AX86S Slow Wi-Fi 5 and 6

ugurkoltuk

New Around Here
Hi,

I have 750 Mbps fiber connected to my flat. Just bought an Asus RT-AX86S hoping that the problems I am having with AirPlay would go away. (I had been having some problems, and I thought that's because of the ISP-provided cheap router). First thing I noticed: they haven't. I still got very choppy playback. But that's the least of my problems.

My WiFi 5 and 6 speeds are now no more than 150 Mbps, and even rarely that high. Typically I see 70 - 80 Mpbs on fast.com, speedtest.net or other speed testers.

When I connect to the router via ethernet cable, I do get around 700 Mbps which is what I want to see on the WiFi too (more or less). My prevoius router (Nokia HyperHub) delivered around 500 Mbps on 5 Ghz wifi from the same location & distance.

Initially I just changed the SSID and passwords, and once I saw I only get 80 Mbps, I tried:
  • turning on and off QoS
  • tried turning off ax
  • turned on "ethernet backhaul mode"
  • turned off WPS
  • tried "Up to MCS 9" Modulation Scheme
  • tried DL/UL OFDMA + MU-MIMO
none of them helped, I still get very slow WiFi 5 (and 6 when ax is used).

My computer is an M1 Macbook Pro. My iPhone also gets very slow WiFi. (same speeds approx.)

I did a WiFi scan and see that none of the neighbors use channel 100 (I use 'auto' which uses channel 100) Also my computer shows "802.11ax" link with a Tx rate of 960 Mbps

At this point I am just considering sending this thing back, since I get 500 Mbps with the cheap (in fact free for me) ISP-provided router.

Any ideas why this might be happening, or anything you would recommend me to try?
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
You will get plenty of recommendations here. As the AX86S is a lesser cousin of my AX86U here is what I would recommend.
Do use Dual Band Smart Connect.
Initially set the 2.4 GHz to 20 MHz on Auto channel and the 5 GHz on 80 MHz on Auto channel. Use WPA2/WPA3-personal. Enable AX. Do not use DFS channels. DO not change any other WIFI settings!
The 5 GHz should settle into a "good" channel after a bit of time. Run your tests and see what you get. After watching the WIFI channels for a few days set the 2.4 GHz to a fixed channel (usually 1, 6 or 11). If things have picked up on 5 GHz enable 160 MHz. It should choose a channel in the lower 36-48 range and after clearing RADAR do the full 160 MHz bandwidth.
A word of caution here: running 160 MHz will subject the router to be bounced by RADAR which will shut down the 5 GHz for a while. Using Dual Band SmartConnect will allow clients to switch to the 2.4 GHz band and keep working when this happens.

Only enable DFS channels if your clients support them! Some older clients don't.
 

ugurkoltuk

New Around Here
Thanks for the response. I did all of this, except not sure what RADAR is (I don't see that in the Web UI anywhere). What l I got is 250 Mbps down 450 Mbps up. Considering I'd get 450 Mbps symmetric up/down with the ISP router, I'm considering returning this unit.

For the reference, this is what I see on my computer:
RSSI = -46 dBm
Noise is = 95 dBm
Tx Rate: 1080 Mbps
Channel: 100 (5 Ghz 80 Mhz)
Security: WPA3 Personal
MCS Index: 10
NSS: 2

I guess it might worth noting that I use the latest stock ASUS firmware: 3.0.0.4.386_45934. RT-AX86S is directly connected to the WAN, no modem in-between (the ISP provides an ethernet socket to each subscriber)
 
Last edited:

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Noise is = 95 dBm

Is this -95 dBm?

What does returning the unit have to do with trying to solve the issue here? You keep saying this... go ahead and return it already!

OE
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Thanks for the response. I did all of this, except not sure what RADAR is (I don't see that in the Web UI anywhere). What l I got is 250 Mbps down 450 Mbps up. Considering I'd get 450 Mbps symmetric up/down with the ISP router, I'm considering returning this unit.

For the reference, this is what I see on my computer:
RSSI = -46 dBm
Noise is = 95 dBm
Tx Rate: 1080 Mbps
Channel: 100 (5 Ghz 80 Mhz)
Security: WPA3 Personal
MCS Index: 10
NSS: 2

I guess it might worth noting that I use the latest stock ASUS firmware: 3.0.0.4.386_45934. RT-AX86S is directly connected to the WAN, no modem in-between (the ISP provides an ethernet socket to each subscriber)
Please, do not use DFS channels! Channel 100 is DFS.
RADAR IS RADIO AMPLIFICATION DETECTION AND RANGING and is used by aircraft, police and others. Just happens to use the same frequency as your WIFI on DFS channels. Routers are set up to scan for RADAR and shut down the 5 GHz when it is detected
 

ugurkoltuk

New Around Here
Is this -95 dBm?

What does returning the unit have to do with trying to solve the issue here? You keep saying this... go ahead and return it already!

OE
It is -95 dBm, yes.

Sorry if I sounded like that. I've just been so frustrated. You expect a bit more from a 150 GBP router.
 
Last edited:

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
It is -95 dBm, yes.

Sorry if I sounded like that. I've just been so frustrated. You expect a bit more from a 150 GBP router.

I understand... just know that asking for help and giving up at the same time discourages anyone from taking an interest... so lie to us! :)

OE
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
The AX86U is solid high performance router. The AX86S is a newer wireless router with slightly lesser features and specs but we don't have many user reviews on it. Therefore it's difficult for other users to determine if you are having configuration and settings issues that are effecting performance or performance issues relating to the router.

Most of the time users post for help with a new router these problems are related to their settings. Taking some time to work through the possible settings issues would be helpful for not only you but for others in the forum that might be interested in buying this router.
 

ugurkoltuk

New Around Here
Please, do not use DFS channels! Channel 100 is DFS.
RADAR IS RADIO AMPLIFICATION DETECTION AND RANGING and is used by aircraft, police and others. Just happens to use the same frequency as your WIFI on DFS channels. Routers are set up to scan for RADAR and shut down the 5 GHz when it is detected
So I did not use DFS channels in the beginning, and it was around 250 Mbps. And then I enabled DFS channels and tried again, that's when I captured the output from my computer. For the record, nothing changed.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I would avoid most of @bbunge advice. This is what I would do:

- 2.4GHz - 20MHz only, leave it on Auto for a while, fix the channel the router picks most of the time, not necessarily 1-6-11
- 5GHz - 80MHz only, start with control channel 36, test 40, 44, 48 and fix the best throughput one
- WPA2 Personal only (how many WPA3 capable clients do you have?)
- PMF disabled (required by WPA3)
- Airtime Fairness Disabled (may not play well with some clients)
- Multiband AX disabled (don't fight on the crowded 2.4GHz arena)
- All beamforming disabled on 2.4GHz (not used anyway)
- Universal beamforming disabled on 5GHz (non-standard attempt for beamforming)
- No DFS and no 160MHz channels, especially in an apartment building
- No SmartConnect, leave 2.4GHz and 5GHz on separate SSID's for more control, this is the Default setting
 

ugurkoltuk

New Around Here
The AX86U is solid high performance router. The AX86S is a newer wireless router with slightly lesser features and specs but we don't have many user reviews on it. Therefore it's difficult for other users to determine if you are having configuration and settings issues that are effecting performance or performance issues relating to the router.

Most of the time users post for help with a new router these problems are related to their settings. Taking some time to work through the possible settings issues would be helpful for not only you but for others in the forum that might be interested in buying this router.
I did quite some research and found out that the similarities between AX86U and AX86S are low enough to give it a chance.

For the record, here's what I've tried:
1. Connected the router to WAN, set up 2 SSIDs: one for 2.4 GHz and one for 5 GHz, with out-of-the-box settings. I don't have any 2.4 GHz devices (well I have a printer but that doesn't do speedtest) and I got 100 Mbps on 5 GHz. When I hook my computer up to the AX86S via the ethernet, I'd get very close to 750 Mbps (that's my fiber's bandwidth). Also, speedtest in the webui on the router itself gets around 600 Mbps both up and down.
2. Tried what I've described this original post, got no more than 150 Mbps on 5 GHz
3. Tried what bbunge recommended here: http://www.snbforums.com/threads/ax86s-slow-wi-fi-5-and-6.75948/post-726270, I got up to 250 Mbps.
4. Hooked up my Nokia Hyperhub router (ISP-provided) back, I am getting 330 Mbps down / 630 Mbps up out of the box on 5 GHz.

After seeing that step 4 result, I packed up the AX86S and placed a return order.
 

ugurkoltuk

New Around Here
I would avoid most of @bbunge advice. This is what I would do:

- 2.4GHz - 20MHz only, leave it on Auto for a while, fix the channel the router picks most of the time, not necessarily 1-6-11
- 5GHz - 80MHz only, start with control channel 36, test 40, 44, 48 and fix the best throughput one
- WPA2 Personal only (how many WPA3 capable clients do you have?)
- PMF disabled (required by WPA3)
- Airtime Fairness Disabled (may not play well with some clients)
- Multiband AX disabled (don't fight on the crowded 2.4GHz arena)
- All beamforming disabled on 2.4GHz (not used anyway)
- Universal beamforming disabled on 5GHz (non-standard attempt for beamforming)
- No DFS and no 160MHz channels, especially in an apartment building
- No SmartConnect, leave 2.4GHz and 5GHz on separate SSID's for more control, this is the Default setting
Well let me give this one more go then. I'll report back in 20 mins or something. I still have the router in the box, so I can give it one more chance.
 

ugurkoltuk

New Around Here
I would avoid most of @bbunge advice. This is what I would do:

- 2.4GHz - 20MHz only, leave it on Auto for a while, fix the channel the router picks most of the time, not necessarily 1-6-11
- 5GHz - 80MHz only, start with control channel 36, test 40, 44, 48 and fix the best throughput one
- WPA2 Personal only (how many WPA3 capable clients do you have?)
- PMF disabled (required by WPA3)
- Airtime Fairness Disabled (may not play well with some clients)
- Multiband AX disabled (don't fight on the crowded 2.4GHz arena)
- All beamforming disabled on 2.4GHz (not used anyway)
- Universal beamforming disabled on 5GHz (non-standard attempt for beamforming)
- No DFS and no 160MHz channels, especially in an apartment building
- No SmartConnect, leave 2.4GHz and 5GHz on separate SSID's for more control, this is the Default setting
So I have around 320 Mbps download now. I'm going through control channels, but here's my settings (attached).
 

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Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Measure the speeds with wired clients only. We don't know what are your wireless clients capable of. Test with all TrendMicro components disabled first. Enable them one at a time and re-test to see what the effect is. If you get lost in too many changed settings, reset the router to factory default and try again. Read what different settings do, Google is your friend.
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
Your latest wireless speeds don't seem to be that bad. That much difference between download and upload seems odd. Your best way to test wireless is from local sources in your LAN or as recommended in a previous post you can use your wired client WAN up/down speed tests as a reference point. Always remember that wireless performance is based as much on the performance capability of your clients as it is the wireless router. Of course wireless performance can also be effected by other conflicting wireless signals that are broadcasting in your area.

If you did finally decide to return the AX86S for the AX86U at least you know you shouldn't be getting a worse performing piece of hardware. The problem is that if your settings were the problem with the AX86S then any performance issues could still be there with the AX86U unless you correct them. If you do exchange for the AX86U post in the forum again and at least the other users here know what kind of performance you can expect from that router.

There has been some really good settings advice posted here to keep in mind. I always recommend going with upgrading the stock firmware and going default router settings first except turn off the dual band Smart Connect and use separate SSID names for 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. I also recommend using WPA2 encryption for wireless instead of WPA2/3. You can always try enabling Smart Connect later but for some people trying to optimize wireless settings it can make it more confusing when doing testing and making settings changes for your clients at longer ranges. Whatever you decide to do let us know how it works out for you.
 
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ugurkoltuk

New Around Here
Thank you everyone for your help and support. Yesterday I spent another hour hopping between control channels mainly, but also turning features on or off.

After a factory reset, I have tried what @Tech9 recommended, and then few other things. Here are some summary points:
  • Testing with wired clients: I do get very close to 750 Mbps (mentioned earlier)
  • My wireless clients are capable of downloading @ at least ~650 Mbps (seen that before with another router)
  • I tested with both WPA2 and WPA2/3. The most recent experiments were run on WPA2
  • I never enabled TrendMicro features. (I don't like their business practices)
  • Speedtest on the router itself (webui) gets between 550 - 600 Mbps. Directly connecting to the router via ethernet cat6 cable gets around 700 Mbps. Directly connecting computer to WAN via ethernet cat6 cable gets nearly 750 Mbps. All speeds in this item are symmetric (down == up)
  • The most recent experiments use separate SSIDs for 2.4 and 5 GHz
  • Software on the router is stock and the most recent one of today (3.0.0.4.386_45934)
  • Once again tried DL/UL OFDMA + MU-MIMO -> did not change anything
  • Once again tried "Ethernet backhaul mode" hoping it will release wireless bandwidth for clients -> did not help
  • Once again tried turning off WPS -> did not help
  • Channel 60 seems to be fine, as well as 44, 48 and 52.
  • Channels > 108 just did not work (maybe expected)
I will report back here with the new router I get (planning on getting a TP-Link one, I was told by a fellow Hyperoptic (my ISP) user that they get more than 600 Mbps download on that router (AX50) while a total of 16 clients are connected. It's cheaper too, so we will see how that goes.
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
Thank you everyone for your help and support. Yesterday I spent another hour hopping between control channels mainly, but also turning features on or off.

After a factory reset, I have tried what @Tech9 recommended, and then few other things. Here are some summary points:
  • Testing with wired clients: I do get very close to 750 Mbps (mentioned earlier)
  • My wireless clients are capable of downloading @ at least ~650 Mbps (seen that before with another router)
  • I tested with both WPA2 and WPA2/3. The most recent experiments were run on WPA2
  • I never enabled TrendMicro features. (I don't like their business practices)
  • Speedtest on the router itself (webui) gets between 550 - 600 Mbps. Directly connecting to the router via ethernet cat6 cable gets around 700 Mbps. Directly connecting computer to WAN via ethernet cat6 cable gets nearly 750 Mbps. All speeds in this item are symmetric (down == up)
  • The most recent experiments use separate SSIDs for 2.4 and 5 GHz
  • Software on the router is stock and the most recent one of today (3.0.0.4.386_45934)
  • Once again tried DL/UL OFDMA + MU-MIMO -> did not change anything
  • Once again tried "Ethernet backhaul mode" hoping it will release wireless bandwidth for clients -> did not help
  • Once again tried turning off WPS -> did not help
  • Channel 60 seems to be fine, as well as 44, 48 and 52.
  • Channels > 108 just did not work (maybe expected)
I will report back here with the new router I get (planning on getting a TP-Link one, I was told by a fellow Hyperoptic (my ISP) user that they get more than 600 Mbps download on that router (AX50) while a total of 16 clients are connected. It's cheaper too, so we will see how that goes.

Remember that using speedtest is not a reliable way to test the performance of your router. Results can fluctuate depending on the quality of your ISPs connection to the speedtest servers and how much other internet traffic is connecting to those servers. You can have different speedtest results at different times during the day and from different locations even from the exact same ISP. The performance and capabilities of your clients is also critical. Speedtest is just used a reference point which is why you test your WAN speeds and wired LAN clients first so that you can compare the difference between your wired and wireless clients.

Your 550 - 600 Mbps wireless performance results seem to be within the range of what would be expected if you use the 750Mbps WAN results and 700Mbps as a wired client reference point. I've read some good things in reviews about TP-Link Wifi 6 routers as a good value but I have not read that their reliability and performance surpasses the Asus Wifi 6 routers with similar hardware specs. You will also likely be missing many of the unique features that the Asus router firmware offers. I doubt that a TP-Link router is going to perform better but if that is what you are going to exchange it for I guess you will find out.
 
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nickie

Regular Contributor
For what it’s worth, beware of tp-link firmware policy. I have a1043nd v3 that was updated about once or twice in its life. Thankfully it has ddwrt support and is still going strong. My asus routers have had more updates in one year than the updates the 1043nd had in six… not sure if it changed in the meantime.
 

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