GL.iNet GL-AR750S is disappointing (due to Wifi disconnects / drops)

Hello

I do not need an answer to my contribution, I just want to share my experiences about so called “Travel Routers” here. If you plan to purchase such a device, then you might be interested in this article.

My first travel router was a RAVPower PR-WD03. It is a power bank too. But on travels, it was quite unreliable, in some hotels WISP worked, in others not really, maybe related to captive portals. But if I could establish a WISP router in a specific hotel, it worked quite reliable. But the RAVPower also has a really terrible user interface, totally outdated.

Then I purchased the TP-Link TL-WR710N. This device is fantastic (even it does not support 5G). It worked very reliably on all my trips - rock solid.

So I came back to my old RAVPower to find a solution for its poor user interface and the uncertainty in which hotel it works and in which not. I came in contact with OpenWRT and installed it on the RAVPower. In addition, I installed the module Travelmate. From then on, I could use it as WISP router in every hotel, but I faced a new issue; the Wifi dropped / disconnected often and was somehow unstable. With kind support of the author of Travelmate, I was told that the device just did not have enough memory, which would cause the problems with OpenWRT. I was recommended the GL.iNet GL-AR750S.

So, the next device I buyed was the GL.iNet GL-AR750S, with newest firmware 3.0.25. This device is praised and recommended everywhere! But what should I say; I again had this unpredictable Wifi drops and disconnects! (Quite similar to the RAVPower with OpenWRT). It was exactly as described by other users in this thread. I wrote a little script to investigate what’s going on. The script is very simple, it pings continuously and every one second the GL.iNet GL-AR750S (at 192.168.8.1) and when a ping gets no answer, then it checks the SSID connection details to test if the client is still connected to the SSID of the GL-AR750S. The result was disappointing; again and again a number of pings remained unanswered, sometimes my clients changed to another SSID due to the short Wifi drops of the GL-AR750S. It’s normal, that now and then a ping remains unanswered, but not for 10 oder 20 seconds successively.

To finally have a reliable travel router, I purchased the new TP-Link TL-WR902AC (with 5G). And like its old brother, the TL-WR710N, it works very stable and reliable. The same script running against this router leads to much, much less lost pings. And my clients do not loose the connection and do not change over to other SSIDs. It’s rock solid. It has a much clearer and sophisticated web interface which provides much more options - without installing any add-ons or modules. It’s even a little smaller and it boots up much faster. And last but not least it costs less then the half!

Comparison:
In avarage the GL-AR750S misses 110 pings per day (if 1 ping per second), sometimes 10 to 20 directly one after the other. In addition, the Wifi may drop / disconnect a few times per day.
The TP-Link TL-WR902AD misses in avarage 11 pings per day, never 2 ore more consecutive(!). I noted no Wifi drops / disconnects per day so far.

That’s what I wanted to say. It’s my expirience, I do not want to talk bad things here. Other people may have other, better expiriences, but I somehow lost faith in OpenWRT - or the additional piece of software on top of it, from GL.iNet. If other GL.iNet routers are more stable with OpenWRT, it could be a hardware issue with the GL-AR750S as well.

The GL-AR750S now goes back to Amazon. :disappointed:
And I believe that I will be satisfied with my TP-Link TL-WR902AC in the future. :slightly_smiling_face:

Kind regards
Roman

Thanks for your feedback, I’m considering the same model and I’ve seen a few of these comments now.

I wonder if it’s overheating.

Anyone considering the TP-Link OEM firmware should be aware of their dismal security record, both in as-delivered as well as failure to patch over time, along with the FCC consent decree.

If you need VPN or DNS over TLS of any sort, you should examine your options with any OEM firmware. Generally these features are lacking.

I have found my GL-AR750S that runs GL.iNet v3 firmware to be a reliable business-travel companion, US and Europe so far, on extended, multi-country trips. On these trips, OpenVPN and WireGuard, along with DNS over TLS have all been critical. This includes carrying VOIP over the VPN tunnel.

(Personally, I have not experienced any of the mentioned connectivity issues withe either of my GL-AR750S units. I also believe that the thermal design of the GL-AR750S is far superior to other consumer units in its class. Opening the unit you will find a custom heatsink that covers the SoC and wireless chip, not some stick-on piece of crap or, as other manufacturers do, bare.)

Anyone considering the TP-Link OEM firmware should be aware of their dismal security record, both in as-delivered as well as failure to patch over time, along with the FCC consent decree.

That may be an issue, you are right.

But the price for a more secure firmware should not (at least in my case) be a poorer reliability, right? Otherwise, I decide for the unsafer firmware. Why? Because if I have to worry about security in the network in general, then I should first of all question my phone, with dozens or hundreds of apps from different manufacturers - all on my most personal device ever.

So I personally can live with routers with OEM firmware. All my stationary routers and access points in my home (they come from Asus, Zyxel or whatever) do run on OEM firmware anyway… :thinking:

Your decision is yours, though your decision impacts others as your Internet-exposed router, if insecure, can be used as a jump point or as part of a botnet that inflicts damage on others.

Here’s one individuals chronicle of OEM router vulnerabilities: https://routersecurity.org/bugs.php

For specifics, the KRACK, 802.11 vulnerability is well known at this time and many manufacturers don’t appear to have patched to eliminate it.

Just because you have a home router doesn’t mean that you’re not the target of “advanced, likely state-sponsored or state-affiliated actor’s widespread” attacks on your device.

I think you should also determine if there is actually a meaningful connectivity loss. Most portable devices “sleep” their wireless connections when not actively used to reduce power consumption. Minstrel HT is the default power-control algorithm for 802.11 itself, and is what is used by most drivers that I am aware of. As ping is generally ICMP, which is best-effort and not guaranteed by specification1, it is not surprising to loose a few from time to time (with no meaningful impact on end-to-end connectivity).

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Control_Message_Protocol for a general description, https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc792 et. seq., for the specifications themselves.

Hi @jeffsf

The list of vulnerabilities is impressive, of course. But I wonder how big the risk is, if I use my TP-Link as a WISP Hotspot Router only? I don’t know…
But anyway, my home routers may be insecure in the same way(s). As you described, firmware updates are very rare.

The connectivity losses are annoying, especially when my whole family in the hotel relies on the Wifi. Of course, I can live with it, my son should live with it. But after the bad experience with OpenWRT on my old RAVPower and the whole bleating of my family during the holidays, I just do not want the same happening again, next hotel, next holidays

When I unpacked the GL-AR750S at home and set it to operation for testing, there were really no two hours until my son first time complained. And when, after a few hours, I asked my wife if she could work on the new router, she replied that her tablet sometime switched back to the old access point, although it is weaker.

That’s not all that bad, but that does not happen with the TP-Link. They connect to the TP-Link, they stay on the TP-Link. That’s all I want, not more, but also not less. Belive me, if, comparatively, the GL-AR750S would not be that expensive, I might have kept it, but it costs almost three times(!) as much as the TP-Link. I had no choice…

Honestly if the wifi router doesn’t even have a password and all encryption is off, as long as you have a VPN app on all your devices with a kill switch (as in no internet if there is no VPN) and all default services off such as samba, ftp etc that might be running on your devices, then you can be running the must insecure router on the planet and it won’t matter, since all the traffic is secured.

The only things you would worry about is people using your internet for free, and doing potentially illegal things on your wifi, that is all really.

As you said, use the device that performs the best for you, security is another level :slight_smile:

I can’t believe that I read and reply to this thread one week ago, but hoped that the problems were isolated to a few select people.

I end up purchasing one of the devices and here I am having significantly worse disconnections as described as the person in this thread.

This thing is virtually unusable.

@waponwapoff
I am very sorry about the problem with the equipment. We now suspect that there may be a problem with the hardware of this equipment. You can contact the sales and send it back to us. We analyze the problem, thank you.