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Asus Merlin RT-AX86U

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I have been using an attached drive on my Asus running Merlin 387_2 everything was working well and I was getting transfer speeds of 1.2gbps bi-directional when transferring files internally. I tried another update after 388_0 and I immediately experienced WiFi stability issues so I downgraded and waited for the next generation to release to see if it was any better. I upgraded to the most recent update 388_2 the WiFi stability was fixed but the transfer speed was reduced when uploading to the USB network drive the speed is sub 1gig mostly around 700mbps with an occasional spike to 1gig. Has anyone else experienced this issue and has there been any resolution to the slower speed?
Because you have downgraded then upgraded the firmware, did you (as a troubleshooting step) peform a hard factory reset and manually reconfigure (don't import a saved router CFG file) the router settings? Did you also remove the USB hard drive before flashing the firmware to the router? Most seem to recommend removing the USB hard drive before flashing firmware.

If you are running any additional scripts or add-ons you should list them, preferably in your signature, so others can review and see if the scripts are a potential cause to your issue.
@jc1195 It is unclear what transfer speeds you are measuring.

You said initially that you were transferring files "internally". Is this LAN to LAN, or LAN to router? Is this over Wi-Fi or Ethernet? Is the 1.2Gbps speed actual throughput or just the Wi-Fi client link rate? How does the USB drive attached to the router come into this?

You say uploading to the "USB network drive" is now 700Mbps. Is this the same drive you were just talking about? Is this the drive attached to the router's USB port? If so then I'd say that speed is what I would expect (link). The read/write speed of the router's USB drive is limited by the router's hardware and will not be as fast as a NAS (or a PC).
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