Possible problem with MESH nodes using Firmware version 386.1

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tessierp

Occasional Visitor
Hi everyone,

I thought I'd share an update. If you remember, the only way I could get my MESH stable is by having my RT-AX88U using firmware 384.19 while my RT-AX86U was using ASUS's latest firmware. Yesterday, I thought I'd give 386.2_6 a try and proceeded to install that on both routers. Everything seemed fine and then after a while, I would lose total connection to my RT-AX86U which is, in this case, the slave router. The only way I could get it to connect again to the MESH was to reboot the RT-AX86U.

I then installed the latest firmware from ASUS on both my routers and it has been 12 hours and haven't lost connection, the RT-AX86U has a "GREAT" connection quality. I haven't tried to install 386.2_6 on just the master router which in this case is the RT-AX88U (which was using 384.19 previously while the RT-AX86U used ASUS's latest firmware).

Anyways just sharing, hopefully this help the developers to have a scenario to test against.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Which developers? :)

Nobody will have every combination possible. Not even Asus (let alone RMerlin).

I think you need to flash the same latest firmware on all your routers, do a full reset on each, then minimally and manually configure the main router to find the stability you seek.
 

tessierp

Occasional Visitor
Well that is what I just said just in case you didn't read that part, that the same firmware was installed, 386.2_6 on all routers and the MESH network fails while doing the same using ASUS's firmware works. As for a full reset that was done and reapplied a previously applied configuration in both cases and so far only the ASUS firmware provides a stable MESH network. As for the developers, reading the problem I expose seems only to apply to the Merlin firmware.

BTW, while I did do a full reset, this is the usual line Level 1 support usually has you do. We both know this is because most users don't know what they are doing. To me this is akin to rebooting Windows every time you have an issue as opposed to finding the source of the problem. A full reset will not take care of this problem especially when I can prove that, consistently, the problem only occurs with any firmware version beyond 384.19.

My goal here is to bring awareness of this issue and if there is a way for the developers to test this fine, if not I at least am providing a way to solve this issue if someone has a configuration similar to my own using an RT-AX88U as the master router and one RT-AX86U as the slave in my MESH network. But as far as stability goes, it wont happen unless ASUS's firmware is used.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture

tessierp

Occasional Visitor
I know what you said but I just do not believe this is the correct path. When I initially configured the routers, I immediately installed Merlin's firmware before configuring the routers. The problems started to happen around patch 384.19 which at least lets me run one router (RT-AX88U) with it but the RT-AX87U wouldn't not be able to sustain a MESH connection. The only way was to install ASUS's firmware.

To be perfectly honest, I don't have the time to reset and reconfigure everything from scratch. Especially that I installed Merlin's firmware since the start.

And you tell me, why does it work fine with ASUS's firmware without any issues for more than 24 hours now and that without a full reset?

Either way, I'm only using these routers as Access points now, I have OPNSense to do the heavy lifting.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
And everything you're saying just convinces me more that a full/proper reset is required. Particularly in your case.

First, you flash the firmware you want. Then, you do a full reset to factory defaults.

Your routers are not in a good/known state when you go from stock Asus to RMerlin firmware without doing a full M&M Config. Even when it seems they are when doing vice versa.
 

tessierp

Occasional Visitor
And I realize you are just sharing, not blasting or against you just sharing my own experience and not sure that will solve my issues and don't really have the time to reconfigure everything just to adapt to Merlin's firmware if ASUS's one works at the moment without any issues.
 

tessierp

Occasional Visitor
And I get what you are saying but I am not convinced. Maybe a day comes where I can do this but right now I just don't have the time. Perhaps your approach works and if someone out there can confirm it with a setup similar to mine, then maybe I would consider the effort of redoing everything. Otherwise, I'll stick with what I have. Just too much work to reconfigure all my stuff, smart devices, etc.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
What we want to believe and what the reality is doesn't always coincide. :)

Installation · RMerl/asuswrt-merlin.ng Wiki · GitHub

Installation​


Eric Sauvageau edited this page on Sep 7, 2020 · 14 revisions
You can download the firmware from https://www.asuswrt-merlin.net/download.
Since Asuswrt-Merlin is mostly a variant of the original Asuswrt, it means that there is no special procedure to flash it. Just flash it the same way you would flash any regular Asus firmware. A few notes:
  • Starting with Asus's 3.0.0.4.380_3000, a new firmware format is used. To flash Asuswrt-Merlin on one of these newer firmwares, you will need 380.61 or newer. Likewise, downgrading to an older version is not supported. (Try firmware recovery mode if you really need to downgrade.)
  • The RT-AC68U and RT-AC56U need to be at least on firmware 378.55 (or the last 378.xxx version from Asus) before you can flash 380.xx or newer, due to the partition size change.
  • It's recommended to reboot the router before flashing it, to free up sufficient memory. Otherwise, there's a chance the router might reject the firmware, due to running too low of free RAM.
  • If coming from a non-Asuswrt firmware, you will have to do a factory default reset.
  • While it is generally not necessary to restore to factory defaults, it's not a bad idea, especially if there is a big jump in version number (e.g. from 112 to 178). No need to do the 30/30/30 dance as required by DD-WRT - just do a plain Factory Default reset, or turn the device on while keeping the WPS button pressed. (The procedure can be different from one model to another.)
  • It is very hard to brick an Asus router. If something goes wrong during flashing, you can put your router in Recovery mode by powering it on while you keep Reset pressed. After your release it, the power LED will either blink or stay off (depending on the model). At that point, you can either access it through http://192.168.1.1 (make sure you first give your PC a static IP within the same range, e.g. 192.168.1.100), or through the Firmware Recovery Tool provided on Asus's support CD. You will then be able to flash a working firmware.
  • If something looks weird, don't waste too much time: save your settings, reset to factory default, reconfigure the basics, and see if the issue is resolved. If not, you can always restore your saved settings and do some more advanced troubleshooting.
  • It is not recommended to restore settings saved under a different firmware version. It might work, but there is no guarantee.
 

tessierp

Occasional Visitor
The reality is, as of now, my WIFI is stable and working. What is reality is what you are suggesting, for many this may not be practical. I really liked Merlin's firmware but for the time being, I'll use ASUS's. Thanks for sharing anyways.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I can understand how it may not be convenient at a specific time frame (now, for you).

That doesn't mean this is a bug or other fault of the firmware when it is explicitly stated that a full reset is required when coming from any other firmware (or when upgrading even RMerlin firmware a considerable number of versions). This also applies to stock firmware, btw.

Enjoy the stable network while you can. In the state the routers are in, it won't last too long (hope I'm wrong for your sake). :)
 

tessierp

Occasional Visitor
Anyone can write whatever they want, it doesn't mean it is correct. And I've been doing this for years with other routers without any issues. Now you may think this is not bug but, I've run for that past 5 months without any issues with the "state" my routers are in. Not bad for something that is supposed to break according to you. All I see is arrogance stating stuff from a document thinking it is the holy grail dismissing the evidence at hand.. Well you know, you can believe what you want I guess.. From what I have been reading around, I'm not the only ones experiencing issues so yeah I do think there is something in the firmware causing issues.

So I'm willing to make the following bet with you.. My routers with the ASUS firmware is going to continue to run fine like they did before I tried 386.2_6 AFTER a full reset and flashing the firmware. So far your assumptions are all wrong especially with your statement of the stability of my routers ;-). Like I said, they have been fine for 5 months until I attempted 386.2_6 and I can guarantee you they will be fine 6 months down the road. Before you make bold assumptions like this, I would do some research before, especially that your assumption is totally wrong ;-)

Cheers.
 
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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The author of the fork is not just 'anybody' (and is who I quoted above). :rolleyes:

I am not making any assumptions, you are.

AP mode is not equivalent to using them in router mode. Nor does it prove they are stable in any other use scenario.

I'm not assuming, correcting, or 'preaching' to you. I'm letting future readers of this thread know the facts, and not think that your statements are accurate or what they should expect when trying to test third-party firmware with explicit instructions of use. :)

You can continue to be happy you don't have to do what is expected to get your network to work on the latest firmware from RMerlin, but please stop insisting there is something wrong with it and nothing wrong with your half-poor implementation of it.

Cheers to you.
 

tessierp

Occasional Visitor
Dude, I'm sorry but your reading skills are terrible. First I specified I was using them in AP mode MANY times. Second, the problem still persists after a reset which I mentioned at least 3 times or more already... Third, I am not making ANY assumptions, those are facts, the scenario I am explaining is FACTUAL.. You are the one assuming that my "routers" in AP mode will not be stable for long, on what basis you came out with that idea, who knows, just to try and look SAVVY I suppose. And no, you are not letting future readers know the facts, you are being defensive. As oppose to proposing a real solution that works or providing real evidence why this doesn't work you only cite a recipe that may have worked with your setup, whatever that is, and you take it for granted, one size fits all. And OBVIOUSLY it doesn't work with my situation. To make matters worse, you are not even equipped to even test this scenario with the models I have and yet there you are throwing "facts" up in the air.

And I don't have the insist, the facts are there and just to demonstrate to everyone just how poor your troubleshooting skills are you are there assuming that very soon my WIFI will not work anymore while it did for the last 5 months.. And I'll be here in the next five months to prove you wrong again. But like anything, the future readers will decide which course of action to take given the information but I can tell anyone right now, if you have any issues, I went back to ASUS's firmware and everything has been working the way it was perfectly fine for the past 5 months. You have any issues, don't hesitate to try. Most certainly do not rely on someone who assumes stuff without knowing anything about it and less someone who doesn't even have the hardware to try this yet throwing around assumptions which are false.

Enjoy folks!
 
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