Smart Connect - curious

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deeker1

New Around Here
I have implemented Smart Connect on my RT-AX88U running Merlin 386.2_2

After a bit of minor tweaking to thresholds, it seems to work well. After a reboot devices eventually steer to the band I expect them to steer to based on capability and signal strength.

2 devices, both computers, appear to stay on 2.4 Ghz and not always steer to 5Gz

One is an older network card but with 802.11ac support. I wait hours for it to steer to 5Gz and then I disconnect and reconnect the wireless connection and it jumps right way to 5Gz.

The other is a new laptop with ax support. the signal strength and throughput numbers are very good but it will often not steer to 5GZ - I have circled this below.

Is this one of the quirky things with Smart Connect or have I configured something incorrectly?

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bbunge

Part of the Furniture
You will get a lot of recommendations to not use Dual Band SmartConnect. But not from me! I have used this for over a year first on an AC86U and now on the AX86U with no apparent issues. I leave the SamartConnect settings at default and disable Roaming Assistant for both bands.
You did not show your WIFI settings but may I recommend for 2.4 GHz use 20 MHz on channel 1, 6 or 11. 5 GHz at 160 MHz on channel 36. Use WPA2/WPA3. With the 5 GHz set to channel 36 you will be able to use eight 20 MHz channels and devices that do not like DFS channels will still connect.
There are lots of reasons why clients will choose one band over another. One way to steer a client to the band you want is to use Wireless MAC Filter and reject the client from the band you do not want it to connect to. This, however, may cause unwanted disconnects. In time my clients do migrate to the better connection band.

For your AX laptop, if it has an Intel AX card check with Intel for a driver update.
 

deeker1

New Around Here
You will get a lot of recommendations to not use Dual Band SmartConnect. But not from me! I have used this for over a year first on an AC86U and now on the AX86U with no apparent issues. I leave the SamartConnect settings at default and disable Roaming Assistant for both bands.
You did not show your WIFI settings but may I recommend for 2.4 GHz use 20 MHz on channel 1, 6 or 11. 5 GHz at 160 MHz on channel 36. Use WPA2/WPA3. With the 5 GHz set to channel 36 you will be able to use eight 20 MHz channels and devices that do not like DFS channels will still connect.
There are lots of reasons why clients will choose one band over another. One way to steer a client to the band you want is to use Wireless MAC Filter and reject the client from the band you do not want it to connect to. This, however, may cause unwanted disconnects. In time my clients do migrate to the better connection band.

For your AX laptop, if it has an Intel AX card check with Intel for a driver update.
Thanks for the tips.
I disabled RA on both Bands.

I tried 160Mhz on the 5 GHz band (with channel 36)- NOTHING will connect on 5.0 and everything goes to 2.4


I will continue to experiment. For the most part Smart Connect does behave well for me.
 

Tech9

Senior Member
I will continue to experiment.

Ask yourself a question - Is the router smarter than me? Yes - use SmartConnect, you'll get connected. No - take control over your network, go for best performance. Most folks on this forum don't use SmartConnect because they want performance. I don't like when someone provides partial information only. What @bbunge forgot to tell you is his ISP is up to 100Mpbs. He has to check where the devices connect because a common 2x2 client on 2.4GHz may reach the max ISP speed. In his case it doesn't matter when the clients switch or if they switch at all.
 

CaptnDanLKW

Regular Contributor
I am a SmartConnect believer, with the understanding that SmartConnect cannot fix stupid. Stupid clients, that is. All WIFI connections are initiated by the client, so if SC does it's magic and moved the client over to a different frequency, that client can be stubborn and move itself back. There's a lot of voodoo and assumptions on what's happening under the sheets but for the most part it just works. Many IoT devices excluded because of their crappy network stacks.

With the 386.x code and AI Mesh 2.0, I've come to the conclusion that Roaming Assist is unnecessary and really a bad fallback choice to the SC and AI Mesh features already in control. The main feature of SC and (if you use it, AI Mesh) is that they don't force a full client re-association at Layer 2. If a Layer 2 connection has to be re-established, then a layer 3 renegotiation would happen (dhcp release and renew) and we all know what happens when the network layer drops, even momentarily.
That's what the Roaming Assist setting does - like a bouncer, kicks the station off the network, no negotiation, no appeal. Sure, the station booted off *MIGHT* pick a better signal or node the next time but at the cost of tearing down and reestablishing the network connection, breaking most apps. Or it could be stubborn and go right back to the band and node it was booted from.

Pay attention to that 'Connected' time. You will start to see a pattern on which are your stupid clients. As a best practice, if you do have a misbehaving client, try to 'forget' the SSID from that device and reconnect with you WPA2 passphrase. There's anecdotal evidence that some OSes cache low level info about the AP and could be part of the stubbornness issues. @deeker1 For that new laptop, did you already have it joined before you enabled SC? Assuming its windows, make sure you
a) forget the network
b) check you 'known networks' list and delete anything with the same name or previous SSID names
c) check device Manager's Advanced settings and see if you can set a preferred band.

YMMV, Good luck.
 

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