[Cerowrt-devel] Ideas on how to simplify and popularize bufferbloat control for consideration.

Dave Taht dave.taht at gmail.com
Tue May 20 19:14:03 EDT 2014

On Tue, May 20, 2014 at 3:11 PM, Frits Riep <riep at riepnet.com> wrote:
> The concept of eliminating bufferbloat on many more routers is quite
> appealing.  Reading some of the recent posts makes it clear there is a
> desire to  get to a stable code, and also to find a new platform beyond the
> current Netgear.  However, as good as some of the proposed platforms maybe
> for developing and for doing all of the new capabilities of CeroWRT, I also
> would like to propose that there also be some focus on reaching a wider and
> less sophisticated audience to help broaden the awareness and make control
> of bufferbloat more available and easier to attain for more users.

I agree that reaching more users is important. I disagree we need to reach
them with cerowrt. More below:

> ·         It appears there is a desire to merge the code into an upcoming
> OpenWRT barrier breaker release, which is excellent as it will make it
> easier to fight buffer bloat on a wide range of platforms and provide users
> with a much easier to install firmware release.  I’d like to be able to
> download luci-qos-scripts and sqm-scripts and have basic bufferbloat control
> on a much greater variety of devices and to many more users.  From an
> awareness perspective this would be a huge win.  Is the above scenario what
> is being planned, is it likely to happen in the reasonable future?

Yes, I'd submitted sqm for review upstream, got back a few comments. Intend
to resubmit again when I get a chance.

> ·         From my perspective, it would be ideal to have this available to
> many users in a more affordable platform, something like an 8mb flash router
> like the TP-Link WDR-4300, which is otherwise a very capable router with
> dual channels and good performance.
> ·         (I’ve managed to set up such a WDR-4300, with OpenWRT trunk,
> figured how to telnet and install Luci, then luci-app-qos, and qos-scripts
> and I thought the bufferbloat control was remarkable.)  How much better
> would it be if I were able to use luci-qos-scripts and sqm-scripts instead?

You can easily add the .ipk files for sqm-scripts and luci-app-sqm to
any release of openwrt. They are just scripts. They need some optional kernel
modules and tools.

I regard the qos-scripts as pretty good - the core differences from sqm are

qos  vs sqm
both use fq_codel. :)
hfsc vs htb # A wash, hfsc mostly behaves like htb
ping optimized vs de-optimized # optimizing for ping looks good in
benchmarks but it's silly in the real world
(l7) classification vs dscp # clear win to qos here, nearly nothing uses dscp
no framing compensation vs comprehensive framing compensation # win here for sqm
no alternate queue models vs many alternate queue models # with
fq_codel the winner, who cares?
fits in 4mb flash vs barely fits in 4mb flash

The real killer problem for qos-scripts, for me, was that they didn't
do ipv6. I'd like to see that fixed, at the very least.

> ·         For these target users, they need simplicity, good performance,
> ease of setup and affordability.  They are not able to deal with the routing
> between subnets on wireless, IPv6 setup, and any complexities introduced by
> DNSSEC.  Marketing  the advantages of bufferbloat alone requires lots of
> education and publicity (and as we have seen there are many misleading posts
> by seemingly persuasive nay-sayers that it is all smoke and mirrors.

Well, my intent is to make the successful bits of technology widely available.
They are widely available. And being adopted everywhere. Win.

As for the additional complexities, well, they will get less complex over time.

In one respect, they are a stake in the ground. I have high hopes for the
eventual success of hnetd and mdns proxy services, although they are
alpha and nearly
unusable right now, some are making substantial investments into them.

In another the additional complexities of cero - like routing vs bridging -
are there to further the research into fixing wifi technologies -
which we haven't
really even started yet. I'm increasingly convinced we need to do
make-wifi-fast as
a separate, focused project, building on a stable base.

> ·         Would it be possible to have a simplified release of CeroWRT (in
> terms of setup, and features), make It available for a reliable and
> affordable platform, and publicize it and have it reach hopefully a much
> wider audience?  This could potentially be through the OpenWRT channels.

Possible yes. Affordable, no. Given that this has been a nearly full
time project for me,
for the last 38 months, with nearly zero revenue, I have no intent or
interest in gaining
anything other than knowledgable, clued users that want to advance the state
of the art. My mom doesn't run cerowrt, nor do I want her to.

If someone dropped ~1m/year on the project, that could change, but at present
levels of funding I'd be better off working at mcdonalds. Even if funding
appeared from the sky I'd rather spend it on R&D than GUI...

Certainly IF there was some cost model that made sense, awesome! let's
go for world

I continue to pursue the grant
route, but the only thing that resonates even slightly with potential funders
is not speed but security issues, which give me nightmares. Another model
that works is actually making and selling a router, but that requires
up front capital and entry into a very tight, profit-limited market.

Biggest problem we have is supporting ONLY one router, even-semi-well,
is a PITA.

Adding a new one costs more. I'm now on my 4th day of trying to make the
archer work. That's 6k of my life I'll never have back. And the ath10k in it
sucks, and working to make that work well is not something I want to be doing
due to the binary blob wifi firmware.

I'm all in favor of handing off future cerowrt development to a nonprofit
of interested users, and sitting back and focusing on fixing just the bits
I care about, if anyone is interested in forming one...

> ·         Part of the reason why Tomato had been so popular is that the
> firmware upgrade,  install, configuration, and management was well within
> the capabilities of the average weekend hacker, and there were compelling
> features and reliability vs the factory firmwares at the time.

Yep. dd-wrt is the same. And various downstream users like buffalo, meraki

I'm totally happy that they exist and have a working market.

> ·         Even installing OpenWRT, especially Trunk, and finding,
> downloading and enabling packages, while very powerful, and flexible, is
> still quite complex to someone who does not spend a lot of time reading
> wiki’s and release notes.

Yes, CeroWrt is an improvement on OpenWrt in that regard. But it
isn't enough. Doing serious UI improvements and simplification IS
necessary, and that's not my bag. The EFF is making noises about
doing something with the front end of openwrt and/or cero in the
next year or so (see their owtech list for more details), that also
goes after the security issue.

> I’d be interested in feedback on these thoughts.

There you go. I LOVE that we have a happy userbase, and love what
we've accomplished, and have loved being here to help make it happen,
and love that lots of people want to get it more out there to more people,
it's gratifying as hell, and there are a lot of negatives too, like chasing
bugs for months on end...

... but after we freeze, I need a vacation and to do something else for a while.

I'm presently planning on spending the summer working on something that pays,
and on improving ns3 with the GSOC, and testing a deployment of cerowrts
on a modest scale, and working on a new/improved rate limiter integrated
with fq_codel.  And only updating cero for CVEs or major new features.

That's a full plate.

If someone else wants to step up to maintain or continue to push cerowrt
forward in some direction or another, I'm all for it.

It's kind of my hope a clear winner on the chipset front will emerge and we
can move to that, but even if that happens it will be months and months
before it could be considered stable...

> Frits Riep
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> Cerowrt-devel at lists.bufferbloat.net
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Dave Täht

NSFW: https://w2.eff.org/Censorship/Internet_censorship_bills/russell_0296_indecent.article

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