Major Issues w/RT-AC86U

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rk8531

Regular Contributor
I can report that I had decided to 'upgrade' from my 68U running Merlin (rock solid BTW) to an AC-86U running the same firmware version. All was well for two days, then the dreaded wireless drop outs which then progressed to many, many reboots. After a week of digging into this issue ( researching, modifying settings, resetting, restoring, reverting firmware to earlier versions, wash, repeat, then frustration) I have given up. I have had a dozen ASUS routers running Merlin over the years and I can clearly state that there is indeed something amiss with this router.
My RMA is in, but I am skeptical of the reliability.
As far as debugging, it was frustrating not to be able to zero in on a set of circumstances that trigger the Linux reboots. If you can reliably cause the problem then you have a chance. But this issue is elusive. The Loch Ness of Merlin if you will.
SO that is my experience, and it left me frustrated and less comfortable with trusting ASUS routers going forward.
Regards
Ed
Go for Netgear then
 

edsyl

Occasional Visitor
What kind of restore did you do?
Well, originally I just flashed the latest Merlin over the stock Asus firmware. Then I ran into all of these issues. Then what I did was to re-flash the latest stock ASUS, did a factory reset, flashed the latest Merlin, factory reset, then add my settings.
I have been reading more since my post and the one thing I can intuitively grok is the renaming of the SSIDs when moving to a new firmware.

So I have to ask what steps you might recommend given the state of the router as it is to try and get it to a stable state?

I saw none of the aforementioned issues when upgrading the AC68U.

Thanks and cheers
Ed
 

Smokindog

Senior Member
Never used their stuff. Do you have personal experiences?
Thanks
Ed
I personally avoid ALL Netgear stuff. We used to ship SOHO Netgear switches and routers in our demo kits for large customers and trade shows and it was always failing prematurely. Haven't touched it in nearly 10 years.
 

edsyl

Occasional Visitor
I personally avoid ALL Netgear stuff. We used to ship SOHO Netgear switches and routers in our demo kits for large customers and trade shows and it was always failing prematurely. Haven't touched it in nearly 10 years.
Ah, so sarcasm then...lol
I am assuming you're happy with the ASUS experiences then?
 

Smokindog

Senior Member
Ah, so sarcasm then...lol
I am assuming you're happy with the ASUS experiences then?
Nothing sarcastic at all and yes, as compared to everything else I've tried/used I'm basically happy with ASUS networking products.
 

rk8531

Regular Contributor
Never used their stuff. Do you have personal experiences?
Thanks
Ed
Yep, I have used their product for a long time. Just to Name- WNDR 3400, R7000and R7800. However, recently I have switched to Asus RT86U from Netgear R7800.
In general Netgear routers have a better build quality, especially the all the Nighthawk series routers. You can clearly tell the difference if you compare it with any other consumer router manufacturer. However, the software they pack is the least customizable and looks pretty archaic compared to Asus's web UI.
So, choice is yours. If you want a more reliable router then go for Netgear. If you want a feature packed router then go for Asus.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I can report that I had decided to 'upgrade' from my 68U running Merlin (rock solid BTW) to an AC-86U running the same firmware version. All was well for two days, then the dreaded wireless drop outs which then progressed to many, many reboots. After a week of digging into this issue ( researching, modifying settings, resetting, restoring, reverting firmware to earlier versions, wash, repeat, then frustration) I have given up. I have had a dozen ASUS routers running Merlin over the years and I can clearly state that there is indeed something amiss with this router.
My RMA is in, but I am skeptical of the reliability.
As far as debugging, it was frustrating not to be able to zero in on a set of circumstances that trigger the Linux reboots. If you can reliably cause the problem then you have a chance. But this issue is elusive. The Loch Ness of Merlin if you will.
SO that is my experience, and it left me frustrated and less comfortable with trusting ASUS routers going forward.
Regards
Ed
If a router doesn't work reliably out-of-box after a clean install and minimal configuration, I'd stop messing with it and send it back.

OE
 

maxbraketorque

Very Senior Member
Well, originally I just flashed the latest Merlin over the stock Asus firmware. Then I ran into all of these issues. Then what I did was to re-flash the latest stock ASUS, did a factory reset, flashed the latest Merlin, factory reset, then add my settings.
I have been reading more since my post and the one thing I can intuitively grok is the renaming of the SSIDs when moving to a new firmware.

So I have to ask what steps you might recommend given the state of the router as it is to try and get it to a stable state?

I saw none of the aforementioned issues when upgrading the AC68U.

Thanks and cheers
Ed
If you're still having trouble after these steps, I think its reasonable to assume that the router is defective, but if you want to take one last stab at reviving it, you could try resetting the router using the LD&D M&M configuration (look at the bottom of one of LD&D's posts for a link). Its more involved than the standard factory reset. If that doesn't work or if you don't want to try, then if the router is within the store return period, I suggest going that route. If the router is outside the return period, I'm not sure what needs to be done to get a replacement.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Well, originally I just flashed the latest Merlin over the stock Asus firmware. Then I ran into all of these issues. Then what I did was to re-flash the latest stock ASUS, did a factory reset, flashed the latest Merlin, factory reset, then add my settings.
I have been reading more since my post and the one thing I can intuitively grok is the renaming of the SSIDs when moving to a new firmware.

So I have to ask what steps you might recommend given the state of the router as it is to try and get it to a stable state?

I saw none of the aforementioned issues when upgrading the AC68U.

Thanks and cheers
Ed

Warning: Nuclear Reset process is described below. :)


Before you send in your unit in, see if this works to get you a more stable router, the links below may offer more details that may help too:

WPS NVRAM Erase
https://www.snbforums.com/threads/b...eta-is-now-available.55520/page-9#post-473141
M&M Config https://www.snbforums.com/threads/n...l-and-manual-configuration.27115/#post-205573
Sanitize Network https://www.snbforums.com/threads/rt-ac66u-slow-wan-to-lan.12973/page-3#post-269410
Save NVRAM Settings https://www.snbforums.com/threads/asus-dsl-88u-transfer-settings-question.42274/#post-359390
Control Channel Set up https://www.snbforums.com/threads/a...details-in-the-description.55582/#post-472051
amtm Step-by-Step https://www.snbforums.com/threads/amtm-step-by-step-install-guide-l-ld.56237/#post-483421

  1. With the router currently running, unplug the power plug from the router, and not just from the wall socket. Leave it for at least 2 minutes and up to an hour if you can (do you have another router to use for now)? Before continuing, make sure to unplug all USB devices, and all WAN and Ethernet cables too before powering it up in the next step.
  2. Perform a WPS NVRAM Erase by holding the WPS button and connecting the power plug (make sure to have left the power switch to the 'On' position). Hold for 10 to 30 seconds and the router should reboot and should take you to the setup wizard. If it doesn't, repeat the above steps (waiting at least 2 minutes with the power off) until it goes into the setup wizard when it boots up. Note: you'll be able to see the 'Asus' SSID if it worked properly.
  3. Perform a quick/temporary wizard setup, just enough to get to the router's advanced settings. Do not reboot the router at this point.
  4. Perform a GUI initiated reset to factory defaults, making sure to also check the box that says 'Initialize all settings...' before hitting the Restore button.
  5. When the router reboots this time, perform another quick/temporary wizard setup and flash the firmware you want on the router (I'm guessing RMerlin's).
  6. After the router reboots, perform a GUI initiated reset to factory defaults one last time, making sure to check the box that says 'Initialize all settings...' before hitting the Restore button.
  7. After the router reboots this time, do a minimal and manual configuration to secure the router and connect to your ISP (plug in the WAN cable if it isn't plugged in already).
  8. Now, check the box to 'Format the JFFS partition on next boot' and make sure you hit Apply at the bottom of the page too before rebooting the router 3 times in the next 15 minutes. Waiting for at least 5 to 10 minutes between reboots.
  9. Before you go customizing the router any further, I would recommend following the beginning part of the amtm Step-by-Step guide to have a spare USB drive properly formatted, and used with a swap file. Do not add any other scripts yet through amtm until the router has proved stable to this point.
Here, you should have the router and installed firmware in as stable a state as possible.

Use the suggestions in the M&M Config, the Sanitize Network and the Control Channel Set up in the links above to further stabilize the settings. Leave the router in this state for a few hours or a couple of days or more to know it is actually stable.

Now, for all your specific customizations, I would proceed slowly and methodically. Making only one change/addition at a time and testing fully and for an extended period to verify that this specific customization didn't break anything or make the router otherwise unstable. Don't forget to do a GUI initiated Reboot and test fully again with each change.

The above steps will either get your current router to a good/known state, or it will indicate that the RMA was actually needed. :)
 
Last edited:

edsyl

Occasional Visitor
In your experiences as an ASUS paramedic, how many routers have experienced an NDE like mine and lived to route about it?
 

edsyl

Occasional Visitor
One last one. Seems to be no consensus on channel width for 5Ghz setting. What say ye?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Much appreciated. In your experience as an ASUS paramedic first responder, how many routers have had an NDE and lived to route about it?
Will let you know....how it goes tomorrow
ED
One last one. Seems to be no consensus on channel width for 5Ghz setting. What say ye?
Unless you want the very furthest reach on 5GHz (and not by much, ime) then I would suggest 80MHz width.

There are more than a few examples in this forum that have lived to route about it when all else seemed lost. :)
 

edsyl

Occasional Visitor
Unless you want the very furthest reach on 5GHz (and not by much, ime) then I would suggest 80MHz width.

There are more than a few examples in this forum that have lived to route about it when all else seemed lost. :)
OK, will report
 

edsyl

Occasional Visitor
OK, will report
Well, having followed your steps, I felt like Dr. Frankenstein as new life seems to have been born into the router!
The router was joined by all the close cables at the awakening, and so far all seems much more stable.
Will continue to monitor and ensure that no fire comes near our creation....lol

Will update
 

martinr

Part of the Furniture
Before you send in your unit in, see if this works to get you a more stable router, the links below may offer more details that may help too:

WPS NVRAM Erase
https://www.snbforums.com/threads/b...eta-is-now-available.55520/page-9#post-473141
M&M Config https://www.snbforums.com/threads/n...l-and-manual-configuration.27115/#post-205573
Sanitize Network https://www.snbforums.com/threads/rt-ac66u-slow-wan-to-lan.12973/page-3#post-269410
Save NVRAM Settings https://www.snbforums.com/threads/asus-dsl-88u-transfer-settings-question.42274/#post-359390
Control Channel Set up https://www.snbforums.com/threads/a...details-in-the-description.55582/#post-472051
amtm Step-by-Step https://www.snbforums.com/threads/amtm-step-by-step-install-guide-l-ld.56237/#post-483421

  1. With the router currently running, unplug the power plug from the router, and not just from the wall socket. Leave it for at least 2 minutes and up to an hour if you can (do you have another router to use for now)? Before continuing, make sure to unplug all USB devices, and all WAN and Ethernet cables too before powering it up in the next step.
  2. Perform a WPS NVRAM Erase by holding the WPS button and connecting the power plug (make sure to have left the power switch to the 'On' position). Hold for 10 to 30 seconds and the router should reboot and should take you to the setup wizard. If it doesn't, repeat the above steps (waiting at least 2 minutes with the power off) until it goes into the setup wizard when it boots up. Note: you'll be able to see the 'Asus' SSID if it worked properly.
  3. Perform a quick/temporary wizard setup, just enough to get to the router's advanced settings. Do not reboot the router at this point.
  4. Perform a GUI initiated reset to factory defaults, making sure to also check the box that says 'Initialize all settings...' before hitting the Restore button.
  5. When the router reboots this time, perform another quick/temporary wizard setup and flash the firmware you want on the router (I'm guessing RMerlin's).
  6. After the router reboots, perform a GUI initiated reset to factory defaults one last time, making sure to check the box that says 'Initialize all settings...' before hitting the Restore button.
  7. After the router reboots this time, do a minimal and manual configuration to secure the router and connect to your ISP (plug in the WAN cable if it isn't plugged in already).
  8. Now, check the box to 'Format the JFFS partition on next boot' and make sure you hit Apply at the bottom of the page too before rebooting the router 3 times in the next 15 minutes. Waiting for at least 5 to 10 minutes between reboots.
  9. Before you go customizing the router any further, I would recommend following the beginning part of the amtm Step-by-Step guide to have a spare USB drive properly formatted, and used with a swap file. Do not add any other scripts yet through amtm until the router has proved stable to this point.
Here, you should have the router and installed firmware in as stable a state as possible.

Use the suggestions in the M&M Config, the Sanitize Network and the Control Channel Set up in the links above to further stabilize the settings. Leave the router in this state for a few hours or a couple of days or more to know it is actually stable.

Now, for all your specific customizations, I would proceed slowly and methodically. Making only one change/addition at a time and testing fully and for an extended period to verify that this specific customization didn't break anything or make the router otherwise unstable. Don't forget to do a GUI initiated Reboot and test fully again with each change.

The above steps will either get your current router to a good/known state, or it will indicate that the RMA was actually needed. :)

I’d already bookmarked here as your Guides and Resources compilation. And this post I’ve bookmarked and called the RMA Diagnostic.
 

gattaca

Senior Member
I’d already bookmarked here as your Guides and Resources compilation. And this post I’ve bookmarked and called the RMA Diagnostic.
One of the key elements in L&LD process is the WPS NVRAM Erase and series of careful reboots after setting the router to the FACTORY DEFAULTS. There are times when the firmware and NVRAM get so *@(*(@ up and outta sync that you need a long-format (wipe) of the NVRAM space to put things into order. Even reflashing the firmware lays down new bits which may have been corrupted. I've seen this behavior with all sorts of computer pHW over the past 30+ years. Resetting to the factory defaults, then doing the setup has in 95% of the cases stabilized the pHW. If L&LD's reset guide does not work, I'd cut my losses and replace the unit. Your time is valuable too!
 

John260

New Around Here
beginner IT Pro ... purchased asus rt ac86u and within a few months the router died. I purchased this router because of the reviews and hardware , only to be disappointed by it dying within a few months. I am livid, now I have to use the ISP provided router. If Asus does not replace this for me , I will never by Asus again.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
beginner IT Pro ... purchased asus rt ac86u and within a few months the router died. I purchased this router because of the reviews and hardware , only to be disappointed by it dying within a few months. I am livid, now I have to use the ISP provided router. If Asus does not replace this for me , I will never by Asus again.
Once you get more IT experience, you'll take it in stride and just get on with processing the RMA like all the rest to come while troubleshooting other endless IT stuff... like a Pro.

OE
 

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