5GHz radio "stopping" on RT-AC86U

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DancesWithLysol

Occasional Visitor
I'm looking for troubleshooting advice.

Yesterday I upgraded from a RT-N66U to a RT-AC86U (BF sale). Since I do most of my networking using Ethernet, I was plenty happy with the N66U, but I was very interested in upgrading to a "supported" version of Merlin's firmware. I turn off the "fancy" features (e.g. QoS, Game Boost, USB storage, VPN, AiProtection), and just stick with typical settings.

I downloaded the settings from the old N66U, unpacked the new router & set it up. Once everything appeared to be working, I flashed to the latest stable Merlin firmware (384.7_2). The last step after the firmware upgrade was uploading settings from the N66U. All was well, so I went to bed.

When I woke up in the morning it appeared that the 5GHz radio wasn't working properly. All the Ethernet and 2.4GHz connected devices were having no trouble. I went into the admin pages and looked at the Wireless settings for 5GHz. There was something obviously wrong because some settings weren't adjustable (e.g. the select box for Control Channel was empty, and the text next to it said "Current Control Channel: 0"). Previously the 5GHz settings were all default/auto settings.

I rebooted the router, and all was well again.

A few hours ago (and ~10 hours after the last reboot) I noticed that the 5GHz SSID was unavailable again. I ended up rebooting the router to fix things again.

I'm curious if anyone else had this problem. Is re-using the settings across versions of Merlin a big "no-no"? I figure that if the settings are bad, then I'd see the problems right away rather than have it work for half a day and then go bad. Could it be a hardware issue? When Googling the issue I ran into a few cases of people complaining about 5GHz radio issues with this particular model of router (e.g. on Amazon).

Thanks in advance!
 

wesbez

Regular Contributor
The 5GHZ “issues” are actually down to the devices trying to connect to the router on that band. I’ve confirmed this with others on the forum. As above, you can’t use the saved settings from another router and you should do a factory reset.

So for eg Apple devices seems to have no issue seeing the 5GHZ band. Both second gen fire tv and 2nd gen fire tv stick can’t pick up the 5GHZ band but the new Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K has no problem. So obviously the wireless cards and drivers have a big roll to play and the 86u must have the latest tech for AC.

I can get them to see the 5GHZ band if I change the control channel manually to the lower channels like 40 or 48. This can be spotty as other routers which are not mine would be on auto. Obviously you need to do a site survey to see what channels are congested.

I didn’t want to leave it on manual so I have my older AC56u in AP serving up the 5GHZ to those clients with the AC56u back hauled via Ethernet.

I would say don’t be put off by this as it’s a brilliant bit of kit. There are the newer AX Wi-fi 6 routers out there but again it would be down to the clients and these routers would be nearly double the price of the 86u which is currently on offer.

If you have an older router it can serve up the 5GHZ channel, like in my case backhauled to the 86u.
 
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DancesWithLysol

Occasional Visitor
Thanks, I'll follow the advice regarding re-doing the settings manually.

@wesbez, yeah - it's likely that those 5GHz issues are completely different from the ones I'm seeing (i.e. where the 5GHz radio effectively stops working for all devices). As an aside, it might make sense for me to use the N66U as an alternate access point on different channels. There isn't much channel congestion where I live (single detached house), so maybe I'll make it a access point dedicated to Chromecasts or something.

Thanks for the advice on not using old settings files! I wish there was a kind of settings file that had much of the hardware agnostic settings (e.g. DDNS, DHCP, IP address, Port Forwarding) that could be moved around in a portable way. And use a text file format (XML, JSON, etc), not a binary format. I'll wait for the 5GHz radio to "break" again, do a factory reset, and then reconfigure everything manually.
 

john9527

Part of the Furniture
I wish there was a kind of settings file that had much of the hardware agnostic settings (e.g. DDNS, DHCP, IP address, Port Forwarding) that could be moved around in a portable way.
@RMerlin
If you ever talk to the folks as ASUS....Since they added metadata capability to the defaults file, it would be really nice if they added a field that indicates if the setting is/is not router or hardware dependent and could be moved.
 

DancesWithLysol

Occasional Visitor
Well, I just finished manually entering all the settings after a factory reset. I should know in 24 hours whether that will solve the case of the 5GHz radio going offline. I hope it does, but I've got a feeling in my gut that it's a hardware issue. If the issue was a software setting, I'd normally expect things to break right away, not after ~12-24 hours of use. I'll report back after a couple days (or if it breaks again).
 

DancesWithLysol

Occasional Visitor
Well, it's been the better part of a week and I haven't seen the 5GHz radio "die" on me; it sounds like it was indeed due to loading my old settings file.

Pity you can't transfer settings that way. It's sort of ridiculous that doesn't work well. Imagine if iOS and Android settings transfer features would only work on the same phone! One would think that getting a new device and copying your old network config would be the main use case.
 

gattaca

Senior Member
@RMerlin
If you ever talk to the folks as ASUS....Since they added metadata capability to the defaults file, it would be really nice if they added a field that indicates if the setting is/is not router or hardware dependent and could be moved.
Yes, sadly, there used to be a script around these forums to actually text export the settings and then you could choose the more PITA ones.. such as all the DHCP settings to re-import. Sadly, I think I saw in that thread the script has not been updated in some time b/c since the 384 versions. I've just resorted to taking careful notes and screen caps of critical pages when I need to do a do something drastic. If there's one thing I wish we could export and import easily, it would be the DHCP settings... I probably have 80+ for all the devices that come/go.. Later.
 

john9527

Part of the Furniture
Yes, sadly, there used to be a script around these forums to actually text export the settings and then you could choose the more PITA ones.. such as all the DHCP settings to re-import. Sadly, I think I saw in that thread the script has not been updated in some time b/c since the 384 versions. I've just resorted to taking careful notes and screen caps of critical pages when I need to do a do something drastic. If there's one thing I wish we could export and import easily, it would be the DHCP settings... I probably have 80+ for all the devices that come/go.. Later.
Yes, that was my script :) Unfortunately, with the changes in 382/384 it needed some significant redesign to keep it compatible. Additionally, the rate of change from ASUS became a bit too much (it required manually scanning for changes and doing updates).

I can probably attack the redesign, but for the changes challenge, I've been thinking about doing a 'lite' version that only does some selected key settings. The only problem is that everyone has a different view as to what should be considered a 'key' setting :)
 
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DroidST

Regular Contributor
both bands on my 86U and clients been up 4 days...

only issue I've experienced was the httpd crash issue, I have SSH enabled now to deal with that.

.
 

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