Asus AC88u WIFI odd issue

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C.O.P.S

Occasional Visitor
So my 88u suddenly dropped all 5ghz devices, none could reconnect. The 5ghz light is a solid white, no flickering. Site surveys from any device CAN see the ssid, but can't connect. I have tried factory reset, numerous firmware versions (official as well as Merlin), all the usual recommended "disable this enable that, set channel blah" and so on. I saw in another thread Merlin mention something about checking wireless log to see if the radio shows a channel number or if it says 0. It definately shows a channel number, in fact whichever channel I set it to it shows. Noise: -82 dbm Channel: 149/80. Is it even possible that the transmitter is working fine but the receiver has died? If so is there some way I can find out for 100% certain, like some diagnostic log or something? Unit is a year outside of its warranty.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
So my 88u suddenly dropped all 5ghz devices, none could reconnect. The 5ghz light is a solid white, no flickering. Site surveys from any device CAN see the ssid, but can't connect. I have tried factory reset, numerous firmware versions (official as well as Merlin), all the usual recommended "disable this enable that, set channel blah" and so on. I saw in another thread Merlin mention something about checking wireless log to see if the radio shows a channel number or if it says 0. It definately shows a channel number, in fact whichever channel I set it to it shows. Noise: -82 dbm Channel: 149/80. Is it even possible that the transmitter is working fine but the receiver has died? If so is there some way I can find out for 100% certain, like some diagnostic log or something? Unit is a year outside of its warranty.

If you reset it, cycle power, and can't connect to its default open Wi-Fi from various clients like normal, then I'd say it's faulty. You could try flashing the firmware again.

OE
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture

C.O.P.S

Occasional Visitor
Yep did all of that. Multiple times just to be certain. Gets stranger. So I put an externally powered fan (not plugged into the router) on the top pulling out, temps dropped from the 50's to 38 2.4g, 43 5g, and cpu from 92 to 63. I shut the 5g radio off overnight. The next morning I reactivated the 5g radio and it worked for about 10 minutes then died again. I repeated the process but the 5g is not responding.

External site survey (from any device) shows the SSID. Internal site survey shows nothing but 2.4g. It's as if the router is broadcasting but not "listening", on the 5g.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Sounds like it's time for a new router then.
 

C.O.P.S

Occasional Visitor
Tried different things over the last few days. It seems that if the router gets "cold", the 5ghz will come back on after boot but only stay on for about 30seconds or so, then die again.

Yes, thanks, it does seem it is time to replace.
 

C.O.P.S

Occasional Visitor
L&LD, I'm like a junkyard dog, hard to let go once I sink my teeth in. I decided to try your Nuclear Reset, no luck. I reflowed the bcm4366 and corresponding components, no luck. The 5ghz is just plain dead.

That being what it is it's time to choose a new router. Any suggestions/opinions? I need 8 lan ports, link aggregation for nas, have no AX clients and no real plans to. The only wifi dependent devices in the home are: nintendo 3ds, nintendo switch, wii-u, psvita, all else is hard wired. Family of gamers. No netflix and the like, no torrent.

Selection is limited on account of the 8 lan ports requirement. AX89X,AX88U,AC88U,GT-AC5300, or possibly time to give up on "all in ones" and move to a modular system.

I'd rather not another ac88u (once bitten), but would if needed. Merlin indicates that depending on how his current testing with that other GT model goes, he might add support for other GT's. Hard to pull the trigger at $400 on a "might" (working poor class). I originally wanted the GT-AC5300 but opted for the ac88u because.....Merlin. I like the AX89X, on paper, but there's tons of negative reviews, and no....Merlin.
The AX88U seems like the same monster but with jacked up specs. I'm not opposed to Ubiquiti or the like but....=) no Merlin.


Right now my ac88u is just acting as router+switch, wifi disabled. I'm using an ac68u in ap mode to provide wifi. This set up might hold for a while, who knows.

Thanks.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I would forget about routers with built-in 8 1GbE Ports. A switch is so much more affordable.

Does your NAS support 2.5GbE Port connections? If it does, the RT-AX86U is the easy choice (along with the unmanaged switch for the rest of your devices).

The RT-AX88U is an incredibly good router (I had one for (almost) a year before getting 2x RT-AX86U's) and it has the ports you need, but you may be rolling the dice and taking your chances on that one too in a few years. If @RMerlin can chime in here and let us know if it is a better 8 port solution (or the same) as the RT-AC88U, that would be useful information to know (for others too).

The very bottom end I would consider, and it is still a good router and better than the RT-AC88U, is the RT-AC86U (with the external switch).

Before pulling the trigger on any of them though, see what the sales/prices are for the next recommendation up. :)
 

C.O.P.S

Occasional Visitor
I would forget about routers with built-in 8 1GbE Ports. A switch is so much more affordable.

Does your NAS support 2.5GbE Port connections? If it does, the RT-AX86U is the easy choice (along with the unmanaged switch for the rest of your devices).

The RT-AX88U is an incredibly good router (I had one for (almost) a year before getting 2x RT-AX86U's) and it has the ports you need, but you may be rolling the dice and taking your chances on that one too in a few years. If @RMerlin can chime in here and let us know if it is a better 8 port solution (or the same) as the RT-AC88U, that would be useful information to know (for others too).

The very bottom end I would consider, and it is still a good router and better than the RT-AC88U, is the RT-AC86U (with the external switch).

Before pulling the trigger on any of them though, see what the sales/prices are for the next recommendation up. :)

No, unfortunately the NAS (older asustor) has dual 1gig, hence the need for aggregation. I was looking into switches that would provide the dual 1gig aggregated input but output via a 2.5gig or even maybe a 10gig interface (I know my NAS speeds would still be 2x1gig=2gig). No luck finding one. If I could find a way to make the ac86u work for me I would consider it. For the time being, everything other than the 5ghz is working fine so no pressure yet.

I appreciate your time and input.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture

thecheapseats

Senior Member
<snip> I reflowed the bcm4366 and corresponding components, no luck. The 5ghz is just plain dead.<snip>
that's exactly what I did when one of my ac88s lost a radio (thermal fail - those ac88 things run damn hot)...

"reflowed the bcm4366 "
... HA! junkyard dog with a reflow station - heck yeah... +500 points for reworking 'other continent' pcb assys... I've fixed more dead new-outta'-the-box offshore hardware with a solder touch up job in the last twenty+ years than I care to count... congrats on the try, dog...
 

C.O.P.S

Occasional Visitor
You're welcome. Don't forget that you can get an 8 Port switch and do the LAGG on the router ports and still have more than enough for your devices too, correct? :)

There are some pretty inexpensive switches out there.

Amazon.com: NETGEAR 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS308) - Home Network Hub, Office Ethernet Splitter, Plug-and-Play, Fanless Metal Housing, Desktop or Wall Mount: Computers & Accessories

Right but the trick is finding a switch with at least one multi-gig port. If you LAGG into the switch but the switch can only connect to the router via 1gb, the aggregated 2gb will get reduced to 1gb. Therein lay the problem. Something like this, 1gb per port in, multi-gb out, but that one in particular is unmanaged which means it doesn't support port bonding/lagg. It seems such switches are on the horizon, I'm still searching for a fully managed one.
 

C.O.P.S

Occasional Visitor
that's exactly what I did when one of my ac88s lost a radio (thermal fail - those ac88 things run damn hot)...

"reflowed the bcm4366 "
... HA! junkyard dog with a reflow station - heck yeah... +500 points for reworking 'other continent' pcb assys... I've fixed more dead new-outta'-the-box offshore hardware with a solder touch up job in the last twenty+ years than I care to count... congrats on the try, dog...

Yeah I knew this, but under warranty I didn't want to mess with it. The warranty ran out in march. But I've had health issues from around april til september, almost died. So I didn't get around to solving the heat issue until, it would seem, too late.

The pad, shield, pad, sink sandwich just doesn't cut it. During summer months that 5ghz radio would reach just under or just over 60 degrees. When I finally opened her up the 2.5mm thermal pad on the chip simply crumbled between my fingers. The pads between the shield and heat sink are slowly but visibly liquifying. Replaced the 2.5mm pad with an arctic cool pad, temps dropped around 11 or so degrees. But alas.....it was too late. The thermal design is not great, but more importantly the thermal material is even worse.

You can have a fancy high quality red aluminum heat sink with racing stripes.....but if the material between them is junk, it's all for nothing. Not only was the thermal material junk but also....2.5mm gap!? These routers aren't super weak low power like once upon a time. They are more like pc's now. In fact the AX89X is spec'd better than some walmart laptops. My ac88u has better specs than my playstation 3, maybe even better graphics. :)

I would likely have done something like: chip>1mm pad>1.5mm copper shim>compound>shield>.5mm pad>heatsink., and cut the plastic top differently. Simply leaving the top off drops the temps 10+ degrees. But, as I've discovered, even adding a fan (looking at you AX89X) won't help if the chip is baking it's thermal pad into apple crumble.

Reminds me of a ps4 I repaired. Super loud max fan. I opened her up and what did I find? Thermal compound was only on half the apu, and it was baked to crumb. Gave it the mx4 treatment now she's whisper quiet, even years later.

I'm debating between extended warranty or, voiding warranty day one, and redoing thermals post haste on the next unit. Haven't decided. I'm not a big fan of burying the planet in "disposable" electronics, which is why I repair what I can, salvage for parts what I can't.

Personally I know for a fact that the thermals could've been much better with some simple and inexpensive alterations in thinking pre-manufacture. I know the chip makers rate the chips for a max temp, but people don't realize that that max temp means "this is the point where it will sizzle and die", therefore the temps should be kept as far away from that max number as humanly possible, not within a stones throw. The hotter it runs the potentially shorter it's life span, the cooler it runs the potentially longer it's lifespan. If it didn't matter, the makers wouldn't include min max temps in their chip data. And bga style....which fails faster under sustained heat.....the chip or the solder balls? Red ring of death.

Too much coffee. :) I have a router shopping to do.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Right but the trick is finding a switch with at least one multi-gig port. If you LAGG into the switch but the switch can only connect to the router via 1gb, the aggregated 2gb will get reduced to 1gb. Therein lay the problem. Something like this, 1gb per port in, multi-gb out, but that one in particular is unmanaged which means it doesn't support port bonding/lagg. It seems such switches are on the horizon, I'm still searching for a fully managed one.

No, you do the LAGG on the router, between the router and the NAS. No bottleneck for any one client device then. ;)

And inexpensive, unmanaged switches are an option again. :)
 

C.O.P.S

Occasional Visitor
No, you do the LAGG on the router, between the router and the NAS. No bottleneck for any one client device then. ;)

And inexpensive, unmanaged switches are an option again. :)

Yeah ok I see now. Sorry but LAGG is kind of newish to me. The ac88u made it really easy for me to set and forget it, so I didn't study it as well as I should have. Will do so now. Thanks!

Actually take a look at why I'm thinking what I do:

" 802.3ad (IEEE 802.3ad Dynamic Link Aggregation): Creates aggregation groups that share the same speed and duplex settings. Utilizes all connections in the active aggregator according to the 802.3ad specification. You will need a switch that supports IEEE 802.3ad dynamic link aggregation. This mode provides fault tolerance and load balancing. "

From Asustor "college".
 
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C.O.P.S

Occasional Visitor
Round Robin, Active Backup, XOR, and Broadcast do not state the need for a special switch. Adaptive Transmit Load Balancing and Adaptive Load Balancing explicitly state that "does not require any special switch support".

However 802.3ad, aggregated group share, requires a switch that supports 802.3ad. I'm not finding unmanaged switches that support 802.3ad.

Like this Qnap, but this model is overkill for my needs.
 
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thecheapseats

Senior Member
Yeah I knew this, but under warranty I didn't want to mess with it. The warranty ran out in march. But I've had health issues from around april til september, almost died. So I didn't get around to solving the heat issue until, it would seem, too late.

The pad, shield, pad, sink sandwich just doesn't cut it. During summer months that 5ghz radio would reach just under or just over 60 degrees. When I finally opened her up the 2.5mm thermal pad on the chip simply crumbled between my fingers. The pads between the shield and heat sink are slowly but visibly liquifying. Replaced the 2.5mm pad with an arctic cool pad, temps dropped around 11 or so degrees. But alas.....it was too late. The thermal design is not great, but more importantly the thermal material is even worse.

You can have a fancy high quality red aluminum heat sink with racing stripes.....but if the material between them is junk, it's all for nothing. Not only was the thermal material junk but also....2.5mm gap!? These routers aren't super weak low power like once upon a time. They are more like pc's now. In fact the AX89X is spec'd better than some walmart laptops. My ac88u has better specs than my playstation 3, maybe even better graphics. :)

I would likely have done something like: chip>1mm pad>1.5mm copper shim>compound>shield>.5mm pad>heatsink., and cut the plastic top differently. Simply leaving the top off drops the temps 10+ degrees. But, as I've discovered, even adding a fan (looking at you AX89X) won't help if the chip is baking it's thermal pad into apple crumble.

Reminds me of a ps4 I repaired. Super loud max fan. I opened her up and what did I find? Thermal compound was only on half the apu, and it was baked to crumb. Gave it the mx4 treatment now she's whisper quiet, even years later.

I'm debating between extended warranty or, voiding warranty day one, and redoing thermals post haste on the next unit. Haven't decided. I'm not a big fan of burying the planet in "disposable" electronics, which is why I repair what I can, salvage for parts what I can't.

Personally I know for a fact that the thermals could've been much better with some simple and inexpensive alterations in thinking pre-manufacture. I know the chip makers rate the chips for a max temp, but people don't realize that that max temp means "this is the point where it will sizzle and die", therefore the temps should be kept as far away from that max number as humanly possible, not within a stones throw. The hotter it runs the potentially shorter it's life span, the cooler it runs the potentially longer it's lifespan. If it didn't matter, the makers wouldn't include min max temps in their chip data. And bga style....which fails faster under sustained heat.....the chip or the solder balls? Red ring of death.

Too much coffee. :) I have a router shopping to do.

Great points all - a good read - Thanks for taking the time to memorialize them... As you pointed out (my experience as well) it speaks to QC at the mfg/assy stage rather than design flaws, but those do exist as well...

Adding a fan is perfectly appropriate for a consumer-class router operating in harsh-temps if the device is 'in-spec' to start - but a poor bandage if it isn't... and for those who 'know', cheap insurance if it simply gives the owner piece of mind - with no downside...

Base-lining thermals on a new device out of the box shouldn't be necessary, but it's a good idea - after the infant component failure window has passed, it makes RMA return or void warranty decisions easier (if you have the skills to repair)...

I don't recommend to others, but the first thing I do on any new hardware costing less than $1K is take it apart and look for defects in assy, 'just because'... amazing (and at times, disturbing) what you find...
 

C.O.P.S

Occasional Visitor
Great points all - a good read - Thanks for taking the time to memorialize them... As you pointed out (my experience as well) it speaks to QC at the mfg/assy stage rather than design flaws, but those do exist as well...

Adding a fan is perfectly appropriate for a consumer-class router operating in harsh-temps if the device is 'in-spec' to start - but a poor bandage if it isn't... and for those who 'know', cheap insurance if it simply gives the owner piece of mind - with no downside...

Base-lining thermals on a new device out of the box shouldn't be necessary, but it's a good idea - after the infant component failure window has passed, it makes RMA return or void warranty decisions easier (if you have the skills to repair)...

I don't recommend to others, but the first thing I do on any new hardware costing less than $1K is take it apart and look for defects in assy, 'just because'... amazing (and at times, disturbing) what you find...


Too true. Once had a Librarian try to charge me for an overdue book, he told me the name of it, I told him something is wrong here I don't read fiction. He said "computers are infallible therefore you must have". I laughed and walked out.
 

shoman94

Regular Contributor
Round Robin, Active Backup, XOR, and Broadcast do not state the need for a special switch. Adaptive Transmit Load Balancing and Adaptive Load Balancing explicitly state that "does not require any special switch support".

However 802.3ad, aggregated group share, requires a switch that supports 802.3ad. I'm not finding unmanaged switches that support 802.3ad.

Like this Qnap, but this model is overkill for my needs.
You need a managed switch for LAG. I had to buy a pro switch for LACP LAG as a lot of managed switches only do static LAG. I bought the Netgear GS308T.
 

C.O.P.S

Occasional Visitor
You need a managed switch for LAG. I had to buy a pro switch for LACP LAG as a lot of managed switches only do static LAG. I bought the Netgear GS308T.

My point exactly. That netgear is on my list along with the TP-Link T1500G-8t, and Qnap QSW-M408s. I'm leaning towards the Qnap for the speed flexibility, but it's expensive. Thanks for the input.
 

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