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AIMesh problem with RT-AX88U Pro router and RT-AC88U node

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Hello, I previously had AIMesh with RT-AC88U as Wireless AP / AIMesh router and Blue Cave as AIMesh node. It worked very well for me for several years (since 2019).

I just decided to upgrade my router to the RT-AX88U Pro, which I set up as the new Wireless AP / AIMesh router. I reset the old devices (RT-AC88U, Blue Cave) as AIMesh nodes for this router. Both nodes are connected via Ethernet backhaul. All three devices have the latest firmware.

I walk around my house with an iPhone running WiFi Sweetspots to monitor the speed. I can get 500-600 Mbps near the new router. The Blue Cave AIMesh node works as expected with the new router. For example, I can see clients connected to the Blue Cave on the new router web interface, and devices in that area of the house have good internet speed.

The problem is the RT-AC88U node. I don't see clients connecting to it. When I walk close to it, the WiFi speed reported drops significantly. Suddenly, there is a burst of activity at 700 Mbps, and then the WiFi connection is dropped. I have reproduced this "burst followed by disconnect" several times. If the RT-AC88U is turned off, the WiFi speed is bad in this area of the house is bad, but it does not suddenly disconnect. So somehow, the handoff from the router to the node is failing.

When I set the RT-AC88U mode as a WiFi extender, it works very well, but it has a different SSID, not the seamless experience of AIMesh.

Can anyone help me with ideas on how to get the RT-AC88U running as an AIMesh node?
Three APs in how big an area?

Around 2500 sq ft which is probably not that large for 3 APs. However, the wifi signal falls off dramatically between rooms due to the walls. Ethernet backhaul was essential in my older system.

I decided to stop futzing with the older hardware and solved the problem with a different AiMesh node. So even though I never solved the original mysterious burst and disconnect problem, I have a working system now

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