RT-AC86U - Firmware and Settings

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bbunge

Very Senior Member
I am writing this as a point of reference for users of the wonderful AC86U router. May 2020 has seen a couple of releases of Asus firmware for this router that, for some of us, has been working very well. The current version of this firmware is 3.0.0.4.384_81918-gc0daad1

Factory reset of the AC86U: turn off the power switch, while pressing the WPS button turn the power on and when the power LED goes off turn the power off, then turn the power on and configure the router.

I strongly recommend you use Dual Band SmartConnect when you set up the router. Leave all WIFI settings under the Professional tab at default. Set the 2.4 GHZ to 20 MHZ bandwidth on channel 1, 6 or 11. 5 GHZ set to 20, 40, 80 MHZ bandwidth on a fixed non DFS channel (I use channel 36). I turn off WPS but it will be needed if you set up AiMesh.

I do run AiProtect and DDNS. In WAN settings I turn off UPNP and use fixed DNS servers (Quad9). I do run OpenVPN server for access to my LAN while away. I turn off Media Server and Network Place (Samba) as I run file sharing from a NAS. I also run a 2.4 GHZ Guest Network for a couple of IoT devices.

I was a long time user of the Merlin firmware and wanted to use DoT. I did find a way to run Stubby via Entware on a stock Asus router. However, I feel that running a Pi-Hole DNS server with Stubby is a better way to go.

If you have issues loosing the WAN connection please try another cable between the router and modem or ONT.

This is not intended to be an exhaustive how to but a simple this is what works for me. Others are very opinionated about their settings preference and do have a right to express their views. I do feel the AC86U WIFI works best with factory default Professional settings!

Please give it a try if you are having issues with your AC86U.

In case you have changed WIFI settings under the Professional tab and do not want to do a factory reset, here are the default settings:
2.4GHZ-Professional.jpg 5GHZ-Professional.jpg
 
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OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Factory reset of the AC86U: turn off the power switch, while pressing the WPS button turn the power on and when the power LED goes off turn the power off, then turn the power on and configure the router.
Here's a convenient list of hard factory reset methods for various Asus routers:
https://www.asus.com/US/support/FAQ/1039074

I turn off WPS but it will be needed if you set up AiMesh.
Footnote... WPS is turned ON automatically when adding an AiMesh node. And it can be turned OFF afterward.

OE
 
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MarkyPancake

Senior Member
I would counter this and not blanket recommend dual band Smart Connect, as whilst this will work for some users' needs, I'm sure there are many where this is not the best approach and they would be better to run separate wireless networks to separate their devices.
 

hotsauce2007

Regular Contributor
good tips, just one question, can we find one thread over here with tips to configure and setup the ac86u with all the best settings?
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture

bbunge

Very Senior Member
good tips, just one question, can we find one thread over here with tips to configure and setup the ac86u with all the best settings?
See the first post in this thread. This is what works best for me! And YES I recommend Dual Band SmartConnect! Let your devices sort out what they run best on.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Thank you very much, I did all the settings like u said.

What about the Persistent JFFS2 partition? Should I keep it on On or Off?
Leave it alone unless someone reasons otherwise.

Live with your network for a week or so before adding any extra features.

OE
 

bbunge

Very Senior Member
Thank you very much, I did all the settings like u said.

What about the Persistent JFFS2 partition? Should I keep it on On or Off?
Hope you did not do the WIFI changes OE recommends. They are not needed with the recent firmware!
 

hotsauce2007

Regular Contributor
Hope you did not do the WIFI changes OE recommends. They are not needed with the recent firmware!
I just fixed the 2.4channel and 5gh channel.
11 ( better here where I live ) and 156 ( better here )
and changed to 20mhz for 2.4...
the another settings was already done...
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Hope you did not do the WIFI changes OE recommends. They are not needed with the recent firmware!
Firmware only affects choices when it's defective or lacking. Otherwise, the user is free to do as they please... let them.

OE
 

K-2SO

Very Senior Member
I strongly recommend you use Dual Band SmartConnect
Leave all WIFI settings under the Professional tab at default.
This is the Easy Connect way. Far from Best Connect. Devices get connected somehow and get some Internet.
There is no point in buying an RT-AC86U in this case. TP-Link Archer C7/A7 for $60 should be good enough.

Default settings on RT-AC86U are in total mess. I would say marketing BS. Some create compatibility issues, others performance issues, some don't even apply for specific bands. What is MU-MIMO on 2.4GHz? What is TX Bursting on 5GHz? What is Explicit Beamforming on 2.4GHz? Why Airtime Fairness? Why Roaming Assistant on both bands? How many devices support 1024QAM?

Wrong advice. Sorry.
 

bbunge

Very Senior Member
This is the Easy Connect way. Far from Best Connect. Devices get connected somehow and get some Internet.
There is no point in buying an RT-AC86U in this case. TP-Link Archer C7/A7 for $60 should be good enough.

Default settings on RT-AC86U are in total mess. I would say marketing BS. Some create compatibility issues, others performance issues, some don't even apply for specific bands. What is MU-MIMO on 2.4GHz? What is TX Bursting on 5GHz? What is Explicit Beamforming on 2.4GHz? Why Airtime Fairness? Why Roaming Assistant on both bands? How many devices support 1024QAM?

Wrong advice. Sorry.
I continue to collect success stories from my settings recommendations. Some, including me, have even better performance with Asus Factory than running Merlin. As I have stated before, my goal was to make my network simple enough for someone with basic network knowledge to fix something in case I get sick (or die) and can't manage the router. I feel that I have succeeded in spite of some (your) negative comments.
 

K-2SO

Very Senior Member
As I have stated before, my goal was to make my network simple enough for someone with basic network knowledge to fix something in case I get sick (or die) and can't manage the router.
You can even use auto channels then. Why bother with manual selections? Let the router decide what is best. Why bother with own router at all if the goal is to have some Internet coming to devices? Your ISP provided basic router also sends some Internet to devices. Comes with the service usually. The tech guy will write down for you the SSID and the password. No knowledge required whatsoever.

People come to this forum to learn something more than Default. How to make things better. How to use the advantages specific models offer in both hardware and software. They want to know what the extra $200 can do. How to quickly connect the router and get on Internet is explained pretty straight forward in the User Manual.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture

Jbennett360

Regular Contributor
"99.99% of networking issues are cabling." - old guy

Meanwhile, do it... reset and reconfigure your router from scratch and use until you trust it before adding more to it.

OE
Hmm. Was my thought.

If the issue is download speed, then it's more than likely to be the cable from the Modem to the router, right?

However, I haven't factory reset the router since i got it, and dirty flashed updates from Merlin since day one. (April 2018)

Seems weird how a simple reboot of the router fixes it though?
 

bbunge

Very Senior Member
Hmm. Was my thought.

If the issue is download speed, then it's more than likely to be the cable from the Modem to the router, right?

However, I haven't factory reset the router since i got it, and dirty flashed updates from Merlin since day one. (April 2018)

Seems weird how a simple reboot of the router fixes it though?
Suppose it is possible you are running out of RAM that adding a swap file might or might not help fix.
Would encourage you to at least try the Asus firmware.
Keep in mind that the M&M reset procedure for the AC86U is flawed and really not necessary. A good old WPS button factory reset will do you just fine if you come to doing it.
 

Jbennett360

Regular Contributor
Suppose it is possible you are running out of RAM that adding a swap file might or might not help fix.
Would encourage you to at least try the Asus firmware.
Keep in mind that the M&M reset procedure for the AC86U is flawed and really not necessary. A good old WPS button factory reset will do you just fine if you come to doing it.
So coming from Merlin 384.17, would you flash the latest Asus then factory reset?
 

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