2 Alien Routers, ethernet backbone causes wifi connectivity issues

  • I've recently upgraded from a setup with 2 Amplifi HD routers and 2 wireless mesh points. The primary was configured as a wireless bridge and the secondary was configured to use ethernet backbone. I had no issues with the setup other than the occasional blip when moving from room to room.

    I recently replaced that setup with 2 Amplifi Alien routers with the same configuration. Now when switching from one access point to another, wifi connectivity will drop out for minutes at a time. Even disabling and enabling wifi on the device can't force it back online. This happens regardless of moving from the primary to secondary or vise versa.

    I don't have this issue when they are connected via wireless, but because of line of site issues, the signal strength is not great and occasionally drops out.

    I've been emailing with support, but the response times are very slow. Their suggestions thus far have been to enable 802.1k and 802.1v which did not improve things, and to wire the secondary into the primary instead of the router, which also did not help.

    I'd strongly prefer to keep the new setup, but I've had to press the Amplifi HD routers back into service until I can get resolution.

    0_1575665543675_Alien Wifi Topology.png
    0_1575665564106_HD Wifi Topology.png

  • @rich-janson Are you using Amplifi Aliens for a business?

    I dont recommend them for business, but here is the things we can try.

    Ok I am redoing this post. I see the issue.

    You have 2 routers, both Aliens need to be in bridge mode. Then have them go back to your Edge router via a cable or a switch before the Edge router. Also dont use the wan port (use a lan)on the Alien in bridge mode. Otherwise they cant talk to each other right.


  • A : It's not possible to put a router in bridge mode if it's in ethernet backbone mode.
    B : If I put them both in bridge mode, they are no longer a wireless mesh?
    C : This exact setup works with the Amplifi HD, why wouldn't it work with the alien?

    And no, this is for home use, not business.

  • @rich-janson I am terribly sorry as this is not an answer to your dilemma but rather a question in itself. Are you really getting any noticeable improvement in performance (assuming all is working well) with your new setup compared to your previous one? I have a fairly similar topology to your old one in a 6 bedroom house and my signal reaches down the road from my house but maybe I am just lucky.

  • Hi @rich-janson - can you confirm the cable routing setup of your HD Topology?

    • HD Primary WAN to EdgeRouter LAN?
    • HD Secondary WAN to EdgeRouter LAN?

    Normally for AmpliFi Ethernet Backbone to work the Secondary WAN should be directly connected to a Primary LAN port

    But you already stated this did not make any difference when you tried it with the Alien Topology, which is surprising since you also said you didn't have any issues with Wireless Backbone and client handoff

    I don't have this issue when they are connected via wireless, but because of line of site issues, the signal strength is not great and occasionally drops out.

    Are you referring here to drop outs of the Wireless Backbone?

    Are you Aliens installed in the same locations as the HD's or did place them further apart?

    If you switch the HD's to Wireless Backbone mode, can they connect, and do you see the same drop outs?

    Have you checked the wireless signal strengths in-between the routers (both the Aliens and the HD's) with an app like WiFiMan (Android) or AirPort Utility (iOS)?

    It may just be that the firmware of the Aliens has not matured enough for your setup

    Their suggestions thus far have been to enable 802.1k and 802.1v which did not improve things

    For diagnosis, have you tried going the other way and disabling Band Steering and Router Steering to see if it has any affect?

    And enabling a unique 5GHz only SSID to check the range and overlap?

    You might consider generating some support files in both Wireless Backbone and Ethernet Backbone mode after you experience issues and send them directly to @UI-Brett to have a look at what might be going on

  • @ali-hadi I can say that the speed tests from the primary router itself get much closer to my provisioned bandwidth of 500/500 with the Alien than they did with the HD. Aside from that, it's hard to make a comparison as I haven't been able to get the Alien setup working to my satisfaction.

    That being said, I get great range and performance from the HD setup. Upgrading to the Alien is probably not a necessity unless you're like me and just like to have the latest and greatest.

  • @rich-janson I work on Unifi mostly, we set a minimum signal. This makes sure they swap to the new one and not try to hang on the old. I don't really see any mesh settings. Do they only show the settings in the app when you have two? Router steering is all I see.

    At work my Unifi UAG manages everything. We have 350 all meshing fine.

  • @derek-saville You're correct on the cable routing of the HD, and I've experienced zero issues with it. If I understand the documentation correctly, using the WAN on the primary and secondary is supported as long as they are both wired to the same switch, which is the case here.

    I'll go back and try it with the Alien and see if it makes a difference. I misunderstood the support request and wired the Secondary WAN to the Primary LAN, instead of Secondary LAN to Router LAN.

    Yes, I'm done a number of wireless surveys around the house and for whatever reason the signal from the primary is quite weak in the area where I've wired the secondary. I've never tried the wireless option with the HDs, as I'm with with and prefer the wired backbone setup.

    I've got the support files and can DM them as you suggested.

  • @timothy-farley While made by the same company the HD and Alien are definitely more consumer oriented, with a minimum set of options. Options are router steering and band steering, with a web UI where you can enable a couple more features such as 802.1k and v.

    I've looked into the Unifi stuff, but haven't seen anything that quite fits what I need.

  • Hi @rich-janson - you understood the support request correctly where they recommend wiring the Secondary WAN directly to a Primary LAN port for Ethernet Backbone
    But other wiring schemes have been known to work
    Some people have wired to the LAN side and then jumper a second LAN to the WAN ports

    I was just wondering how much 5GHz signal coverage overlap you have between the Aliens vs. the HD's?

    As your clients roam are you dropping from 5GHz to 2.4GHz before handoff?

    If so, the Band Steering and/or Router Steering may be causing issues with the Aliens, where the HD's may have benefited from a couple years of getting the roaming bugs worked out of the firmware

    You might try as a test moving the Aliens a little closer together to ensure a Goldilocks 5GHz overlap to see if the roaming improves

  • I can also confirm there is a problem with Ethernet backbone on the Alien.

    I am coming from 2 AmpliFi HD routers connected via Ethernet backbone with no problems. When switching over to two Alien’s connected via Ethernet backbone I am seeing drops in connection, router switching issues, and instances where stepping away from my home and coming back my phone will connect to WiFi but indicate there is no connection.

    I’ve had to switch from Ethernet backbone to wireless and so far so good but this is not what I purchased these two Aliens to do.

    Any suggestions or updates on a potential fix?

  • @rich-janson Just for testing what if you take the EdgeRouter out of the picture?

  • @rick-daino-0 Can you elaborate on your topology so that I can test this?

  • @ui-jt I have gigabit up and down from my provider, Ethernet runs from the outside to my main Alien Router.

    I then have another Ethernet cable running from the back of that Alien to another Alien in the other room. This is the same setup I had with my AmpliFi HD's that did not have this issue.

    I've since disabled Ethernet Backbone and it seems stable but that's not how I want this to work.

    One additional note - since switching to the Alien my WeMo smart plug will disconnect after a day and not come back online. With the HD System I did not have this issue.

    Let me know if you need anything else from me as I am happy to help provide anything needed to get this resolved.

  • @rich-janson Please DM your support files to me

  • @rick-daino-1 Are you using an Edge router in conjuction with the Alien? What type of modem is in front of the Alien/ Edge router. Also please DM me your support files. Thanks.

  • Adding onto this thread, I have a much more simple setup, 2 Aliens, and I tried to ethernet backhaul the second one and immediately noticed the original posters issues, some devices would just drop connectivity and no amount of messing with wifi, rebooting, ipconfig commands brings it back.

    I have currently disabled the ethernet backhaul, my routers are close enough together that it was a nice to have, but I think there is a bug there.

  • @ui-jt No edge router just simple backhaul between the two routers. No other routers in the mix as this is a direct line from the curb to house.

  • @adam-hall-0 Exact same issue that I am having.

  • @rick-daino-1 Is the ethernet backhaul cable at least Cat 6?

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