FRITZ!OS 6.98-56435 BETA Update


Intended Audience

Feedback for AVM developers.

Background

In a previous post, I reviewed FRITZ!Box mesh networking using FRITZ!OS 6.98 beta build 56046. Build 56435 was released on 4-Jun-2018. My perceptions around this beta are discussed in this post.

My hardware setup consists of three FRITZ!Box 7490s; one as mesh master and the others as mesh repeaters. All are running OS build 56435.

First the good news! What I really like about the 56435 build:

  1. It fixes a serious interoperability third-party extender issue identified in the previous post.
  2. There appears to be a more balanced distribution of wireless devices within the mesh. In the previous beta, while some wireless devices were connected to mesh repeaters, it seemed many more wireless devices remained connected to the mesh master.
  3. From a mesh repeater, the graphic view of the mesh master and mesh repeater (see image below) is a nice touch.

screenshot.14

Now for the bad news…

  1. Minor third-party extender interoperability issues.
  2. More serious issues around the loss of device information.

These are discussed in more detail below.

Interoperability issues with third-party repeaters

Following on from the previous post, I’ve removed legacy repeaters from the last decade as I think it is unrealistic to expect the FRITZ!Box mesh to interoperate with early repeater technology. Only considered are extenders I own that are currently still available or were recently available for retail sale.

Brand Model Wireless LAN ports Issues?
Netgear WN3000RP b/g/n 2.4GHz 1 x 10/100 Minor [1]
Netgear EX7000 b/g/n 2.4GHz
a/n/ac 5GHz
5 x 10/100/1000 Minor [2]

[1] Under build 56046, this repeater failed to maintain a connection. This issue appears to be resolved in build 56435. Both the repeater and the device attached to it appear in the mesh view. However, ghosted MAC addresses also appear in the mesh view. In the examples below, repeaters Legacy and Roof are both Netgear WN3000RP extenders.

A ghosted MAC address 02:80:00:0E:BC:90 appears in the mesh view for repeater Legacy (see image below) with MAC address 20:4E:7F:1D:BC:90.

screenshot.15a

Similarly, a ghosted MAC address 02:00:00:0F:21:86 appears in the mesh view for repeater Roof (see image below) with MAC address 20:4E:7F:1E:21:86.

screenshot.16a

[2] Both the devices attached to the repeater as well as the repeater are visible in the mesh view. A pair of virtual MAC addresses for the wireless bands is also visible in the mesh view. The behaviour remains unchanged between build 56435 and 56046. More information is provided in this post.

Ghosted MAC addresses C0:FF:D4:95:D0:6F and C2:FF:D4:95:D0:6F appear for extender EX7000 with MAC address C0:FF:D4:95:D0:6E.

screenshot.15b

Loss of device information

This is a more serious issue that has appeared in build 56435. It was not present in build 56046. These are the observed symptoms:

  1. All wired devices, with either static or DHCP addresses, connected to the mesh master or mesh repeaters are affected. See examples A to C.
  2. The issue doesn’t appear to affect wireless devices with DHCP addresses. See examples D and E. The exception is a device connected to the WN3000RP extender. See point 4.
  3. The third-party extender EX7000 with static IP address added prior to build 65435 appears unaffected. Devices connected to that extender also present correctly. See example F.
  4. The third-party extenders WN3000RP with static IP address added during the build 65435 are affected. So is any device connected to them. See example G.

Note: For reasons described in the post DHCP/DNS Server on FreeNAS, I do not use the FRITZ!Box DHCP/DNS server. I’m not sure if this is contributing to the issue. However, I do not believe it is for two reasons:

  1. The issue was not present in the previous OS builds.
  2. I tried re-enabling the FRITZ!Box DHCP/DNS server, but there was no obvious change in the observed symptoms.

Example A – Wired device with static IP address on mesh master

Mesh master view of the device. Device information and IP address are missing, and it is not possible to change the name.

screenshot.18

 

Example B – Wired device with static IP address on mesh repeater

Mesh master view of the device. Device information and IP address are missing, and it is not possible to change the name.

screenshot.23

Mesh repeater view of the same device. Device information and IP address are missing, and it is not possible to change the name.

screenshot.22

Example C – Wired device with DHCP address on a mesh repeater

Mesh master view of device. Device information and IP address are missing, and it is not possible to change the name.

screenshot.25

Mesh repeater view of the same device. Device information and IP address are missing, and it is not possible to change the name.

screenshot.26

Example D – Wireless device with DHCP address on mesh repeater

Mesh master view of a wireless device with a DHCP address that is connected to a mesh repeater. No issue here.

screenshot.24

Example E – Wireless device with DHCP address on mesh master

Mesh master view of a wireless device with a DHCP address that is connected to the mesh master. No issue here.

screenshot.27

Example F – Third-party extender EX7000 with static IP address

The EX7000 was added prior to build 56435. It was already known to the FRITZ!Box. No issues for the EX7000 or devices attached to it.

Mesh master view of the EX7000 extender. No issues here.

screenshot.19

Mesh master view of a device with DHCP address attached to the EX7000 extender. No issues here.

screenshot.28

Example G – Third-party extender WN3000RP with static IP address

The WN3000RP devices were re-added during build 56435.

Mesh master view of WN3000RP. IP address and device information are missing, and it is not possible to change the name.

screenshot.20

Mesh repeater view of the WN3000RP. Interestingly, the device details and IP address are logged here. However, it is not possible to change the name of the device.

screenshot.21

Mesh master view of a device with DHCP address connected to the WN3000RP extender. Device information and IP address are missing, and it is not possible to change the name.

screenshot.29

Mesh repeater view of the same device with DHCP address connected to the WN3000RP extender. Interestingly, the device details and IP address are logged here. However, it is still not possible to change the name of the device.

screenshot.30

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