Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 22:05 Post subject: High Load Averages
I have a question about load averages. I have a WAP54G brigded with WDS to my WRT54G. Both of course running DD-WRT firmware. When I do some things that are "intense" across the bridge (DVD rip to NAS or LARGE file transfers", I have noticed that the Load average goes up to 1.8 or sometimes even higher. Is this a problem? I don't have the devices overclocked (and don't plan to) but was just wondering if this is going to kill my router by overuse? I'd run a cable if possible, but bridge seems to be the only solution in this case.
So then should I have any concerns with the high load averages? Data loss on the wireless connections? VOIP packet loss on the wired connection? Or does it just simply mean that the little blue box is working overtime?
"Load average" is a number with vague intention of showing you the system is working hard, and not much more than that. If you are worried about killing your device measure the chip temps with a probe and if they are over the rated-specs yes you may be shortening their lives. Most chips however have max-heat ratings that would burn your flesh. As a VERY general rule of thumb, I put my finger on chips and if I can hold it there for 5 seconds without snatching it away it's probably fine. In fact most people worry FAR too much about heat of appliance devices like this, when there is no reason to. The total power consumption of typical routers is 5-7 Watts. Hard to burn anything with melt anything with power that low no matter what you do.
If you are measuring packet loss, then yeah maybe you have something to look at, but you haven't documented ping dropping packets or noticed a problem eh? Ordinarily TCP does error checking and if there are missing frames a retransmit occurs. The original ArpaNet designs were military after all, you want data to get through even if there is network damage even if it's slower.