RT-AX86U AiMesh setup

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AndrewJacob

Regular Contributor
Hi everyone.

I'm about to set up 2 AX86U for the first time. I will be setting them up in AiMesh.
Any advice on how to do this? If you have a link to a topic or steps posted elsewhere I'd appreciate it.
Also, should I immediately upgrade the firmware on each to Merlin's beta? Or should I first set both routers up in standard firmware AiMesh?

Thanks,

Andrew
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Hi everyone.

I'm about to set up 2 AX86U for the first time. I will be setting them up in AiMesh.
Any advice on how to do this? If you have a link to a topic or steps posted elsewhere I'd appreciate it.
Also, should I immediately upgrade the firmware on each to Merlin's beta? Or should I first set both routers up in standard firmware AiMesh?

Thanks,

Andrew

My install notes may help. They are for AC dual-band but you can adjust for your AX dual-band as required. The basic configuration should be about the same.

If you can wire the backhaul, use the 2.5 Gbps ports.

I would use the latest released Asuswrt firmware... upload it, reset it to factory defaults, and then configure the router and add the node.

Use that for awhile until you have commissioned your new hardware and configuration with your clients. Later, you can consider beta Asuswrt or Asuswrt-Merlin, if you want more.

Use the FAQ Search at the bottom of the router webUI to find various Asus instructions.

OE
 
Last edited:

jl5309

New Around Here
Following this thread because it's close to what I'm wanting to do. I have an new RT-AX86U running 386 B4 Merlin and I'm wanting to use an old RT-AC68U running 386 B4 Merlin as a mesh node. Tried and tried and couldn't get the AX86 to find the AC68. I've tried both ASUS newest firmware and B3/B4 from Merlin with no luck, even with resetting between firmware with 0 other settings in place.

Few questions:
1, I intend to use a wired backhaul. Do I first need to turn on Ethernet Backhaul Mode on the AX86 before attempting to find the mesh node? I already understand that you should connect your WAN on the mesh node to a LAN port on the primary router.

2, After a factory reset of the mesh node, do you login direct, go to administrators tab and select "Mesh Node"? This resets the mesh node. After initiating it, I typically login to my main router and start searching. Still no luck finding the AC68U, even when given plenty of time to reset the mesh node.


Sorry if I'm hijacking. It's a similar thread and I'm wondering if it's the newness of the AX86U that's causing my issues or may cause issues for you.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Following this thread because it's close to what I'm wanting to do. I have an new RT-AX86U running 386 B4 Merlin and I'm wanting to use an old RT-AC68U running 386 B4 Merlin as a mesh node. Tried and tried and couldn't get the AX86 to find the AC68. I've tried both ASUS newest firmware and B3/B4 from Merlin with no luck, even with resetting between firmware with 0 other settings in place.

Few questions:
1, I intend to use a wired backhaul. Do I first need to turn on Ethernet Backhaul Mode on the AX86 before attempting to find the mesh node? I already understand that you should connect your WAN on the mesh node to a LAN port on the primary router.

2, After a factory reset of the mesh node, do you login direct, go to administrators tab and select "Mesh Node"? This resets the mesh node. After initiating it, I typically login to my main router and start searching. Still no luck finding the AC68U, even when given plenty of time to reset the mesh node.


Sorry if I'm hijacking. It's a similar thread and I'm wondering if it's the newness of the AX86U that's causing my issues or may cause issues for you.

1. No. It's not that rigid. Leave the backhaul tuning for after you have added the node.

2. No. You do not configure a remote node. Reset it and search/add it from the router/root node webUI.

AiMesh = router/AP + nodes = root node + remote nodes

Make sure the routers are broadcasting both bands... healthy WiFi.

Confirm login Authentication Method is set to HTTP, not HTTPS.

OE
 

jl5309

New Around Here
Still not able to add the AC68U as a node to the AX86U. I had another AC68U, my old main router that I flashed to Merlin 386.1 R4 and my AX86U still can't find it. Did a reset using the reset button on the back, software reset using the UI, and a reset using the Asus WPA+power button way posted on their site. Nothing worked.


I've tried Merlin 386.1 v3 and v4 for both the AX86U and the AC68U (always matching). I also tried flashing both to factory using the ASUS RT-AC68U_3.0.0.4_386_40558-gc48f410 for the AC68U and RT-AX86U_3.0.0.4_386_41535-g1caa24a for the AX86U. Nothing has worked. They've been within 3-4 ft of each other the entire time. Tried both wired and wireless from points of reset on each router. Nothing. I've reset both using https://www.asus.com/support/faq/1039074 countless times.

Unfortunately, I'm kind of behind the curve and have never messed with AiMesh before now. I really didn't think about going that route until I got my latest router. I guess my next step would be to see if I can setup my 2 AC68U's in a router/node fashion to hopefully narrow down which version is the problem.

Any suggestions out there?
 

jl5309

New Around Here
I've seen posts where people are using AX88U with AC68U's, but haven't heard of anyone using the AX86U as the main router and an AC68U as a node. I'd love to hear if someone has it working too.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture

Shortcut

New Around Here
I'm using my new AX86U as the main router and an AC68P as a node. I had some connection issues with RMerlin 386.1 Beta 4 and went back to stock firmware same firmware on the AX86U and the AC68P. I downloaded the ASUS App onto my phone reset the AC68P and using the phone app the AC68P was set up as the Node within 3-5 minutes. It has been working fine for the last 2 weeks.
 

jl5309

New Around Here
@L&LD-Using Merlin 386.1 Beta 4, I tried the steps you suggested with numerous links, and still no luck.

@Shortcut - Unfortunately I can't reset AX86U back to factory for a bit while my kids are home doing school.

Frustrating. You'd think resetting the node and hardwiring it WAN to LAN that it should bypass nearly all of the tweaking of the settings.
 

octopus

Very Senior Member
I've seen posts where people are using AX88U with AC68U's, but haven't heard of anyone using the AX86U as the main router and an AC68U as a node. I'd love to hear if someone has it working too.
Its working when I recently tested. Make sure WPS is on on main router before search for node.
 

Shortcut

New Around Here
I have a question my AC5300 is being repaired so I purchased a AX86U as a replacement I also have a AC68P which the AX86P is way better. My return window will be expired for the AX86U by the time I receive the AC5300 back so I'll be keeping it. My question is should I make the AX86U as the primary and the AC5300 and AC68P as the nodes or use the AC5300 as the primary router.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The fastest, most capable router should normally be the main router. I would consider using the RT-AC68U as a Media Bridge for any wired devices you have in a remote location (if you do). And consider selling the RT-AC5300 for an RT-AX58U or better (AX class) router instead for the nodes.

Mixing AX class and AC class routers will only give you more and more grief in the long term.
 

AndrewJacob

Regular Contributor
Hmmm, very interesting indeed that one shouldn't mix AX and AC class routers... So I'm doing this tonight.
From what I understand, here is what I will do...
  1. Do the initial setup for each router as if it were its own single router
  2. Select a first set of SSID's and passwords (something bogus since you say it's best to change these once I moved to Merlin?)
  3. Install Merlin 386.1 Beta 4 on each of the routers
  4. Follow these instructions (New M&M 2020) setting a new set of SSID's and passwords (the ones I will be using for good) > can I use the same ones as in step 2 or must they be different?
  5. Then connect the AiMesh node by following these steps:
    1. Reset the AX86U that will be used as a node via the WPS reset method for your model.
    2. Make sure it is in the same room as your main AiMesh router. If it isn't, unplug it, move it, and power it up when it is.
    3. Do not touch it after you have turned it on. Let it sit there 'waiting' for you.
    4. Go to your main AiMesh capable router and from either the AiMesh 'Tab' on the left-hand side or from the AiMesh Node button near the middle of the main page, Search to add your AiMesh Node.
    5. If trying to add it wirelessly when in the same room doesn't work, reset it via the appropriate WPS method once more.
    6. This time, plug a LAN port from your main router (do not go through a switch) to the WAN port of the AiMesh Node you want to add.
    7. Search and add it. This should work.
    8. Wait for at least 15 minutes after the node is added and has fully rebooted before you turn it off and move it to where you want it to be.
  6. Once it is moved where I want it to be, I can connect both routers together via the 2.5 GBE and the AiMesh will continue to work? Or are there additional settings for the 2.5 wired backhaul to happen correctly? I do not want a wireless backhaul, so are there steps in #5 that I should skip?
I have some more questions...
The router's IP address is 192.168.50.1 by default but I will be changing it to 192.168.0.1, does this need to be taken into consideration anywhere along this setup process?
What about the channel numbers and channel bandwith selection on each router? Should both match eachother?

I just want to put the effort the right way without messing anything up, so would appreciate your help @L&LD !

Thanks in advance,

Andrew
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Yes, change the IP to the range you want on the main router when doing the final (manual) configuration, along with the Control Channel selection.

When you fully reset the nodes, you do not touch them again.

Except when you add them via the main router’s GUI.
 

Shortcut

New Around Here
Thanks for the help I have the AX86U as the main and the AC68P node where I have it located it really increased my range in the back yard and my dock. I think I will sell the AC5300 when I get it back and get another AX series.
 

AndrewJacob

Regular Contributor
Can't wait to see how well it will work @Shortcut ! I am glad your range got increased. With my single AX11000 i'm not getting great range because of metal in my walls, and the stability of data transfer fluctuates a lot when I am doing speed tests. I'll post once I've done my setup with the 2 AX86U and maybe that'll help you when you switch over to another AX.

@L&LD, in step 1 and step 4, am i using the 4 same SSIDs or all different ones? as in...step 1 (initial setup) router 1: "network1", step 1 router 2: "network2", step 4 (merlin) router 1: "network3", step 4 router 2: "network4".. and do I have to set up a different IP address on the noded router?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
@AndrewJacob, I'm finding it a little hard to follow you.

I'll guess here and hope I guess right. :)

I only do the final setup once. On the main router only. Before adding any AiMesh nodes. The AiMesh nodes are not touched at all after they have been reset, and before they are added to the mesh.


Here are the only important things I set up precisely on a new RMerlin powered, Asus router/network, after flashing the firmware to be used/tested, and then a full reset has been performed.
  1. Router Login Name (not 'admin')
    • 8 alphanumeric characters, exactly, beginning with a letter (once properly set up, these don't need to change).
    • Do not include punctuation, spaces, special characters, or smiley faces.
  2. Router Login Password (different from the Login Name)
    • 16 alphanumeric characters, exactly, beginning with a letter (once properly set up, these don't need to change).
    • Do not include punctuation, spaces, special characters, or smiley faces.
  3. 2.4GHz SSID Main Wi-Fi (only shared with trusted users)
    • (New, never-before-used/seen by any of the clients on the network before)
    • 8 alphanumeric characters, exactly, beginning with a letter.
    • Do not include punctuation, spaces, special characters, or smiley faces.
  4. 5.0GHz SSID Main Wi-Fi (only shared with trusted users)
    • (New, never-before-used/seen by any of the clients on the network before)
    • 8 alphanumeric characters, exactly, beginning with a letter.
    • Do not include punctuation, spaces, special characters, or smiley faces.
  5. 6.0GHz SSID Main Wi-Fi (only shared with trusted users)
    • (New, never-before-used/seen by any of the clients on the network before)
    • 8 alphanumeric characters, exactly, beginning with a letter.
    • Do not include punctuation, spaces, special characters, or smiley faces.
  6. Guest Network(s), as required.
    • Same as the above steps (3), (4), and (5), as applicable, for each respective band.
    • Do not use the same/similar passwords as the Main Wi-Fi or Router passwords.
  7. Change Network Subnet to anything other than defaults.
    • Including different defaults than any of the modem/router or other supplied devices that the ISP's may offer.
    • I explicitly do not use 192.168.1.1, 192.168.0.1, 192.168.50.1, or any other 'common' private IP subnet.
  8. Change Router IP Address
    • To anything other than xxx.xxx.xxx.1
    • i.e., 192.168.143.252
  9. Change Router Domain Name
    • Do not include punctuation, spaces, special characters, or smiley faces.
    • i.e. 'LDLAN001'.
  10. Change the LAN IP DHCP's available Range to less than the maximum 254 IP's possible in our /24 networks.
    • via the Pool Starting Address and the IP Pool Ending Address fields.
      • i.e., Starting at 192.168.143.111
      • i.e., Ending at 192.168.143.190
    • For a maximum of 80 clients possible via DHCP, in the example above.
      • (I leave between 10 and 20 'free' IP's than the maximum current, known/estimated network devices).
  11. Change the ssh Port to anything higher than 49152 (do not use the default '22').
  12. Disable WPS
  13. Disable SmartConnect
  14. Disable Airtime Fairness for all Bands.
  15. Disable Universal Beamforming for all Bands
  16. Set Manual Control Channel for all Bands
  17. Set Preamble Type to Short for 2.4GHz Band.
 

AndrewJacob

Regular Contributor
Thanks @L&LD , I think I'm getting confused with the high-level steps but i'm good with those details.
In order to put merlin on both routers before connecting them as nodes, i have to turn on the routers and perform the initial setup by going to router.asus.com. so my previous questions are around that. before upgrading to the merlin, how am i setting up each router? in terms of ssid (i understand the requirements but i don't know if the SSID of router 1 and router 2 should and could be the same upon initial asus setup). I also don't understand once the merlin software is live on each router, about which ssid each router will have. can it be the same as initial setup? and same goes for the router IP address and control channels. my goal is to understand what needs to match between each router at each phase
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I try to bypass as much as possible the 'initial setup' PItA!

Simply use the following to go to the settings you need.

Code:
http://router.asus.com/Advanced_SettingBackup_Content.asp
 

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