The Continuing Saga of Gigabit Internet Service

So I already wrote about trying to get my old router to support my new internet speed, with no success. What I didn’t write about was that, in my frustration, I had placed an order for another, different new router (than I wrote about), which I was sure would be capable of gigabit speeds. It arrived today, and even though I had ordered an upgrade of my old router’s hardware, I couldn’t help myself, but to try it out.

Based on the enormous success I’ve had with using quite a bit of Ubiquity gear at my church, I bought an EdgeRouter Lite. I am already familiar with using these things. We had a similar model for awhile, powering our wifi, until the big upgrade with the new building. Also, I was used to running Vyatta-based routers back in my DataCave, coho-admin days. So I was sure I could get it working.

I ordered it from Amazon, with the “free, 2-day shipping” available with Prime. Except that, even though it was “Prime,” it was coming from some goofy 3rd-party, and took 3 days to arrive. Not only that, but when I got it powered up and logged into it, I saw that the firmware was six years out of date. I’m making a mental note here.


I should have just bought it directly from Ubiquity. I can almost guarantee that a unit bought straight from their site wouldn’t be 6 years old. It’s not that the new firmware doesn’t work. (And I really admire Ubiquity for the support.) But there may or may not have been hardware bump I’ve missed out on because of this, and it’s not worth the hassle to send back and reorder.

Besides, it’s the principle of the thing. I’m trying to not buy anything from Amazon if I don’t have to. I was there, and saw “Prime,” and if I don’t do my homework, it always bites me in the rear end. ALWAYS. Why should I have to work so hard to make sure I’m getting something in the 2 days I’m paying for? I’m just going to start spending that energy creating an account with the manufacturer’s storefront from now on.

Anyway. It took me longer to get the configuration going than I had hoped, but I think it’s finally up and running. I’m finally at a point where I can test it. Drum roll…

So far, so good. Guess I’ll try to cancel the order of the upgraded single-board computer hardware.

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…