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

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