Christmas Day, 2019

Here’s how my Christmas Day went, after a lovely morning of opening presents with the family.

I just upgraded to Comcast — I mean, Xfiniti — gigabit internet service, and got rid of all TV service. (I’m going to try streaming everything now, and I’m sure that will be fodder for another post in the future.) Unfortunately, I discovered that my nifty, little, fanless, single-board-computer router, running Linux, can’t seem to push any more than about 300 mbps on its ethernet ports, no matter what I try. So I fell back to using my Linksys Velop mesh wifi as my router, and then continued to try to figure out if I could get gigabit speeds out of my little computer’s NIC’s.

I had already looked at several things in Linux. All the basics checked out. Yes, before I even got the service activated, I upgraded to a DOCSIS 3.1-compliant cable modem. Yes, the kernel thinks it should be running at 1000 mpbs. Yes, it’s set to full-duplex. So I started to get serious, and I…

  • turned off everything.
  • cleared the kernel iptables rules
  • turned off the firewall completely
  • upgraded the NIC driver using a supplemental driver in the Ubuntu repos
  • upgraded Ubuntu from LTS to current

After all of this produced no change, I noticed that the board had a firmware update available. In for a penny, right? So I…

  • failed at using their utility to create a bootable firmware update USB stick on my Mac
  • did it on my work PC
  • used it to boot the SBC, but found I couldn’t get a console
  • tried different baud rates and serial programs, to no avail
  • tried and failed to create a new bootable image, using a different program on my Mac
  • tried to create new bootable image on Windows using the different program
  • noticed that my work laptop automatically deleted the firmware image as soon as I copied it over
  • tried to create the new bootable image on Windows under Parallels
  • hassled with which “machine” has control over the USB stick
  • found I couldn’t copy-and-paste between host and guest
  • upgraded all of Parallels, and Parallels Toolbox, on both guess and host
  • finally created new bootable image, which also did not boot
  • finally tried a different USB stick, which worked the first time

I finally, finally, finally got the router’s firmware updated, and, of course, there is literally no difference in the throughput. I’ll leave it to the reader to take a guess at how long this took me.

I also discovered tuned, which I was really hopeful for, but it also does not do anything for me.

So, like a sucker, I’ve now ordered the upgraded version of this board, which should fit in the same case I already have. I’m holding my breath…

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