RT-AC86U / AiMesh /


Occasional Visitor
I have a network consisting of a pair of RT-AC86U units. One is an AiMesh Router and the other is an AiMesh Node, connected by a 5GHz backhaul. They were both running on

On Friday, the RT-AC86U AiMesh Node failed with the known issue of the step-down chip dying. I therefore ordered a RT-AX86S as a replacement, being the nearest equivalent.

While waiting for the new node, I took the opportunity to update the remaining RT-AC86U to the latest available firmware,

When the new RT-AX86S arrived, I updated it to the latest available firmware,, as it was out of date.

When I tried to add the new RT-AX86S as a new AiMesh Node, the process would start but fail almost immediately at 1‰, leaving the new one locked up. I repeated this a number of times, making sure that the devices were close enough. Nothing made any difference.

On a hunch, based on other forum posts regarding AiMesh on both RT-AC86U and Merlin's 386.7_2, I reverted the RT-AC86U back to the firmware.

With absolutely no other changes, AiMesh worked perfectly and the new RT-AX86S was added as expected.

Conclusion : there is something seriously wrong with the firmware regarding AiMesh over a wireless backhaul. I suspect that the latest Merlin 7.2 is also impacted, as he has to use the ASUS supplie AiMesh binary code.

I hope someone out there finds this information to be helpful.


Part of the Furniture
You have to use the better AX86S as your main router. The best firmware so far based on my own experience with AX86U (AX86S runs the same firmware) is 386.49599. This firmware on AX86U and 386.48260 on AC86U work well in wireless AiMesh with AC86U as node. Try and see what you get.


Occasional Visitor
Unfortunately, I have made significant changes to the main router configuration, including adding entware to it. While I absolutely agree that the RT-AX86S should be the master, it's a lot of effort to reconfigure the network. I'll do this when the RT-AC86U inevitably fails with the same step-down issue. For now, I have a solution.

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