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SmartLink Performance

Mike va3mw
Mike va3mw Member ✭✭
edited April 2019 in New Ideas

For those that follow my posts, you know I have had to focus on internet upload issues for years.  
For the past months, I have been using pfSense as my router/firewall.  It is a very highly configurable device.  Very good stuff.  

However ...

Last Friday I switched from using pfSense at my remote station to using an IQRouter.  Simple QOS and traffic shaping did not do all it could do for me.

I spent a LOT of hours trying to come up to speed on pfSense.  The best I could do on my skinny internet was about a BB rating of C, which was a big improvement over F.


With pfSense, I could often hear clicking on HF signals.

After experiencing the Black Box on the Blue Screen issue, I switched it out for a an IQrouter, quickly ran through the setup and I do have to say the performance is noticeably better in all cases.  And, that is right out of the box.  It is one of these things that 'just worked'.

Short story... if you need a  plug and play solution, I would highly recommend this router especially if your upload is around 1mb/sec and you need to be very conservative on your upload speeds while running SmartLink.  

BTW, they only support Cable, Fibre or DSL connections.  While it will work for 4G connections they do not or are not able to optimize for those on hotspots.


Your Mileage May Vary.  I just thought I would share what worked for me.

Mike va3mw


  • elan
    elan Member
    edited February 2018
    hello Mike 
    very inserting  link info 
    73 elan g0uut/dl9fcc
  • Pat Cahill
    Pat Cahill Member ✭✭
    edited August 2017
    My experience with IQRouter is similar, an added bonus beyond better Flex performance is better overall streaming experience at home. My wife and grand daughter love the improvement IQRouter provided, and my Smartlink performance is very good also. Plug it in, it works and gets better after it has time to learn. Agree YMMV, but it really worked well for me. I'm on DSL with 1.5 meg up.
  • Arnie
    Arnie Member ✭✭
    edited March 2019
    I recently installed the IQrouter at home. It was a marked improvement in through-out for my cable ISP Comcast. However, it crapped out in 2 weeks. I must say that their customer support was excellent and they have shipped a new unit to me which is supposed to arrive today. They did so with no fuss and great communication. I highly recommend them. They are a USA company and obviously care a lot about customer satisfaction. I got that router to deal with slowing speeds on my internet connection apparently due to 'bufferbloat,' which they have one of the very few routers that dynamically adjusts itself to deal with.
    73 de Arnie W8DU
    p.s. Now, all I need is for Flex to ship me the new 6600 that I ordered. hi hi.
  • Bill Roberts
    Bill Roberts Member ✭✭
    edited August 2017
    That's cool. I'm thinking of one, also. 73
  • Arnie
    Arnie Member ✭✭
    edited August 2017
    **** spell-check. In my post above, it should be "though-put," not 'through-out.' One letter off..close, but no cigar.
    73 de Arnie W8DU
  • Mike va3mw
    Mike va3mw Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    I have about 3 left for any Canadians who want them.  Mike

  • Justin W4JTD
    Justin W4JTD Member ✭✭
    edited August 2018
    They don't have QoS, but I am using a Apple Airport Extreme and a Netgear GS316 Gigabit switch and I am regularly getting A+A+A+ from www.dslreports.com/speedtest. I haven't done much to edit the settings, I have reserved an IP for the radio and done port forwarding for SmartLink. Otherwise it has been pretty much plug and play... The downside of course is Apple stuff is expensive and you can't modify it much. But it seems to work well. Even from Alaska hi hi 
  • Mark_WS7M
    Mark_WS7M Member ✭✭✭
    edited February 2018
    I also went the IQRouter route and I think in general the streaming performance is better.  I have watched a few movies that seemed to perform better.   My few remote experiences with SmartLink have been very good.

    I have one big complaint with the IQRouter and that is the WiFi radios.  They are simply weak.

    I replaced a Nighthawk router with the IQ.  The IQ is in the same location as the Nighthawk was.  The Nighthawk sported 2.4 and 5.0 G radios and I found using the 5.0 G connection to be the best as I do have some older 2.4 G phones.   

    However with the IQ in place a connection to its 5.0 G radio shows a less than optimal signal and some variability in latency for SmartSDR.  At the time I am 25 feet from the IQ and the only thing between us is some wood.

    I took my Nighthawk and turned it into an access point at the far end the house.  It would be about 50 feet way and in mostly clear air.  The connection to it is rock solid.

    So I am seriously considering disabling the WiFi radios in the IQ and using it is nothing more than a router.  For my house I think I need high power WiFi radios.
  • Mike va3mw
    Mike va3mw Member ✭✭
    edited August 2017
    Hi Mark

    That isn't a bad idea.  I have done similar and used AP's just for that.  In dense areas, I have had to go to shorter range, especially on 2.4G and added more AP's.  That gave a much nicer end user experience.   

    You may also find that the IQ Router range is actually related to the Radio tuning, a dark art I have not yet started to fully understand with all the broadcast and collision settings.  It is possible that the NightHawk has more beacons, etc.  I am only starting to know what I don't know in that technology.

    73, Mike

  • Mark_WS7M
    Mark_WS7M Member ✭✭✭
    edited August 2017
    Hi Mike,

    Well I have this little app that can check what channels are in use on different things and I have yet to run it with the IQ but it would be nice if that was the simple solution to just change a channel number.

    I'm not sure what other parameters are tunable.  I see you can change power but I have them maxed out.

    Anyway before I bought anything I would probably try a few variations first.
  • Mike va3mw
    Mike va3mw Member ✭✭
    edited August 2017
    Hi Mark

    It is more than just channel usage, it is channel sharing.   Every AP that your personal router can hear has to give time to the others.  So, you are sharing bandwidth time with all your neighbours.  This is why moving to 5Ghz and not doing any 2.4Ghz is critical.  

    About a year ago, I think I bought about 6 AP's and finally decided that the TP-Link series had the best success.  We did find that beam steering didn't do us any favours.


  • Matt NQ6N
    Matt NQ6N Member ✭✭
    edited April 2019
    After putting in my order for a 6600 I decided to prepare my existing station for remoting, and quickly discovered bufferbloat issues. 

    I decided to order an IQRouter and the improvements to connection quality have been quite noticeable.  Mine is still in the training phase, but the bufferbloat is gone and streaming video works much, much better. 

    I'd been perplexed for a few years about why my super fast connection (120 megabits per second) was sometimes slow to start playing streaming video or to check for new email.  Turns out bufferbloat is the answer.  For those who haven't looked into this it's what happens when ISPs maximize network throughput at the expense of latency management.

    The IQ router more intelligently manages its buffer, allowing it to be cleared more efficiently while still maintaining good throughput.   The same can be done with a modern linux kernel, but due to the prevalence of windows software for amateur radio, I use windows in the shack. 

    During the IQ router's training phase I have been testing with Chrome Remote Desktop (audio and remote screen) and RCForb and I've noticed that there are no more audible clicks now that the latency is a bit lower with the IQ Router. 

    I just ordered a second IQ router for the location where I'll be most often remoting from.  Chances are ISPs will start to wise up to bufferbloat and adjust their default configurations, but that could take a few years and so in the meantime I'm glad that a plug-n-play solution exists.

    Matt NQ6N

  • Cal  N3CAL
    Cal N3CAL Member ✭✭
    edited September 2017
    I've been using a IQ Router as well for the past several months!  Performance has been great!   No complaints and running remote improved alot!   I've gone from a C to A+  on Bufferbloat.

  • Craig Williams
    Craig Williams Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018
    My IQ works great but I cannot yet get smartsdr to go through it from outside my local intranet. Just sent a trouble ticket to IQ and am searching the Flex archives for answers.
  • W9EZ
    W9EZ Member ✭✭
    I've spent the whole day trying to resolve the same issue Craig mentions above. I can't seem to find an answer either. Smartlink works great in my lan outside it will not open even after testing green. Upnp and manual port forwarding both do not work.. Ideas?
  • Lee, N2LC
    Lee, N2LC Member ✭✭

    Now we're back around to where I'm at - Smartlink on WAN no worky.

    I've blamed it on my 4G AT&T internet and lack of port forwarding, but others (Howard, KY6LA I think) mentioned success.

    Above Mike said

    While it will work for 4G connections they do not or are not able to optimize for those on hotspots.

    I've got some serious bufferbloat. During the test it spent most of the time in the yellow with numerous pegs to the red side. With the IQ not being optimized for hotspots, would we expect bufferbloat to be improved anyway, or am I still outta luck?


    Lee, N2LC

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