ASUS RT-AX86U & SONOS CONNECTION ISSUE SOLVED!

  • 12 December 2020
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Hey everyone, just adding to this - I just got an ASUS RT-AX86U, and I have a new Play:5 and an older Sonos Playbar+Sub. The Play:5 worked fine, but the playbar and sub would get 1001 and 704 errors. Just factory resetting the router and reconnecting the sonos devices to the network via the app did the trick. I turned Smart Connect off just because I want the separate bands for other reasons, but otherwise left with default settings (QOS off etc.).

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Yes, you can easily go back from Merlin to stock Asus firmware (just google it for directions), though it’s hard to imagine a reason why you would. Merlin essentially IS the Asus firmware, just with much more attention paid to quashing bugs and improving stability. 

Since installing the latest release version, I’ve had two dropped connections over the past week--in both cases, just cycling the power switch on the router got everything restored. 

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charlesnyc, I have a pc but the procedure should be the same for me as you.  One other thing, once you install merlin, can you go back to the stock Asus firmware, if need be?  Also, any issues with merlin not keeping your previous settings? Thanks for your help.

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darkelf, I’m not sure that what works for the Arc will necessarily work for the Beam, but Merlin is easy to install. Here’s what I do on a Mac, which may/may not be the same if you have a PC. First, download the latest release firmware here, which is version 386.2.0 : https://sourceforge.net/projects/asuswrt-merlin/files/RT-AX86U/Release/  You’ll end up with a folder that contains four files. 

Next, login to your Asus router. At the top center of the Network Map screen you see first upon login, click on the firmware version number you currently have. That takes you to the firmware upgrade page. About mid-page, you’ll see Manual firmware update, and click on “Upload” next to it. That will allow you to navigate to the folder you downloaded. Click on it to open to the four files. Then click on the file that begins with the router model in the file name, then click on Choose for Upload. That’s it. Then wait until the upload is finished and you’re good to go. 

 

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A couple of updates:

After two weeks of no dropped connections, I had three over the past week. Who knows why. But the fact that 3 drops in a week is now highly unusual is a sign of how stable things have been. Also important: restoring the connection never involved a reboot of any Sonos components--I just cycled my Asus off and back on to restore it, 

Merlin has posted a new finished release of Asus firmware: 386.2.0. Against my better judgement I installed it--there was a voice in my head yelling, “Leave well enough alone!” But so far, so good. When the router rebooted after the firmware updated, Sonos system reconnected without issue or me having to do anything. Which is how it SHOULD work, of course, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, since Merlin’s releases are focused on bug fixes to the stock Asus firmware and performance improvements--as opposed to adding new features and thus additional bugs--the Merlin releases are pretty solid. 

I am still having dropped connections almost on a daily basis with the latest Asus firmware, especially with my Sonos Beam.  The Play 1s drop less frequently and my Sonos move, rarely drops.  How easy is it to install Merlin?  Also, please keep us informed of how stable your system is.  If it is consistently stable, I may consider installing Merlin.

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A couple of updates:

After two weeks of no dropped connections, I had three over the past week. Who knows why. But the fact that 3 drops in a week is now highly unusual is a sign of how stable things have been. Also important: restoring the connection never involved a reboot of any Sonos components--I just cycled my Asus off and back on to restore it, 

Merlin has posted a new finished release of Asus firmware: 386.2.0. Against my better judgement I installed it--there was a voice in my head yelling, “Leave well enough alone!” But so far, so good. When the router rebooted after the firmware updated, Sonos system reconnected without issue or me having to do anything. Which is how it SHOULD work, of course, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, since Merlin’s releases are focused on bug fixes to the stock Asus firmware and performance improvements--as opposed to adding new features and thus additional bugs--the Merlin releases are pretty solid. 

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I changed my settings yesterday to enable Wi-Fi 6 for 2.4 and 5ghz bands and set the control channel to 6 for 2.4 Ghz while leaving 5ghz set to auto.  That seems to make things stable as long as I keep the Guest Network off.  If I turn on the Guest Network, my Sonos speakers continue to lose connection.

Just an update.  My Sonos Beam disconnects off and on with these settings …. it definitely seemed more stable with Wi-Fi 6 disabled.

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Interesting! So it seems that Guest Networks enabled is at least one of the settings that causes the dropped connection issue. I think I’m up to almost 2 weeks without losing my connection even once. By the way, if your connection does get dropped, try cycling the power switch on the ASUS router to restore it. I’ve been finding that I mostly don’t have to reboot my Sonos system any longer to restore the connection—just the router. The Arc comes back online pretty quickly, but the Sub and Surrounds take a while longer. 

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I changed my settings yesterday to enable Wi-Fi 6 for 2.4 and 5ghz bands and set the control channel to 6 for 2.4 Ghz while leaving 5ghz set to auto.  That seems to make things stable as long as I keep the Guest Network off.  If I turn on the Guest Network, my Sonos speakers continue to lose connection.

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I can confirm that I have had almost constant connection to Sonos for over 2 months now with the following enabled:

SmartConnect

WiFi 6

So I would cross these off the list of settings that might be causing problems. 

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Besides, disabing the Guest Networks and turning off 802.11ax/ Wi-Fi 6 modes for both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, I also have the following:

SmartConnect disabled

QOS disabled

Airtime Fairness disabled

Universal Beamforming enabled - some people have said to disable this, but I’m not sure.  Disabling didn’t seem to do anything.

Control Channel set to Auto

With these settings, my Sonos devices stay connected.  Do any of you have the Guest networks enabled?  I will try this weekend to enable the Guest Networks and Wi-Fi 6 and set the channel to 6 and see if it works.

I'll give this a try hopefully this weekend. I wonder if setting that 2.4GHz channel is really what's important. Sounds like it might be the key to at least getting merlin working dependably. Thanks! I'll let you know how it goes.

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Brufleth, I’m having good success staying connected and run my AX-86U with SmartConnect on, so I would rule out SmartConnect as the cause of the issue. I do think that setting the control channel on 2.4GHz band, as opposed to auto, might be important, but hard to know for certain. What we do know is that the 2.4GHz band can be especially problematic in terms of interference, and that the three channels which don’t overlap other channels are 1, 6 and 11. I picked 6, but all three would be worth trying. 

Fyi, I used to have QoS turned on, with media streaming as a priority, but I now keep it off. Whether that’s important is hard to know, I’m just keeping the settings that have given me the best results for keeping Sonos connected. 

I might try to use the Merlin asuswrt firmware this weekend, but it also sounds like people are having to disable numerous options that are important for my situation.  We live in a terrible wifi environment with a big mix of devices (Sonos, google TV, two people usually WFH on laptops, phones, etc).  Smartconnect and auto channel selection are a big help in keeping everything connected and humming along.  As it is I just had to run a cat5 cable down the hall to keep my partner online during her work meetings.

A thread I found on the small net builder forum said the wifi driver part of the asus firmware is closed source.  So even in the asuswrt builds I think that’s a black box.  I am interested to hear how things are working for people.  I just don't have tons of time available where I can bring everything offline to screw around with this stuff.

Just got home and connected to wifi and it's still working on the app so fingers crossed one of the above settings has somewhat remedied it. At this point once a week dropouts would be great. Early days but I'll update this post if anything further develops.

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I’ve stuck with Merlin’s latest “Release” version of the firmware. I see he has posted a couple of beta builds of what will become the next release version when finished, But since I’m now only getting a dropped connection once a week—maybe twice on occasion—I can easily live with that and don’t want to chance messing it up. I remember what it was like when connections dropped again within 5 mins after a total reboot—that was really painful. 

Just wanted to add to this as I’m having the same issue with my setup (RT-AX86U, Arc + Sub Gen 3).

Constant dropouts of the gear within the Sonos app > reboot fixes it for all of 5 minutes.

I’ve just updated to Merlin’s latest beta firmware > factory reset the router then reapplied my existing config settings.

Not using smart connect.

Disabled QoS, disabled STP, disabled Airtime fairness.

Set my 2.5GHz channel to Band 6, 20 Hz, disabled wifi 6.

Was working overnight and will check again this evening after spending 12 hours at work but suspect the issue will remain.

 

 

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A few things I’ll note about my AX-86U settings--not sure any of this is relevant to the performance I’m getting, but fyI--and if you want to know about any other settings, please let me know and I’ll post.

I use SmartConnect so 2.4 and 5GHz bands appear as one network name and the Asus directs traffic to the “best” band in real time. Or so they say, lol. 

Guest networking is off--not because of Sonos, I just don’t need one. 

2.4GHz control channel is set to 6. I’ve had problems with Sonos connections when control channel is set to Auto. Of course, hard to say definitively if the Auto setting IS what causes the dropped connection issues, but it “seems” to contribute to them. Since I’m having good results with 6, I’m sticking with it. 5GHz is set to auto, but not a factor since Sonos in 2.4GHz only. 

I am not in a wifi friendly environment--I live in a 250 until apartment bldg in NYC, so plenty of wifi usage around me… but this was never an issue with my AC-88U. 

I'm willing to try the merlin build, but I'm not holding my breath. I'll make sure I can still get the old firmware, or still have it saved, before I give it a go.

Other than the sonos issue, I can't complain about the asus firmware.  Since the sonos speakers are used all the time, that's a pretty big issue. Since we're mostly wfh, having a good reliable home network is super critical though. Maybe merlin can deliver.

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I have the AX86U, using the latest firmware 3.0.0.4.386.42095. For me to get things to work with my Sonos speakers, I have to turn off the guest network and the 802.11ax / Wi-Fi 6 mode for both 2.4 and 5 ghz.  I’ve been working with Asus since the 3.0.0.4.386.41535 version broke Sonos to try and get this fixed.  They can’t seem to figure it out.

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I have not used stock Asus firmware in years--I always use the Asuswrt-Merlin firmware from rmerlin, and many Asus users swear by it. It’s also free, which is great, though rmerlin does accept donations. If you’re not familiar with it, Merlin isn’t tweakware for tech geeks--the focus is on fixing bugs in the stock firmware, better overall stability and improving performance. The interface is almost a duplicate of Asus stock. And Merlin now supports the AX-86U. (I suggest using the latest version in the “Release” folder, not the Beta folder) Since I started this thread 3 months ago, my general experience has been that I lose connection to Sonos Arc system about once a week. The fix is generally easy: turn the Asus off, wait a few seconds, turn it back on. The connection to Arc is usually restored. (First the Arc shows up in the Sonos app, then Subs and Surrounds within a minute or a few at most.) Occasionally, maybe once a month, I’ll have to reboot the Arc, too, to reconnect, but never the Sub or Surrounds.This isn’t perfect, but the hassle is minimal, and a far cry from the constant drops that I was experiencing for a while. 

Still sitting on firmware that's from October because Asus can't play well with Sonos.

Sonos should probably encourage customers to go for other router options. I would have chosen something else had I known.

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Try to factory reset the router after firmware update, it worked for my Asus RT-AX58U router. My Sonos Beam always disconnecting from wifi before and after firmware update until I did the factory reset thing.

Hey @Evielwine, the only way I managed to get things working again is back to the old firmware ( Version 3.0.0.4.384.9318 ). No issues every since. Unfortunately the changes I made above only lasted a few days before things disappear again.

 

Here is the link to the Bios.

https://www.asus.com/au/Networking-IoT-Servers/WiFi-6/All-series/RT-AX86U/HelpDesk_BIOS/

Thank you @altyz, I purchased this router mainly because of the AIMesh function, I really don’t feel like downgrading firmware where all other things are working well except Sonos… I guess as interim every time when I want to use Sonos, I just have to reboot first… :(

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Hey @Evielwine, the only way I managed to get things working again is back to the old firmware ( Version 3.0.0.4.384.9318 ). No issues every since. Unfortunately the changes I made above only lasted a few days before things disappear again.

 

Here is the link to the Bios.

https://www.asus.com/au/Networking-IoT-Servers/WiFi-6/All-series/RT-AX86U/HelpDesk_BIOS/

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