RT-AX86U IOT devices, slow discovery

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dm33

New Around Here
A few months ago purchased RT-AX86U to supplement my prior router RT-AC86U. I moved the older AC86U to the other corner of the house, basement, in access point mode. The two routers are connected via gigabit Ethernet.

Several issues:
1) Biggest issue is that I have many IOT devices around the house. There have been flakey issues sometimes connecting to this new router, the AX86U, but recently, either after power outage/surge or after latest firmware update, many of my IOT devices either have trouble connecting or completely do not connect to this router. I have had to turn off 2.4ghz network on the AX86U. At the far end of the house my AC86U is providing 2.4ghz. All my IOT devices, no matter how far away, are successfully connecting to it. I didn't really buy this new router to have it turned off...

I tried disabling support for Wifi 6, but that didn't help. Its also very unfortunate that I can't disable that only for 2.4ghz. The entire reason for purchasing this router was to get faster speeds with WiFi 6 devices I have (two new M1 MacBooks and iPhone 12). I do get faster speeds, particularly file transfer almost 1gbit. But its not worth it if the rest of my devices fail to connect.

2) Strange behavior I noticed since purchase. I tried the RT-AX86U and a TPLink 6 router at the same time, and compared them to my RT-AC86U. I noticed that devices would discover the network from any of the routers immediately EXCEPT the RT-AX86U. This behavior has continued. All my devices (IOT, many Apple products), immediately see the networks broadcast from my AC86U (prior router), but will take a very long time to ever detect the AX86U. Could this indicate faulty hardware?

The router is an RT-AX86U
Firmware: 3.0.0.4.386_45375
HW version 1.0

Thanks
 
Last edited:

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Welcome to the forums @dm33.

With power outages/surges and brownouts, are you using UPS' on all your network infrastructure? If not, then all bets are off.

Are you using the same SSIDs in your network? This may be the issue right here. To test for this, create a new, never before used/seen (by any of your client devices) Guest Network and connect the 'problem' devices to that newly created SSID. If the issue disappears, change the Main SSIDs too (and remove this temporary Guest Network used for testing).

Furthermore, how was the RT-AX86U setup? Did you flash the latest firmware you indicate then do a full reset to factory defaults? And minimally and manually configure the router to secure it and connect to your ISP. Without using a saved backup config file (particularly from the old RT-AC86U!)?

'Minimally and manually' also requires that you do not 'blindly' use old settings, features, or scripts that worked 'once upon a time' with the old router/network either.

Please follow the link below, which gives an outline of how to get your router to a good/known state with the 'best practice' defaults for fast and stable operation.

Fully Reset / Best Practice Setup / More

Again, the above can be explored if the power outages have been shielded with a good quality UPS for all possibly affected equipment.

To fully reset and test that the router hasn't been damaged by the power fluctuations, the following link may help too.

Fully Reset Router and Network
 

dm33

New Around Here
Welcome to the forums @dm33.
Thanks for the detailed response!

With power outages/surges and brownouts, are you using UPS' on all your network infrastructure? If not, then all bets are off.
This AX router is/was on a UPS and kept running during the brownout. I thought it was my IOT devices that were confused by the brownout. I had to go around restarting them. I thought some had fried because they wouldn't get on the network. Until I noticed some connecting to the basement AC router instead. When I powered off 2.4ghz on the AX I was surprised to see all my presumably dead IOT devices happily connecting to the AC router even if very far away.

Are you using the same SSIDs in your network? This may be the issue right here. To test for this, create a new, never before
used/seen (by any of your client devices) Guest Network and connect the 'problem' devices to that newly created SSID. If the issue disappears, change the Main SSIDs too (and remove this temporary Guest Network used for testing).
My two routers have separate SSIDs for 5ghz, but have been using the same SSID for 2.4ghz.

Furthermore, how was the RT-AX86U setup? Did you flash the latest firmware you indicate then do a full reset to factory defaults? And minimally and manually configure the router to secure it and connect to your ISP. Without using a saved backup config file (particularly from the old RT-AC86U!)?
I did use a saved backup config from the AC router. All my IOT devices have static IP addresses configured on the router. Not having to re-enter all that was a big selling point upgrading.
The slow discovery issue was present even before I restored configuration. It behaved that way even from fresh factory install with minimal configuration.

'Minimally and manually' also requires that you do not 'blindly' use old settings, features, or scripts that worked 'once upon a time' with the old router/network either.

Please follow the link below, which gives an outline of how to get your router to a good/known state with the 'best practice' defaults for fast and stable operation.

Fully Reset / Best Practice Setup / More

Again, the above can be explored if the power outages have been shielded with a good quality UPS for all possibly affected equipment.

To fully reset and test that the router hasn't been damaged by the power fluctuations, the following link may help too.

Fully Reset Router and Network

Reading some of those threads, any overall comment on Merlin firmware? Is there a way to export, import static IP address configuration? Does the Merlin firmware allow the 2.4ghz network to run without ax support? Asus warns ax support may cause issues with IOT devices.
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
I set up a Guest WIFI for my IoT devices. 2.4 GHz with WPA2 on Guest 1. Works well for me with zero disconnects. If your devices need to access your intranet use Guest 2 or 3. May be a pain to reconnect the IoT devices to the new SSID but it will be well worth it.
 

dm33

New Around Here
Thanks for the suggestions.
I found a way to save and restore static IP configuration.

I reset the router to factory settings. Restarted, setup basic network info, SSIDs, password. It "seems" to be working fine. I even turned off the 2.4ghz network in the basement. Now all my IOT devices have connected to the newer AX router and it seems to be working.

FYI, to save and restore static IP configuration,
  1. ssh into the router
  2. Bash:
    nvram get dhcp_staticlist
    # Dumps the configuration to screen. Copy and save the text somewhere.
  3. reset/reboot etc.
  4. Bash:
    nvram set dhcp_staticlist="your_data"
  5. Bash:
    nvram commit
  6. reboot
  7. This loads the configuration but does NOT enable it. Have to go into the GUI, select LAN, DHCP Server, Enable Manual Assignment - set it to Yes. Apply changes.
 

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