ASUS RT-AX88U Range Improvements...

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o0oKeegs

Occasional Visitor
Evening.

Recently replaced my Nighthawk R7000 with the RT-AX88U due to the R7000 starting to give up with weekly reboots.

Set the AX88U up and am currently running the stock updated firmware and have all my devices connected with static IP's and the network is now running smooth with no need for reboots.

My issue is the speed at range. The Asus is in exactly the same position as the Nighthawk with Antennas in the same positions but my range has dropped significantly.

For instance if I stand 1 metre from both routers I get the full 350Mbit via WiFi.

If I move to the bedroom where I previously got 280Mbit with the Nighthawk I now get about 200Mbit with the Asus.

And in the Living Room I was getting 190MBit with the Nighthawk I now just about get 100Mbit.

I have separate SSID's and everything on my network and devices is exactly the same as it was with the Nighthawk so it is purely down to something to do with the Asus Router.

Forgot to mention I use Channel 11 for 2.4GHz and Channel 44 for 5GHz as this is exactly what was used before on the Nighthawk.

Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions on settings I could possibly change to improve range or is it just something I'll have to get used to?

Thanks in advance.

Keegs.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Your past settings on a previous and different brand/firmware class, AC class router don't make sense for your new network based on the RT-AX88U.

At the minimum, try using a new, never before used SSID's.

But the following post is what I would do with any new router, particularly when moving up a Wi-Fi 'class'.

 

o0oKeegs

Occasional Visitor
Your past settings on a previous and different brand/firmware class, AC class router don't make sense for your new network based on the RT-AX88U.

At the minimum, try using a new, never before used SSID's.

But the following post is what I would do with any new router, particularly when moving up a Wi-Fi 'class'.

Sorry I should have clarified that.

I used 2 brand new SSID's so on the Nighthawk I had 'Wireless Home and Wireless Nighthawk'

For the Asus I use 'WiFi Slow and WiFi Fast'

Pain in the arse to manually connect each device again but I wanted a complete clean network setup.

The only setting I carried over was to use the same static channels (11 and 44) as using a WiFi analyser these are the least congested channels in my area.

Keegs.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The spaces in the SSID's are making my inner geek twinge. :)

Dive in and at least attempt the suggestions made in the order and detail given. If nothing else, it will take away suspicion from the hardware. Best case? It will give you a network worth calling 'upgraded'.
 

o0oKeegs

Occasional Visitor
The spaces in the SSID's are making my inner geek twinge. :)

Dive in and at least attempt the suggestions made in the order and detail given. If nothing else, it will take away suspicion from the hardware. Best case? It will give you a network worth calling 'upgraded'.
Haha, I'm exactly the same with underscores and hyphens. I like the spaces as they look cleaner for my OCD. :rolleyes:

Thanks for the information, I will give it a go tomorrow.

Keegs.
 

dosborne

Very Senior Member

tallytr

Senior Member
Your past settings on a previous and different brand/firmware class, AC class router don't make sense for your new network based on the RT-AX88U.

At the minimum, try using a new, never before used SSID's.

But the following post is what I would do with any new router, particularly when moving up a Wi-Fi 'class'.

Curious why new SSID, I never changed mine when getting a new router, just forget old connection or reset network on iPhones, why is this an improvement?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
What you're doing is equivalent.

Using a new SSID is simply faster. :)
 

brummygit

Very Senior Member
What you're doing is equivalent.

Using a new SSID is simply faster. :)
I've asked in the past but never received a reply. Why do you feel it's necessary to use "new" SSIDs? What configuration information is stored on the device that makes this necessary?

As an example, my employer uses the same network details in every location, but the actual hardware used varies both from site to site, and also area to area inside the buildings where coverage has expanded over time.
 

o0oKeegs

Occasional Visitor
Thanks everyone for the advice.

I have followed the steps but unfortunately nothing has improved the range. The R7000 was far better so maybe the AX88U is performing how it should but is just inferior when it comes to range?

I am partly considering sending the AX88U back and instead purchasing the AC86U, does anyone have any experience with both of these and can give an opinion on either of these having better range than the other?
 

Volt

Occasional Visitor
What speeds do you get if, for example, to set the Control Channel to Auto? Also try changing the "Wireless Mode" on the "General" tab to N/AC/AX mixed and see if it has any effect.

Another advice would be to change the positions of your antennas a bit. I've noticed that, for example, tilting some antennas about 20 degrees improved my speeds considerably.
 

brummygit

Very Senior Member
I am partly considering sending the AX88U back and instead purchasing the AC86U, does anyone have any experience with both of these and can give an opinion on either of these having better range than the other?
I run an AX88U as my main router - to be honest the WiFi has been the worst part of the router and I think the drivers have always been poor. 2.4Ghz range has been poor for a long time since Asus moved to a newer set. However they are improving with every major code release and with the 386 firmwares the range is much better for me. So given that it's too late to return mine, I am sticking with it.

I also have 2 x AX56Us as mesh nodes and the signals have been strong from these, but I also experience problems with WiFi quite often. To be honest I think the AX drivers are still maturing across the Asus range.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
@brummygit, I don't just 'feel' it's necessary. I know it.

From the link in my signature, from RMerlin himself.

Why a new SSID? https://www.snbforums.com/threads/i...-ax88u-rt-ac86u-node.60551/page-2#post-532915


To put a fine point on this. When moving a customer over from an old router, either from a different brand or from older Wi-Fi specs, or from within the same brand, but with higher specs, a new SSID (in addition to a full reset) allows the clients and router to deliver the benefits the new class of Wi-Fi the device offers. Not just for performance reasons. But for security and reliability reasons too.

I can't speak for your employer's networks, but I would assume that even if the hardware were different, the capabilities of that hardware was identical across their sites. That would make them effectively identical to any, one, client device.

In my own network over the years, I have found it to be necessary when I first bought the RT-N66U, the RT-AC68U, the RT-AC3100U, the RT-AC86U, the RT-AX88U, the RT-AX58U, and currently the RT-AX86U. Prior to using new SSID's, there was performance and stability left on the table. Even with a full M&M Config performed when changing from the old router to the new.

In the last three examples, the same SSID's did work without issues, particularly when all the AX routers were on 386.1 Beta 1 or 2 level firmware. The reason I changed it in my new 'gold standard'
(which consists of 2 RT-AX86U's in wired (2.5GbE) AiMesh mode with an RT-AX58U in Media Bridge mode) is that it is faster, like I already mentioned, to create a new SSID and re-associate equipment rather than 'forget', reboot, and then re-associate all the client devices, one by one.

When all the best practices are followed as in the link below, customers appreciate how fast and stable their networks can be. Many times, without buying new routers even (but routers and client devices which had never seen a reset, new SSID's or optimized settings for their full life either).

New M&M 2020

When I was using the SSID's from last year (since the RT-AX88U) on my wired backhaul, dual AiMesh RT-AX86U configuration described above, the performance was already extremely high and I too questioned if a Nuclear Reset would bring any more performance to my network. After doing so, including the new SSID's, the peak performance was within acceptable Wi-Fi variation. But how consistent that performance became was a significant improvement.

For example, in my laptop with an Intel AX200 adaptor, speed tests would show from about 450Mbps to 820Mbps (up and down), anywhere in the home, with a 1Gbps symmetrical, Fibre ISP connection. After (on Beta 2, but the Wi-Fi drivers haven't changed as far as I know) the performance of the network is currently up to 870Mbps and consistently over 700Mbps in all areas that are normally occupied with a mobile device. This is felt in simply browsing the web, where any device used seems directly connected via a wired connection.

Connecting to my NAS is equally responsive and using RDC or Quick Connect within or without the network is like physically being at the computer I connected to. Not that the latter two examples were too much slower even as far back as my RT-AC86U (same ISP) from a couple of years ago.

But is the effort worth it when the network equipment changes significantly enough? For me, without a doubt. :)
 

brummygit

Very Senior Member
I'm afraid your answer is vague and doesn't provide facts - it's just opinion and anecdotal information.

I have a lot of respect for RMerlin, however even his reasons are very vague
The main reason why changing the SSID is sometimes suggested is that some clients will store some low-level details related to the SSID. When doing a major changes on the router's end (such as changing router, or going through a major technical change like changing to a new driver that adds significant features to the router), you might need for your clients to fully forget that SSID and erase those stored parameters. Some clients have a simple "forget" option to delete it, however it's not always the case. Changing the SSID is the sure way of achieving this, and ensuring your clients starts with a fresh AP profile for its connections.

Whilst I understand that the approach gives certainty by ensuring everything is reconfigured from scratch, I am still looking for the answers regarding which client types actually store which parameters as my understanding (from industry training) is that these items should be negotiated at discovery, authentication & association time. Hence my interest in understanding some real facts so I can educate myself further.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Lol... Okay. :D :):cool:
 

o0oKeegs

Occasional Visitor
What speeds do you get if, for example, to set the Control Channel to Auto? Also try changing the "Wireless Mode" on the "General" tab to N/AC/AX mixed and see if it has any effect.

Another advice would be to change the positions of your antennas a bit. I've noticed that, for example, tilting some antennas about 20 degrees improved my speeds considerably.
Morning Volt.

Thanks for the above advice.

I tried the above and although the 'Wireless Mode' didn't seem to have any effect when I changed the 'Control Channel' to Auto it actually gave me the speeds and range far better than the Nighthawk so thanks!

Unfortunately it picked Channel 100 which some of my devices are unable to connect to but I have now settled on Channel 60 rather than 44 and this seems to have at least improved things a fair bit.

Thank you for the advice.
 

thecheapseats

Regular Contributor
<snip>Whilst I understand that the approach gives certainty by ensuring everything is reconfigured from scratch, I am still looking for the answers regarding which client types actually store which parameters as my understanding (from industry training)<snip>

This is a client side problem I've seen repeatedly on several wireless devices over the years - due to old firmware, orphaned firmware or scrambled nvram... Each time I've encountered it on wireless clients and a few extensible access points is they puke-out arp cache IP conflict data...

If firmware fixes it - great... occasionally (if documented somewhere) a reset initialization clears it - but if it be can't be flashed/fixed, those devices go into the trash can - period... Changing SSIDs is useless for these issues and the practice is colloquial voodoo for those who don't look for the real problem...
 

brummygit

Very Senior Member
This is a client side problem I've seen repeatedly on several wireless devices over the years - due to old firmware, orphaned firmware or scrambled nvram... Each time I've encountered it on wireless clients and a few extensible access points is they puke-out arp cache IP conflict data...
I agree, arp cache and IP conflicts I fully get, but generally these are transient and fix themselves quite quickly as the arp cache decays or IP assignments renew.

My real concern is what configuration people believe is permanently stored in the client that recreating the connection on the client side will resolve?
  • We all know that channel and bandwidth can be dynamically controlled by the router therefore this isn't the issue
  • WiFi security (WEP, WPA, WPA2 etc) is configured on the client along with the SSID, however this is either supported or not by the network. It works or it doesn't
  • Connection speed is dynamic and negotiated
  • I have an old Epson printer which when connecting lists the SSID for each BSSID it finds, but still happily works on the mesh and moves between BSSIDs once configured so must be storing and using SSID.

So what is stored in some clients that has a permanent impact? This is important as even with Asus AiMesh we see the following:
  • Mixing models of the same generation of routers to form a mesh - eg in my case I have RT-AX88U main router and RT-AX56U nodes - they have differing numbers of radios and support different maximum speeds, however the clients cope fine. This is a normal setup
  • Mixing generations of routers to form a mesh - Asus itself has marketed the concept of buying a new router (eg a RT-AX88U) and putting your old router out to pasture as a mesh node (eg RT-AC68U). Yet again this seems to work fine from a client perspective
<snip> Changing SSIDs is useless for these issues and the practice is colloquial voodoo for those who don't look for the real problem...
Exactly - there is a fundamental issue of clients not adhering to the standards being described here, but no evidence of that.
@brummygit, I don't just 'feel' it's necessary. I know it.
@L&LD obviously thinks I am trolling him, but is the first to suggest people scientifically diagnose their problems and yet there is nothing except anecdotal evidence and non-specific hearsay. No analysis of connection details, no measurements, just pure faith and snake oil.

@brummygitI can't speak for your employer's networks, but I would assume that even if the hardware were different, the capabilities of that hardware was identical across their sites. That would make them effectively identical to any, one, client device.
This is not the case as some areas are optimised for speed, others for client density, and others for range. There is also a mix of hardware that has been rolled to different sites in differing timeframes and therefore different technology standards apply. The common aspects are SSID and Security.

If there is evidence of the issue, I would be very happy to learn about it. It would help me both in my personal and professional life. For example one client I dealt with this week has over 60,000 wireless clients on a single SSID - changing SSID would be a huge undertaking for them with significant risk. It would be good to understand if there would be any benefit derived from such a task at a point in future. Therefore whilst I am sceptical, I am also open to understanding any real issues that I have not yet encountered to date.

I fully accept that some people prefer to start fresh, and that using a new SSID enforces reconfiguration of all clients, however this a preference that is being promoted as absolute fact and necessity, that actually might be causing users unnecessary difficulty for no benefit. It's perfectly reasonable to say to people "I like to do this as I prefer to be certain everything is freshly re-configured" but to present personal preferences as mandatory and factual without substantiating evidence is wrong.
 

Volt

Occasional Visitor
Unfortunately it picked Channel 100 which some of my devices are unable to connect to but I have now settled on Channel 60 rather than 44 and this seems to have at least improved things a fair bit.
One of the reasons is that in certain regions the maximum allowed power on channels 100-140 is higher than on 36-64. For example, in Europe, it is 200mW on channels 36-64 and up to 1000mW on channels 100-140 (for example, see here). The probable reason why Nighthawk performs better on lower channels is that these local rules may be implemented differently in Nighthawk than in RT-AX88U.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Thank you, fellows, for the additional details. You're seeing it from a distinct perspective than myself and I'm not saying you're not correct.

I have shown up to more than a few homes over the years and 'only' changed SSID's and helped them move their client devices over to the new connections and they did not need to do anything more (at least for the near term) to have a stable and reliable network experience.

I don't have a single customer that has 60,000 wireless client devices either. But I would humbly suggest that these issues present in consumer-level hardware with their (roughly) thirty-two wireless clients per radio limit have already been fixed on the enterprise level hardware, from the back end.

I too would love to see the technical reasons for the results I'm seeing. Even if I would need your technical knowledge level to truly understand it. :)
 
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