This is going to be a somewhat long post. But I want to give my thoughts on version 4.x on the AX1800 as I have been using this router for awhile and I’m extremely disappointed with the new firmware. This is not a post looking for support, I have my issues fixed, this is more-so towards the GL iNet team because I’m worried about 4.x’s performance for future GL iNet products.
I can only blame this on default parameters or programming errors. But I have been running the AX1800 full-time as my main home WiFi router. It has been the best router I have ever purchased in my life, I am extremely happy with it.
But first, let me explain why I am extremely happy with it. I live in an area where there really are not good internet options at all. If you want good internet, you are forced into cellular options that all have their caveats. The caveat with mine is that all video streaming is throttled to 3mbps, while I get a main speed of about 250mbps. The only way to bypass this restriction is through a VPN, and that’s something that GL iNet routers can do very well through WireGuard. Remember, my only options are do this, or have no internet at all (or spend an extremely large amount of money for an ISP to come down here.)
I bought the AX1800 when version 3.x was standard on it. It works perfectly. I have VPN policies setup so the VPN is only enabled on video streaming websites, then turned off for everything else. The WiFi range on the router is amazing, everything just works.
About a year later, I then noticed I could setup a network drive through the router’s USB. I decided to mess with this because that seems useful, but unfortunately I just couldn’t get network storage to work on version 3.x at all. So I decided to upgrade the router to version 4.x to see if network storage would work on that version. This was a huge mistake for multiple reasons:
While yes, network storage did in fact work. The physical WiFi range on the router was destroyed. There were now more dead zones on my property than before, and it was very significant. Before, I could basically go anywhere on my property and be connected, it was very impressive. Then after, the WiFi could barely reach everywhere in the house, and essentially died anywhere outside. Very poor performance.
WireGuard works terribly on version 4.x. Not only was it more difficult to setup for some reason, but when I eventually got it working, the VPN policies simply did not behave the same as before. Remember when I said video was throttled to 3mbps on my ISP? Well version 4.x made that worse somehow. For some reason with VPN policies enabled, now all downloads were throttled to about 1mbps, unless I had a VPN turned on the actual device. This behavior doesn’t even happen if I use a vanilla router running zero VPNs, I can download files at full speed. This also did not happen on version 3.x. If that doesn’t make any sense, it’s difficult to explain, and I can’t understand how it’s possible either.
So just to make sure this was version 4.x’s fault, I decided to downgrade back to version 3.x and start everything from scratch. First of all, version 3.216 does not work through Uboot at all, it would just force the webpage to spit a failed to load error. So I had to downgrade back to Version 3.214.
And just as I suspected, version 3.214 fixed everything. The WiFi range is now long, downloads are not throttled, the VPN policy is reliable. Fantasic.
Now I’m sure the download throttling issue would be difficult to replicate without having an ISP that throttles video content. But the WiFi range issue was surprising, as it really is night and day that version 3.x performs much better.
Even before I upgraded to 4.x, I recommended to a friend that they should buy an AX1800 as they were having WiFi range problems. When they got it, it came shipped with version 4.x, then when we tested the WiFi range, I was shocked to see that the performance was poor. Dead zones in the home, barely made it outside. I am very curious to see if they downgrade to 3.x if that fixes it. Regardless, this should be a replicable issue.