Saturday, April 18, 2020

Home Network upgrades


Along with the rest of the world, COVID drove my demand for more technology, and it's not even new technology.

If you have 2 kids that need to attend online classes andd working adults who need to make calls and send large attachments. When this is all at the same time, it's probably best to try to sort out the capacity issues.

So here's my attempt to see what else I can do. Honestly, with a 1 Gbps, there wasn't much else to do, but here's

I'm starting with a single ASUS RT-AC88U router and a single 1 Gbps broadband plan.

1. QoS

Asus has done a pretty good job in updating their router firmware of late to enable QoS for work from home and learn from home. Honestly I don't know what it prioritises, but my web browsing feels slower at times, so maybe that's good?


2. Mesh Wifi

I really like my AC88U router. it has 8 ports at the back and that fits a whole bunch of stuff you never think you need.

So I decided to get the ASUS lyra trio. 3 nodes is just overkill, so I went with 2. This totally fixed the poor wifi at the furthest part of the house. The stupid thing about the lyra is that it tells you to use the Lyra app to configure it. After you get the Lyra app, it redirects you back to the ASUS app you had in the first place.

Joining each lyra as a mesh node involves you plugging it into the WAN port on the Lyra. Not the LAN port, then use your ASUS app to sort it out. I read online that you need to patch the firmware first which I tried, but after that I'm not sure if it was required.


3. Dual WAN

Since home broadband is sort of is optimized for 1 Gbps, i.e. your home router probably only has 1 Gbps port. If you need more bandwidth for more users, adding additional lines might be more effective. The next problem is to how to distribute this bandwidth to different users who need to be on the same network.

I tested a 2nd 1 Gbps link using the ASUS router dual WAN feature, which can be set in load balanced or failover mode. Load balanced sounds great doesn't it. Basically there is a possibility to double your bandwidth totally.

The unfortunate thing is that I think the implementation was done at a layer 3 or 4 level, My web sessions seemed to get disconnected and I suspect it was trying stateless connections. Just shows how most sites haven't really implemented stateless connections.

The other bad thing about load balanced connections is that it disables your AI protection and QoS on the router (refer to point 1)

I landed on just using the 2nd link as a cold standby for now. Moving on, I'm probably going to use another device, e.g. raspberry pi 4 to connect to the 2nd link and create routing rules for specific services on the ASUS to do some offloading of traffic.


4. Local NAS running Proxies

My NAS hasn't really been useful for other things other than dumping files or streaming videos (rarely due to Netflix and Prime). I'm getting Proxy Server on my QNAP and will see how that goes with the web browsing, since the QoS is supposed to prioritise calls.




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