18 July 2016

asus router firmware update screwed up my internet

i am a fan of asus. been using their products for a long time now. i purchased their RT-AC87U router over netgear's nighthawk because of price and a perceived understanding of their grasp on technology. and the router did fine...until a few months ago.

i use an arris cable modem and decided to upgrade to a faster model. shortly after, i started having dropped internet connections. my internal network was fine but my line to the internet would just go away.
i jumped through all the reconnect hoops every isp has you do. sometimes it would resolve quickly, other times it wouldn't.

finally, i called a tech out to house to check lines. he found no problems. i ended up switching my cable modem back to my old one. but problems still persisted.
the last straw was this past weekend when i came home to the same troubles. i had purchased a second RT-AC87U as a backup. i promptly installed it and got it all configured. one of the steps was to upgrade the firmware. all was good again.

until twenty-four hours later. this time, i could get no resolution. as i thought back, it occurred to me that i had probably upgraded the firmware on my previous router before connections started failing.

here's the catch, though: the asus firmware was not letting me downgrade. a recent fcc ruling that prohibits router manufacturers from letting custom firmware to be installed has worked its way into the real world. because custom firmware allows for boosting wifi radio signal strength, it poses a threat to national security and stuff. apparently, asus modified their latest firmware to prevent downgrading or flashing any custom firmware. (reference: http://www.snbforums.com/threads/asus-firmware-will-change-the-verification-method.32357/)

but the problem is their latest firmware has flaws which drop my internet link too. i have that broken firmware on two routers i cannot use as main routers. i will probably just make them range extensions since the internal networking still is unhindered. it's just very expensive.

if you have this router, don't upgrade the firmware if you haven't. keep it where it is. until asus addresses this problem, your upgrade could make your connection to the tubes unusable.

what did i replace it with? the linksys WRT1900ACS, which allows for open source firmware installs. (this is why: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/05/linksys-wrt-routers-wont-block-open-source-firmware-despite-fcc-rules/)