2023 Router tweaks

So time for the quarterly set of tweaks to see if I can improve my speeds, reliability etc. This time I’m trying to sort out an issue with Wi-Fi which is causing a server, located in my garage, to be unresponsive on the network. The first set of changes were nothing to do with the router but to qBittorent, in my aim to maximise the upload speed I’d allowed the software to swamp the local network so the Server wasn’t actually able to connect to the network and get an IP address! Some of these tweaks are unique to the Billion BiPAC 8900AX I use while others are standard and so relate to all, I’ll try and identify which is which.

MMM  DD HH:MM:SS kern warn kernel: Missed Membership report from for 1 times. Waiting..

So in the router logs I frequently saw the above. The 169.254.149.xxx means the Server hasn’t actually been assigned an IP address yet, have a search for that range to find out more details. Once I’d reduced the number of connections allowed for all torrents and active seeding torrents I started to see less of those issues, they still occur but at least the Server does get assigned a local IP address during the day now. For the Billion router you can QoS rules, under Configuration->Quality of Service. For these to work for torrents I had to pre-configure the port to use on inbound and outbound connections, so I don’t use UPNP, which isn’t a bad thing it seems, again search for security issues round that. So my torrent connections are now set to a low priority on the outbound (upload/LAN to WAN) side and limited on the inbound (download/WAN to LAN) side to 67% of the available bandwidth, these rules also only to the torrent server, which has a fixed IP address. This allows Streaming and browser to continue quite happily with no interruptions whereas before this stuttering was common.

Now onto the generic Wi-Fi changes…

Bizzarely this involved reducing the bandwidth settings in the 2.4GHz/5GHz ranges. For the 2.4 I now have a bandwidth of 20MHz while the 5 is currently set to 40MHz. The result is that the 2.4 has greater stability, as does the 5, but the range of the 5 has actually increased into more rooms in the house! This seems to be down to collisions with neighbouring networks, not many four at the worse case, but by trying to use the full bandwidth it was frequently causing issues. Now I’m using less of the bandwidth the quality of the connection, and range, has improved. Seems strange? Yes but I did find several sites that explain this in detail and why it can improve the quality of the connection.

I did also enable “MLD Multicast Proxy”, this is the IP6 version of “IGMP Multicast Proxy” it turns out, I wasn’t aware until I started searching for improvements. But has it made a difference? I can’t tell but it hasn’t made it worse and I do know that enabling IGMP solved our initial issues, when I first started using the Billion, when trying to use Youview and the online TV catchup services.

Lastly I reduced the “RTS Threshold” from the maximum 2347 down to 2040. Again no noticeable improvement but it’s not worse. This is my current focus though, so does it need to go lower? I’ve seen recommendations to drop it to 500 but these are accompanied with the caution to do so gradually as that doesn’t suit all. So, hopefully, I’ll get some updates to this later.


DNS lookup issues

So you’re using the internet and sites are loading, speed tests are reporting the normal speed but still there’s something amiss; pages seem sluggish.

nslookup www.google.com

from the command line and see what happens.
If you get some timeouts then maybe your DNS servers (sic) are slow to respond. Try the same command but use different DNS values, for example Google’s:

nslookup www.google.com

is that slower or faster?
Just had the same issue and had to revert back to using the ISP’s DNS’s then I could change back to openDNS and all was fine, once again? Why? No idea, I’d already rebooted the router and PC before then.

A tale of two drives

So just happened to spot, when running HWiNFO64 to check motherboard version, that my 250GB Crucial MX500 is down to 8% life remaining! What? Couple of months of go when I was checking that value it had 28% life remaining, so all good and plenty of time to plan my next upgrade. Now I’m in panic mode and ordering a new 500GB Crucial MX500 for £43, which is a good price as the 250GB cost me £63 just over four years ago.

HWiNFO64 SMART status
SMART Status from HWiNFO64 v7.26

So what happened? Seems that the Crucial drives have a potential with many small packet writes, this may just be on the model made all those years ago and not on the current models, Crucial have always had a good reputation from reviews. So in the SMART details we can see it has written a lot of data, compared to the other MX500. The failing drive is my boot disk so has the pagefile, core programs (Anit-virus, VirtualBox, Browsers) and applications (Office, VLC, Notepad++) on it.while the other SSD, only a couple of months newer and running the same firmware version, has all the games, documents, photographs and BOINC application.

So the failure drive presumably has all the small packet writes (temporary files, browser cache & cookies, pagefile) while the still okay SSD has the larger writes (photographs, documents).

So just about to install the new 500GB Crucial MX500 replacement drive, and we’ll see how that goes over the coming month. After that the PC will probably be passed on as I should have my new one built and moved into the world of NVMe drives.

Quick update to this. The machine, Treacle, has now been retired and relegated to a hardware test role, admittedly old hardware. The new Crucial MX500 drive is at 100% life remaining while the old 1TB MX500 has only 64% life remaining, so still pretty good.

So is it aceptable to sell an SSD that has only 8% life remaining? It will need a secure erase, which presumably will reduce that further, cue another addition to this post.

The secure erase, three passes using “British HMG IS5” via Eraser an overnight job, didn’t reduce the disk life any. So I put the drive on eBay with full disclosure of the remaining drive life, including screen grabs from HWInfo SMART data, and a starting price of £3 + £3 p&p. One week later it sold for £26 inc p&p, when you can buy a brand new one for £38.08 inc p&p! The buyer, one of two bidding, was happy with the drive and condition. So why pay, what I consider, over the odds? Did they expect to be able to retrieve data from the drive? I have had a close friend, computer illiterate it now seems, sell a computer after physically destroying the drive only to be contacted by the buyer to say they have his personal data now (The buyer did send the drive back).

So is there a market in second hand drives purely for what data you can retrieve from them? I know it’s possible to get data from incorrectly erased drives, I’ve had to recover said data for friends in the past, so is that data of use to someone? You’d need some serious time and software to be able to make use of any account/password data on the drive.

Facebook – Login Error – An unexpected error occurred

Having the above error? Getting the same thing on your phone, Firefox, Edge or Chrome desktop browsers? Tried the web and that suggests deleting your cache, deleting the app but still you get the error?
Do you have one machine that still can log into Facebook? If you do then go and turn off, I know this is unsafe, 2FA (In my case my mobile and email systems). Now, no need to clear your cache, just log in as normal and job done!
You can now turn 2FA back on. What’s the point of 2FA if you have to turn if off to log in? No idea! I received two SMS messages, from Facebook, while 2FA was on, but no opportunity to enter any of the codes received.
Maybe this was all just a “glitch” on the day and will go away tomorrow.

Logging “Audit Success” in Windows Logs

I noticed, while reviewing my logs, that I still get masses of “Audit Success” entries in the Security logs. What I mean is 30+ entries every second, seems an insane number to me, even more so as they were all the 4799 event. I mean so a membership was successfully enumerated? Okay move on, but these entries were now in the tens of thousands.

Much hunting round and I found that since Windows 7, I think, logging of successful events is now on by default. So unless you find the process/Service ID GUID of the services triggering the event and turning them off individually or setting them to “Failure”, which would take weeks trying to remove them you’re stuck, well unless your knowledge of audit policy commands is very good.

So welcome to this Superuser.com article, or rather question and answer, to help you out.


Sneak peak is to run this command: auditpol /set /subcategory:"Filtering Platform Connection" /success:disable /failure:enable
To disable successful Credential Manager reads, another frequently logged event, use:
auditpol /set /subcategory:"Credential Validation" /success:disable /failure:enable

The longer version is to read the article and find out how to remove other event types. Either way I’m now down to four or six “Audit Success” events being logged every couple of minutes, and those 4799 events that hid a load of other information are gone now. Woohoo

Enabling WPS on a Billion BiPAC 8900AX

By default WPS is disabled on the 8900AX, so if you need to connect a device, TV, printer etc, using WPS then you will have to go into the Configuration menu and enable it.

  • This can be found under the Configuration->Wireless 2.4G->Security menu.
  • Select the “Enable” value for the “WPS” combo, under “WPS Setup”.
  • Ensure that the “Add Client” option is set to “Use STA PIN”.
  • Make sure that the “PIN” value is blank.
  • Leave all other options at their default settings.

Once this is done all you need to do, to connect the device using WPS, is to press the WPS button on the router, for around a second, and then perform the equivalent activity on the device you want connected.

Remote Desktop – Custom screen size

Sometimes you don’t want to run an RDP session full screen but you do want to want to make use of the real estate more than the default RDP settings allow you to choose. Using the RDP panel you can only select set values from the slider control, there isn’t the ability to be fully flexible.

So you have to customise your RDP session but this time using notepad instead. Generally your RDP session will load its default values from the Default.rdp file, held in your “My Documents” folder. So edit this and change the following two lines to whatever value you want, from the 1920×1080 defaults, in my case.


Cannot move Outlook items to offline folders?

Rules failing to run? No message other than cannot move to folder displayed?
Then, if it’s not a corrupt PST file, it could be down to a registry setting. After scanning and fixing up the PST files, using PSTSCAN, I still could move items to the offline folders. But the following allowed me to get back to working:

Open the Run window by clicking ‘Windows+R’ keys together, and then type regedit.
The Registry Editor window gets displayed.
Locate the ‘PSTDisableGrow’ registry key by browsing to the following location:
Right-click ‘PSTDisableGrow’, and click Edit.
In the Edit DWORD (32-bit) Value box, replace the Value data 1 to 0, and then click OK.

Display not keeping up with the keyboard in MS Word?

So you’re typing away in Word, when you notice that the display hasn’t refreshed! But now you’ve stopped typing and you can see the sentence unfold infront of your eyes! What gives?

I’m not sure what causes the issue to occur in the first place at all, I’ve now had it happen twice. But the fix is relatively straight forward, if time consuming, especially if you have a slow internet connection I’m afraid.

Fire up the Windows Control Panel App and go the Programs section. From there click on the Programs and Features link and it should now display all the software installed on your PC. Scroll down to the office program, “Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2019”, in my case, and click on it. The menu should now show the three options: Organise, Uninstall and Change, it’s this last we want. Click on that and go for the “Online Repair” option and then click the “Repair” button, eventually it will come back and say it’s finished. And so far, well two out of two times, it’s fixed the lagging display issue.