New router - which firmware?

As mentioned in another thread I have purchased the following router:

Now, I’m not sure which firmware I should install. I could go ahead and just install Merlin, which extends the default capabilities of my router, or I could install DD-WRT.
Do you guys have any recommendations? I noticed that DD-WRT firmwire for my router is still in beta and from October 2018. Is this a bad thing on DD-WRT or something normal?
Any other recommendations or things I should keep an eye on?

Im using dd-wrt beta on my old rt-n10+ and it works just fine.
I wouldnt worry about the beta status of the firmware.

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Go with Merlin. Unless there is a feature you need from ddwrt there is no reason to install it because it noticeably reduces performance in a lot of ways.


Ok that’s good to hear, anything else I should keep in mind? Do you notice any performance drawbacks?

@Adubs I thought abount increasing the WiFi signal strength because I’d like to have WiFi in the garden^^. Other than that, I haven’t thought of anything else (yet).

The asus routers are known for running a little warmer than most. If you look theres people who mod them for cooling. I would advise against boosting Tx power beyond factory limits because of this. If you want to spread the signal around, pick up whichever cheap asus AC model you can find and use their AiMesh. It will work better anyway.

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Unlikely you’ll make wifi range longer with custom firmware.

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You can if the drivers and hardware support it but in my experience, the difference is theres very little to be gained. Better off going with higher gain antennas.

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Ok, thanks for your input again. So, the common consensus is to go with Merlin, unless I have a specific task/use case for dd-wrt?

I mean, go with ddwrt if its what your heart desires. You might not notice much in the way of speed lost. It can be hit or miss. For me I noticed it on a few devices… all anecdotal at best. I havent tried ddwrt on that router specifically. I have tried merlin on 3 different asus routers and its :ok_hand:

Theres no reason you cant try both if you want to.

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From what I’ve read, DDWRT doesn’t support hardware NAT, which is a substantial performance constraint if you have fast internet. Merlin fully supports it; I got gigabit speeds no problem on my old RT-AC68u.

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DD-WRT’s website organization is a horrible unmaintained mess.

If you use the search tool to find firmware, it’ll only show obsolete builds.
There’s a “current build” list hidden somewhere with up to date builds. I don’t recall where it is at the moment. I can find it later if you like.

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I have installed dd-wrt, because the router was slowing down and disconnecting some devices randomly while under original firmware.
DD-wrt has solved my performance issues.

I didn’t even know Merlin existed before this thread. My model is not supported anyway :slight_smile:

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I have a pair of ASUS AC86U’s…

You would happen to be using more than one of those are you? (I’m running ASUS’s AiMesh and looking to find better firmware)

I’m hoping they either fix their shit (unlikely) or I’ll have to get new hardware that works for my use-case.

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My wife might object when the Internet isn’t always running :smiley:

@Log Thanks, so if I do decide to go with DD-WRT I’ll search for a more current build.

@Grokas No, my apartment is rather small, which is why I’m using only one router.

In any case, I’ll probably try Merlin for now and switch to DD-WRT if I truly need a specific feature. Thanks for all the helpful comments here :slight_smile:

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Now that my computer is set up again, I was able to find the up to date beta builds. Obviously, using any of these carries some risk, as there are hundreds of routers, and realistically very few are actually going to be tested, which is why the latest “official” release for a router is often years old. It’s a good idea to do a quite google search to see if anyone is having problems.

You can find the base directory here:
And your router model should be here:

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Thanks, it’s really appreciated :slight_smile:

Fwiw, openwrt has some support for hardware forwarding and nat these days on some devices, but Asus routers have traditionally been poorly supported and not as popular in openwrt community because of broadcom chipsets that have poor opensource support. DDWRT/Merlin get around this somewhat by reusing bits and pieces from oem kernels, openwrt always builds its own.

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