Firmware 386.4 Issues - Unable to add AiMesh Node over ethernet

kirikme

New Around Here
Main router - Asus AC5300 - Merlin 386.4 firmware
Node - AC3100 - Stock Firmware - 3.0.0.4.386_46065

Tried upgrading AC3100 to Merlin 386.4 - Could not add node to AiMesh
Tried with stock firmware on AC3100 - Could not add node to AiMesh

Aimesh does not detect node over ethernet and tried to add node over WiFi

Tried NVRAM reset and factory defaults on both router and node - No change and cannot add node

Finally downgraded main router to 386.3_2 and left stock firmware on AC3100 - could add node with no issues as per earlier setup before upgrading to latest 386.4 firmware.

Can someone please help?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Doesn't seem like you need any help, right now?

You have found the combination which works in your network environment. Maybe, the best you can do now is wait for 386.5 to be released.
 

kirikme

New Around Here
Doesn't seem like you need any help, right now?

You have found the combination which works in your network environment. Maybe, the best you can do now is wait for 386.5 to be released.
I was hoping 386.4_1 comes with a fix TBH. Wouldn't want to miss on the updates that come along with 386.4 fortoo long @L&LD :)
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I don't believe there will be a 386.4_1 version (but don't quote me!), 386.5 Alpha 1 is working fine for my 2 RT-AX86U's.

RMerlin is waiting for the other GPLs to drop from Asus, so he can build the other models too.

Download | Asuswrt-Merlin
 

kirikme

New Around Here
I don't believe there will be a 386.4_1 version (but don't quote me!), 386.5 Alpha 1 is working fine for my 2 RT-AX86U's.

RMerlin is waiting for the other GPLs to drop from Asus, so he can build the other models too.

Download | Asuswrt-Merlin
Thank you for that tip, @L&LD Unfortunately AC5300 seems not to be a part of the latest 386.5 alpha. However, while trying this out, I found the latest stock version of the firmware 25/01/2022 seems to have corrected the issue.

I think I will leave it at this and wait for future Merlin versions to see if a fix comes my way.
 

pirx73

Senior Member
I have observed erratic behaviour in client management, AiMesh in 386.4 just tosses them arround between nodes without reason.
In my setup i have AC68U on the second floor connected to the AX68U on the first floor via ethernet. AX68U is connected to the ONT with 500Mbps fibre connection.
After 386.4 installation i have often observed that laptops located in the same room as AX68U are moved over by AiMesh to the AC68U instead.
Laptops only use 5GHz band - i have different names for 2.4 and 5GHz SSIDs.
I checked signals - obviously in the office where laptops are 5Ghz and 2.4 GHz band signals from AX68U are significantly stronger than ones from AC68U on second floor.
This has nothing to do with the settings in laptop, this is decision by AiMesh. There are no interference in 5GHz or 2.4GHz bands from the neigbours because closest homes are almost 50m away.
 
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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
50 Metres is not far enough. If the router senses activity (and it does at those distances) it will reconfigure itself to 'sync' to that far, weak, network (and that takes a toll on your network experience).
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
What "activity" will force the router to "reconfigure" itself? :rolleyes:
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Other APs. :rolleyes:
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
It doesn't "reconfigure" anything. AiMesh can't force a client to connect to specific AP. When you press Optimization button in AiMesh UI the effect is only temporary. @pirx73 clients see AC68U as better AP and connect there. This happens with mixed AX/AC AiMesh quite often. It happens with mixed gen AC routers too. This is why the better AiMesh is the same model routers, wired backhaul and running the same firmware. When you have the same AP's, the clients will connect to the stronger signal AP. Binding clients to node may help in his case, but may not be a solution.

Interference with other 5GHz network is irrelevant. Networks 50m away with multiple walls on the path are below -80dBm. Guaranteed.

In addition, @pirx73 node is too close to the router. The two routers may be on different floors, but perhaps on top of each other. With relatively Wi-Fi transparent floor materials the line of sight distance counts. The node and the router must be spaced out at about -65dBm or more. Here comes the issue with different sensitivity radios between AC Wave 1 (AC68U) and AC Wave 2 (AX68U). There is no way to fine tune this setup.
 
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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The router's radios set themselves up depending on what's around them.

If @pirx73 isn't using fixed Control Channels, that will be one of the things that are reconfigured.

Even when using a fixed channel, if there are WiFi (APs) and non-WiFi interference centered on that channel, the network experience will not be optimal.

It doesn't matter how far a distant AP is. If the main router can see its signal, on the channel it's using, it will adjust for that signal (at the very least, it will sync with it). And the weaker and less stable that signal is, the worse our network behaves.

You don't know if the node is too close to the router. @pirx73 hasn't stated anything about his setup in that regard. Stop assuming you know everything.

And the way to fine-tune this setup is to try every available channel on the band you want to be optimized. It may not fix anything (if the 'best' channel is already in use), but then again, it may.

Control Channel Setup 2021

Reset Mini Guide + Control Channel Setup Details

Control Channel Setup (more)


AiMesh Ideal Placement
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
You don't know if the node is too close to the router.

The fact clients downstairs prefer to connect to the node upstairs is enough to know the node is too close.

It doesn't matter how far a distant AP is. If the main router can see its signal, on the channel it's using, it will adjust for that signal (at the very least, it will sync with it). And the weaker and less stable that signal is, the worse our network behaves.

You have no idea how Wi-Fi works, do you? Where do you read this nonsense? The weaker the signals around the worse network?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
It's how WiFi works. It's in the standards, otherwise, they're not allowed to be sold (at least, not legally).
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
It's how WiFi works.

Sorry, this is how you imagine Wi-Fi works. All you know is something "adjusts and syncs", but hot sure what. @pirx73 problem is not 5GHz networks 50m away. Weaker signals don't make our networks worse. Even strong Wi-Fi signals may not make them worse, depending on what the signals are.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Seems you can't even guess how they work though. I may not know the terms right now, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

Your imaging doesn't make the world go round. I never stated what the problems are, I offered what they may be.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I may not know the terms right now

Learn the terms and come back. Don't offer help when you have no clue. Thank you!
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I am helping, but I can't learn it for others. It's enough to put a seed for others that do want to learn.

Your continued red-herring posts offer nothing of value, to anyone.
 

pirx73

Senior Member
Guys please calm down.
I understand this is partially my fault for not writing a 2 screens long essay what i have done and what i haven't in regards of my setup.

My house is very "radio transparent", walls do not obstruct signal that much. I was living with one AP in the office for years and signal on the second floor was quite ok.
But because i got faster fibre (500Mbps GPON) i decided to purchase AX68 as a main router and move AC68 upstairs to work as AiMesh node.
AC68 uses wired backhaul and of course both routers have 386.4. I would never let them live on different versions unless there would be a compelling reason to do so.
I have set up 2 SSIDs - one for 2.4GHz, another for 5GHz. Laptops, Android TV boxes and tablets are configured to use 5GHz SSID only, while phones are set to use 2.4GHz
so that devices in my network are separated and do not rely on "band steering" or whatever fancy name marketing thinks up for this feature. Plus it is very wonky unless you have an enterprise-level AP (Cisco, HP/Aruba, Ubiquity etc)
Smart TV on the first floor uses cable connected to the AX68 and desktop upstairs is connected to the AC68s LAN port.
APs are not located directly above each other either.
I am using fixed channels - channel 1 for 2.4GHz and 36 for 5GHz.
The node and the router must be spaced out at about -65dBm or more.
Signal from the upstairs router is -70dBm in the office on 2.4GHz band and -75dBm on the 5GHz band.
AiMesh can't force a client to connect to specific AP
Pressing "optimization" button does not work because AC68 uses wired backhaul, optimization only works with wireless backhaul.
This is not assumption, this is response Optimization button gives, when you try to press it with wired backhaul.
AiMesh does offer "bind" option which allows to bind client to the specific AP - that small chain icon next to the client:
Screenshot 2022-02-16 094143.png

When i tried to bind "wrong" device (using farther AP that is) to the closest AP, it claimed that signal from the closest AP "is too weak".
After that AX-capable laptop begun to behave erratically - frequently disconnecting and reconnecting to the network- seems laptop's wireless card wants to use AC68 upstairs but is denied, goes back to AX68, still wants to use AC68 etc... causing reconnects.
That supports your point that binding devices to the specific AP in AiMesh is not a permanent solution.
Additionally AiMesh has Roaming Block list:
Screenshot 2022-02-16 094255.png

No idea how much that could help - laptops should be allowed to roam arround, same with tablets and phones. Only exceptions would be IoT devices and TV boxes.
@pirx73 problem is not 5GHz networks 50m away.
True. They are well below "sensible" threshold - lower than -80dBm, plus they do not use the same channel as i do, My 5GHz network uses channel 36, while other WiFi network i can barely detect uses channel 100
Even on 2.4GHz band strongest "foreign" signal is below -80dBm and that's not on channel 1 either.
The fact clients downstairs prefer to connect to the node upstairs is enough to know the node is too close.
Unfortunately i have no way to remedy that (unless lowering output power of AX68U in wireless settings with that silly Wireless Power slider), i would have to move router outside of office, too much cabling to redo.
5GHz signal in the office where i am sitting right now is -48dBm, that's about 2 meters from the AX68.
that laptops located in the same room as AX68U
Regarding distance - i wrote this^^^. "Same room" unless i live in the palace means laptops are within 1-3 meters away from AX68U.
My laptop has AC wireless card - Intel AC8265, while wife's - Intel AX200, so one client is and one isn't AX-capable.
This happens with mixed AX/AC AiMesh quite often.
This might be the case or at least one of the reasons. Thanks! I was thinking about replacing AC68U with second AX68U, maybe i should go for that sooner.
But as i wrote - before 386.4 problem was not present. I have this setup since May 2021 so for more than half a year and it was stable all the time until 386.4 came along.

P.S. as you can notice from the screenshot it has calmed down by itself... go figure. Both laptops use AX68 now. I did not do any configuration to affect this.
 
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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
P.S. as you can notice from the screenshot it has calmed down by itself... go figure. Both laptops use AX68 now. I did not do any configuration to affect this.

This is yet another reason why I suggest leaving a promising/potential setup for ~24 hours before fully judging it. The router is always in self-configuring/self-optimizing mode. To the client devices, to the surrounding APs, and to any non-WiFi interference we can't see with anything short of a multi-thousand-dollar scan of our networking environment.

If you do go with a second RT-AX68U, I would suggest building the network back up from the ground floor (and without assuming anything (settings, features, scripts) 'old' will work optimally today). At the very least, new SSID's (or, do it the long way and reset each client device's network settings and re-associate them again). The goal here is to allow the AX router's capabilities to be used as they're meant to be (for the router and node, and for all the client devices too).
 

pirx73

Senior Member
Nope, problem is back again. So it was ok for a while but just not i had disconnect again and yes, laptop is connected to AC68. :rolleyes:
So it is intermittent. Worst kind of issue. I need to borrow frequency scanner from my old job and check for non-WiFi signals.
 

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