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RT-AC3100 RT-AC68R Stay w/Merlin or Try AiMesh Firmware, third router recommendation

Discussion in 'ASUS AC / AX Routers & Adapters' started by mink, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. mink

    mink New Around Here

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2018
    Messages:
    7
    Greeting, so on hand:
    RT-AC3100 ASUSWRT-Merlin 384.6 firmware as primary router
    Motorolla DOCIS 3.0 cable modem via Comcast
    RT-AC68R off line as spare, ASUSWRT-Merlin firmware Likely around 376
    RT-N66U ASUSWRT-Merlin 376.48.3 in wired gigabit backhaul as access point/switch
    The RT-AC3100 can't cover our 2500 sqft house, hence the RT-N66U in wired bridge.
    Without the mesh capability, our portable wireless devices need apps that monitor WIFI signal levels to switch between the different SSIDs I've set up.

    I'm considering switching to the ASSUSWRT firmware with the new AiMESH ability so I can have one SSID shared between the Wireless Points. I understand best practice still might be to separate SSID for 2.4 vs 5 GHz. I'm also having some networking issues, as below, after bonding the two ports in a Synology DS918+.

    - I see that only the RT-AC3100 and RT-AC68R (which is the same hardware as a U) can be upgraded to the new MESH capable firmware but the RT-N66U can't be?
    - We might need a 3rd access point for a garage/shop level below, being on a steep hill. Any recommendations of a third unit and preferred primary in this configuration.
    - Is this a fools errand<G>?

    I've read that the RT-AC88u performed better than the RT-AC3100 but also that they are really the same with just an 8port vs a 4port switch

    - Likely this should wait until the Synology issue is sorted out, but I found the multiple SSID issue has been an annoyance. I'm considering flashing the spare RT-AC68R to the ASUSWRT and swapping in.

    Having some issues with new Synology DS918+ NAS connecting outside of intRAnet with 2 ports in BONDED mode with a managed Netgear switch. Considering using the RT-AC3100 Port 1&2 bonding, but this is not my question. Perhaps my Synology issues could be from that (I doubt it, but their tech support hasn't tested that configuration, or course neither with the latest main AsusWRT<G>).

    The Synology will be replacing one of 3 Xubuntu based NAS/Media servers. Our phone is voip and irrigation is internet linked so reliability is important (hence the main router preconfigured spare).
    Thank you kindly for reading. cheers
    amg
     
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  3. Grisu

    Grisu Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,079
    look here on the right #2 RT-AC86U, successor of your 68U/R with much faster and newer hardware worth 150USD.
     
    OzarkEdge likes this.
  4. indark

    indark Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2014
    Messages:
    172
    Currently running ac3100 with ac68u with ai-mesh
    Ac68u does not have smart connect(yet??? i think), while it's possible to setup ai-mesh with just 1 ssid, I dont know how stable it is in ai-mesh setup. I did tried it once (long time ago), but still prefer to separate the 2.4G (less important devices) and 5G (gaming/streaming devices).

    And if you do pick up 3rd unit, 86u seems to be the most current and better pick. You will want to use it as primary since it has fastest CPU.

    Microcenter has deals with 2 86u @ 160 each. (in store only though)

    And i think only difference between 88u and 3100 is just the # of ports. Maybe you were reading 86u better than 3100? :p
     
  5. mink

    mink New Around Here

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    Sep 14, 2018
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    I think so. I was referring to a couple of posts at once, that actually were contradictory <G> I found the specs and thanks for noting the higher cpu of the 86u vs the others! Also more memory. Certainly a potential issue flashing firmware. Should have just looked more carefully at the spec sheets at ASUS, but I wasn't focused on the router before.

    I've sorted the Synology NAS issues out by resetting its network configuration. Its validating Acronis backups at close to 800 Mbps over the network (no Acronis package on the box) which is not bad. I had lost access to Package Manager. I think I had two DHCP agents/daemons, running by mistake (or whatever you call them), or maybe not.

    Now I'm getting "TLS handshake" timeouts at certain web sites in Firefox and chrome on both Win10pro laptops and even an Xubuntu 16.04 with firefox, so I can't blame Win10 or Win FW too much (well maybe a little for other stuff). Seems maybe since flashing to last Merlin firmware. Need to try the long power off, reset, renter everything into router I guess. I did note the RT-AC3100 was pegging each core to 100%, alternately for a while when I had improperly bonded the two ports for the NAS by also bonding two ports in a managed switch with the wrong protocol. Synology support reported dropped packets. Now with the NAS only bonding its own ports, router is running cooler and at much lower cpu utilization. Hoping I didn't fry something in the router but they are supposed to be tough.<G>

    Thank you kindly for the advice. Sounds like the 86U has more horsepower under the hood!
    cheers
    amg
     
  6. indark

    indark Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2014
    Messages:
    172
    the naming scheme is def confusing ;p

    I will try to test the TLS handshake issue by plug in the laptop directly to the modem to see if it's indeed cause by the Asus router. (assuming it's simple plug n play to hook up the laptop to the cable modem)

    Not sure how easy it is to reset cable modem if needed. I think comcast can do it for you if necessary.
     
  7. mink

    mink New Around Here

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    Sep 14, 2018
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    Thanks abunch!! Well, I power cycled the cable modem and router again to be safe. I researched further the TLS issue and found some settings in Firefox about:config/security.tls to play with but some sites are still slow or fail. Good thing I can test in different OS. I can't download documentation files from Acronis, but I can pull 1GB+ ISO files from xubuntu via bitorrent .. with over 50 seeds, go figure. I will survive the week as long as my wife can download her course files, which seems ok so far<G>. Amazon still seems to work; a mixed blessing.

    So an RT-AC86u is on the way. Debating flashing to latest straight AsusWRT vs Merlin. Likely the AsusWRT for start. Hold the RT-AC3100 as a spare with the merlin on. Flash the RT-AC68R from ~Merlin376 to AsusWRT current see if I can get them to use AiMESh and if I miss any features from the Merlin. Then I have the AC3100 + RT-N66 to fall back on if things go south. Not much tolerance for outage here. If that works out, have to decide what to do with the RT-N66 since I guess it can't take the newer AiMesh. If Merlin works out, then it can be a second bridge but I guess its back to different SSIDs for each access point:<{(. House is L shape, on hill, with network entry/equip in center. Much flexible metal conduit, wiring, ductwork that seems to soak up wireless signal.
    cheers
    amg
     
  8. HowIFix

    HowIFix Guest

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  9. indark

    indark Regular Contributor

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    many factor can cause the TLS handshake, could be extensions in firefox, Antivirus used, and even IPV6 can be the reason behind it when google it.
    hard to tell what cause the issue. only way is to google and try everything >.<

    good thing is that flashing merlin/asuswrt isn't difficult task at all, so I play around between the 2 firmware often
    with ai-mesh seems to be the most stable @ current version, 2 weeks without rebooting so far, I haven't switch back to merlin myself.
    I do wish ai-mesh can work on merlin someday :p, always want all the good stuff
    I just do my standard power cycle + wps method to clear nvram whenever I experience weird issue, my 5 year+ ac68u has not yet fail me (knocking on the wood quick :p)
    (it does have some issue with initial ai-mesh setup, but stable after connection is established)
    it's the same for everyone, happy wifi(wife) = happy life
     
  10. mink

    mink New Around Here

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    Interesting posts, indark. very tempted by Synology RT2600AC. Will give the AC86u a chance since already ordered, arriving Wed, and may be able to merge with existing equip as firmware mature. I think the site challenges with a very steep hill, spread out house, garage/shop below house, much metal conduit, wiring, ducts means at least three wifi points. Old house seems to suck signal like a vampire. I think the wall are almost like Faraday cages! I have run alot of Cat 5e/6, Alarm system wire, AC. Solar Array has Enphase micro inverters using WiFi (I think) to communicate to an Enovy Data unit. So some com challenges to be sure.

    Fixed the TLS/Connection with factory reset, manual setting rentry, after trying everything else <G>. Got fooled by inability to ping Acronis.com, Huffpost.com or IPs, yet sites works fine now in browser, strange. Maybe since only on IPv4? Well maybe they will choke in a few hours.
    cheers
     
  11. mink

    mink New Around Here

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    Sep 14, 2018
    Messages:
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    As mentioned above, Fixed the TLS/Connection with factory reset (red pill), manual setting rentry, after trying everything else <G>. Got fooled by inability to ping Acronis.com, Huffpost.com or IPs, yet sites works fine now in browser, strange. Is there an easier way as I explicitly assign a fair number of Host IPs in the router, kind of a pain reentering all of them.
    cheers.
     
  12. indark

    indark Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2014
    Messages:
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    synology GUI def looks nice and interested to see how it work. Picked up a refurb ac3100 for 100 bux last year and Asus later add ai-mesh. Since it has been stable for me so far, I dont get to "upgrade" :(

    placement of router can make difference especially for the ai-mesh, so it will def be a huge challenge ahead

    And I think this tool by john can help
    https://www.snbforums.com/threads/user-nvram-save-restore-utility-r26-2.19521/
    I dont have experience with it though, will need help from someone else.
     
  13. mink

    mink New Around Here

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    Sep 14, 2018
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    Makes sense.
    Well my TLS connection problem returned as soon after I reenabled AIProtection. Both an HP ElitebookG and ZBookG3 on Win10Pro. A bit of selective on and off of the sub components
    - Malicious Sites Blocking
    - Two-Way IPS
    - Infected Device Prevention and Blocking
    Did not give a consistent pattern. Time to put in a separate thread. Strangely, before the factory reset, killing AIProtect did not fix.

    For now to decide on keeping the new AC86u. Likely will to have the AC3100 as a spare primary and put the AC68r down in the Garage/shop; the rats need music too.<G>
     
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