mmdvm's connect ok and after a period of days or hours ignore pi-star.local access

Help setting up WiFi
w9mt
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:40 pm

mmdvm's connect ok and after a period of days or hours ignore pi-star.local access

Post by w9mt » Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:17 pm

I run up to 3 mmdvm's on my home wifi networks. They are widely spaced in radio frequencies in the 430-450 ham band and are renamed pi-star0, 1, and 2 for operating on Fusion, D-Star, and DMR in that order. They functioned without fail from June thru mid-October of this year at my alternate qth (on and connected all of that time). They were built in June and are running the latest released pi-star code for the pi-zeroes on which they are based. (3.4.17) This wifi network's SSID is in position 1 in the list in each mmdvm.

They worked well using my iPhone as a hotspot while driving to my main qth (a 2000 mile drive !!!) once I changed the iPhone's name to not have a space in it. (Thank you, Forum, for that tip.) The iPhone's SSID is in position 2 in the list in each mmdvm.

I'm safely tucked away for awhile in the main qth in warmer AZ. The mmdvm's were all given the SSID and password for this home wifi network (in the 3rd position in the SSID list in each) and all connected without issues. My issue arose later...

After a period of days or sometimes hours, I see each mmdvm's dashboard page on Firefox stop updating reflector, room, or TG activity depending on mode. When trying to access pi-starX.local (X being the number assigned to each), or directly to each mmdvm's assigned IP address, I get the dreaded timeout message.

While this is going on, each mmdvm continues to access its respective room, TG, or reflector. I can both hear received channel-activity and transmit to each mmdvm and carry on a qso. I just cannot access each mmdvm's dashboard, admin page, or configuration page via my laptop through the wifi (or via CAT-5 lan connection on another pc).

Rebooting the router or yanking its power connector for 20 seconds and plugging it back in returns everything back to normal, for awhile.

I've done the following additional troubleshooting:
1. I've removed the D-Star mmdvm from service and replaced it with an OpenSPOT1 cabled into the lan. That device never ignores its web interface.
2. Although it's seemingly random when an mmdvm will grow ignorant of dashboard accesses, time-wise, moving an mmdvm into the same room as the wireless router for a robust wifi signal doesn't have an effect on the going-deaf problem for dashboard access. It does however improve bit rate and signal level significantly.
3. I've changed the IP address assignment over DHCP to "manual" so the mmdvm's always get the same IP address (pseudo-static). My Asus RT-AC3100 router won't let me assign a wifi address as "static". This is the next best thing.
4. I've updated the Asus router's firmware to the latest version.

The problem persists. It's as if the wifi is "half-working"...each mmdvm happily runs its assigned radio-modem function, but ignores dashboard queries...until I reboot the router. Yet things were as reliable as sunrise at my alternate qth's wifi network.

Any ideas, anyone? I'm tired of rebooting my router at inopportune times.

Thank you.

73, Tony (W9MT)

AF6VN
Posts: 278
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:15 am

Re: mmdvm's connect ok and after a period of days or hours ignore pi-star.local access

Post by AF6VN » Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:55 pm

w9mt wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:17 pm
When trying to access pi-starX.local (X being the number assigned to each), or directly to each mmdvm's assigned IP address, I get the dreaded timeout message.
When this disappearance happens, have you tried to access the dashboard using the IP number itself?

Have you connected to the /router/ status pages to confirm the connected clients (IP and name) still show up.

{Pardon the mess -- cut&paste from my Arris/uVerse router}

Code: Select all

IP Allocation
IPv4 Address / Name 	MAC Address 	Status 	Allocation 	Action
192.168.1.68 / EPSONF4EF32 	00:26:ab:f4:ef:32 	on 	DHCP Allocation 	
192.168.1.71 / android-50a89c435dfc72db 	10:d3:8a:eb:a8:89 	off 	DHCP Allocation 	
192.168.1.65 / DIRECTV-HR54-C94828D7 	18:16:c9:48:28:d9 	on 	DHCP Allocation 	
192.168.1.73 / nook-6c4f6fd5-b1 	58:67:1a:ac:e1:56 	off 	DHCP Allocation 	
192.168.1.72 / android-f2715b5ffc0fee68 	58:b0:d4:3b:09:ee 	off 	DHCP Allocation 	
192.168.1.74 / unknown64c6670531d3 	64:c6:67:05:31:d3 	off 	DHCP Allocation 	
192.168.1.70 / Galaxy-S9 	8c:45:00:6d:1a:4c 	on 	DHCP Allocation 	
192.168.1.79 / pi-star-3b 	b8:27:eb:4b:0b:d5 	on 	DHCP Allocation 	
192.168.1.252 / microdiversity 	b8:27:eb:ce:b1:eb 	on 	DHCP Allocation 	
192.168.1.66 / ElusiveUnicorn 	b8:ca:3a:79:0c:36 	on 	DHCP Allocation 	
192.168.1.84 / HP7C548D 	c4:65:16:7c:54:8d 	on 	DHCP Allocation 	
If the IP # allows connection, it would indicate that somewhere a name-server cache is being lost (or a DHCP lease is expiring/renewing but the renewal information is not being broadcast to the computer).

--
AF6VN
Dennis L Bieber

KE7FNS
Posts: 441
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:11 pm

Re: mmdvm's connect ok and after a period of days or hours ignore pi-star.local access

Post by KE7FNS » Sat Nov 30, 2019 6:23 pm

Sounds like its your router.

Setting DHCP to always assign a specific IP address by MAC address is what I use. Something must be up where it loses a routing table after so much time passes.

You might try ditching the factory firmware and loading https://www.asuswrt-merlin.net/ instead. I've had good luck and performance with it on my ASUS router. I had to switch to it because of an annoying IPv6 bug when my ISP finally enabled IPv6, ASUS is no longer maintaining the firmware for my router, so there was no chance it was going to be fixed.
All views, comments, posts and opinions shared are entirely my own.

w9mt
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:40 pm

Re: mmdvm's connect ok and after a period of days or hours ignore pi-star.local access

Post by w9mt » Sat Nov 30, 2019 8:16 pm

I agree that the problem is likely the router. But I don't see anything obvious in the wifi or lan settings that can be changed to change this situation.

I thought the lease time length for the DHCP assignments could be too short, as it was default set to 86400 seconds (one day), but the longest I could set it to was a week. Making that change had no effect, as one mmdvm went deaf to dashboard interaction within a few hours. Currently the DVM mmdvm, which was always the first to fault, is working longer than the Fusion one.

Trying to http to the IP addresses directly whilst the mmdvm's are ignoring me and not updating their dashboards on their live and open Firefox tabs also does not work. So it's not a name-server cache issue.

The IP addresses always show up as assigned right not since they were manually set, even when I pull power from an offending mmdvm. When DHCP was in true dynamic IP address assignment mode, each mmdvm's presence disappeared from the wireless client list. It would then reappear and most of the time be assigned its former address when power was reapplied and the mmdvm would boot up. But the "kicker" is that the dashboards would still not be accessible via Firefox, Chrome, or MS Internet Explorer after rebooting the mmdvm. Reboot the router or cycle its power and the mmdvm's immediately start replying to Firefox dashboard queries or refreshes (hit the circle arrow in the firefox toolbar), albeit only for awhile.

So, yes, I agree this is a router issue between my other home network and this one, with the router being the source of the problem.

As far as the Merlin firmware loads for the router are concerned, will they still be around for the foreseeable future? ...or can one go back to an Asus load if need be? I'm wary about "one way street" upgrades. (My wariness goes all the way back to using Digital Research's DR-DOS and switching back to MS/DOS 6.2 when printer drivers stopped working for me back when I had a PC-Jr. back in the dinosaur days. Back then, HP told me that they didn't test with DR-DOS and would do nothing to fix my problem, as MS/DOS 6.2 and Win3.0 were as far as they were going to test.) I am even more suspicious of firmware machine code for my peripherals. My AC3100 is a very close cousin to the current model 3200 from ASUS, so I'm not at an end of life (EOL) firmware issue.

So, please...any other ideas?

If I get frustrated enough, I may drop the hammer and do the Merlin change. Right now, I do a morning check on the mmdvm's and if unresponsive reboot the router and hope for a full day of "attentiveness" from the mmdvm's. I guess I could make that reboot a brute force thing whilst everyone is guaranteed to be asleep in bed, but there's no guaranty of not losing dashboard access in less than 24 hours as I've seen it disappear in less than 3 hours a few times.

I guess I could "pop" for a different brand of Gigabit router, but I've been retired on a fixed income since last year and it would be a shame to change brands and still not have this work.

Thank you for your helpful suggestions thus far....

kc7ngc
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:47 am

Re: mmdvm's connect ok and after a period of days or hours ignore pi-star.local access

Post by kc7ngc » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:48 am

When the systems seem to disappear from the network. Are they still showing up on the wireless log tab on the ASUS Router? Or are they completely disappearing from that tab. Should be under System Log's -> WIreless Logs and should show all devices associated with access point.

I don't have that specific model Asus laying around here to test so not sure if they are showing the IP address associated with the devices or not but should show mac address associated with access point.

I assume when the devices start misbehaving you can't ping the devices by IP address from a workstation on the network? Have you tried pinging them from the Tools in the GUI on the asus router? Does their network traffic show up in the Traffic Analyzer tab at all?

On the Asus router, do you have Adaptive QoS or Gameboost enabled? Not sure what it those might be called on the ASUS version you have. Basically traffic quality of service controls that prioritize traffic etc. If you have those enabled you might want to try disabling those to see if they make a difference.

You might also want to try disabling the AI Protection stuff to see if it might be screwing things up.

Just spit balling ideas. As I moved away from using Asus routers awhile ago due to inconsistent behavior of the devices. I ran them and with stock and merlin firmware for quite a long time.

KE7FNS
Posts: 441
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:11 pm

Re: mmdvm's connect ok and after a period of days or hours ignore pi-star.local access

Post by KE7FNS » Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:34 pm

w9mt wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 8:16 pm
So, yes, I agree this is a router issue between my other home network and this one, with the router being the source of the problem.

As far as the Merlin firmware loads for the router are concerned, will they still be around for the foreseeable future? ...or can one go back to an Asus load if need be?
I don't think you can answer that question for any company or group of developers nowadays, they all can disappear at any time. But I don't think this project is going to evaporate one night considering what its mission is.

https://github.com/RMerl/asuswrt-merlin/wiki/Reverting
w9mt wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 8:16 pm
I am even more suspicious of firmware machine code for my peripherals.
Thats a pretty funny comment, how can you be leary about something that is open source where all of the code being used is completely visible on github? The factories source code is what is closed source and you have no idea what its doing or what has been secretly installed to log your data. lol.
w9mt wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 8:16 pm
My AC3100 is a very close cousin to the current model 3200 from ASUS, so I'm not at an end of life (EOL) firmware issue.
Then contact ASUS and report a bug and see what they say. Maybe try asking on some ASUS router areas of some of the networking/router forums out there.
All views, comments, posts and opinions shared are entirely my own.

kc7ngc
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:47 am

Re: mmdvm's connect ok and after a period of days or hours ignore pi-star.local access

Post by kc7ngc » Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:37 pm

KE7FNS wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:34 pm

Thats a pretty funny comment, how can you be leary about something that is open source where all of the code being used is completely visible on github? The factories source code is what is closed source and you have no idea what its doing or what has been secretly installed to log your data. lol.
Actually the OEM ASUS-WRT firmware is open source. As that is what the ASUSWRT-merlin code is based off of. For every official firmware release you get from ASUS (of the ASUS-WRT firmware) you can download the source code. It's quite a odd relationship between ASUS and merlin when it comes to the ASUSWRT-Merlin releases. As often you see ASUS integrating changes merlin makes back into the factory official firmware.

The short answer on support is that usually the ASUSWRT-Merlin code will provide security patches and bugfixes for longer than ASUS will.
Usually Merlin supports a specific ASUS model until ASUS makes a major jump in kernel versions and makes patching of the firmware for the device difficult or/impossible. Usually when ASUS jumps to a new kernel or hardware in their product line and discontinues support for their old model it makes it difficult for merlin to keep the firmware for old devices patched. For example the "legacy" merlin code runs on older models and hit end of support in 2018, because the models the code ran on were really old. Merlin code is now running newer kernel and rivers under their 384 release which supports most new devices and even some older end of life ASUS Devices.

w9mt
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:40 pm

Re: mmdvm's connect ok and after a period of days or hours ignore pi-star.local access

Post by w9mt » Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:33 am

I flashed Merlin's latest release (384.13) into my RT-AC3100 router. I do like its presentation of info in its gui.

No joy however...the two MMDVM's ignored all request for communication after only about 3 hours.

I just got back from taking the XYL out for Sunday dinner and sat down at the laptop and tried to log into pi-star0 (Fusion) and pi-star2 (DMR) to see their dashboards. Both timed out as being "unreachable". Re-boot the router and they come right back up.

I'm beginning to think I need a different router like the one back at the other house....

I'm running out of ideas unless there's a magic setting that Merlin offers that standard Asus firmware doesn't.

That's my next step. Any further recommendations would be most appreciated.

w9mt
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:40 pm

Re: mmdvm's connect ok and after a period of days or hours ignore pi-star.local access

Post by w9mt » Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:08 am

I don't know if this is the magic I'm looking for, but I did the following:

Under Merlin's Adminstration>System Tab, I did the following:
Under the Basic Configuration>Auto Logout setting, I changed the 30 minute default setting to be "disabled".
Under the Service>Idle Timeout setting, I changed the 20 minute default setting to also be "disabled".

Under Merlin's LAN>DHCP tab, I extended the DHCP lease time to 31 days (max'ed out).

These were kind of carpet bombing settings, but let's see if they have the desired effect of leaving the MMDVM's accessible.

Comments from the field???

kc7ngc
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:47 am

Re: mmdvm's connect ok and after a period of days or hours ignore pi-star.local access

Post by kc7ngc » Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:20 am

Do you have Automatic Power Save Delivery (WMM - APSD) enabled or disabled on the Asus Router?

Should be under Wireless->Professional settings.
If enabled, try turning it off.

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