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 But the RAVPower also has a really terrible user interface, totally outdated.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.

Replacement arrived.

This is truly ridiculous - how can this be my fault? AT ALL?
How can this possibly be my fault at all? I don’t understand.
No WAN plugged in
No ETH clients of any kind.
No Wifi passwords saved, no bridging, no sharing, it’s not connected to anything.
VPN disabled.
It’s just sitting there, waiting for someone to log in, set it up.

NOTE: Tried manually selecting different wifi channels (forced) - the WHOLE SSSID DROPS OFFLINE - as if the wifichip is faulty / too hot / not enough power.
Using the official 2A adapter which comes with it.

AC/DC Adapter LA1503-0502000AUU
Output = 5V / 2000ma

I’ve had enough - refund and avoid going forward! I spent so much damn time on this product. Seriously. Atrocious hardware, be warned I’m not the only one complaining.

@waponwapoff

Wow. That’s really depressing. It seems like your device is even worse than mine - as I opened this thread. I can not even think about how much time I wasted …

Will you give the TP-Link TL-WR902AC a try as well? I would be interested what do you think of it…

Regards

Can you please describe your symptoms? Are they similar?

I am very frustrated because this device on paper should be fantastic.

it has a good price and pretty great specs it’s very small and the reviews are good.

I don’t understand why it is disconnecting so incredibly often.
It’s occurring so frequently at the most random times under the least possible load the only thing I can think of is a huge batch of faulty models?

I was very disappointed with the replacement, I figured I would test even more thoroughly this time. Having no Wan connection, no Wi-Fi incoming connection just sitting there only thing I’ve changed is the SSID and passwords.

I even had the mango model and it was cute small and basic and unfortunately slow at VPN however it was completely reliable.

thank goodness I purchased these through Amazon and their return policy is pretty decent.

I wonder if it’ll be a slate version 3 or something later on? I just don’t know. Seems a good product except reliability.

@waponwapoff

I opened this thread and I (think?) described my symptoms quite clearly - they were quite same as yours, may be not so often. I had Wifi drops all 2 or 3 hours. Please read my first post at the top.

The reviews are fantastic and I wonder the same as you. But I have some reservations because - as I already wrote - my earlier RAVPower Travelrouter got the same issue as soon as I flashed OpenWRT on it(!).

And as I said; the TP-Link is smaller, faster, cheaper and last but not least; very reliable.

Sorry I didn’t realise you responded to the thread previously!

I noticed that your username has aus in it?
Another Aussie?

Perhaps the bad batch is in Australia?
I don’t know?

The stupid thing is I don’t even need this thing that badly. I bought the mango as a fun toy for $30 which might allow my wife to watch Netflix America easily (on the PS4) without me having to mess with the raspberry pi for 5 days…

So it seemed to work fine and I had a friend who needed a small bridge, so perfect to sell to him Mango at cost price and upgrade to the fancy model getting me faster VPN the process…!

I got both mine on Amazon and I think they ship out of Dandenong at the main Amazon headquarters in Melbourne.

No. I live in Switzerland.
And, I personally don’t believe in a “bad batch”. I have no evidence, but my gut tells me that it’s more a problem with OpenWRT. But these are pure speculations, and speculation does not help.

This seems frustrating.

Can you label the router and box and return.

I need the exact router and power adapter to find out what is wrong about it.

we got a GL-AR750 several months ago for a project.
Had the latest firmware and was doing the same… Every 24hrs the wifi drops to the repeater and have
Tried all the versions of firware on GL.Net site and all suffer from the same issue.

As of a few weeks ago I removed it so could run tests and monitor in the lab… Every morning when would come in it would have lost the link and would need a wifi service restart or reboot to restore…

As of 2 weeks ago I found there was a later version of openwrt available for it: 18.06.4
Powered by LuCI openwrt-18.06 branch (git-19.170.32094-4d6d8bc) / OpenWrt 18.06.4 r7808-ef686b7292

Flashed it to this and found good and bad…
The down side is you lose the main config screen and are stuck with Luci… (not to bad)
The up side!!! Since putting this on the WiFi has been rock solid with the connection being up for many many days now!

So looks like there was something fixed in the latest openwrt and now what we need from GL.Net is to work on updating their version to the latest!

Recommend checking OpenWRT site to see if they have a newer version and updating to it to check… In my testing previously had tried older versions and they had not helped so am happier now as it is at least more stable!

Get on the openwrt-devel mailing list and tell them to meaningfully review and merge

I have had no issues running firmware based on that code.

GL.iNet is stuck with code from a year and a half ago (with the older wireless drivers and firmware) until that is merged. Past that, OpenWrt needs to get it into a release or backport it to v19 if they’re not going to make good on the promise of releases every six months.

@waponwapoff and @RK_aus_S

We understand you both met problems with AR750S and feel frustrating. We welcome your feedback and we do take your words seriously.

Before we did solve some problems of AR750S by upgrading the firmware and optimizing Repeater Manager. But seems this does not solve the problem you met.

Most of the wifi drop is caused by power adapters, but seems this is not your case as well. Can we do this to find a solution?

  • You send back the product with problems back to us (Hong Kong address) directly and we will investigate. Don’t worry we will be in charge of the shipping and refund.
  • Tell me your operating system, with wifi card chipset model and wifi driver version. We will do the same testing here.
  • We do not believe that the problem happens in batch. But we will do a batch testing immediately again, focusing on wifi stability.
  • We are Testing the product you mentioned and trying to find out the differences.
  • We will upgrade the kernel and wifi drivers to test as @PaddyX and @jeffsf said.

I hope you can be patient and stay with us.

Thanks for your cooperation.

@waponwapoff @RK_aus_S
When the interference is strong, there must be a balance between performance and stability.
You can try to slow down the WIFI speed by setting it to 144M. In this mode, the stability will be improved.