Stable firmware for WRT3200ACM

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mart_brighton
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 03 Sep 2020
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2020 1:55    Post subject: Stable firmware for WRT3200ACM Reply with quote
Hi all,

I'm only a beginner with this sort of thing... not very bright at all, but methodical. Not particularly a network or even computer person, but can understand engineering principles, and have picked up some bits & pieces along the way.

Have been employing several old WRT-54G v2.0s in various places (all running v24SP2 std - build 13064M) for quite a few years, most were really stable in the first few years but more than one instance has suffered problems and these seem to be getting worse despite replaced hardware, and fresh firmware update to newer v24_std_generic with reconfig from scratch. Have experienced some really weird problems more than once. Maybe the cause of these problems is not my routers ... but most of the other items on the LAN have already been rebuilt, swapped out, etc. and the problems still seem to keep coming back. DNS fail, DHCP collapse, and some really weird stuff like certain LAN addresses and / or ports appearing to cause intermittent faults and undiagnosable problems. (Change the LAN address and everything comes good, run MyLanViwer and there is nothing on the freshly vacated address).

The funny thing is when the first two routers went in they both ran for almost two years with nary a problem... uptime was 480-odd days, that was back in 2015-2016 though! I've had two major meltdowns plus various smaller issues on one router all within the last month, hence the need to do something about it.

Decided it was time to eliminate all the creaky old hardware and hopefully move to a much newer build while at it. On the old build over years I had gradually realised the problems with nvram filling up with traffic logs and rendering the GUI useless for (e.g.) Port Forwards and static leases, but thanks be, those features do seem to keep working in the router even though its webGUI can't display settings or make any changes. So the core of that build is very good.

I've spent several hours reading the MVEBU forum trying to discover which build I should be using with my new WRT3200ACMs and unfortunately for a newb this seems very confusing. The concept of a standard stable build seems to be absent and that concept even seems to receive disdain from senior contributors. There is a Router Database with suggested builds to use, which are all quite old and I'm sure I've seen in the Forum advice from those in the know to ignore the builds suggested in the Database! Really? (Also I think I remember the same problems when I was looking years ago for the right build for the 54G v2s).

Sorry to start on a slightly negative note but I am just reporting how this comes across to a beginner. I'm sure there are good reasons for it but I can't see those yet! And rest assured I can begin to imagine how much work goes into providing this very capable software, and the fact it is provided free to use is much appreciated, really.

OK to specifics. My application is typically for a small network of up to maybe about 25 or 30 devices. Most of these run audio applications, one or two are office type PCs mostly doing email, browsing and some downloading, there is no video streaming or other really high bandwidth applications. The vast majority of devices will be connected via wired 100 Ethernet. Probably the worst loads for bandwidth are occasional speedtest.net tests, which need to be run without upsetting regular traffic (my old system managed that fine). There needs to be wifi but typically the number of wifi users will be zero, sometimes 1 or 2 users and they will not need anything fancy ... just 2.4Ghz and slowish would be fine... but reliable if possible! If wifi remains a big problem with the WRT3200ACM then I can use external wifi, or just cable all devices, but integral wifi is certainly a nice-to-have.

I like DD-wrt particulalrly for its ssh 2.0 server which allows to run a proxy to solve problems remotely just as if I was physically onsite connected to the LAN. I have some port forwards (up to 20-25), up to now these have been opened individually but maybe in future most of them could be in a range, leaving only about 3 listed ones. Also I use static DHCP leases (maybe 8 or so in number) based on MAC address, these are very useful and need to be reliable.

My main goal is rock solid operation over very long periods and easy admin (I really can do without sillies like nvram filling up and crashing the GUI).

If someone can help me identify a suitable build as a starting point that would be very much appreciated and repaid with at least a donation.

Many thanks to anyone who has read through all my extensive waffle!
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blkt
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 20 Jan 2019
Posts: 1612

PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2020 3:25    Post subject: Reply with quote
08/02/2020 - r44048 | 08/28/2020 - r44251 | If you can return WRT3200ACM, I would recommend that.

Go Netgear R7800 (easy tftp recovery mode) or a used Linksys EA8500 (open up for ttl serial flash) and you will be trouble free.
mart_brighton
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 03 Sep 2020
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2020 21:52    Post subject: Reply with quote
blkt wrote:
08/02/2020 - r44048 | 08/28/2020 - r44251 | If you can return WRT3200ACM, I would recommend that.

Go Netgear R7800 (easy tftp recovery mode) or a used Linksys EA8500 (open up for ttl serial flash) and you will be trouble free.


Thanks blkt. Not sure about returns policy, I will check that out. Yup the purchase was a spur of the moment thing, getting frustrated with unreliability and wanting a quick fix, always liable to be a bad idea.

This advice does seem a bit odd bearing in mind the WRT3200ACM is one of three routers featured on the DD-WRT shop homepage... I'd assumed it was a standard choice from that, and in fact would have bought it from there if not for the UK mains plug issue, (could not be doing with a flaky USA to UK mains adaptor!). WRT3200ACM is also listed as comaptible on the Open-wrt lists as compatible but I guess that doesn't mean much either.

Anyway thanks again, I want to use new hardware from now on so will have a look at the R7800.
mart_brighton
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 03 Sep 2020
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2020 19:32    Post subject: Reply with quote
mart_brighton wrote:
blkt wrote:
08/02/2020 - r44048 | 08/28/2020 - r44251 | If you can return WRT3200ACM, I would recommend that.

Go Netgear R7800 (easy tftp recovery mode) or a used Linksys EA8500 (open up for ttl serial flash) and you will be trouble free.


Thanks blkt. Not sure about returns policy, I will check that out. Yup the purchase was a spur of the moment thing, getting frustrated with unreliability and wanting a quick fix, always liable to be a bad idea.

This advice does seem a bit odd bearing in mind the WRT3200ACM is one of three routers featured on the DD-WRT shop homepage... I'd assumed it was a standard choice from that, and in fact would have bought it from there if not for the UK mains plug issue, (could not be doing with a flaky USA to UK mains adaptor!). WRT3200ACM is also listed as comaptible on the Open-wrt lists as compatible but I guess that doesn't mean much either.

Anyway thanks again, I want to use new hardware from now on so will have a look at the R7800.



OK retuns was no trouble so the Linksys has gone back and the R7800 should be here on Monday. I'll start a new thread in the Atheros list to comment on my experience with the new system. Thanks again for the help blkt.
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