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RT-AC86U - Poor Wifi Range

José Ferreira

Occasional Visitor
Hi, just bought the Asus AC86U last week, i got a promo with a good price.

The main purpose was to "upgrade" the router i owned, an ASUS RT-AC66U. This router ( running Merlin fork - john9527) had some issues with wifi range in 2.4Ghz band...
I've a two floor house with 1400 sq ft each, there was some problems in the far places (normal ...).
Also, with some clients (laptops), i've drops in connection, mainly when dealing with streaming video (youtube, ...).

So, after some advices, i got the AC86U.
Been playing with it for some time, seems a good equipment, but i'm a bit disappointed, must say ...
And the main problem for me is the wifi range. I've lost some range (mainly in 2.4 Ghz), when comparing to AC66U (now working as AP only) ...

The AC86U is my main router and i intend to stay this way.

So, can you give some hints on AC86U, mainly:
- How to increase/improve Wifi range?
- Asus stock vs Merlin, whats best, considering wifi range?

Thanks very much.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Hi, just bought the Asus AC86U last week, i got a promo with a good price.

The main purpose was to "upgrade" the router i owned, an ASUS RT-AC66U. This router ( running Merlin fork - john9527) had some issues with wifi range in 2.4Ghz band...
I've a two floor house with 1400 sq ft each, there was some problems in the far places (normal ...).
Also, with some clients (laptops), i've drops in connection, mainly when dealing with streaming video (youtube, ...).

So, after some advices, i got the AC86U.
Been playing with it for some time, seems a good equipment, but i'm a bit disappointed, must say ...
And the main problem for me is the wifi range. I've lost some range (mainly in 2.4 Ghz), when comparing to AC66U (now working as AP only) ...

The AC86U is my main router and i intend to stay this way.

So, can you give some hints on AC86U, mainly:
- How to increase/improve Wifi range?
- Asus stock vs Merlin, whats best, considering wifi range?

Thanks very much.
How are you determining range?

I have my 86U at one end of 1650 sq. ft. Using WiFi Analyzer on Android, I measure 2.4 -27 dBm at the router and -55 to -65 dBm at the other end of the level, about 60' from the router.

Perhaps those numbers will help determine if your 86U is operating similarly.

OE
 

José Ferreira

Occasional Visitor
HI @OzarkEdge,
Thanks for the reply.
I've WIFI Analyser and i have similar values: -27 dBm at the router and -70 dBm at the other end (no walls), about 50' from router.
The AC66U performed better, must say, and this one should be better, i think ...
And the problem rises when i go upstairs ...
JF
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I've WIFI Analyser and i have similar values: -27 dBm at the router and -70 dBm at the other end (no walls), about 50' from router.
Was the router used when you bought it?

OE
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
2020 new is good.

What firmware version is on it and did you reset before configuring the router?

OE
 

José Ferreira

Occasional Visitor
I've the last firmware from asus: 3.0.0.4.384_81992-gdc7a780 (applied it a few days ago ...)
I never did a reset (mean factory default ...?) to the router ...
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I've the last firmware from asus: 3.0.0.4.384_81992-gdc7a780 (applied it a few days ago ...)
I never did a reset (mean factory default ...?) to the router ...
I recently had 2.4 WiFi issues with 81992. I downgraded to 81858.

Given you have a 2.4 81992 concern, and you did not factory default reset your router before configuring it, you may want to try this:

o reboot the router to clear memory
o login and upload 81858 manually
o wait for it to settle and fail the login (if you try) due to the login encryption change between firmware versions
o button reset the router (hold reset button until the power LED begins to flash)
o wait for it to settle
o default login (admin, admin), perform or bypass Quick Setup, and then reset the router again using the webUI Restore with Initialize option (reset and purge logged data)
o wait for it to settle
o default login and configure the router from scratch

My install notes may help with a basic minimal configuration... ignore the AiMesh bits. Looks more complicated than it is.

Option B is to skip the downgrade, just reset and reconfigure. But given my recent ordeal with 81992, I can't recommend this.

OE
 

dodge

Occasional Visitor
So, can you give some hints on AC86U, mainly:
- How to increase/improve Wifi range?
- Asus stock vs Merlin, whats best, considering wifi range?
Is the tx power for both bands at maximum? Can't remember if ASUS stock allows adjustment, but Merlin certainly does.
 

MarkyPancake

Senior Member
Perhaps the wireless driver on the old router performs better in your environment than the wireless driver on the new router.

I've observed Wi-Fi performance changes in the past with the same model after updating the firmware where it included an updated wireless driver.
 

José Ferreira

Occasional Visitor
I recently had 2.4 WiFi issues with 81992. I downgraded to 81858.

Given you have a 2.4 81992 concern, and you did not factory default reset your router before configuring it, you may want to try this:

o reboot the router to clear memory
o login and upload 81858 manually
o wait for it to settle and fail the login (if you try) due to the login encryption change between firmware versions
o button reset the router (hold reset button until the power LED begins to flash)
o wait for it to settle
o default login (admin, admin), perform or bypass Quick Setup, and then reset the router again using the webUI Restore with Initialize option (reset and purge logged data)
o wait for it to settle
o default login and configure the router from scratch

My install notes may help with a basic minimal configuration... ignore the AiMesh bits. Looks more complicated than it is.

Option B is to skip the downgrade, just reset and reconfigure. But given my recent ordeal with 81992, I can't recommend this.

OE
ok, i'll try that today, more after hours (or people here at home gets hungry ... :cool::cool:).
(Can i save/restore settings or is better to manually configure it again?) ignore that, i just read now the "configure from scratch" ;)
Thanks.
 
Last edited:

José Ferreira

Occasional Visitor
Perhaps the wireless driver on the old router performs better in your environment than the wireless driver on the new router.

I've observed Wi-Fi performance changes in the past with the same model after updating the firmware where it included an updated wireless driver.
Maybe ... the walls of my house are thick, that could be an issue ...
Do you recomend Merlin firmware over stock?
Thanks.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
ok, i'll try that today, more after hours (or people here at home gets hungry ... :cool::cool:).
Can i save/restore settings or is better to manually configure it again?
Restoring a saved configuration is most ideal for recovering a given firmware configuration using it's own saved configuration. If you deviate from this, you may introduce an 'issue'. So, ok for disaster recovery but generally not advisable for troubleshooting an issue.

OE
 

José Ferreira

Occasional Visitor
Restoring a saved configuration is most ideal for recovering a given firmware configuration using it's own saved configuration. If you deviate from this, you may introduce an 'issue'. So, ok for disaster recovery but generally not advisable for troubleshooting an issue.

OE
Hi @OzarkEdge,
Just did your recomendations today ... my people is out so i was free to do the job!

Installed the 81858 firmware, reset the router (as you described) and applied some of your notes to do the config ...

The result is a similar situation, maybe less drops i think, but wifi range still the same ...

I wonder if merlin would help somehow ...

Honestly, don't know what to do ... is there a chance that the router has some kind of malfunction? Or the construction materials of my house could interfere with router wifi performance ...?

Thanks.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Hi @OzarkEdge,
Just did your recomendations today ... my people is out so i was free to do the job!

Installed the 81858 firmware, reset the router (as you described) and applied some of your notes to do the config ...

The result is a similar situation, maybe less drops i think, but wifi range still the same ...

I wonder if merlin would help somehow ...

Honestly, don't know what to do ... is there a chance that the router has some kind of malfunction? Or the construction materials of my house could interfere with router wifi performance ...?

Thanks.
The 86U WiFi range should be as good as if not better than the 66U. I don't think Asuswrt-Merlin firmware will affect WiFi range.

I don't know... but maybe your new 86U is not healthy.

OE
 

José Ferreira

Occasional Visitor
The 86U WiFi range should be as good as if not better than the 66U. I don't think Asuswrt-Merlin firmware will affect WiFi range.

I don't know... but maybe your new 86U is not healthy.

OE
ok, thats a possibility ... but how can i be sure of it?
After playing a bit more, i can say the following:
- wifi is now better when we talk about drops, the connection is stable (both on 2.4 and on 5) ... maybe because of firmware downgrade ...
- In matter of wifi range, i think it's very close to the ac66u (whos got merlin fork firmware), the problem are on the far places, but the ac66u also got the same problem reaching them, but with asus stock firmware, got better with merlin (john fork) ...
- in 5Ghz, i noticed a huge improvemente in speed connection ...

So, dont know what to do ... tweak some more parameters? try merlin? or just return it ...?

JF.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
ok, thats a possibility ... but how can i be sure of it?
After playing a bit more, i can say the following:
- wifi is now better when we talk about drops, the connection is stable (both on 2.4 and on 5) ... maybe because of firmware downgrade ...
- In matter of wifi range, i think it's very close to the ac66u (whos got merlin fork firmware), the problem are on the far places, but the ac66u also got the same problem reaching them, but with asus stock firmware, got better with merlin (john fork) ...
- in 5Ghz, i noticed a huge improvemente in speed connection ...

So, dont know what to do ... tweak some more parameters? try merlin? or just return it ...?

JF.
I'm not familiar with Merlin nor John fork... perhaps someone here can comment if John fork is increasing radio power above current FCC limits.

Good to hear 81858 is more stable.

OE
 

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