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Cycling Power Fixes Wireless Weirdness

A week ago, I acquired an ASUS RT-AX88U wireless access device to replace a failing RT-AC68U. Today, suddenly and unexpectedly, all of my older wireless adapters found themselves unable to connect to that device. That is, all of my 802.11ac devices kept working fine, but none of my 802.11n devices (the oldest 802.11 version I’m still using) would connect. Drove me absolutely bananas. Ultimately, I would determine that cycling power fixes wireless weirdness. But first, I had to spend half an hour on the phone with the very nice and surprisingly knowledgeable folks at ASUS tech support in the Philippines.

When in doubt reboot applies to routers/WAPs as it does to Windows, apparently.

Why say: Cycling Power Fixes Wireless Weirdness?

I couldn’t get the 802.11n devices to work for love or money. After inspecting the built-in router page and configuration data myself, I didn’t see anything wrong. When I called ASUS, we tried a bunch of settings — including “802.11n only” (auto configuration off), a variety of name changes for SSIDs, and other stuff I can’t remember — but none of it made any difference. I even tried plugging in a USB 802.11ac USB wireless NIC into one of my incommunicado machines, and that didn’t work, either. So I said to the tech support guy: “Why don’t I cycle the power on the router, and see what happens?” His reply: “Yes, but first, return all settings to their previous values.” So that’s what I did.

Guess what? After the power was cycled, and the router started back up, all the 802.11n devices were able to connect to the ASUS device. Problem solved! I was reminded of the old “three-fingered salute” I used to use to solve so many Windows problems (CTRL-ALT-DEL). I should’ve been smart enough to figure that one out on my own. At least, I figured it out eventually. Sigh.