So the other day my first-gen AC router started rebooting randomly, most likely due to a hardware fault. It was about eight years old and lasted a lot longer than I expected it to, so I just started looking for a new one, and settled on the Archer AX20 v1.20 after seeing good reviews. It was a lot cheaper than the one I got all those years ago, but my needs are somewhat simpler now.
Turns out there was one exception to that. My old router was pretty fancy and it did one thing that was really nice that the AX20 does not. It acted as a passthrough DNS server, which the AX20 does as well, but it used dnsmasq to let clients automatically find other clients via DNS. For example, if I had a Windows PC named "smith", my old router would let you look it up via that hostname and return the address that was assigned to it by the DHCP server.
This was extremely helpful for things like remote desktop, local media servers, and the like. I still have some of that kind of thing running right now, and the AX20 doesn't return local computer names to DNS queries. I've got those computers set up w/ static IPs using the "Address Reservation" feature in the router's DHCP configuration, but it still doesn't return their IPs over DNS. I've tested this w/ the usual tools (dig, nslookup, etc) and it just says that it can't find them.
I can see that the AX20 is at least partially based on openWRT by looking at the GPL code for it, and this is the only feature I need that it's missing. I could do workarounds, but setting up a separate DHCP/DNS server would be a huge pain and add an additional point of failure, and trying to manage hosts files on all the PC would be a mess (and won't be an option on mobile devices anyway). Am I missing something here? Is there a feature I need to turn on?
If this just isn't something the AX20 does, is there any chance this might be added to a later firmware update? This is a function that's built into dnsmasq, which appears to be part of the GPL code for the router, so I'm wondering why it's not doing it. It's using the latest firmware (1.3.0 Build 20210304 rel.16262(5553)) and I hope that there's some setting I just need to turn on.