ASUS ZenWiFi AC3000 CT8\CT-8 - 2.4G performance and other issues

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RangerZ

New Around Here
I am unable to find a dedicated post for this device, so ..

I am setting up a set of these for someone and among other issues have noticed extremely POOR performance on the 2.4Ghz band. The units are configured with separate 2.4 and 5.0 bands, CloudFlare DNS and a Guest Network on 2.4 G.

The units were delivered on FW 3.0.0.4.386_21573. This firmware also would not retain the settings for UPNP (Disable) and DNS servers (Enable). 2.4 G download appears to be the problem, upload preforms to my full capabilities (~20Mbps). Download is mostly in the single digits or teens. File transfer with in the LAN is generally under 2Mbps. I have tried both the default 20\40 and 20 wide setting for the channel, with no real difference. As best I can tell the Guest LAN is only available on the Primary node (Router).

I upgraded the 8+ Month old firmware to the latest FW 3.0.0.4.386_23003 (21/02/02). The 2.4 G performance persists as above. I have seen a couple of 30's and one 70. I did note this time that the UI shows substantial fluctuation in the rx connection value when sitting only a few feet from the node, sometimes it shows no values. The upload has been stable generally 130 to 144.

After the upgrade I had issues seeing the 2.4Ghz SSIDs. The SSIDs came and went. Not clear on the order of steps, but after a reset (from the console) and then restoring the config, the SSIDs seem to display consistently. The Guest network seems to disappear after a reboot and possibly some other times. The settings are not lost, all one needs to do is re-enable the Guest.

It also appears that all clients are preferring to connect to the node as opposed to the closer router. They also appears to be a lot of dropping the connection on 2.4, not sure about 5g.

SO, to be fair, the 5.0 G performance is about 50% faster than my Unifi AC-Lite with at least similar distance. Wi-fi analyzer confirms a reasonable channel selection and shows excellent RSSI close (-35) and good at 100 feet (-65) on 2.4. It's stronger than other near by APs. File transfer speed is about half of what I see on an internet speed test (135donw\20up - pretty much my connection limits), but quite usable. Across nodes I get about 50-60, for devices connected to the same node I get about 80.

There are a number of posts and reviews that point to 2.4G issues with many of the other ASUS devices on the AiMesh firmware, but most are not specific or note FW version. I want to like these, the feature set is excellent, but 2.4G is still important, and really should be easy at this point.

I have hit the speed test GO button enough to know that the unit can perform well on 2.4, and WIFI Analyzer seems to confirm a good signal. This makes me thing there is something wrong with the firmware. The distribution is wide and performance peak skewed to the very low end.

Other Notes:
Manual
. There is nothing in the manual about how to use the RESET button located at the bottom of the unit. There is a link to a reset the CT8 and others in group 3, but it is inaccurate\incomplete. https://www.asus.com/us/support/FAQ/1039080 The manual covers using the firmware to reset, but I would like to know how to do this properly with the button (ie node order included). I would consider doing a full reset\rebuild but want to do it right. (FWIW I di do a GUI reset and restored my cfg file, though not sure if that's god or bad). Manual also does not seen to aligh to the current GUI for setup.

Save vs Apply. Many changes to the GUI require the firmware to restart\reload (??) the changes. It is very inefficient. It would be faster if a number of changes could be Saved, and then applied in a "batch".

Power Plug. I like the 90 degree plug, but would like to see it a tad longer. It tucks inside the frame which allows one to push this up against a wall, but it really wants to sit in a manner that interferes with the other connections in the back.

Firmware Updates. All routers should have the ability to set a manual or auto firmware update.

GUI Links at the bottom of the web interface are broken. They go to general pages, not the specific pages would would hope for the device.

BETA FW. I know there is a BETA firmware. I have not read all 20+ pages, and not sure there is a fix for any of this. I am generally not inclined to run beta on HW that is not in my control long term.

While any help is appreciated, confirmation of 2.4G issues would be helpful. If this needs to go RTV, then sooner is better.
 
Last edited:

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I am unable to find a dedicated post for this device, so ..

I am setting up a set of these for someone and among other issues have noticed extremely POOR performance on the 2.4Ghz band. The units are configured with separate 2.4 and 5.0 bands, CloudFlare DNS and a Guest Network on 2.4 G.

The units were delivered on FW 3.0.0.4.386_21573. This firmware also would not retain the settings for UPNP (Disable) and DNS servers (Enable). 2.4 G download appears to be the problem, upload preforms to my full capabilities (~20Mbps). Download is mostly in the single digits or teens. File transfer with in the LAN is generally under 2Mbps. I have tried both the default 20\40 and 20 wide setting for the channel, with no real difference. As best I can tell the Guest LAN is only available on the Primary node (Router).

I upgraded the 8+ Month old firmware to the latest FW 3.0.0.4.386_23003 (21/02/02). The 2.4 G performance persists as above. I have seen a couple of 30's and one 70. I did note this time that the UI shows substantial fluctuation in the rx connection value when sitting only a few feet from the node, sometimes it shows no values. The upload has been stable generally 130 to 144.

After the upgrade I had issues seeing the 2.4Ghz SSIDs. The SSIDs came and went. Not clear on the order of steps, but after a reset (from the console) and then restoring the config, the SSIDs seem to display consistently. The Guest network seems to disappear after a reboot and possibly some other times. The settings are not lost, all one needs to do is re-enable the Guest.

It also appears that all clients are preferring to connect to the node as opposed to the closer router. They also appears to be a lot of dropping the connection on 2.4, not sure about 5g.

SO, to be fair, the 5.0 G performance is about 50% faster than my Unifi AC-Lite with at least similar distance. Wi-fi analyzer confirms a reasonable channel selection and shows excellent RSSI close (-35) and good at 100 feet (-65) on 2.4. It's stronger than other near by APs. File transfer speed is about half of what I see on an internet speed test (135donw\20up - pretty much my connection limits), but quite usable. Across nodes I get about 50-60, for devices connected to the same node I get about 80.

There are a number of posts and reviews that point to 2.4G issues with many of the other ASUS devices on the AirMesh firmware, but most are not specific or note FW version. I want to like these, the feature set is excellent, but 2.4G is still important, and really should be easy at this point.

I have hit the speed test GO button enough to know that the unit can perform well on 2.4, and WIFI Analyzer seems to confirm a good signal. This makes me thing there is something wrong with the firmware. The distribution is wide and performance peak skewed to the very low end.

Other Notes:
Manual
. There is nothing in the manual about how to use the RESET button located at the bottom of the unit. There is a link to a reset the CT8 and others in group 3, but it is inaccurate\incomplete. https://www.asus.com/us/support/FAQ/1039080 The manual covers using the firmware to reset, but I would like to know how to do this properly with the button (ie node order included). I would consider doing a full reset\rebuild but want to do it right. (FWIW I di do a GUI reset and restored my cfg file, though not sure if that's god or bad). Manual also does not seen to aligh to the current GUI for setup.

Save vs Apply. Many changes to the GUI require the firmware to restart\reload (??) the changes. It is very inefficient. It would be faster if a number of changes could be Saved, and then applied in a "batch".

Power Plug. I like the 90 degree plug, but would like to see it a tad longer. It tucks inside the frame which allows one to push this up against a wall, but it really wants to sit in a manner that interferes with the other connections in the back.

Firmware Updates. All routers should have the ability to set a manual or auto firmware update.

GUI Links at the bottom of the web interface are broken. They go to general pages, not the specific pages would would hope for the device.

BETA FW. I know there is a BETA firmware. I have not read all 20+ pages, and not sure there is a fix for any of this. I am generally not inclined to run beta on HW that is not in my control long term.

While any help is appreciated, confirmation of 2.4G issues would be helpful. If this needs to go RTV, then sooner is better.

Some reset advice:


Restoring a saved configuration defeats the reset unless you are only trying to recover the previous (suspect) configuration.

If you are not confident in a firmware install, flash it again.

The router webUI links to webpages may sometimes fall into temporary disrepair when a website is modified. I recently had to update some links to some Asus support pages.

After you are confident in the firmware install, you should be able to make a call on the whether or not the 2.4 radio is flaky... it should just work like normal.

Asus recently introduced firmware that permits guest1 WLANs to sync across all nodes. You may have that firmware capability on your model. The guest clients are issued *.*.101.* IPs.

OE
 

RangerZ

New Around Here
@OE, thank you for the reply

I have reset the devices and am in the process of rebuilding the config from scratch (I did have good notes). So if I understand you, after each upgrade the device should be reset and manually reconfigure? My real concern was that I was having the performance issue on both firmware that there may have been a more systemic issue, but I may have brought over some bad values in the upgrade.

I am not sure how to make a "Confidence call" on the flash itself. I did it from the firmware => Check Firmware and let it update both. They are both at the same value. The Check Update menu is sightly different in the latest version as opposed to the original (it had some type of integrity check and a button to flash both simultaneously). This appears to require individual updates for each device. (Not sure what order, I would guess nodes first)

That said, I am testing performance after each change. 20-30 Mbps is now pretty reliable and have twice gotten over 100Mbps (very surprised)and this makes things quite usable. I expect the FW is OK.

I like to set what ASUS calls Manually Assigned IPs to known clients. This way all unknowns will then fall into a small IP pool (generally 10-20 wide starting at 101). I wish to confirm that these values to be manually assigned are ones that are OUTSIDE of the Basic Config => IP Pool Address range. Related I see an IP and mac for the node (Uplink Information and Backhaul Information respectively). Can I safely reassign the node to 192.168.50.2?

Regarding you last statement about the guest, first will my IP scheme above cause issues and second how do I know if I have this (ie release notes or something in the UI).

At least for testing, is there any min distance I should keep between nodes and PC? They have been as little as 1 ft between nodes on my bench due to space.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
@OE, thank you for the reply

I have reset the devices and am in the process of rebuilding the config from scratch (I did have good notes). So if I understand you, after each upgrade the device should be reset and manually reconfigure? My real concern was that I was having the performance issue on both firmware that there may have been a more systemic issue, but I may have brought over some bad values in the upgrade.

I am not sure how to make a "Confidence call" on the flash itself. I did it from the firmware => Check Firmware and let it update both. They are both at the same value. The Check Update menu is sightly different in the latest version as opposed to the original (it had some type of integrity check and a button to flash both simultaneously). This appears to require individual updates for each device. (Not sure what order, I would guess nodes first)

That said, I am testing performance after each change. 20-30 Mbps is now pretty reliable and have twice gotten over 100Mbps (very surprised)and this makes things quite usable. I expect the FW is OK.

I like to set what ASUS calls Manually Assigned IPs to known clients. This way all unknowns will then fall into a small IP pool (generally 10-20 wide starting at 101). I wish to confirm that these values to be manually assigned are ones that are OUTSIDE of the Basic Config => IP Pool Address range. Related I see an IP and mac for the node (Uplink Information and Backhaul Information respectively). Can I safely reassign the node to 192.168.50.2?

Regarding you last statement about the guest, first will my IP scheme above cause issues and second how do I know if I have this (ie release notes or something in the UI).

At least for testing, is there any min distance I should keep between nodes and PC? They have been as little as 1 ft between nodes on my bench due to space.

Resetting the firmware is advisable for major firmware changes. I've been doing it for each during the AiMesh rollout... one less thing to troubleshoot with AiMesh.

If weird things happen while flashing firmware, then you might not trust it.

All router-assigned IPs should fall within the DHCP server IP Pool, including manually-assigned. Frankly, I would let the DHCP server manage IP assignments, including for nodes... saves time and trouble. But suit yourself.

If guest1 WLANs have the setting to sync to all nodes, then they will. And I would not mess with those IP assignments... guest WLANs are still a work-in-progress, imo. Connect a guest client to see what IP it gets on your system.

Nodes should be far enough apart to not overlap too much, say 40-60 feet. And then you may need to tweak Roaming Assistant RSSI thresholds. Test them in their deployed location... you can add them to the AiMesh from there. No need to move them around to add them.

OE
 

RangerZ

New Around Here
For the application I have given up on assigning my own IPs, but find doing so in general makes it easier to monitor devices on the LAN.

At this point the devices are installed in their new home an performing very well. Indeed 2.4G is maxing the 75\75 connection throughout the space with both devices set up about 30ft apart. Actualy one device covered the entire 2000 sq ft with at least 30ish in the extremes.

It does not appear the Guest settings are in this firmware as I do not see this IP value when connected to the Guest LAN.

My concern at the moment is that, reading between the lines here and on other related AiMesh posts, that a couple of upgrades down the line the upgraded settings may no longer function as well as today (ie changed defaults). Without the ability for the user to control upgrades (as I believe is the case), this seems like a recipe for disaster.

While on paper the list of changes is not big, the restart after each change makes this an extremely tedious process.

I really want to love these, performance is FAR better than any other device I have tested. Management is however challenging.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
It does not appear the Guest settings are in this firmware as I do not see this IP value when connected to the Guest LAN.

The guest WLANs setting will look something like this when you get it:

1615078766677.png


My concern at the moment is that, reading between the lines here and on other related AiMesh posts, that a couple of upgrades down the line the upgraded settings may no longer function as well as today (ie changed defaults). Without the ability for the user to control upgrades (as I believe is the case), this seems like a recipe for disaster.

While on paper the list of changes is not big, the restart after each change makes this an extremely tedious process.

Feel free to use a different product.

OE
 

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