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Loss of speed when 160 or 80+80 enabled on R720

New Contributor

Just finished setting up some new APs (2xRuckus R720s) and am having some trouble with WiFi throughput when 160Mhz channels are enabled on my 5Ghz band. I am in a rural area on a 2 acre lot and there is very little to no interference on any channel (although I do have three Rokus, two of which insist on using the same channel as my router to connect to their remote - I have wired the one that doesn't behave this way and unplugged the rest for testing with no change).

When running 5Ghz VHT (i.e. 80Mhz channels), I see about 400-600mbps, averaging about 450mbps using iPerf3 back to the router ("iperf -c ipaddress -n 1024m"). PHY reads as 866/866 using WiFiMan app from a Pixel 7 Pro running Android 14. This is what I expect and I am very happy with this. I see very similar speeds when running iPerf tests to other wired devices and see a very consistent 950mbps when running tests between the router and wired devices.

When i change the 5Ghz band to use 160Mhz channels, however, I see PHY rates drop, especially PHY down. iPerf speed tests also show reduced throughput on download (e.g. anywhere from 300mbps to 30mbps, it is very inconsistent). Upload speeds, however (iperf -c ipaddress -n 1024m -R) are better than when at 80Mhz (e.g. 600-900mbps). Interestingly, testing through the Ruckus unleashed app shows nearly 650mbps both up and down.

Changing back to 80Mhz channels does NOT resolve the issue. Even a reboot of the APs fails to make any difference. What DOES make a difference is changing the "Channel Optimization" setting (Country code on the APs is set to USA). I have found that it does not matter what you change it to, just that you change it (i.e. the problem presents itself whether you choose compatibility, interoperability, or performance mode and 160Mhz or 80+80 channels on 5Ghz and the problem is resolved by going back to 80Mhz channels and then changing the channel optimization setting to anything other than the current selection). It took me quite a while to figure this out, mostly through trial and error.

Now a bit about my network overall, I am using a Dell Poweredge R210 ii with 16gb of ECC ram and a Xeon 3.2Ghz cpu running PfSense CE as my router, which is fed from a cable modem (Netgear CM600). Dual stack IPv4/IPv6 is enabled on the network and working fine.

The router is plugged into a Netgear 8 port POE+ switch, which feeds 2xR720s located at opposite ends of my home (two story, about 1800 square feet). Each ruckus AP is powered by Trendnet 90w POE injectors, since they require POE++ to function fully. The power setting in each AP is also manually set to bt. One POE injector is located about 10' away from the AP while the other is about 75' away.

PfSense and the APs are all on the latest possible firmware as of today (APs are on unleashed and PfSense is version 2.7.2-RELEASE). The latest version of Ruckus unleashed was just released a few days ago and I was running 200.14 before that with the same exact issue.

Now, 500mbps is fine for my needs (especially for a phone!), since my servers/NAS/bandwidth hogs are all wired, but I would like to be able to have throughput that is at least as good as the old, consumer grade router at my workplace and it just bothers me that I can't get it to work. Anyone have any idea what could be going on or have any suggestions as to how to further narrow down what the issue is?

Thanks for reading!


Contributor III

160Mhz is a waste of time. Most mobile devices don’t support it. 

I agree that I'm chasing after a synthetic benchmark result that has no or little practical value in my use case, but the device I'm using (primarily) for testing (a Pixel 7 Pro cellphone) does support 160mhz and sees PHY rates of 2000mbps and iperf3 results of about 900mbps (when using a PC that has a wired gigabit connection, which is the bottleneck on that network) when connected to a Netgear RAX45 AP at my office (released in April of 2020).

One thing I noticed just now is that WiFiman lists the work network as "WiFi 6," but only shows my home (R720 AP) network as WiFi 5, despite the checkbox for "WiFi 6" on the AP being checked. Could this be a clue as to what's going on?

Also, the weirdness with the issue persisting after settings have been reverted to the original, problem free settings until the channel optimization setting is changed makes me think that there is some sort of bug in the firmware and I would like to figure out what is going on, at least to satisfy my own curiosity.

Lastly, while not directly applicable to this issue, I have noticed that a Macbook pro (about 2013 vintage) fails to connect after the latest firmware update unless 802.11r is disabled. Other mac laptops and devices have no issue, but toggling the setting causes the issue to come and go, so I am confident that this setting is the cause of that issue.

The R720 is a bit of a mongrel - it came out before wifi6 was standardised and has a fair amount of issues. You may be seeing an inherent problem in the chipset. For what it’s worth I get an easy 800-900Mbps with clear LoS to my R750 at 80Mhz. 

Thanks for the background! I actually 'upgraded' from an R710 to the pair of R720s (got a good deal on a lot of 5 of the R720s on eBay and sold off 3 + my R710/kept two and made a small amount on the transaction, although less than it cost to buy 2xPOE++ adapters!). Unfortunate if the issue is inherent in the R720 chipset, since the only differences between the R710 and R720, as far as I can tell, are the 2.5gbps port (which I can't use, as I don't have a 2.5gbe switch), the POE++ power requirements, and the 80+80/160mhz channels, which I cannot currently use due to this issue.