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XT8 pair won't connect to nearest one

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I've got some puzzling behavior with a pair of XT8 mesh routers. They're set up to backhaul on the 5-2 band.
When I'm near the main router, it keeps connecting me to one further away on the 2.4ghz band. Turning WiFi on/off doesn't change this behavior.
So out of curiosity, I tried turning off the 2.4ghz radio and it still connects me to the furthest node but on the 5-1 radio. 🤔
Devices are a Samsung S23 Ultra and M1 MacBook.

Is it normal for AiMesh to do this?
I can't think of a reason to do this unless it thinks the one I'm closest to should conserve CPU because it's connected to the Internet.
I would have expected it to move me to the closest mesh router with the strongest connection. Even moving around the building seems to keep me connected to the furthest router.
Haven't tried gnuton yet, so this is just the latest stock firmware.

One other bit of weirdness is the MacBook loses connectivity sometimes. I have to turn the WiFi on/off on it. No such issue with an older xiaomi WiFi6 router.

Just wondering if anyone else has seen this.
Yes, this has been 'seen' many times by many different people.

Many times, a full reset and minimal and manual rebuild of the routers/network fixes this.
Is it normal for AiMesh to do this?

Try adjusting Roaming Assistant in Wireless, Professional. Your routers are perhaps too close to each other.

Haven't tried gnuton yet, so this is just the latest stock firmware.

Asuswrt-Merlin uses the same wireless drivers as stock Asuswrt base. The behavior will be exactly the same.
Wanted to follow up in case anyone else hits this.
Turned out to be a bad router...exchanged the set and ended up with V2 XT8 hardware. Tested for about two weeks now without the quirks mentioned. No random WiFi connected but not routing to the Internet so you have to switch WiFi on/off on your laptop...no weird slowdowns web browsing that make you feel you're on a slow DSL line. Doing speed optimization connects devices to the nearest node instead of always putting you on the slave.
Settings are all the same.

Also something I didn't see anyone mention about the V2 hardware...the power adapter is different...the barrel plug is straight and there's no Velcro strap. But the biggest difference is it's a 3A adapter instead of 1.75A. They probably could have added a faster processor if they wanted to with the beefed up power supply....
But the biggest difference is it's a 3A adapter instead of 1.75A

Your new power supply is 12V/3A (36W). It has about the same power output as the older 19V/1.75A (33W).

The routers will work fine with both power supplies. Nothing inside needs 12V, all step-down power converters. Whatever they have cheaper and perhaps the same for other devices. This same situation is with other models with some variants available. Not unique to XT8.

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