RT-AC68U dropping 5GHz connections after disabling 2.4GHz

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rScNzBrider

New Around Here
I want to utilize the USB 3.0 port without using USB 2.0 mode, and without interference to devices using the 2.4GHz band (which I was experiencing with regularity). To do this, I decided to disable the 2.4GHz radio and instead use a spare router (ASUS RT-N10P running FreshTomato) in AP mode (N-only) using CAT6 in LAN port 1 and placed about 3 feet away.

All of my 2.4GHz devices connected fine and seemed more stable already. However, several 5GHz devices on my network - two computers, two phones, a streaming device, and smart TV - immediately began losing connection for 15-20 seconds every 5-10 minutes.

That was last night. Today, I have tested and/or replaced the Ethernet cables and restarted the router and all devices. The phones, streaming device, and smart TV all seem more stable, but both a laptop and desktop using wireless are randomly dropping the connection. It's not as often as it was last night, but it's still happening. Not sure it's relevant, but both of the affected devices use chips that support AX / WiFi 6 (though clearly my router is AC / WiFi 5 and it shouldn't matter). For these, I also removed the network from the list and reconnected.

Other items of note: I'm using Merlin's firmware, so maybe I should be posting in that forum. All but my myriad of "smart" / IoT devices (most of which use 2.4GHz) have IP addresses assigned at the router. All of the devices hitting the AP show up correctly as hardwired in the network map.

Any suggestions on settings to check?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
@rScNzBrider welcome to the forums.

You took a working setup and broke it?

Why not try a quality USB cable between the router and the drive instead to minimize the interference? And testing placing the drive in different ways (including below but not directly underneath the router).

You could post some screen shots of the way the routers are set up for better help too.
 

rScNzBrider

New Around Here
I should probably clarify that the 5GHz signal doesn't go away, it's just that the connected devices report having no internet. I'd have thought it was more an issue related to my ISP, except that the 2.4GHz devices still have internet access at the same time. Since the 2.4GHz router is set up as an AP and goes through the AC68U, that makes me think it's something on the AC68U side, specifically related to the 5GHz band.

You took a working setup and broke it?
No, I took a broken setup, fixed what was broken, and in the process broke it in a different way :p

As I noted in my first post, 2.4GHz devices were experiencing connection issues before this, which is what prompted the change. This was particularly evident when the USB 3.0 HDD was in use; among other things, it stores media for my Emby server, so when anyone was streaming it would make the 2.4GHz devices borderline unusable. Setting it to "USB 2.0 mode" in the firmware or simply moving it to the USB 2.0 port would fix the issue, but it reduced the HDD throughput so that multiple streams would be negatively affected.

I was under the impression that earlier versions of the AC68U were significantly worse in terms of interference and so given the issues I've had since day 1, I assumed I have one of those.

Why not try a quality USB cable between the router and the drive instead to minimize the interference?
I'm not sure what makes a "quality" cable, but I've used at least 3 with no improvement. One (1 foot) came with the portable HDD I'm using (a Seagate), another (3 feet) came with a WD external (non-portable) HDD, and this 1.5-foot UGREEN cable.

And testing placing the drive in different ways (including below but not directly underneath the router).

You could post some screen shots of the way the routers are set up for better help too.
Good idea on the pictures. Right now, the drive is actually exactly as you've described in relation to the router (out of convenience, not because I thought it would make a difference). I'll try to get some today.
 

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