Peplink Balance 20 + AP One AX

I have a Peplink Balance 20 with firmware 8.0.2 build 3667. I have not been able to upgrade the balance to newer 8.1.x firmware due to high CPU spikes rendering it inoperable when I do. Trying to get an AP One AX to come up on the AP Controller of the Balance 20 but unable to. AP One AC mini’s have been working fine for many years with the 20, but they too are HW1 and long in the tooth.

Been searching but can’t find anywhere whether the Balance 20 AP controller at this firmware level can support the AP One AX or not? I just want to confirm in documentation or through the forum. Appreciate some insight. I’m due for an upgrade to either a Balance One or Balance 2 for greater throughput, and information I gather will help in whether that is needed sooner rather than later.

I’m not aware of any known issued with the Balance 20, 8.1.x FW and the AX APs. However, I definitely think you are on the right track when you suggest it’s time for an upgrade. The “20” is a fine device but its resources are relatively limited compared to the Balance One, Two and 20X – the logical “next step.” I’ll also mention that when you upgrade you’ll also enjoy a much more snappy response from the GUI and you’ll see CPU usage drop significantly.

It would be helpful to know the hardware generation of the Balance 20. Also, how long do the cpu spikes last?

Well I was able to work out with a colleague who happen to have a spare B20 that also had issues with 8.1.0 and 8.1.1. We both have a lot of configuration: VLANs, port forwarding, reservations, DHCP boot options, etc. He had issues upgrading the B20, until he reset to default, was able to upgrade to 8.1.1 and re-enter the configuration manually. Not optimal, but it behaved itself. There might be a bug with the upgrade and some of that config, when it’s in place.

I took a chance on 8.1.2 released last month and upgraded it with little effort. CPU settled down after 1 minute of “Applying changes” on the web dashboard showing when it came back up after the upgrade. Seems to be a little more stable of a release for upgrading the B20 with configuration present. Been fine since. Also that level of firmware did let me now see the AP One AX and add it to the AP controller fairly effortlessly.

Still going to upgrade to a One or a Two for bandwidth reasons, but at least I know I can keep this around for a small location or as a backup if needed.

Its a HW revision 3. She’s old but she’s worked well for 8 years+. Better than other routers I’ve used. I managed to upgrade it to the really recent 8.1.2 and running fine for last 24 hours.

Previously trying to upgrade to 8.1.1 would have it spiking CPU for 30+ mins and i never let it go much more past that on the attempts I gave at it. It was almost unusable through the GUI. Internet was also barely usable. I would have just enough patience to get to the reboot option and boot back down to the previous firmware and it would go stable again.

There are a number of threads related to FW versions 8.1.1 and 8.1.2; I won’t summarize them. But let me relay in early experience with a B20 in the hands of one of our customers. Their throughput was less than for which the router was rated. But strange things happened – loss of GUI, sustained high CPU usage, “general weirdness,” as it was explained to us.

We got the folks at Peplink tech support involved and they were able to determine that the router was simply out of resources. Use of the AP controller, several VLANs, two WANs, three PepVPNs, etc, were – in the aggregate- just too much. The customer agreed to replace it with a B1 Core and has never looked back.

The B20 is a good router. But all hardware has limitations and sometimes those limitations are difficult to quantify in a spec sheet.

I think you have it figured out. :wink:

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I tested throughput through the AX and it was better than I had been seeing on the AC Mini’s. The interesting part is it’s much higher than the expected throughput of the B20 itself, after the newest firmware. That being said, the Balance 2 is on the purchase list.

I appreciate all the help and advice.