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RAX75 1.0.3.88 firmware broke HomeKit

ik8sqi
Guide

RAX75 1.0.3.88 firmware broke HomeKit

I've been using my Nighthawk RAX75 (the Cosco version of the RAX80) for several months, configured with SmartConnect without any major issues with HomeKit.

 

A few days ago almost all of my 40+ HomeKit WiFi-enabled devices stopped connecting. The ones with bluetooth didn't have issues. I have an HomePod, an iPad and 2 AppleTVs used as hubs. I tried to shut down all the hubs one-by-one leaving just one of them on to troubleshoot them, but it did not help.

 

The only thing that solves the problems is to disable the SmartConnect, and disable/rename the 5G band so that my Apple devices used as hubs do not connect to it, leaving just the 2.4G band. As soon as I do that within a minute all HomeKit devices come back online.

 

I just noticed that firmware V1.0.3.88 was released a few days ago, and that my router auto-updated to it. I'm 99% certain this firmware broke HomeKit. Disabling SmartConnect and using different bands for 2.4G/5G is NOT an option as the minute I connect one of my apple devices to 5G, the password will propagate to all my other iOS devices automatically so the ipad/homepod/appletv will immediately start using 5G and HomeKit breaks again.

 

I will try to downgrade to firmware 1.0.2.76 to see if that fixes everything. Anyone else with this problem?

Model: RAX80|Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream WiFi Router
Message 1 of 12
ik8sqi
Guide

Re: RAX75 1.0.3.88 firmware broke HomeKit

I can confirm V1.0.3.88 breaks HomeKit. I downgraded to 1.0.2.76, and all HomeKit devices started responding within seconds of the router coming back online. I left it running 1.0.2.76 for several hours without issues. I then re-upgraded to 1.0.3.88, and upon reboot again all HomeKit devices were not available. With 1.0.3.88 I re-disabled the 5G band, and poof all HomeKit  devices came back online.

This was thus completely reproduceable.

 

I re-reverted back to 1.0.2.76, all works fine, and I guess I'll wait for Netgear to figure out they've got a bad firmware and try the next release when available.

Message 2 of 12
Psathionoukous
Aspirant

Re: RAX75 1.0.3.88 firmware broke HomeKit

I know I have a different model (RAX200) but the most recent update (1.0.2.88) broke HomeKit for me as well. I've narrowed it down to there being an issue with multicast between the 2.4Ghz and 5.0Ghz bands. My devices on 5Ghz won't see or interact with the ones on 2.4Ghz (an unfortunate number of smart devices still use this of course). A router reboot fixes the issue very temporarily. It always comes back; tonight it came back after only 20 minutes.

 

Short term I'm going to try and rollback the firmware and see if that helps. Long term I'm ditching this router and getting a different brand. It replaced an Orbi that was also having significant multicast issues, and seeing as how they're both Netgear products it's time for me to move on.

Model: RAX200|Nighthawk Tri-band AX12 12-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router
Message 3 of 12
MacauBBS
Star

Re: RAX75 1.0.3.88 firmware broke HomeKit

The SmartConnect problem has always been there,
Manually set the 2.4G/5G SSID to be the same, the effect is better.

The problem has not been solved
Message 4 of 12
ik8sqi
Guide

Re: RAX75 1.0.3.88 firmware broke HomeKit


@MacauBBS wrote:

The SmartConnect problem has always been there,
Manually set the 2.4G/5G SSID to be the same, the effect is better.


That is incorrect - SmartConnect has worked just fine with HomeKit on my RAX75 for over 6 months when using the older firmware.

 

I previously tried two differe routers - the TP-Link Archer AX6000 and the ASUS ROG Rapture AC5300, and both had issues with their version of SmartConnect and HomeKit. I then switched to the Nighthawk, and had no issues with it for months, until Netgear released this new 1.0.3.88 firmware.

Message 5 of 12
ik8sqi
Guide

Re: RAX75 1.0.3.88 firmware broke HomeKit

For the record, firmware 1.0.3.102_1.0.48 has severl fxes, but not one for Homekit. Most of my homekit devices became unresponsive within a few hours after upgrading from 1.0.2.76 to 1.0.3.102_1.0.48.

 

Unbelievable that Netgear is neither fixing this nor even acknowledging there's a problem. Knowing that Homekit worked in 1.0.2.76 and broke in 1.0.3.88 and higher should easily let them discover what code changes caused the issues...

Message 6 of 12
schumaku
Guru

Re: RAX75 1.0.3.88 firmware broke HomeKit

@Christian_R  action please.

Message 7 of 12
ik8sqi
Guide

Re: RAX75 1.0.3.88 firmware broke HomeKit

Hasn't anyone at Netgear heard of "HomeKit"...? As an FYI V1.0.3.106_1.0.50 does not work eaither. HomeKit devices stop responding within 5 minutes of a router reboot when using SmartConnect.

Model: RAX80|Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream WiFi Router
Message 8 of 12

Re: RAX75 1.0.3.88 firmware broke HomeKit

So was this issued ever solved?

Message 9 of 12
ik8sqi
Guide

Re: RAX75 1.0.3.88 firmware broke HomeKit

No - Netgear still did not fix the issue in the current firmware v1.0.3.106_1.0.50.

If you want to use HomeKit and all the router's security patches installed, you will have to disable one of the best advertised features of the router - smartconnect. The only way to have HomeKit work is to disable smartconnect so you have two separate SSIDs for the two bands, and then configure all your HomeKit devices to use the 2GHz band as several of them are unlikely to support the 5GHz one.

 

 

Message 10 of 12

Re: RAX75 1.0.3.88 firmware broke HomeKit

Thanks, thats the way I have it setup now anyway. So as long as disable smartconnect and name the bands differnt I shoulmd be good, correct?

Message 11 of 12
ik8sqi
Guide

Re: RAX75 1.0.3.88 firmware broke HomeKit

I had to add an X1800 Mesh Extender to increase the WiFi coverage, and the issues with HomeKit started again even with RAX75 running the older v1.0.2.76 firmware.

 

As I had enough of this with Netgear blissfully ignoring the HomeKit problems, I purchased a pair of Asus RT-AX92U iMesh routers. Out-of-the-box they too had the same issues with HomeKit. After a bit of Googling however, I found the solution. Asus offers a TON of more features and configuration options. All we have to do was to:

Enable IGMP Snooping

Enable multicast routing (IGMP Proxy)

Disable Airtime fairness

 

Changing those 3 settings seems to have fixed all the HomeKit issues. It's now been 48hours without a single "not responding" error. It is to be noted that those settings need to be changed not only on the "user" 2.4GHz and the 5GHz-1 band used by clients, but also on the 5GHz-2 band dedicated to the backhaul.

 

And as a side-note... I have a 1GB fiber internet connection. Using the Nighthawk, even when hardwired, my computers would never exceed 490Mbps downlod speeds. I thought it was "normal" due to my provider (Centurylink) not having a "real" 1GB connection.

 

When I plugged in my new Asus, my download speed (hardwired) now oscillates between 960Mbps and 1.3Gbps. More than double the speed of the Nighthawk.

 

Asus rocks.

 

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