Just purchased RT-AX86U. Few Questions (please help).

Poseidon

Senior Member
I just purchased and set up the RT-AX86U router and updated stock firmware to the latest version.

Is enabling QoS recommended - or is it best to just leave it off by default? I do have a TiVo Mini streaming box (Wi-Fi connected) and a couple of other streaming options. Should those be given top priority?
 
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SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
For #4 leave QoS OFF which is the default. The AX86U automatically prioritizes the traffic better than any wireless router I have ever owned.

For the wireless radio use mostly the default settings and see how they work for you. This wireless router automatically handles the wireless very well. Sometimes making changes with too many default settings can cause performance issues. I keep 160Mhz bandwidth enabled. You can change it to 80Mhz later if you run into persistent issues. This router should automatically detect and make adjustments for Wifi that it needs to make. I have Smart Connect OFF and set up separate SSIDs for 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz and I use WPA2 (instead of WPA3). I also changed the default starting LAN IP from 192.168.50.1 to my own preference but that is not a performance related change. If that default works ok for you then you can just leave it.
 
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bbunge

Part of the Furniture
I would recommend either Quad9 (9.9.9.9 and 149.112.112.112) or Cloudflare Secure (1.1.1.2 and 1.0.0.2) for DNS. Both filter malware sites. Disable UPnP.
WIFI recommendations: Use Dual Band SmartConnect, 2.4 GHz set to channel 1, 6, or 11 at 20 MHz - 5 GHz at 160 MHz on channel 36. WPA2/WPA3. Disable WPS. Leave the rest of the WIFI settings at default.
Enable AiProtection
If your ISP bandwidth is less than 500 Mbps enable QOS and manually set the Adaptive QOS to 95% of your tested upload/download bandwidth.

In your case I recommend the SmartConnect with a single SSID for both bands because of the chance the 5 GHz can be bounced off by RADAR. With SmartConnect enabled the clients will automatically switch to the 2.4 GHz band when the 5 GHz is switched off and will go back when the RADAR bounce is cleared.

Also, enable Auto Firmware Upgrade but set it to check at night. Say 0300.

When you feel brave enough and have resd up on it the Merlin firmware for Asus routers has some good features.
 

wmmallette47

Regular Contributor
I would recommend either Quad9 (9.9.9.9 and 149.112.112.112) or Cloudflare Secure (1.1.1.2 and 1.0.0.2) for DNS. Both filter malware sites. Disable UPnP.
WIFI recommendations: Use Dual Band SmartConnect, 2.4 GHz set to channel 1, 6, or 11 at 20 MHz - 5 GHz at 160 MHz on channel 36. WPA2/WPA3. Disable WPS. Leave the rest of the WIFI settings at default.
Enable AiProtection
If your ISP bandwidth is less than 500 Mbps enable QOS and manually set the Adaptive QOS to 95% of your tested upload/download bandwidth.

In your case I recommend the SmartConnect with a single SSID for both bands because of the chance the 5 GHz can be bounced off by RADAR. With SmartConnect enabled the clients will automatically switch to the 2.4 GHz band when the 5 GHz is switched off and will go back when the RADAR bounce is cleared.

Also, enable Auto Firmware Upgrade but set it to check at night. Say 0300.

When you feel brave enough and have resd up on it the Merlin firmware for Asus routers has some good features.
Ok, lets say that 80% of this response are concepts that I don‘t understand. I’m googling most to learn about them. Any recommendations on learning the concepts involved? I’m still in the new stages of AX86U ownership and want to get optimal performance (like everyone else), but I’m hoping to learn what it all means instead of just following instructions then not understanding when there are issues in the future. I am not to the Merlin use point yet. Just a guy with a sub-500 Mbps service at the moment looking to get it rIshtar.
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
Ok, lets say that 80% of this response are concepts that I don‘t understand. I’m googling most to learn about them. Any recommendations on learning the concepts involved? I’m still in the new stages of AX86U ownership and want to get optimal performance (like everyone else), but I’m hoping to learn what it all means instead of just following instructions then not understanding when there are issues in the future. I am not to the Merlin use point yet. Just a guy with a sub-500 Mbps service at the moment looking to get it rIshtar.
If your setup is working well for you then you don't need to worry about some of the suggested settings posted here unless you just want to learn which is a good thing to do. They are just users suggestions. The AX86U automatically optimizes itself when using mostly the default settings. For example the DNS is a preferential setting that you can have for all routers, not just the AX86U. Your ISP normally defaults to a DNS for you but you can custom select the DNS (Domain Name Server) if you choose under the WAN tab.
 
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wmmallette47

Regular Contributor
If your setup is working well for you you don't need to worry about some of the suggested settings posted here unless you just want to learn and that's good to do. They are just users suggestions. The AX86U automatically optimizes itself when using mostly the default settings. For example the DNS is a preferential setting that you can have for all routers, not just the AX86U. Your ISP normally defaults to a DNS for you but you can custom select the DNS (Domain Name Server) if you choose under the WAN tab.
I’m just continuing to read and learn. Thanks. The members here are generous with their knowledge
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
I’m just continuing to read and learn. Thanks. The members here are generous with their knowledge
Excellent... and keep asking any questions if you need to. It's understood that the conversation can get very technical at times. I spend much of my time in this forum reading and learning as well.
 

wmmallette47

Regular Contributor
My home network is VERY basic. My AX86U is my only router currently on a 105Mbps cable internet service. I have an Arris SB8200 (docsis 3.1) modem. Three televisions connected by Ethernet cable and wifi for our wireless devices. I am having a LOT of signal drop and buffering on our Streaming TV service - three times or more in a couple of hours in the evenings. Much more than I had with my previous Netgear R7000 modem. I am using up-to-date stock firmware currently.
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
My home network is VERY basic. My AX86U is my only router currently on a 105Mbps cable internet service. I have an Arris SB8200 (docsis 3.1) modem. Three televisions connected by Ethernet cable and wifi for our wireless devices. I am having a LOT of signal drop and buffering on our Streaming TV service - three times or more in a couple of hours in the evenings. Much more than I had with my previous Netgear R7000 modem. I am using up-to-date stock firmware currently.
I doubt it's simply the Asus router (hardware) causing the extra buffering and signal issues but it be related to your setup or your settings. Are the drop offs and buffering on both the Ethernet connections and Wireless connections? Do the problems occur at a particular time of day?... night time or all day, etc..? Do you live near an airport? First thing that I would do is call your ISP tech support and have them check the signal to your Arris SB8200. If this is an ISP supplied modem then make sure it is using bridge pass through mode which your ISP can usually set for you.

Next under your Asus router settings have Smart Connect OFF and use a separate SSID for 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. Have your Wifi set to WPA2 (not WPA3). Don't use TrendMicro protection and don't enable QoS. Use mostly the router default setings. Post back with your results after you have done these things and if you are still experiencing problems then other forum users can help you with more suggestions.

It's always good to check your service first to eliminate it as the source of your problems. I have Charter/Spectrum service. It measures good on the online speedtest.net tests but in the past few weeks their service has suffered instability which has been causing buffering during streaming, drop offs and lag during gaming, etc... I intend to call their support to have the line checked and serviced soon but meanwhile I am using the backup ISP service that we use for a business... U-Verse and it's not having any of those issues.
 

wmmallette47

Regular Contributor
I doubt it's simply the Asus router (hardware) causing the extra buffering and signal issues but it be related to your setup or your settings. Are the drop offs and buffering on both the Ethernet connections and Wireless connections? Do the problems occur at a particular time of day?... night time or all day, etc..? Do you live near an airport? First thing that I would do is call your ISP tech support and have them check the signal to your Arris SB8200. If this is an ISP supplied modem then make sure it is using bridge pass through mode which your ISP can usually set for you.

Next under your Asus router settings have Smart Connect OFF and use a separate SSID for 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. Have your Wifi set to WPA2 (not WPA3). Don't use TrendMicro protection and don't enable QoS. Use mostly the router default setings. Post back with your results after you have done these things and if you are still experiencing problems then other forum users can help you with more suggestions.

It's always good to check your service first to eliminate it as the source of your problems. I have Charter/Spectrum service. It measures good on the online speedtest.net tests but in the past few weeks their service has suffered instability which has been causing buffering during streaming, drop offs and lag during gaming, etc... I intend to call their support to have the line checked and serviced soon but meanwhile I am using the backup ISP service that we use for a business... U-Verse and it's not having any of those issues.
if I can log in to my modem, can I check the bridge pass through mode? It is not an ISP supplied modem. I do not live near an airport. I am not certain if it drops wifi at the same time my Ethernet tv connections drop/buffer. I only watch tv at night, so it’s the on,by time I notice it.

my setting is on WPA2-personal. QoS is off. My SSID was largely the same except for the “-5G” on the end, so I changed that slightly.

if the AiProtection is Off, does that mean I am not using Trend Micro?
 
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jpthsd

Regular Contributor
Do not enable anything unnecessary to keep your AX86U as simple as possible.

I do not have any purpose to use of QoS (I have 500Mbps Download/Upload via FiOS fiber), AiProtection, Scheduling, Traffic Analyzer Statistic, USB HD NAS, AiCloud, VPN ..etc... this will keep your AX86U as simple as possible to work just like designed for WAN router + Wifi 2.4/5Ghz Wifi6

Yes, I use AsusWRT fw since I do not have any use of those features added by Merlin firmware...! Stable though, no issue!

If you want to deploy AiMesh, make sure the 2.4Ghz bandwidth is either 20Mhz or 40Mhz, do not use mutilbandwidth support 20/40 which might have caused the 2.4Ghz on node having operational problem!

Good luck...Ax86U is the beast! and if being AiMesh router with AC86U at least which gives very very good coverage by AiMesh network!
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
if I can log in to my modem, can I check the bridge pass through mode? It is not an ISP supplied modem. I do not live near an airport. I am not certain if it drops wifi at the same time my Ethernet tv connections drop/buffer. I only watch tv at night, so it’s the on,by time I notice it.

my setting is on WPA2-personal. QoS is off. My SSID was largely the same except for the “-5G” on the end, so I changed that slightly.

if the AiProtection is Off, does that mean I am not using Trend Micro?
AiProtection Off is good. Keep it turned off. Other settings look good. You should call your ISP support and have them evaluate your connection information to see if you are getting good signal to your modem. You can't just assume it's the different router causing streaming buffering since that also sometimes is caused by heavy traffic to the streaming service itself. Run www.speedtest.net (again if you already have done it) to get an idea of your current general connection speed out to the internet.

This can get a bit complicated if you aren't used to checking this... If you own the modem then it's probably already in bridge pass through mode. It depends on your ISP but you can often tell if when you log into your router and the WAN IP address (or click on Primary WAN IP) is an ISP provided public address... for example 48.xxx.xxx.x with the x's being other numbers....Then this usually means your modem is in bridge pass through mode or it's handing off the ISP provided IP to the router. If the modem is providing a private IP using DHCP then you might see a WAN IP address like 192.168.x.x . Sometimes you will see 10.x.x.x with ISP provided modems... This usually means the modem is not in bridge pass through mode (this is a general rule but not absolute). Again these are general tips that you can use to check. Your ISP support can provide more information as well.

If you are still having what you think are buffering issues then you could try... under your router settings go to WAN tab > Internet Connection > scroll down... to DHCP query frequency and set to Normal Mode (Agressive Mode is the default) then click Apply button at the bottom. This setting is dependent on what ISP you are using which is why the Asus setting is available with various options.
 
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Poseidon

Senior Member
I, too, was having video buffering issues and was this close to returning the AX86U for something else. And them something magical happened - I completely disabled AiProtection and my internet became lightning fast and I’m getting faster than my advertised/max speeds. This router is literally a BEAST now. I’m amazed.

AiProtection is a hinderance and a privacy risk that cripples your internet speed. It will remain permanently disabled. Using stock AsusWRT firmware and it’s working great!
 

BreakingDad

Very Senior Member
You surprise me, I have all of the Trend micro features on, and it does not slow my network down at all and if it does it is so minimal I cannot detect it.

I also use flex QOS (Merlin plugin) and Merlins latest firmware.

You do not state your isp speed however.

Over 500 probably you don't need any QOS, 250-500 I would use Flex, Under 250 I would use Cake.

Mine is supposed to be 500/30 but on speed test I get 550/35 with Trend fully on and skynet on (Merlin plugin). WIth Flex on we get literally zero rubber banding or spikes in online games, and there are 5 of us online all day long.

I would 100% not disable UPnP, this will cause you more problems than it solves, the security risk of having it on is based on out of date, misinformation, and you will have trouble when you play games or use other services. I believe ASUS products are unaffected by 10 year old misinformation on uPnP risk. Ask yourself if you really want to manually open ports everytime you need to do something.

For now I would leave smart connect as is, with one SSID, however you can try separate ID's for 2.4 and 5ghz in the future if you feel the need, some do , some don't. I personally use Smart Connect with no issues and one SSID. I force my own pc onto 5ghz by blocking it on 2.ghz with mac filter.

The other devices choose where they go themselves based on which room they are being used in. I do block my google speakers off 5ghz though as they are bit sketchy on 5ghz, same way with mac filter.

2.4ghz I would set to 20mhz channel 11 or 6 depending on your neighbours; why 20 and not 40? Stability for me - 20 is slower but performs better in crowded areas, 40 is faster but less stable .
5ghz I would set to either 80mhz or 160 (but only if you devices that support 160 which are very few and far between) I use channel 64 with great success as no one else in my street can get this channel.

I would agree that DNS servers 9.9.9.9 and Cloudflare 1.1.1.1 are good choices. (or 1.1.1.2 (No Malware)) or 1.1.1.3 (No Malware or Adult)

I don't think there is any privacy issue with Trend; I would rather all the bad websites and ips attacks are blocked personally. Trend are a trusted company of some 25 years and are not interested in what you look at online except for security purposes. Please don't think you ever have privacy online anyway. The likes of google , microsoft , facebook and many others track you even if you do not use their services. What makes you think you are so interesting in their 250+ million user base. Although when I first got my router I did have the same worries, but the users here have reassured me Trend is safe.

Congratulations on buying the best router on the market however, I would strongly recommend Merlin over stock firmware and reading @L&LD s guide on how to set up this router, but each to their own. Enjoy your router.
 
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Poseidon

Senior Member
You surprise me, I have all of the Trend micro features on, and it does not slow my network down at all and if it does it is so minimal I cannot detect it.

I also use flex QOS (Merlin plugin) and Merlins latest firmware.

You do not state your isp speed however.

Mine is supposed to be 500/30 but on speed test I get 550/35 with Trend fully on and skynet on (Merlin plugin). WIth Flex on we get literally zero rubber banding or spikes in online games, and there are 5 of us online all day long.

I would 100% not disable UPnP, this will cause you more problems than it solves, the security risk of having it on is based on out of date, mis information, and you will have trouble when you play games or use other services. I believe ASUS products are unaffected by 10 year old misinformation on uPnP risk. Ask yourself if you really want to manually open ports everytime you need to do something.

I don't think there is any privacy issue with Trend; I would rather all the bad websites and ips attacks are blocked personally. Trend are a trusted company of some 25 years and are not interested in what you look at online except for security purposes. Please don't think you ever have privacy online anyway. The likes of google , microsoft , facebook and many others track you even if you do not use their services. What makes you think you are so interesting in their 250+ million user base. Although when I first got my router I did have the same worries, but the users here have reassured me Trend is safe.

Congratulations on buying the best router on the market however, I would strongly recommend Merlin over stock firmware and reading @L&LD s guide on how to set up this router, but each to their own.
My ISP speed is 400/20 - but with the AX86U I’m getting 470/23! And I’m sticking w/ stock ASUS fw for the moment because everything is running great! No need to make any changes for features in Merlin’s fw that I don’t use. I’m sure one day I will switch over to his firmware but I’m implementing the “if it’s not broken then don’t fix it” logic right now.

And I’ll do more research on AiProtection. Maybe I’ll enable 3 out of the 4 settings (except for malicious website). I’d be interested to hear what others think about this “safety features”
 

BreakingDad

Very Senior Member
No need to make any changes for features in Merlin’s fw that I don’t use
Merlin is not just about features, it contains many updates, bug fixes and security fixes that run under the extra bells and whistles. Just something to bear in mind.

I have 102 Malicious website blocks on my trend log right now, just another thing to ponder.

Good Luck :)

On another note, I cannot recommend Malwarebytes Premium enough, for the money it costs and the peace of mind it gives it's a great addition to any network as another layer of protection. I have 5 licenses and it costs about £80 a year off the top of my head. It sits there silently, until you need it.
 

wmmallette47

Regular Contributor
AiProtection Off is good. Keep it turned off. Other settings look good. You should call your ISP support and have them evaluate your connection information to see if you are getting good signal to your modem. You can't just assume it's the different router causing streaming buffering since that also sometimes is caused by heavy traffic to the streaming service itself. Run www.speedtest.net (again if you already have done it) to get an idea of your current general connection speed out to the internet.

This can get a bit complicated if you aren't used to checking this... If you own the modem then it's probably already in bridge pass through mode. It depends on your ISP but you can often tell if when you log into your router and the WAN IP address (or click on Primary WAN IP) is an ISP provided public address... for example 48.xxx.xxx.x with the x's being other numbers....Then this usually means your modem is in bridge pass through mode or it's handing off the ISP provided IP to the router. If the modem is providing a private IP using DHCP then you might see a WAN IP address like 192.168.x.x . Sometimes you will see 10.x.x.x with ISP provided modems... This usually means the modem is not in bridge pass through mode (this is a general rule but not absolute). Again these are general tips that you can use to check. Your ISP support can provide more information as well.

If you are still having what you think are buffering issues then you could try... under your router settings go to WAN tab > Internet Connection > scroll down... to DHCP query frequency and set to Normal Mode (Agressive Mode is the default) then click Apply button at the bottom. This setting is dependent on what ISP you are using which is why the Asus setting is available with various options.
Thank you for all the advice and explanation. I will call my ISP too, but my guess is (I think) my WAN is an ISP provided public address. It starts with 64.

Does it matter which port I have the cable coming from my modem to my router is connected to (2.5G or 1G)?

Also, I do not see a "DHCP query frequency" setting in the Internet Connection settings. I am running stock firmware, if that matters.
 

jpthsd

Regular Contributor
You surprise me, I have all of the Trend micro features on, and it does not slow my network down at all and if it does it is so minimal I cannot detect it.

I also use flex QOS (Merlin plugin) and Merlins latest firmware.

You do not state your isp speed however.

Over 500 probably you don't need any QOS, 250-500 I would use Flex, Under 250 I would use Cake.

Mine is supposed to be 500/30 but on speed test I get 550/35 with Trend fully on and skynet on (Merlin plugin). WIth Flex on we get literally zero rubber banding or spikes in online games, and there are 5 of us online all day long.

I would 100% not disable UPnP, this will cause you more problems than it solves, the security risk of having it on is based on out of date, misinformation, and you will have trouble when you play games or use other services. I believe ASUS products are unaffected by 10 year old misinformation on uPnP risk. Ask yourself if you really want to manually open ports everytime you need to do something.

For now I would leave smart connect as is, with one SSID, however you can try separate ID's for 2.4 and 5ghz in the future if you feel the need, some do , some don't. I personally use Smart Connect with no issues and one SSID. I force my own pc onto 5ghz by blocking it on 2.ghz with mac filter.

The other devices choose where they go themselves based on which room they are being used in. I do block my google speakers off 5ghz though as they are bit sketchy on 5ghz, same way with mac filter.

2.4ghz I would set to 20mhz channel 11 or 6 depending on your neighbours; why 20 and not 40? Stability for me - 20 is slower but performs better in crowded areas, 40 is faster but less stable .
5ghz I would set to either 80mhz or 160 (but only if you devices that support 160 which are very few and far between) I use channel 64 with great success as no one else in my street can get this channel.

I would agree that DNS servers 9.9.9.9 and Cloudflare 1.1.1.1 are good choices. (or 1.1.1.2 (No Malware)) or 1.1.1.3 (No Malware or Adult)

I don't think there is any privacy issue with Trend; I would rather all the bad websites and ips attacks are blocked personally. Trend are a trusted company of some 25 years and are not interested in what you look at online except for security purposes. Please don't think you ever have privacy online anyway. The likes of google , microsoft , facebook and many others track you even if you do not use their services. What makes you think you are so interesting in their 250+ million user base. Although when I first got my router I did have the same worries, but the users here have reassured me Trend is safe.

Congratulations on buying the best router on the market however, I would strongly recommend Merlin over stock firmware and reading @L&LD s guide on how to set up this router, but each to their own. Enjoy your router.

Using Sophos Home Security Protection is another alternative, paid Premium Sophos Home provides additional security protection - $8/month for 10 devices/year (My Healthcare organization with 100K+ workstation currently using Sophos Enterprise,,,work very well!) - beside, turn on Windows Firewall is a MUST! Do it!
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
Thank you for all the advice and explanation. I will call my ISP too, but my guess is (I think) my WAN is an ISP provided public address. It starts with 64.

Does it matter which port I have the cable coming from my modem to my router is connected to (2.5G or 1G)?

Also, I do not see a "DHCP query frequency" setting in the Internet Connection settings. I am running stock firmware, if that matters.
Yes, it looks like your WAN IP address is a public address so you should be good with bridge mode.

Use the regular 1Gb WAN port on your router not the 2.5GbE. This is to avoid potential compatibility issues with your particular modem.

Stock firmware is fine as long as it's updated to the latest. It's there. On the left side from the settings front page click the WAN tab, then it will say Internet Connection tab at the top left, screen scroll to the bottom under Special Requirement from ISP... there is a setting to select DHCP query frequency. Try selecting Normal Mode then click the Apply tab.
 
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Tech9

Part of the Furniture
AiProtection is a hinderance and a privacy risk that cripples your internet speed.

I don't know about privacy, but AiProtection doesn't cripple 500Mbps ISP at all on RT-AC86U. Shouldn't affect RT-AX86U as well, the CPU cores are the same. This is not a true IDS/IPS, but some sort of lightweight router optimized... something. True IDS/IPS like Snort/Suricata needs multi-core i5 CPU.
 

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