384.17 resulted in noticeably slower internet speeds on RT-AX3000 - Ideas?

SR-71

Occasional Visitor
Just curious if anyone has experienced this issue with Merlin compared to the stock FW, especially on either the AX58U/AX3000?

So I started out with a brand new RT-AX3000 a month ago and am not sure what to make of this — the drop in BOTH wired and wireless download speeds.

Only about a dozen mixed clients (n & ac), with less than 10 active at any one time (laptop, smartphones, tablets, smart TV, streaming boxes, etc. so somewhat light by today’s standards).

Brief FW & config history:

Note: NONE of the Trend Micro features were ever enabled throughout all steps for both privacy and CPU performance reasons (minimal config — no QoS, IPS, etc.)

1) Upgraded stock FW to 8601 shortly after orig setup, let it run for several weeks to get a good feel for performance, test/experiment with the various advanced wireless config settings, channels, and antenna optimization to get to optimal performance; backed up config to file. (AX features disabled as no AX clients yet, just to avoid any compatibility issues.) Router scheduled to reboot daily for best performance (kept this constant throughout all steps below).

2) Flashed to Merlin 384.17, with settings left the same (no factory reset). Same channels, advanced settings, etc. Noticed that my speedtest results were consistently slower by 40-100 mbps (with 500mbps Comcast service) over both Ethernet and Wi-Fi, confirmed by testing with multiple Ookla test sites. Cold-booted both modem and router in that order, no improvement over wired or wireless.

4) Performed factory reset and re-setup Merlin 384.17 the same as before (as when on stock 8601) from scratch to have same baseline config that I know was giving good performance. Slower speed tests persisted over several days (tested repeatedly over several days during both peak and non-peak usage times, but slower speeds still persisted). Even tried disabling a number of advanced wireless features without improvement.

5) Reflashed back to stock 8601, factory reset/rebooted, then restored backed up config file from step 1 above so I’d have exactly the same config as where I started. Speed test performance immediately improved back to what I was getting in step 1 and held. (Confirmed over many speed tests, thank goodness Comcast suspended their data caps through last month — was the perfect window for repeated testing).

6) A day or two later, upgraded stock FW to 9354 (current stock FW release), rebooted, and the good performance has held as with 8601 ever since (well over a week now).

So I know Merlin 384.18 is now officially released, but see that the AX58U/AX3000 codebase in it is still behind current stock FW by 3 releases in the changelog (no offense intended, just stating the fact).

So, has anyone else experienced anything like this on Merlin vs. stock? Should I just wait a while until Merlin catches up to incorporating the 8601 or newer codebase and try again — seeing as ASUS released a good number of fixes over the last 3 updates? Being a relatively new router, it’s good to see the fixes/updates coming frequently, but I’m left wondering whether that’s part of the issue here with what’s been incorporated into Merlin from ASUS?

Or is it something else? I naturally experimented with tweaking the wireless settings on each FW before going back to my baseline optimized config, but that wouldn’t explain the drop in the wired test results as well.

Appreciate other AX58U/AX3000 Merlin users’ thoughts and experiences too as I’m truly stumped on this one.
 
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Kal-EL

Very Senior Member
Merlin has 2 Alpha builds for the AX58U that are configured using the latest stock 9354 firmware. Maybe give it a try. I have not noticed any slowdowns using 384.18 in fact it seemed faster then stock.
 

SR-71

Occasional Visitor
Thanks Kal-EL. I hadn't looked at the Alphas yet as I try to stay with the official builds, but great to know that 9354 has been incorporated.

I was looking forward to better/faster performance as well, since you and a few others with the same router shared that it ran better on Merlin.

I had thought about reflashing Merlin in case something went wonky the first time around, but given the time involved to reconfig, test, troubleshoot, etc., I figured I may want to wait until a later build to try again since I had good luck with both 8601 and 9354.

Hey, did you do a factory reset after flashing to Merlin vs. just keeping the existing settings to save time? (I realize that's likely the gold standard, but it's a matter of having the time to go through all the web screens to reconfig.)
 
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digits n bits

Regular Contributor
The last time I had my RT-AX58U running I was using the Merlin Alphas the Kal-EL mentioned. I ran it for three days without a problem.
 

SheikhSheikha

Regular Contributor

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture

SR-71

Occasional Visitor
The last time I had my RT-AX58U running I was using the Merlin Alphas the Kal-EL mentioned. I ran it for three days without a problem.
Thanks, it’s good to hear you didn’t have any problems on it, but I’m also a little leery of going the Alpha route when the router is working really well on the latest stock FW right now. (If it ain’t broke…)

But if I were to try it, which of the two current Merlin Alphas? There’s nothing I can find on the official Merlin site, SourceForge, or the OneDrive download site regarding documentation of the differences. Just that one file appears to be dated several days later than the other. Use the latest?
 
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SR-71

Occasional Visitor
Those instructions for a WPS reset are not correct for the RT-AX58U. See this document first, which in turn leads to this for the RT-AX58U.
Thanks. When I did the prior factory resets, I just initiated the factory reset option from within the web interface.

This is my first ASUS Router after coming from other brands, so is the WPS button method more of a hard reset or the same as doing it from within the router’s web interface? In other words, what, if anything, is different between the two methods? (Fuller NVRAM erase?)
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
This is my first ASUS Router after coming from other brands, so is the WPS button method more of a hard reset or the same as doing it from within the router’s web interface? In other words, what, if anything, is different between the two methods? (Fuller NVRAM erase?)
As far as I know both methods should have the same effect. However there are times when it's not even possible to log into the router the router won't even boot up properly, so the WPS method can be used instead. Of course that's not to say there couldn't be a firmware bug that prevented one method or the other working as it's meant to.
 
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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Ideally, you want to do all types of reset (GUI, WPS method applicable for the router in question and using the 'reset' button on the back too), along with checking the 'Initialize all settings...' checkbox when using the GUI method too. When the defaults for the firmware seem 'stuck', doing all three along with flashing the same/latest firmware version an additional time or two afterward (or in between) will usually get the router behaving again.

As for the Alpha versions, always flash the latest (newest) available.
 

SR-71

Occasional Visitor
Ideally, you want to do all types of reset (GUI, WPS method applicable for the router in question and using the 'reset' button on the back too), along with checking the 'Initialize all settings...' checkbox when using the GUI method too. When the defaults for the firmware seem 'stuck', doing all three along with flashing the same/latest firmware version an additional time or two afterward (or in between) will usually get the router behaving again.

As for the Alpha versions, always flash the latest (newest) available.
Ah, so the belt *and* suspenders *and* more approach — got it. And yes, I did check the “Initialize all settings” in the web GUI, as I didn’t want any leftovers.

I figured one reset ought to do it with that setting, but it sounds like it wouldn’t hurt to do it a couple different ways.

Like I said, I only had the download performance issue after flashing backward several versions from a current stock version to an older codebase in Merlin, which persisted even after a factory reset after that.

Perhaps next time I should do a couple of different types of factory resets both before and after flashing to Merlin in this case, just to be thorough. It would be great to know whether they all do the same thing or whether there are differences in what gets reset/erased.

At this point, though, due to time constraints I’m leaning toward staying with the latest stock FW until those Merlin Alphas mature into official releases (appreciated the heads up on their existence with the latest ASUS codebase). My main reason to try Merlin is not for running scripts and advanced stuff (at least not yet), but rather to see if it renders better performance and perhaps access to additional settings and monitoring, like core temps.
 

SR-71

Occasional Visitor
Just as a quick addendum and for anyone else deciding on a new intermediate-level router (I searched these forums before buying, so returning the favor):

I’ve been impressed with how relatively cool the AX3000 runs. Granted, I’m not pushing the CPU much (usually under 10-12% as I’m not running the Trend Micro stuff — although I did see the cores hit around 50% or so with the AiProtection/IPS enabled when I tried it for a couple days.). Even so, this router was only just slightly warm to the touch sitting in the open in my basement. I had an old laptop cooling pad lying around, so I put it under it and now it’s very cool to the touch. I figure that should help with longevity.

So far, I have to say ASUS packed a lot of capability into such a relatively small package while keeping the thermals nice and cool. I was initially considering the AC3100/AC3200 models being in the same price range, but read about a significant number of early radio failures in them (from which accounts ASUS appeared to truly jerk customers around in the warranty process — no thank you). I’ve wondered whether heat was a factor in those models’ premature failures vs. other potential causes.

So I figured/hoped that this newer model might have better or redesigned internals, a newer and faster processor, and have AX and OFDMA capability to boot (for my next laptop) while keeping the price roughly half of the AX88U. Perhaps I traded off a bit of range from what I’ve read so far compared to those AC models, but it seems to be pretty good for a mid-sized house, just a little over a month in.
 

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