OK, then. A couple of weeks ago, my 6-year-old ASUS RT-68U started getting flaky on me. What does that mean? It means it began losing its configuration settings on the 5 GHz band with the Windows 10 PCs it served. How do I know this? Because network status shifted from Private to Public and wouldn’t respond to normal Win10 methods to reverse that setting. At first, I suspected issues with Hyper-V (but that proved irrelevant). Next, I wondered about ISP issues (Spectrum’s usually excellent diagnostic tools found nothing wrong). Interestingly, the RT-68U worked fine on the 2.5 GHz channel and only improperly on the 5 GHz channel. Thus, I reluctantly diagnosed intermittent failure and decided to purchase a replacement. Configuring that new device, I realized that technology advances require basic IP address understanding.
Why Do Technology Advances Require Basic IP Address Understanding?
Just as the RT-68U I’m replacing is actually a full-fledged router as well as a Wi-Fi device, so also is the RT-AX6000 that replaces it. At first, I couldn’t get to the AX6000 at all, even with a direct, wired RJ-45 connection to the device from one of my laptops. So I did two things — and presto, my problems became solvable. First, I chatted with Spectrum and got them to add the MAC address and serial number for my AX6000 to their device whitelist table. Second, I chatted with ASUS and learned that, in addition to plugging directly into a switch port (not the Internet modem port) I could access the device at IPv4 address 192.168.1.1.
Sure, the ASUS guy on the phone said 192.168.1.1, but it turns out to be 192.168.50.1. No matter! As long as I know what it is, I can — and did — get there to make my configuration changes.
Actually, my next reboot occurred with a laptop plugged into a switch port and the AX6000 disconnected from the LAN. IPCONFIG showed me the Default Gateway address was 192.168.50.1. No matter: with that information in hand, I was able to access the router page using that address via Chrome on the attached PC. From there, I selected the “Wireless Access Point” configuration option, and I was off to the races.
All’s Well, and Ends Well
I’ve now got the AX6000 humming along, offering wireless access to the half-dozen-plus wireless devices here at the house. (That includes 5 laptops, 1 All-in-One, 1 iPad, and 3 iPhones.) It is pretty fast, too. I just got 450 Mbps-plus downstream, and about 45 Mbps upstream through Ookla Speedtest. That’s to my closest ISP (Suddenlink, in Georgetown, TX, 8 miles away). This came courtesy of my X1 Extreme, and its built-in Intel Wireless AC-9650 NIC, operating at 160 MHz (first time I’ve seen that option show up in the network selection criteria).
The ASUS documentation says things will run even faster if I install a new Intel driver designed to work with 802.11ax frame buffers. I think I’ll have to check that out next . . . Stay tuned!
Note Added August 5
I’ve checked the ASUS documentation about drivers. It says that PCs running various models of the Intel adapters — including my dual-band Wireless AC-9650 — should be running version 20.70.0 or higher. Mine’s running 18.104.22.168 and is offering the 160 MHz option, so my X1 Carbon is already up-to-date. My other wireless adapters are too old to take advantage of this higher-level service, except for the Yoga X380 (and it’s au courant as well, but does not show the 160 MHz option).