Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite Review Part 2

Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite (ERLite-3)
Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite (ERLite-3)

Here’s the followup I promised for the Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite (Model: ERLite-3). Check out the first part here.

In general this router is working great. It has a current uptime of 1 month, 2 weeks, and a day with no failures. That’s more than can be said for my old router, which is now being used as a wireless access point.

I have had a little trouble caused by the particular network configuration I was using, but that’s not the fault of the router. I’ll get into the details of that after I review some performance numbers.

I used iperf3 for the tests. These numbers are averages just to give a summary. Check out the end of the article if you want more details.

Baseline Separate Subnets Bridged
817 Mbit/sec 816 Mbit/sec 761 Mbit/sec

You can see that there is practically no performance loss when operating with two separate subnets for the two local interfaces. Bridging the two local connections and using them on a single subnet resulted in a notable decrease in performance.

Running different subnets for my wireless and wired networks caused some problems with my network services. There are a handful of network services that I had to reconfigure. That was nothing major. One service that I couldn’t get working is airplay, which allows iTunes to play audio through compatible network devices.

I changed up the configuration for testing purposes. I did an initial setup using the ‘WAN+2LAN’ wizard in the browser interface. Then I bridged two of the interfaces following these instructions. You could also just load a configuration from here that already has bridged interfaces (no need to run the wizard with this method).

If you decide to take the manual route, make sure you don’t lock yourself out of the router when you remove the addresses from the interfaces. One way is to set up the bridge configuration for the bridged interface you aren’t currently connected to. Then switch the cable over and make sure it works before removing the IP and bridging the first interface.

Now, bridging the interfaces means the router is simply acting as a software switch between these two interfaces. This causes a clear reduction in performance. That said, I’m going to try using it with the connections bridged for a while. I shouldn’t notice the performance loss at all since only one of the interfaces normally uses gigabit anyway.

Performance Details

These are not extensive tests, but should provide a pretty good idea of the EdgeRouter’s performance. I used iperf3 to perform the tests. ‘iperf3 -s’ was run on one machine, and the following commands were used on the other:

iperf3 -Z -c <ip of other machine>
iperf3 -Z -R -c <ip of other machine>
iperf3 -Z -P 4 -c <ip of other machine>
iperf3 -Z -R -P 4 -c <ip of other machine>

The ‘-Z’ flag is for ‘zero copy’ mode, which uses significantly less CPU. The ‘-R’ flag is a reverse transfer, I’m testing the connection both ways. The ‘-P 4’ flag runs the test with four parallel streams.

As for the physical layout, one computer is connected by a short cable to the switch. There is a long cable run from the switch to the router.

For the baseline test, the laptop was plugged in with the cable normally used for the router. For the following tests, the laptop was connected to the port normally used for the wireless network by a short cable.

Here’s the part of the output from iperf3 for each of the tests:

Baseline:
Interval Transfer Bandwidth
Standard 10.04 sec 831 MB 695 Mbits/sec sender
10.04 sec 829 MB 693 Mbits/sec receiver
Reverse 10.04 sec 1.10 GB 939 Mbits/sec sender
10.04 sec 1.10 GB 939 Mbits/sec receiver
Parallel (sum) 10.04 sec 833 MB 696 Mbits/sec sender
10.04 sec 827 MB 691 Mbits/sec receiver
Reverse Parallel (sum) 10.03 sec 1.10 GB 940 Mbits/sec sender
10.03 sec 1.10 GB 939 Mbits/sec receiver
Separate Subnets:
Interval Transfer Bandwidth
Standard 10.04 sec 831 MB 694 Mbits/sec sender
10.04 sec 828 MB 692 Mbits/sec receiver
Reverse 10.03 sec 1.09 GB 937 Mbits/sec sender
10.03 sec 1.09 GB 937 Mbits/sec receiver
Parallel (sum) 10.02 sec 830 MB 695 Mbits/sec sender
10.02 sec 825 MB 691 Mbits/sec receiver
Reverse Parallel (sum) 10.02 sec 1.10 GB 941 Mbits/sec sender
10.02 sec 1.10 GB 940 Mbits/sec receiver
Bridged:
Interval Transfer Bandwidth
Standard 10.04 sec 781 MB 653 Mbits/sec sender
10.04 sec 779 MB 651 Mbits/sec receiver
Reverse 10.04 sec 1.01 GB 866 Mbits/sec sender
10.04 sec 1.01 GB 866 Mbits/sec receiver
Parallel (sum) 10.01 sec 809 MB 678 Mbits/sec sender
10.01 sec 803 MB 673 Mbits/sec receiver
Reverse Parallel (sum) 10.03 sec 1017 MB 851 Mbits/sec sender
10.03 sec 1016 MB 850 Mbits/sec receiver

If you made it this far, thanks for reading the whole article. Please help support the site so I can keep bringing you reviews like this one. Make next purchase on Amazon through this link. You don’t have to buy this router, and it doesn’t cost you anything extra. I just get a small portion of Amazon’s profit when you use it.

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B Update: Xenon Flash Related Failures

I’m still waiting on my Pi to arrive, but I came across this great video by Dave over at EEVblog that covers a very interesting problem with the new Pi’s.

The trouble is that when exposed to light from a xenon flash (typical camera flash), the Pi shuts down and requires a hard reset to come back up.

This problem is caused by the photoelectric effect, which allows things like image sensors to work. Based on Dave’s experiments, it seems that the problem is from a voltage regulator chip with an exposed die. The exposed die appears to allow the photoelectric effect to cause the regulator to drop out just long enough for the system to fail.

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B Preview

These were announced last week, and I can’t wait to get my hands on one. The Raspberry Pi finally got a major upgrade. It’s actually a real computer now, and the best part is that the price hasn’t increased.

At a glance, the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B appears to have carried over the layout from the B+. It retains all the same external connections in the same locations.

Where this model gets its major upgrade is at the core. The chipset has been upgraded from a single core ARMv6 to a quad core ARMv7. The RAM has been boosted from 512 MB to 1 GB. It is no longer in the chip, and is now located on the back of the board.

It looks like most Pi HATs that were designed for the Raspberry Pi B+ should work with the model 2, since the layout and header haven’t changed.

If you plan on upgrading from an older board, the SD card will need to be updated for the new processor. You can either update your existing system before swapping the card, or just flash it with a new image.

One other noteworthy change is the power requirement. The maximum rated power draw of the Model 2 is 900 mA, over the 600 mA of the B+. This means that it really should be running on a dedicated power supply capable of delivering at least 1 amp, even though it is still powered by the MicroUSB connector.

All these upgrades actually make the Pi competitive with the Beagle Bone Black. Here are some numbers I compiled from a couple benchmarks (1, 2) over at Adafruit:

nbench Scores RasPi 2 (900 mHz) BBB RasPi 2 (950 mHz)
Memory Index 4.228 5.661 4.359
Integer Index 5.607 6.032 6.341
Floating Point Index 4.769 1.591 5.037

As you can see, the Pi’s floating point numbers come out well above the BeagleBone’s. That alone doesn’t make this a BeagleBone killer since the BeagleBone still has lots of features that make it stand out, but the Pi just became a much closer competitor.

 

Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite Review

Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite (Model: ERLite-3)
Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite
(Model: ERLite-3)

I recently purchased the Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite (Model: ERLite-3). The state of my home network was pretty sad. I had gigabit ethernet run between the machines in my office, but only a 100 megabit link to the cheap wireless router that handled all of the traffic for the house. The weakness of this setup was shown when attempting to back up data to the local server over wireless, while at the same time using VoIP from one of the wired computers in my office. This fancy router should allow for a setup with much better scalability.

In case you’re not familiar with it, this is a highly-configurable gigabit router. The specs on this router look pretty impressive. It has 3 gigabit ethernet ports, 512 MB DDR2 RAM, and 2 GB of internal storage. All this for under $100.

In the box are the router, power adapter and cord, screws and drywall anchors, and a quick start guide. Getting it out of the box, it appears about as expected. It has a metal case and feels fairly well built. There are 4 RJ45 ports on one side, one is for serial console and the rest are gigabit ethernet. The opposite side has connection points for power and ground. The bottom has slotted holes for wall mounting with the included screws and drywall anchors. The drywall anchors are a nice touch, a small thing that is often overlooked. In addition, the last page of the manual has a template for the mounting holes.

Speaking of the manual, it is concise and seems to include all the necessary information to get started. There are several simple URL’s listed throughout the manual to get more information online. In keeping with the theme of this site, the source code for this router’s firmware is available for download provided you agree to their terms of use (basically don’t redistribute it or modify it for malicious purposes). This is one of those cases where open-source doesn’t necessarily mean free, but it is good to see steps in the right direction. On a side note, it appears that some people are successfully running various Linux distributions on these things. That is something I may have to look into in the future.

Now to see how it works. I got it powered up, and was able to connect to it easily. The online manual referred to some features that weren’t in the interface, so I updated to the latest firmware. This part was quick and painless, but depending on your situation you may want to download the manual, firmware, and config file (more on that later) before you connect to this router to start setting it up.

After getting the new firmware installed, I realized I still didn’t really know how to use this thing. The manual, while very detailed, wasn’t much help for me on this. There were some preset configurations on the built-in wizards tab, but based on the descriptions I wasn’t sure any of them would quite do what I wanted. I did a little looking around on Ubiquiti’s website and found their forums. A quick search for configuration examples led me to a thread on basic SOHO and home router configurations. The thread had a good configuration prepackaged in a tarball for easy upload to the router. The configuration I chose wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but seemed close enough to get things working.

Uploading the config file was just as simple as updating the firmware, performed through the web interface. I temporarily disabled my local DHCP server to avoid conflicts with the one on the router and proceeded with the configuration change. This worked flawlessly and properly configured the network interfaces. After restarting my cable modem, I was able to regain internet connectivity. Once I verified everything was working, I turned off the router’s DHCP server for the wired network and re-enabled my existing one.

Everything seems to be working at this point, and this router is far more configurable than I will likely need. Overall, the web interface is actually fairly easy to use once you get a good base configuration. The router also has SSH capability, allowing for more in-depth management through the command line.

My recommendation based on initial impressions:

If you’re looking for a powerful router and willing to do a little learning on how to use it (or are familiar with commercial router configuration), this router is well worth the money. If you want something super-simple to use or are turned off by the idea of a nearly $100 router that doesn’t have wireless, you’re probably better off to keep looking.

I hope you have found this review helpful, and I will post a second part with some speed test data and my thoughts after having used it for a few weeks.