R8000 smart connect is way slower
Then suddenly I started to notice the speeds went down to the 30 Mbps. I kept poking around to see what was the issue until I disabled the smart connection. Everything went back to the great speeds.
Looks like being smart brings down the speeds drastically.
Re: R8000 smart connect is way slower
SmartConnect can't bring down the speed - the very same wireless radios are active. The key difference is that both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz radio run on the same network name, some assistance for seamless roaming are in the air. If clients decide to connect to the undisputed slower - but much higher reach - 2.4 GHz network (e.g. due to low 5 GHz signal levels, or due to the DFS process (which can take 1..10 minutes! isn't finished and the 5 GHz radios aren't on air while testing), their performance will come down for that obvious reason.
Try using the Netgear WiFi Analytics App (available for Android and iOS), click on the Network Status, and then pop-up the network name of your router to see the effective signal levels and channels on air at this position for each radio.
At the end of the day, it's the wireless client which does decide on the "best" wireless radio to use at a certain position, and not the access point/router/Smart Connect.
By far not enough information available - impossible to assist.