explain how DNS would ever cause a lag spike in a game. There are no DNS requests even being done other than the very first one. What do you think the game company is asking the DNS server where your character is located in the game :(
 

baybiz85

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You can believe what you want but it trivial to prove you are wrong at least on the DNS. The others are similar but will take too long to explain espeically to someone who wants to believe in magic solutions. Just using the QoS on a fast connection can actually cause issues as mentioned by gggplaya, you are better off not even using if you do not have the proper equipment.

DNS only function is to translate a url like www.tomshardware.com to some ip address x.x.x.x. It has no other function.

So the way it works for a game company is you need to look up the DNS entry for the login server. So you get ONE request to the DNS server. The session is now opened with the IP address with the loging server.

The game then likely lets you choose some kind of world server. The game passes you the IP address over the session you have open with the login server. It does not even give you a URL that you need to look up with dns.

Your game opens a connection with the world server and you play.

So now you explain how DNS would ever cause a lag spike in a game. There are no DNS requests even being done other than the very first one. What do you think the game company is asking the DNS server where your character is located in the game :(
I'm sorry I can't explain to you how they coded their game improperly, which ends up not storing IP addresses and continually requesting actions from the DNS servers as they were the ones who told me this. I'm sorry I can't explain to you that significant results of increased stability are not magic. I'm sure it has more to do with my cable upgrades from the ancient stuff I was using before as they were very thin and worn and the firmware stability from rolling back my router firmware because their newer releases are extremely unstable for anything connected through it. I'm sorry you can't see that I am benefiting from QoS by placing console downloads and updates after my PC on my R7000, but am also seeking a better router with automatic function that requires less manual work from me.

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So now you explain how DNS would ever cause a lag spike in a game. There are no DNS requests even being done other than the very first one. What do you think the game company is asking the DNS server where your character is located in the game
It is not actually surprising at all. If you were to look at the logs of what DNS requests are sent from a typical browser or game (since they use a similar engine), you would be surprised. In fact, I was looking the other day to see the logs of what Firefox was sending out and it repeated the same request several dozen times, even though the original response had TTL set for another few seconds. Yet, it kept on asking over and over again the same question, although it was getting the exact same answer. This is not uncommon, though silly.

The other thing that frequently triggers the above is the unfortunately common situation where you have CNAME upon CNAME with TTLs that are quite low. The effect is that you could have a boatload of those DNS requests and they will slow down a game or other application, primarily due to congestion to the DNS server you are using. Add in that the OS or applications typically assume that you wouldn’t have too many DNS resolutions, they all take their sweet time to process a DNS request & response. If you have a number of them fired off in short succession, it would stall the activity.

If you are serious about gaming, you may consider running your own DNS server. I do, on a DIY switch that doubles as a router/firewall, so that way I get max performance, low latency and, on top of that, I can see all the strange DNS requests that are flying out there, that I wouldn’t be able to see otherwise. It speeds up DNS considerably, because the repetitive requests never leave the LAN.

Those DNS logs are quite handy. I can tell you many more strange stories of misconfigured name servers where one DNS server points to one website (not IP) and the other to something completely different for the same exact domain name. Look in the logs, and you know in a heartbeat.

By the way, if you are curious, these days when you open a single website, by my count it generates anywhere from a dozen to three dozen requests to various domain names, most of which have nothing to do with the website itself, courtesy of adware. It is a pure delight to blackhole them.
 
DNS requests are sent from a typical browser or game (since they use a similar engine), you would be surprised. In fact,
What a bunch of garbage. This is absolutely untrue. You sound like someone who has never written code in their life.

Games are commonly written in one of popular engines like unity or unreal. Things like web browsers are written in C++ or other very similar compiled languages they are not a "engine".

A game does not even talk to the DNS server once it running.

It is trivial to prove this. Load wireshark and put in a display filter for DNS. Load the game and see how many requests you actually see.

Lately this site is getting as bad as facebook with all the mis information being posted.
 
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Anything running on Windows that wants to use the network would go through Winsock. So the engine in question would be this very Winsock. Winsock is the only engine that Windows offers and it would handle DNS requests and responses on Windows.

Any interaction within the game that requires the Internet, would necessarily trigger a DNS request to resolve a domain name to an IP address and this would go through Winsock and then all IP traffic would follow through the same Winsock.

I agree, a game would never “talk to the DNS server once it running” for as long as it does not use the Internet, and all games made before the year 2000 did not.

I do not need to “load wireshark”, my lateralaccessdevice delivers full packet capture with full DNS logs 24/7. So I can see EVERY packet including from the Windows box, and the said Windows box does not get a chance to hide anything. While Wireshark running on the same box only gets to see what Windows allows it to see. Taste the difference.
 
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