ASUS RP-AC68U – what a piece of crap


Firstly I want to say sorry if you, like me, ended up with one of these pieces of shit on your network.

The device worked at the start until the latest firmware was released. When firmware is released you don’t think that the firmware will be so broken as to make your entire network will go off line intermittently due to this device deciding that it wants to do its own thing.

I was using this device as an Access Point – to connect wifi devices to the LAN. Simple really! The device is marketed as an Access Point, so it should function correctly as one.

An Access Point should act as a network bridge. Packets come in over wifi and the AP sends the packets out the LAN cable, and when the packets arrive at the AP over the LAN then the AP send them out over wifi.

That’s it! It is that simple. An Access Point should NOT intercept or tamper with traffic. It has no reason to act as DHCP or DNS server. Anyone who wants an AP will already have DHCP and DNS servers somewhere else on their network.

Unfortunately the ASUS RP-AC68U does just that – it’s trying to be too smart by half. But sadly the developers who wrote the firmware are incompetent. They made mistakes by acting as a DHCP and DNS server even though an AP has no business with offering these LAN services. But that would most probably be OK if you could disable that functionality but nope, can’t do that.

What makes matters worse is that there is a disconnect between the GUI and the actual configuration of the device which is where the real trouble starts.

In the GUI you can set the IP address of the default gateway, and also set IP addresses of 2 DNS servers. Any sane person would think that that would mean that the default route of the device would be set to the default gateway IP, and that the /etc/resolv.conf file would have 2 entries.

BUT no, for some absurd reason the developers decided that your default gateway IP address should be added as a third DNS server in /etc/resolv.conf. The only way to not have the 3rd DNS added is to not set a default gateway – yup, how broken is that!

This makes the device useless to people who run a split DNS – one internal DNS forwarding to specific forwarders, and one external on your router. So this means that when the AP intercepts your DNS request there’s a 1 in 3 chance of your request being forwarded to a DNS server you don’t want the request going to. Chaos ensues when internal hostnames fails to resolve.

So, once I worked out what was happening I raised a ticket with ASUS local “customer support”… got a response quickly asking for screenshots which I sent in that day… and then I waited, and waited and waited.

About a month later I poked them so get a status – we didn’t see your e-mail. So I had to resend and asked for acknowledgement of receipt. All good, getting some action.

Weeeelllll… no…. a month later I poke them again and they asked for me “Do you want us to send this to global support?”… WTF?!?!? They’ve been sitting on this support ticket for 60 days and have done nothing with it. Now I had to fill in a word document with screenshots and descriptions that I’d already supplied them.

Problem finally gets sent to global support and I got asked for some clarifications later that week, I also sent them results of an experiment I did to show the problem, and since then it’s been nothing but silence from them.

It looks like local, in country support, have zero technical ability and they just act as paper pushers to forward e-mails to the global team once customers get irate enough. And the developers can’t seem to grasp why what they’re doing is wrong.

In the meantime I started seeing the RP-AC68U giving out DHCP leases to LAN clients as well… not good.

Downgrade I thought! I downloaded an order version of firmware that I’d used before the upgrade, but nope, can’t downgrade… sigh…

I shot off an e-mail asking how to downgrade…. silence… sent off another e-mail asking how to downgrade (or get a refund)… silence…

That was the last straw, so today I decided to buy a proper Access Point, you know, an Access Point from a reputable company that knows networking rather than some hacks.

So now my network is running a brand new Ubiquiti Networks Unifi AP AC PRO (model number UAP-AC-PRO)  Access Point. It was a breeze to setup (the UI looks like it was written by an adult rather than the amateur looking ASUS UI), wifi speeds are faster, but most importantly it’s acting as an Access Point and not intercepting and tampering with my network traffic!

And then, with much happiness, I took to the piece of shit RP-AC68U with a hammer, and then deposited the pieces in the bin where it really belonged. I toyed with selling it on eBay but I couldn’t in good conscience pass this junk on to another poor soul.

The lack of ASUS support has guaranteed that there will never be another ASUS product in this household. Life is too short to have to deal with fucked up devices and non existent support!

Do yourself a favour – buy Ubiquiti wifi gear, you will love it!

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