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Problems w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk 8AX - EAX80 Range Extender w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk AX12 - RAX200

PurplePanda
Luminary

Problems w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk 8AX - EAX80 Range Extender w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk AX12 - RAX200

Please help.


I am a long time Netgear customer, and have been buying Netgear products since the early 2000s. Upon receiving my Nighthawk AX8 (EAX80) and configuring it I found myself fairly disappointed.  I'm hoping to find a solution to my issue, or a promise it will be resolved soon or else I'm going to return this product.

 

A little background about my home and myself.  I have 1gbps internet fiber connection from Sonic.net, a smartTV, AppleTV, several game consoles, apple "I" devices/ watches, and IoT devices, kindles, etc...  You might say I'm a heavy user, we even have port forwarding and static IPs set up as well for game servers.  I also have a background in computer engineering, and reguallarly do software web architecture level work as part of my job.  I understand IP4 really well, and have set up a few dozen networks in my life.

 

Over the last few years I've set up 2 Orbi systems and saw how amazing Mesh Networking was and couldn't wait to get it in my home, however, the Orbi system does not have the configurability that I need -- it's great for basic internet, but it can't handle the features that I am used to on a full featured router.

 

With the announcement of WiFi 6 I was excited to upgrade to increased range, and improve the peformance with the 40-50 devices on my local network.  Again Orbi seemed targeted to more modest users, and so I waited for the Netgear Nighthawk WiFi 6 AX12 ( RAX200 ).  I also bought a Netgear Nighthawk SX10 Pro Gaming Switch ( GS810EMX-100NAS ), because the AX12 didn't have enough ethernet ports on it.  The AX12 has been a modest upgrade from the X10 ( R9000 ) that it replaced.

In the month that I was waiting I updated some of the cables so I could get the 2.5 Multi-Gig bandwidth that the SX10 Switch and the AX12 router support.

 

Now comes the AX8 Extender and it comes with minimal instructions, it seems to only have 4x 1 Gig ports, and so far it's performance has been poor at best. I have tried the device in a few different configurations and locations and here is what I have found, with my iPhone 11 Pro using Speedtest to Sonic.net's servers.

 

Placed the Ext in the kitchen, the router is 1 room away separated by 1-2 walls or about 25-35ft.  In this case I get about 15-30% (100-200mbps) of my max performance standing right next to it.  To the Master Bedroom 1 room / 2 walls away / 15-20 ft away, the bandwith get's cut to 5-8% ( 40-80mbps ).

Placed in the Office, the router is 1 room + a hallway away, separated by 2-3 walls or about 35-50 ft.  The bandwidth stadning right next to it was 2-6% of my available bandwith ( 20-60mbps ), and stadning in the bedroom was about 20 mbps.


Placed in the Bedroom, the performance was about the same as the office, just flipped.

 

Since, I have a 1gbps Cat-6 connection in the Office, I tried to connect the AX8 Extender in the ethernet connection, but then the bandwith drops to ZERO (0).  I think this is because of a loop that's created, and the SX10 Switch might be killing the port.

 

I looked for a wired back haul ethernet setting in the AX8's web interface but there is not one.  I know that even the Orbi's now support a wired backhaul.

 

Netgear my Goal was simple, get WiFi 6 level performance under ONE Single SSID for my whole home.  As of now I have switched back to using the AX12 (R9000) Router, and using my Nighthawk AC1900 (R7000) in AP Mode with a second SSID.

How do I get to WiFi 6 level performance ( 300mpbs - 1gpbs+ ) on a single SSID, and keep the ability to have port forwarding?

 

  1. Is it possible to have a wired backhaul with the AX8?  Will it ever be possible?
  2. Is it possible to have my R7000 in a Mesh Networking mode so I can have a single SSID?
  3. Is it possible to run the ORBI WiFi 6 edition nodes and have a wired backhaul with my R9000 and have a signle SSID?
  4. Is Netgear coming out with a new product that better addresses these needs?
  5. Will the AX8 be improved, was it launched in a buggy state and these issues will be fixed soon?

 

  • Does the AX8 dedicate WiFi lanes from my AX12 ( R9000 ) and reduce the maximum bandwidth of my other WiFi 6 devices?
Message 1 of 9
DexterJB
NETGEAR Moderator

Re: Problems w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk 8AX - EAX80 Range Extender w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk AX12 - RAX20

Hi @PurplePanda , welcome to the community and thank you for all your feedback! We'd like to answer your questions:

 

Is it possible to have a wired backhaul with the AX8? Will it ever be possible?

As it stands, the EAX80 doesn't support ethernet backhaul. It can, however, be configured in AP (access point) mode.

 

Is it possible to have my R7000 in a Mesh Networking mode so I can have a single SSID?
The R7000 cannot be setup in a mesh networking mode but, if it is an option, you can have it setup in AP mode and have a single SSID sans seamless roaming.

 

Is it possible to run the ORBI WiFi 6 edition nodes and have a wired backhaul with my R9000 and have a signle SSID?
Orbi satellites can only work with Orbi routers.

 

Is Netgear coming out with a new product that better addresses these needs?
We guarantee that we are constantly working on meeting user demands and unique network setups.

 

Will the AX8 be improved, was it launched in a buggy state and these issues will be fixed soon?
The EAX80 will continue to receive updates, improvements, and fixes as it is a newly launched device.

 

Does the AX8 dedicate WiFi lanes from my AX12 ( R9000 ) and reduce the maximum bandwidth of my other WiFi 6 devices?
It uses the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands which has plenty of available bandwidth (1.2Gbps and 4.8Gbps) for the connection and your client devices.


We'd also like to confirm the following with you for us to provide a better recommendation:


1. Do you have the RAX200 or RAX120? And did you keep it?
2. Is the R9000 or the RAX200/RAX120 one currently installed?

3. What speeds are you getting straight from the router (R9000 or RAX120/RAX200)?

 

Dexter

Community Team

Message 2 of 9
retrospcttt
Luminary

Re: Problems w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk 8AX - EAX80 Range Extender w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk AX12 - RAX20

Well written question and with details.

 

This is my main sticking point at the moment...

Q: Is it possible to have a wired backhaul with the AX8? Will it ever be possible?

A: As it stands, the EAX80 doesn't support ethernet backhaul. It can, however, be configured in AP (access point) mode.

 

This has me now looking at other products/solutions.... super frustrating. @PurplePanda Not sure if this will be deleted but I started looking at the Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien devices. They support WiFi 6 AX and ethernet backhaul. Have a great day.

Message 3 of 9
matt7277
Luminary

Re: Problems w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk 8AX - EAX80 Range Extender w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk AX12 - RAX20

Real similar set up to yours ( previously ran the nighthawk router, upraded to orbis, upgraded to Orbi AX wifi 6 and immediately returned due to the lack of custom configurations I was expecting to see, sprinkled in a few nighthawk pro gaming switches, later went with the RAX200 + EAX80 combo). I expected this would be the secret sauce / high power solution compared to the Orbi AX Wifi 6 but sadly the EAX80 constantly dropped out in weird ways where the lights would be looking OK, but the actual performance and stability would beg to differ. I was hoping for ethernet backhaul similar to the Orbi line but was pretty surprised when that didn't seem to be supported off the bat with the extender in default config.

 

BUT, have you tried AP mode? If you have hard wired Cat5/6/7 throughout the home or even coax cables + MOCA adapters you could probably run the extender in AP mode which does recognize the hard wired ethernet connectivity. I just switched my RAX200 + EAX80 combo over to this and it appears to be working pretty well for now.

Message 4 of 9
res1983
Luminary

Re: Problems w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk 8AX - EAX80 Range Extender w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk AX12 - RAX20

I too have found that EAX80 works well for my setup in AP mode. Both the Router and extender have option of Smart Comnect (one SSID). I have my RAX200 on the top floor and EAX80 on the main floor opposite side of the house to feed main level and back Yard and garage. I found that running the EAX80 wireless mesh I lost about 20% of my speeds. In AP mode, seamless internet.

I saw you had a smart switch setup within your network. I too did this only to find my router and switch were fighting each other and cause unstable network. I ended up with unmanaged switches in my house to solve that issue. What is your Topology if I might ask?

Message 5 of 9
Nehmendi1
Luminary

Re: Problems w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk 8AX - EAX80 Range Extender w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk AX12 - RAX20

Hi there I have a rax120 connected  via Ethernet to two eax80s set to access point mode with smart connect enabled everywhere and one wireless network name set to all 3 units. Good speed but poor switching of devices from main router to the eax80s and vice versa. 

my question is about whether a configuration of this type is really functioning as a mesh network?

 

I would guess not. It doesn't work well for me and my devices frequently fight with either the router or an extender for wireless access and often will preferentially go for the rax120 even if situated far from it and next to one of the eax80 access points. 

it's all setup in wifi6/ax and I notice that the rax120 has an option for wpa2+wpa3 authentication but the eax80 are limited to wpa2.

 

is this an issue for mesh? I thought that all stations need to have identical authentication for mesh or smart connect to work. 

can someone advise and could wpa3 be built into eax80 via firmware update?

thanks 

Message 6 of 9
res1983
Luminary

Re: Problems w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk 8AX - EAX80 Range Extender w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk AX12 - RAX20

Hello Nehmendi1,

 

I see you mentioned that you are running 2 EAX80 units. Are the 2 units linked to eachother in AP mode? Meaning. RAX120 to EAX80 to EAX80. Or do you have them wired seperate of each other. RAX120 to EAX80 and RAX120 to EAX80? 

 

I have done 2 extenders in the past but both are feeding from the router. That is the key thing. I ran smart connect for the entire house and it work flawlessly. Have you tried one EAX80 as AP and the other as WiFi mesh with smart connect? They both can't run smart connect from the router as their is a chance they will link with each other which will cause no internet. The link below from the supervisor explains all of that. I hope this will help you. 

 

If you want a mesh system then please read the this link that discusses 2 extenders on one network. This is from a supervisor. 

https://community.netgear.com/t5/WiFi-Range-Extenders-Nighthawk/Can-you-use-2-wifi-extenders-at-the-...

Message 7 of 9
Nehmendi1
Luminary

Re: Problems w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk 8AX - EAX80 Range Extender w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk AX12 - RAX20

Thanks very much for this. Both eax80s are wired directly to the rax120 through a very good central Netgear switch and both are set to ap mode. I have noticed from time to time that these get a bit confused and loop, usually during initial setup but this usually sorts itself out and all the ap get their own discrete IP addresses just fine. I also have two older ex8000 setup in the network. One as above and another as a wireless extender to the rax120. So 4 total units (we have an old house with multiple thick solid brick walls.

 

Now that I moved everything back to wap2 authentication with identical wireless net names I think I have a smoother setup but will keep testing. Thanks for the link. I will investigate that

Message 8 of 9
res1983
Luminary

Re: Problems w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk 8AX - EAX80 Range Extender w/ New WiFi 6 Nighthawk AX12 - RAX20

If it helps, I have also run my AP/Extenders off of one switch with no issues and used smart connect. The most I have run was 3 AP/Extenders. The router feed the switch and the 3 extenders we connected in AP mode. The house I set up was around 4800 sqft 2 level new build. They wanted coverage inside and outside the home. Well they we covered!! lol

 

I too live in an older house. I know the pain over coverage. I hope you are able to stay up and running on a stable network. 

Message 9 of 9
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