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AX88U cannot register AX88U Pro as AiMesh node. Both devices have 3004_388.5.

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theirongiant

Regular Contributor
I have an ASUS AX88U acting as the main router and an AC68U (aka 1900P) as an AiMesh node.

I can't do wired backhaul in this place, and the wireless performance drags when the devices connect to the older AP. Since the AC68U is pretty old, it can only use 5 GHz as the backhaul and offer 2.4 GHz to clients. Therefore, I'm going to replace it with something that offers a dedicated 5 GHz backhaul, plus a 5 GHz channel available for devices... and the only devices that will connect on 2.4 GHz will be a few older devices and smart home / IoT that don't have 5 GHz.

Once it's all set up, the AC68U will be taken out of services.

The AX88U Pro has been factory reset and is available for AiMesh configuration. Both 88U variants are on the same firmware (Asuswrt-Merlin 3004_388.5).

The new unit is within 10 feet (3 meters) of the existing one.

I tried to add the AX88U Pro from the AX88U. The WPS light blinks rapidly several times on the AX88U Pro, but then after 10 seconds the AX88U says it could not add the new unit as an AiMesh node. It lists five possible reasons for the failure, none of which are true.

Is there an undocumented requirement that AiMesh routers must be as new or newer than all other AiMesh nodes? Or is there some other reason the node might be failing to add?
 
Since the AC68U is pretty old, it can only use 5 GHz as the backhaul and offer 2.4 GHz to clients. Therefore, I'm going to replace it with something that offers a dedicated 5 GHz backhaul, plus a 5 GHz channel available for devices...
This is a misunderstanding. AC68U will be able to offer 5ghz to clients, but has 3x3 streams, which will be split up for the task of communicating between the AC68 and the main router, and the other half between the AC68U and the clients. If you had it wired, all of the streams could be used for the latter.

What you ideally want for best performance with wireless repeater/aimesh is a router with 4x4 streams so that more streams can be put to use for each task.

But the question is if this is necessary... for normal use in close proximity to your router, the internet connection is likely to be the limitation (unless you have hundreds of mb, in which case the resulting bandwidth might be enough anyways from a practical standpoint).

Both 88U variants are on the same firmware (Asuswrt-Merlin 3004_388.5).
Try the official Asus fw on the Aimesh nodes. Merlin is only necessary for the main router, and Merlin is not guaranteed Aimesh compatible because it's a proprietary blob.

If that fails, try running the official fw on the main router as well, then you can try and flash it back to Merlin once the pairing is complete; the aimesh connection to your paired nodes should then still be intact.

I always run official fw on the Aimesh nodes.
 
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I agree with the question: why not use the more-capable router as the main router? In my admittedly minimal encounter toying with AiMesh, I had no trouble whatsoever using Merlin FW on both devices.

Apart from all that, if you've /got to/ "mesh" wirelessly, and want good all-around network performance you /really/ need tri-radio equipment.
 
Is the RT-AX88U (orig) using ports 5-8?

Have you tried rebooting the main router via the GUI?

Are you using a USB drive for amtm/scripts, or as a NAS?

Have you tried connecting with an Ethernet cable to establish the AiMesh and associate the node?

Check that WPS is on, on the main router.

Safely Remove any USB devices (and physically remove them from the router).

Remove all Ethernet cables from the router.

Reboot via the GUI. (Bonus step: perform an electrical reset on the router).

Using the correct WPS Button reset method on the node. Do not access it via its GUI after it has rebooted.

Connect LAN port 1 from the main router to the new router's WAN port.

Associate the node.

Wait for a few minutes after it is connected, then, power down the node and put it where you need.
 
I agree with the question: why not use the more-capable router as the main router? In my admittedly minimal encounter toying with AiMesh, I had no trouble whatsoever using Merlin FW on both devices.

Apart from all that, if you've /got to/ "mesh" wirelessly, and want good all-around network performance you /really/ need tri-radio equipment.

I was honestly considering doing this anyway, but I had a question about backing up and restoring configurations. Both the AX88U and AX88U Pro are on the same version of the firmware (3004_388.5). I'm using the IPSec VPN right now with a shared secret, no certificates, and the Dynamic DNS as well. I don't mind setting them up again from scratch, but transferring configurations would be faster.

Are they designed to be portable to other models? Is ASUS' base firmware (and Merlin's variant) sophisticated enough to ignore settings that shouldn't be applied to the new model?
 
Elaborate..

The shared "node" or repeater/extender radio retransmits data with all available streams back and forth to the parent AP and with client supported streams to the client. This time sharing results in 1/2 throughput to repeater connected client devices. What you describe is how MU-MIMO capable AP works to supported clients and only a few at a time limited by the number of streams. Shared wireless backhaul doesn't use MU-MIMO. It can't use 2x streams to receive data and 2x streams to retransmit the same data to another client (with 4x stream AP as an example) at the same time. In addition RT-AC68U and variants don't support MU-MIMO on hardware level to any connected client, AC Wave 1. MU-MIMO* become available in AC Wave 2 and later routers.

* - some manufacturers (including Asus) were selling AC Wave 2 routers with early versions of BCM4366 radios and advertising MU-MIMO with actually non-working MU-MIMO. One such product was RT-AC88U in early versions. Some customers paid extra for features the products doesn't support.
 
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I don't mind setting them up again from scratch, but transferring configurations would be faster.
DO NOT transfer the configuration between different router models using a saved router CFG file. Exporting a CFG file from one router model and importing it into a different router model (even if you think they're similar) can yield unexpected results (and issues/problems) as others have discovered. Better to reconfigure the RT-AX88U Pro from scratch manually as the main router and not risk the problems importing the RT-AX88U CFG file may potentially introduce. There are various methods of copying over manual DHCP reservations from one Asus router to another, including using the add-on script YazDHCP.
 

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