Solution for protecting various streaming services from throttling

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by fatryan, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. fatryan

    fatryan [H]ard|Gawd

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    My wife and I have Sling TV, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon video, and I am signed up for Game Pass International which requires me to be connected to a non-North American server to use. The only service I theoretically NEED a VPN for is the Game Pass, since its the Int version (US version doesn't play regular season games live). I originally signed up for Express VPN, and that is what I currently use for GP. I also signed up for Smart DNS upon someone else's suggestion, and that also works with GP.

    The issue is that after a few minutes of watching a game, the quality will go to complete crap if I'm on Smart DNS. Likewise, we've found that a lot of our streaming services (especially Sling TV) drop considerably in quality when running on the regular home network or on Smart DNS. I assume this is the asshole ISPs doing what they do best...being money grubbing POS assholes. We pay for all of these services - hundreds of dollars a month - its all legit...no piracy here. We shouldn't be watching 8-bit video games in 2019.

    So I've been trying to find a solution that works for everything, and this is where I'm having problems:

    Game Pass - Needs VPN or Smart DNS
    Sling TV - Works on Smart DNS. Will not work on VPN (though the Firestick app version seems to work on my router VPN when I give location permissions)
    Sling AirTV (HD antenna) - Doesn't appear to work on VPN, though I don't think it's even necessary considering its an antenna, right? Shouldn't expect throttling on it, since its not from ISP...
    Netflix - I believe works fine on Smart DNS. Will not work on any VPN configuration I can think of to try. It detects the VPN somehow.
    Hulu/Amazon video - Honestly have no idea, never even watch them...wife does
    Chromecast - Needs VPN router to use VPN, but source device must match Chromecast (VPN-VPN, No VPN-No VPN)

    So related to the last item, the Chromecasts, in order to get my Eagles games on an actual TV...I need to use a Chromecast. So I had to figure out a way to get them working. Only way I found out to do this was to flash Express VPN firmware to my Asus RT-AC68U. I didn't realize that their firmware was a completely new OS/UI...so I went from a TON of control/flexibility in AsusWRT to basically zero control in the Expres VPN firmware. I can't do shit on my router anymore...can't even see what devices are connected!

    I don't like this one bit, so I'm considering picking up another AC68U as a base router and keeping my current one as strictly a VPN router. Is this my best solution? I'm not really sure what else to do. If this is the best option, should I still to another AC68U, or should I opt for a different router? I do love the Asus UI, but I was having a lot of connectivity issues with this Asus router...kept kicking off my Ecobee every other day and giving intermittent connection issues on other devices. Would switching to a different manufacturer be problematic for connecting the VPN router?
     
  2. fatryan

    fatryan [H]ard|Gawd

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    Any suggestions at all? Hoping to snag a deal this week...
     
  3. Vincent Tempus

    Vincent Tempus Limp Gawd

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    Hey, if you haven't found a solution yet, you can try using this firmware for the asus router https://www.asuswrt-merlin.net/
    This firmware is similar to the default firmware but it allows more fine tuning when it comes to setting up vpns for specific pieces of equipment. You can set just your game pass device and chromecast to go through the vpn only. (Definitely set static ips for anything using the vpn.)


    I found that the asus ac68u is a bit slow when it comes to the vpn though. I was getting maybe 60 mbps tops with the AC68u, ended up replacing mine.
     
  4. fatryan

    fatryan [H]ard|Gawd

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    Thanks. You know is funny...i just stumbled across asuswrt-merlin a couple days ago and thought to myself "dammit, i wish i found this earlier!" Ha ha

    So basically where i stand now is that i decided to pick up a second ac68u over black Friday, because it was only like $100. I have yet to actually install it though, because i was trying to figure out how to do a dual router setup with dedicated VPN router without losing the communication between devices on separate networks and being able to maintain remote access on both routers. I hadn't really found a solution for that yet when i stumbled across asuswrt-merlin. So now I'm not sure what to do. The second ac68u is still sealed, so i should be able to return it without issue.

    But even with asuswrt-merlin, i still have the Netflix issues. Chromecast needs to be on VPN to stream the game pass games, but that means i cannot use Netflix on the Chromecast because Netflix won't work on VPN. Similarly, i want the firestick on VPN due to throttling issues, but then i can't use Netflix on the firestick. Currently the only way we can watch Netflix is using the TV app, but not all of our TVs are smart TVs. And the TV app is slow and laggy.

    Is there any sort of work around for Netflix? And do you think asuswrt-merlin is a better option than trying to configure a dual router setup?
     
  5. fatryan

    fatryan [H]ard|Gawd

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    Also, it's my understanding that 30Mbps is a typical max on a VPN router. I've never even heard of someone getting 60Mbps. I get around 30 now on ExpressVPN firmware on the ac68u.
     
  6. Vincent Tempus

    Vincent Tempus Limp Gawd

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    Well netflix does work over vpn with express vpn. If it says that you're using a vpn, just switch servers. Rinse and repeat until you find one that works. I've had luck with servers in Singapore for a show my sister is watching. However, with the merlin firmware you can just set the netflix device to not use the vpn, that way it won't detect it at all and should work fine.

    In regards to the speed of the vpn, it comes down to the speed of the cpu in the router and the speed of your connection. What are your current upload and download speeds?

    I can run a test with my new router and show you the speed difference verses my old Ac68u. The Ac68u has a dual core at 800mghz so it tends to under perform with open vpn.

    Check out this router instead if you're still able to return that router you purchased, its the new version and has a 1.8 ghz processor.

    https://www.microcenter.com/product...igabit-wireless-ac-router---w--aimesh-support
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019 at 4:50 PM
  7. fatryan

    fatryan [H]ard|Gawd

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    I didn't know i just needed to switch servers for Netflix. I'll have to try that.

    I don't want a new Asus router. They get terrible reviews. I've read multiple complaints about entire bands dropping out. No thanks. Besides, 60Mbps is basically the same as 30 anyway. That's like comparing a Chevy cavalier to a Ford escort. They both suck. I get 300 wired and 275 wireless on my ac68u without VPN, and that's on 250 service.