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Verizon FiOS and GT-AXE16000 - upload performance loss after updating firmware

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I was running the merlin firmware from December 2nd 2023 and everything was going fine. Today I boot up my PC and notice some oddities related to my connection where pages wouldn't load, lots of ERR_CONNECTION_TIMED_OUT problems and generally poor internet behavior.

Thinking maybe it's time for a reboot (previous uptime was over 60 days) I took the opportunity to flash the latest firmware from February 2024. Flash went fine, all settings took, same issues persist except now my upload is in the gutter.

I ran a speed test just minutes prior to doing the firmware update, and got my usual speeds. Then did one immediately after the router settled following the firmware flash and now I'm getting dog doo doo upload, in the 200-400mbps ballpark no matter what:
what is going on.png

I then decided I would do a full factory reset and reboot. Same issue persists. Finally flash back to the December 2023 build, and the poor upload performance persists.

If I update the firmware to a newer version, does it make permanent changes to the drivers/BIOS/etc of the router that don't get rolled back with an older build? Because this is driving me nuts and I don't know what else to do at this point. I feel like my router has gone bad and is now defective. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I did the factory reset inside the router system firmware page.

I'll look through that post and see if any of it helps but yeah, I've heard of these things failing on people back when they launched so I'm not holding my breath.
Ok just a quick edit to update this with a quick clarification before I go through any insanity tests of resetting the router.
Can I get an answer to my question regarding permanent driver updates through firmware? If I updated to a later build with new component drivers, do those drivers/firmware stay embedded with the updated version even if I roll the firmware back? It's the only logical explanation to what's going on with my setup as it's pretty clear resetting the settings, powering it down, rolling back firmware etc has had no impact on the upload issue.
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Did anyone have an answer to the above question? Can firmware make permanent changes to the drivers of the router that won't revert upon firmware downgrade?
The files you're asking about are part of every firmware load I've ever looked at.
Meaning flashing an older firmware should overwrite the newer drivers with older ones? If that's the case, then it really is a dead/dying router and not a firmware problem.


Thank god, I flashed back to 388.5 and my upload speed has returned to normal.

I'm guessing 388.6 has some problems with Verizon FiOS and just not enough people out here with this particular combo of router + ISP is running into this issue. Asus had problems with FiOS months ago and fixed its poor upload performance back then. Maybe these new builds broke it again?
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