a networking issue with the netgear orbi rbr50, solved (so far)

So far the internal Orbi WiFi and fixed network has stayed up. What’s more significant is that when we are watching a streaming service, such as Disney+, there are no more buffering waits (where a swirling icon appears on screen and the video stops playing). Throughput seems to be much better. I can attribute this more to (I believe) disabling DST than I can to changing my NTP server to an official NIST time service, although any service I can switch away from Netgear, the happier it makes me.

If what I did to solve this is the case then we’re talking about a fairly significant bug in the Orbi firmware supplied by Netgear, which is why I’m so interested in replacing it with an official OpenWRT image rather than the one Netgear wants us to use.

a networking issue with the netgear orbi rbr50, part 2

I received a tip on Twitter from @Lenzflair_Jack to look at pfSense ( https://www.pfsense.org/ ). It may not be appropriate for my hardware, and more specifically, I couldn’t determine if it would actually install on the Orbi.

In the mean time I opened up the Orbi admin web page and edited the NTP section:

It was configured to automatically update to DST, so I turned that off. I set the time to GMT. And while I was in there I pointed at a more trustworthy NTP server at time-a-g.nist.gov. It was initially pointed at Netgear. Why would I want a more trustworthy NTP server? Because there is at least one proof-of-concept where an ‘evil’ NTP server can perform a denial-of-service attack with a malformed NTP response. Basically it’s an issue of trust, and right now I don’t trust Netgear.

This isn’t the first time I’ve done something similar. When I first set up the Orbi I changed my primary DNS server to Google at 8.8.8.8, and my secondary to Cloudflare at 1.1.1.1. I’ve never had any issues with either over the last few decades, and I don’t expect I will in spite of how people like to harp about the evil of Google.

For those of you looking for a trustworthy NTP server, you can check here at https://tf.nist.gov/tf-cgi/servers.cgi . I’m sure there are plenty of others out there, but I refuse to use any service from the vendor of Orbi at this point in time.

Now I get to wait and see if there are any more home network outages.