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Question regarding Voxel firmware

nepalisherpa
Aspirant

Question regarding Voxel firmware

Hey everyone!  Quick question regarding Voxel firmware.  I have a RBK53 system (bought from Costco).  I'm thinking about installing Voxel firmware only if it prevents Netgear from forcing an update.  Could you guys confirm if installing Voxel firmware will disable auto-updating from Netgear?

 

Also, if you are using Voxel firmware, how stable is it?

 

Thank you in advance. 🙂

Message 1 of 21
FURRYe38
Guru

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware

Review how it's done here:

https://www.snbforums.com/threads/custom-firmware-build-for-orbi-rbk50-rbk53-rbr50-rbs50-v-9-2-5-0-4...

 

Users don't have to do anything. 

 

Please post here:

https://community.netgear.com/t5/Orbi/Voxels-FW-available-for-50-series-Orbi-only-available/m-p/1883...

Or over in the SNB forums for users who are using Voxels FW. 

 

 

My Setup ISP SparkLight | Internet Cable 1000↓/50↑ CAX80 Modem Mode |  Wifi Router RBK853 (Router Mode) | and R9000 (Router Mode) | Switches NG GS105/8, GS308v3, GS110MX and XS505M | Additional NG HW: C7800/CAX80/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi: CBK40, CBK752, RBK50, RBK853, RBK752, RBK953, SXK30 | NightHawk: MK63, MR6150, R7000, R7800, R7960P, R8000, R8500, R9000, RAXE500, RAX50, XR450, XR1000, EX7500/EX7700

Message 2 of 21
Retired_Member
Not applicable

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware


@nepalisherpa wrote:

Hey everyone!  Quick question regarding Voxel firmware.  I have a RBK53 system (bought from Costco).  I'm thinking about installing Voxel firmware only if it prevents Netgear from forcing an update.  Could you guys confirm if installing Voxel firmware will disable auto-updating from Netgear?

 

Also, if you are using Voxel firmware, how stable is it?

 

Thank you in advance. 🙂


If this were to be true where Voxel firmware stops NG from forcing (?) FW on users....what does that do?

 

How will you update yopur system?

 

from the readme doc....

Introduction.

 

This custom firmwares is based on official stock firmware versions for NETGEAR Nighthawk X4 R7500 v1 router, Nighthawk X4S R7800 router and Nighthawk X10 router. The goal of modification is to extend the functionality of these routers and to use full power of CPU and FPU of IPQ806x and AL-514 processors, limited in official firmware.

 

I wouldn't touch this with a ten foot pole....talk about social distancing....

Message 3 of 21
nepalisherpa
Aspirant

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware


@Retired_Member wrote:

@nepalisherpa wrote:

Hey everyone!  Quick question regarding Voxel firmware.  I have a RBK53 system (bought from Costco).  I'm thinking about installing Voxel firmware only if it prevents Netgear from forcing an update.  Could you guys confirm if installing Voxel firmware will disable auto-updating from Netgear?

 

Also, if you are using Voxel firmware, how stable is it?

 

Thank you in advance. 🙂


If this were to be true where Voxel firmware stops NG from forcing (?) FW on users....what does that do?

 

How will you update yopur system?

 


The goal is to manually update when I know that the released firmware is stable.  

Message 4 of 21
CrimpOn
Guru

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware


@nepalisherpa wrote:

Hey everyone!  Quick question regarding Voxel firmware.  I have a RBK53 system (bought from Costco).  I'm thinking about installing Voxel firmware only if it prevents Netgear from forcing an update.  Could you guys confirm if installing Voxel firmware will disable auto-updating from Netgear?Nothing in life is 100% guaranteed, but Voxel has cleverly numbered his firmware to be so far in advance of Netgear's regular numbering scheme that any comparison will always show "this is greater". So, yes, my impression is that Voxel's firmware will prevent Netgear from forcing a firmware update.  (100%? no.  but, pretty sure.)

 

Also, if you are using Voxel firmware, how stable is it? I have run Voxel for a month and found it extremely stable.  What it offers is increased efficiency.  i.e. "faster".  He has optimized the code and has included ways to eliminate things like Disney Circle and Armor.


 

I love my Orbi.
Message 5 of 21
CrimpOn
Guru

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware

I should add that I have a tendancy to focus on the question asked, rather than the "bigger picture".  So, "yes. My impression is that Voxel's firmware numbering scheme will likely prevent Netgear from automatically updating the firmware unexpectedly."

 

The "bigger picture" may be that as far as I can tell, Netgear has abandoned the practice of silently performing updates without explicit permission.  "Except" (drum roll) in case of a "serious need."  So, I am not comfortable taking a position on whether one should fear Netgear firmware updates or not. There are far too many unknowns.

 

Trying to avoid a Netgear firmware update does not seem like a valid reason to dump the stock firmware for 3rd party versions.  Increased efficiency - sure.  Ability to use the Orbi as a VPN client for all attached devices - sure.  Prefer to use SSH rather than telnet, or SCP for file transfer - sure.  There are lots of reasons to be interested in Voxel's firmware. Being afraid of Netgear... I'm not so confident.


Sorry to ramble on.  It's late.

I love my Orbi.
Message 6 of 21

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware

Questions about third party firmware are best dealt with over where they support it.

 

Netgear does not suppress discussion of alternative firmware, but it doesn't support it and will not comment here.

 

And while there are some people here who use different firmware, you may find that there is limited experience here. For example, there are few, if any, comments here from the people who cook up alternative firmware.

Just another user with a set of boilerplate macros.

My network DM200 -> R7800 -> GS316 -> PL1000 -> Orbi RBR40 -> Orbi RBS50Y -> RBS40V
Message 7 of 21
Retired_Member
Not applicable

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware


@nepalisherpa wrote:

@Retired_Member wrote:

@nepalisherpa wrote:

Hey everyone!  Quick question regarding Voxel firmware.  I have a RBK53 system (bought from Costco).  I'm thinking about installing Voxel firmware only if it prevents Netgear from forcing an update.  Could you guys confirm if installing Voxel firmware will disable auto-updating from Netgear?

 

Also, if you are using Voxel firmware, how stable is it?

 

Thank you in advance. 🙂


If this were to be true where Voxel firmware stops NG from forcing (?) FW on users....what does that do?

 

How will you update yopur system?

 


The goal is to manually update when I know that the released firmware is stable.  


And how would you do that?    Come in here read the posts?   Why not just stop doing manual updates altogether and let NG push the ones you absolutely need?

Message 8 of 21
Retired_Member
Not applicable

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware


@CrimpOn wrote:

I should add that I have a tendancy to focus on the question asked, rather than the "bigger picture".  So, "yes. My impression is that Voxel's firmware numbering scheme will likely prevent Netgear from automatically updating the firmware unexpectedly."

 

The "bigger picture" may be that as far as I can tell, Netgear has abandoned the practice of silently performing updates without explicit permission.  "Except" (drum roll) in case of a "serious need."  So, I am not comfortable taking a position on whether one should fear Netgear firmware updates or not. There are far too many unknowns.

 

Trying to avoid a Netgear firmware update does not seem like a valid reason to dump the stock firmware for 3rd party versions.  Increased efficiency - sure.  Ability to use the Orbi as a VPN client for all attached devices - sure.  Prefer to use SSH rather than telnet, or SCP for file transfer - sure.  There are lots of reasons to be interested in Voxel's firmware. Being afraid of Netgear... I'm not so confident.


Sorry to ramble on.  It's late.


Users shouldn't view firmware updates as something to avoid.  What they should be doing is NOTHING.  Stop this mind set that you must have the latest wiz bang update.  Your're clicking yourself to wasted hours trying to figure what happened.  

 

If your system works WHY in the world woukld you want to click and click?  Leave it alone and enjoy the fact that it works.

 

 

 

Message 9 of 21
CrimpOn
Guru

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware


@Retired_Member wrote:

Users shouldn't view firmware updates as something to avoid.  What they should be doing is NOTHING.  Stop this mind set that you must have the latest wiz bang update.  Your're clicking yourself to wasted hours trying to figure what happened.  

If your system works WHY in the world woukld you want to click and click?  Leave it alone and enjoy the fact that it works.


My impression from many of the posts is that people were happily enjoying their Orbi until Netgear goaded them into updating. (a) by sending an email, "You should update firmware.", or (b) by flashing a notice on their Orbi App, "New Firmware Available."  That's what brings them to this forum: Netgear.  They would never have sought out the forum if Netgear had not prompted them to (do or be unable to do) a firmware update.

I love my Orbi.
Message 10 of 21
nepalisherpa
Aspirant

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware


@Retired_Member wrote:

@nepalisherpa wrote:

@Retired_Member wrote:

@nepalisherpa wrote:

Hey everyone!  Quick question regarding Voxel firmware.  I have a RBK53 system (bought from Costco).  I'm thinking about installing Voxel firmware only if it prevents Netgear from forcing an update.  Could you guys confirm if installing Voxel firmware will disable auto-updating from Netgear?

 

Also, if you are using Voxel firmware, how stable is it?

 

Thank you in advance. 🙂


If this were to be true where Voxel firmware stops NG from forcing (?) FW on users....what does that do?

 

How will you update yopur system?

 


The goal is to manually update when I know that the released firmware is stable.  


And how would you do that?    Come in here read the posts?   Why not just stop doing manual updates altogether and let NG push the ones you absolutely need?


Yes! If there is a major issue then I might start seeing posts about it. Plus, I don't want my router auto-updating when, say, I am on vacation. What if the firmware was buggy and, all of a sudden, my security cameras stop working?

 

I can go on and on about why I want it. The reason for my post is for feedbacks from folks who have used it.

Message 11 of 21
FURRYe38
Guru

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware

You'll be fine if you want to try Voxels FW. His FW keeps the auto update feature from happening by his version schema being changed so that the update service won't auto update your system. Youll can update at each new version he puts out by manually installng his versions of FW. Its the only way to update his FW for each version. Again, if your not happy with his FW, you can always revert to stock FW at anytime. 

 

His FW is mainly meant for users with Orbi 50 series systems that are out of warranty. If your system is in warranty, and if you had problems and all troubleshooting has been exhausted, you can load his FW to see if this helps any, and if not, then you should revert back to NG stock FW, then proceed to NG official support and RMA requests. It's up to you. 

 

The only way to update his FW is manually downloading and installing each version he releases. Nothing is auto updated when usng his FW.

 

For more information, you and review and post over on SNB forums regarding his FW:

https://www.snbforums.com/forums/netgear-ac-wireless.53/

 

Good Luck.


@nepalisherpa wrote:


Yes! If there is a major issue then I might start seeing posts about it. Plus, I don't want my router auto-updating when, say, I am on vacation. What if the firmware was buggy and, all of a sudden, my security cameras stop working?

 

I can go on and on about why I want it. The reason for my post is for feedbacks from folks who have used it.


 

My Setup ISP SparkLight | Internet Cable 1000↓/50↑ CAX80 Modem Mode |  Wifi Router RBK853 (Router Mode) | and R9000 (Router Mode) | Switches NG GS105/8, GS308v3, GS110MX and XS505M | Additional NG HW: C7800/CAX80/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi: CBK40, CBK752, RBK50, RBK853, RBK752, RBK953, SXK30 | NightHawk: MK63, MR6150, R7000, R7800, R7960P, R8000, R8500, R9000, RAXE500, RAX50, XR450, XR1000, EX7500/EX7700

Message 12 of 21
Retired_Member
Not applicable

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware


@CrimpOn wrote:

@Retired_Member wrote:

Users shouldn't view firmware updates as something to avoid.  What they should be doing is NOTHING.  Stop this mind set that you must have the latest wiz bang update.  Your're clicking yourself to wasted hours trying to figure what happened.  

If your system works WHY in the world woukld you want to click and click?  Leave it alone and enjoy the fact that it works.


My impression from many of the posts is that people were happily enjoying their Orbi until Netgear goaded them into updating. (a) by sending an email, "You should update firmware.", or (b) by flashing a notice on their Orbi App, "New Firmware Available."  That's what brings them to this forum: Netgear.  They would never have sought out the forum if Netgear had not prompted them to (do or be unable to do) a firmware update.


email or app prompt...it doesn't matter....at the point of install...that was their decision. 

 

Then once it fouls up, then they end up in here.

Message 13 of 21
SLK-Purdue
Luminary

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware

Flashed Voxel firmware on and RBR50 and it was running fine.  It experienced a power cycle (I knocked the power cube out with my knee 🙂 ) and it now beboots (fast LED flash) and then goes into a white LED pulsing varing brightness up an down).  Ethernet ports are dead and I can't do TFTP, but I see that plugging in a USB drive get some activity on the drive.   Any chance there is a UBS recovery trick or a way to "autorun" a firmware update to reflash this?   Doesn't pulsing white mean trying to do factory reset?  Thanks.

 

Scott

 

ps. this is a test RBR50 so I am not SOL but would like to unbrick this.

Model: RBR50|Orbi AC3000 Tri-band WiFi Router
Message 14 of 21

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware

This really is not the best place for detailed advice on third party firmware.

 

Not because it is banned – Netgear never intervenes – but because this place has very few people who use this stuff in anger.

 

Someone may turn up with deep knowledge, but have you tried asking the Voxelites what to do? That might be quicker.

Just another user with a set of boilerplate macros.

My network DM200 -> R7800 -> GS316 -> PL1000 -> Orbi RBR40 -> Orbi RBS50Y -> RBS40V
Message 15 of 21
SLK-Purdue
Luminary

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware

Where is the best place to find Volex experts?   The one forum I found has nothing in several years.  Thanks.

 


@michaelkenward wrote:

This really is not the best place for detailed advice on third party firmware.

 

Not because it is banned – Netgear never intervenes – but because this place has very few people who use this stuff in anger.

 

Someone may turn up with deep knowledge, but have you tried asking the Voxelites what to do? That might be quicker.


 

Model: RBR50|Orbi AC3000 Tri-band WiFi Router
Message 16 of 21
CrimpOn
Guru

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware


@SLK-Purdue wrote:

Where is the best place to find Volex experts?   The one forum I found has nothing in several years.  Thanks.


This forum is pretty active:

https://www.snbforums.com/threads/custom-firmware-build-for-orbi-rbk50-rbk53-rbr50-rbs50-v-9-2-5-1-1... 

I love my Orbi.
Message 17 of 21
FURRYe38
Guru

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware

This can be a factor:

https://www.snbforums.com/threads/custom-firmware-build-for-orbi-rbk50-rbk53-rbr50-rbs50-v-9-2-5-1-1...

 

Check your Windows versions. Possible TFTP issues seen with 10 vs 7. 


@SLK-Purdue wrote:

Flashed Voxel firmware on and RBR50 and it was running fine.  It experienced a power cycle (I knocked the power cube out with my knee 🙂 ) and it now beboots (fast LED flash) and then goes into a white LED pulsing varing brightness up an down).  Ethernet ports are dead and I can't do TFTP, but I see that plugging in a USB drive get some activity on the drive.   Any chance there is a UBS recovery trick or a way to "autorun" a firmware update to reflash this?   Doesn't pulsing white mean trying to do factory reset?  Thanks.

 

Scott

 

ps. this is a test RBR50 so I am not SOL but would like to unbrick this.


 

My Setup ISP SparkLight | Internet Cable 1000↓/50↑ CAX80 Modem Mode |  Wifi Router RBK853 (Router Mode) | and R9000 (Router Mode) | Switches NG GS105/8, GS308v3, GS110MX and XS505M | Additional NG HW: C7800/CAX80/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi: CBK40, CBK752, RBK50, RBK853, RBK752, RBK953, SXK30 | NightHawk: MK63, MR6150, R7000, R7800, R7960P, R8000, R8500, R9000, RAXE500, RAX50, XR450, XR1000, EX7500/EX7700

Message 18 of 21
SLK-Purdue
Luminary

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware

Update on this - there were really two problems.  First, the Orbi was in "soft brick" mode and, secondly, the eEhernet interface had a hardware issue.   The second is NOT related to Voxel in any way.  After I understood it, the first was a self-inflicted issue again, not related to Voxel.   Voxel does nice work and this sould not have be posted as relating to Voxel.  My bad!!

 

After I was able to get the serial interface working (most certainly something that voids the warranty 🙂 ), I was able to use U-Boot to unbrick the router.   WiFi worked great but Ethernet still completely dead.   I am debugging that issue now but it is hardware and not software.

 

If there is interest, I can post information about the serial interface access but that is NOT for people without some real experience with hardware/firmware access. 

 

Scott

Model: RBR50|Orbi AC3000 Tri-band WiFi Router
Message 19 of 21
CrimpOn
Guru

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware


@SLK-Purdue wrote:

After I was able to get the serial interface working (most certainly something that voids the warranty 🙂 ), I was able to use U-Boot to unbrick the router.   WiFi worked great but Ethernet still completely dead.   I am debugging that issue now but it is hardware and not software.


Is the the U-Boot you employed to "Unbrick" the Orbi?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Das_U-Boot 

I love my Orbi.
Message 20 of 21
SLK-Purdue
Luminary

Re: Question regarding Voxel firmware

Yes but Orbi uses an older version.

 

U-Boot 2012.07 [Barrier Breaker unknown,unknown] (Jan 04 2017 - 13:54:09)

U-boot dni1 V1.4 for DNI HW ID: 29765352; NOR flash 32MB; EMMC flash 4000MB; RAM 512MB
smem ram ptable found: ver: 1 len: 3
DRAM: 512 MiB
machid : 0x8010001
NAND: ID = 0
Vendor = 0
Device = 0
Nand Flash error. Status = 64
ONFI Read id cmd failed
ONFI probe failed
SF NAND unsupported id:ff:ff:ff:ffSF: Unsupported manufacturer ff
ipq_spi: SPI Flash not found (bus/cs/speed/mode) = (0/0/48000000/0)
0 MiB
MMC: qca_mmc: 0
*** Warning - bad CRC, using default environment

PCI0 Link Intialized
In: serial
Out: serial
Err: serial
Valid chip addresses: 27 48
machid: 8010001
flash_type: 1
Net: MAC0 addr:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
PHY ID1: 0x4d
PHY ID2: 0xd0b1
ipq40xx_ess_sw_init done
eth0
Hit any key to stop autoboot: 2 1 0

 

You can see the releases at https://github.com/u-boot/u-boot/releases

 

Scott

 


@CrimpOn wrote:

@SLK-Purdue wrote:

After I was able to get the serial interface working (most certainly something that voids the warranty 🙂 ), I was able to use U-Boot to unbrick the router.   WiFi worked great but Ethernet still completely dead.   I am debugging that issue now but it is hardware and not software.


Is the the U-Boot you employed to "Unbrick" the Orbi?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Das_U-Boot 


 

Model: RBR50|Orbi AC3000 Tri-band WiFi Router
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