Advantages, disadvantages of installation

Weblee2407

Occasional Visitor
First to complain from your experiments are your family members. Make sure you are ready to handle the situation. Good luck.


Yes..the life of the Home IT guy!
 

heysoundude

Part of the Furniture
Thanks SO much for the heads up. I'll trash the Merlin installer and stay with what works. I appreciate your details and advice.
don't forget to enable (well, at least seriously consider enabling) IPv6 functionality on your router if your ISP offers it, whichever firmware you ultimately choose to go with.
Tech9 and I disagree on this, but 38% of people accessing google today did so with IPv6, and that number is growing.
 
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Tech9

Part of the Furniture
No, keep IPv6 disabled, @jontalk. This is the Default setting for a reason.

Don't enable firmware settings you don't know what they do or you don't need/use.
 

joegreat

Very Senior Member
Don't enable firmware settings you don't know what they do or you don't need/use.
Yes, this is very important:
Do NOT play around with settings you do not UNTERSTAND or you DO NOT NEED (e.g. Wireless Professional-page)!
 

CaptainSTX

Part of the Furniture
I was waiting to see your further questions. You definitely don't need Asuswrt-Merlin on your router. Read why below:

- your router is 2012 hardware and not all Asuswrt-Merlin features will be available to you, no Cake or Wireguard for example.
- your router's radios rely heavily on the main CPU and the more things you run on the router the more impact on overall performance.
- your router has 256MB RAM only and all of the above people who recommended Asuswrt-Merlin to you use routers with 1GB RAM
- uBlock origin is much more effective ad-blocker than Diversion, it doesn't destroy web pages and blocks YouTube ads.
- many custom scripts require USB stick, including Diversion. Your reliable router will become as reliable as your USB stick.
- if you want custom scripts, you have to learn how to troubleshoot your router yourself. You're far from it at this stage.

First to complain from your experiments are your family members. Make sure you are ready to handle the situation. Good luck.

Asuswrt-Merlin is excellent, but not for everyone. You can climb the mountain, but with no experience you may fall off the cliff.
The AC68 was and still is one of the most reliable routers sold by ASUS. I have been using one as an AP since 2013 and it still works fine. I have another AC68 on which I have installed the latest Merlin firmware and it works fine including many of the scripts that can be installed using ATM. I keep it on the shelf as a spare to quickly install if and when my AC86 fail. While over the course of using the router and the AC86, I did have one USB drive fail it did not effect to functioning of the router just the collection of data. Since upgrading to a better USB drive instead of using bargain basement specials the drives have continued to function.

I have installed another AC68 running Merlin at my son's home and it has run without being touched or upgraded for five years. He was so satisfied that I just set up another pair of AC68s in a Mesh network for him.

By not using Merlin's firmware you give up many useful features which for many people make the ASUS routers more useful and more reliable.
 

Weblee2407

Occasional Visitor
I do not recommend blindly enabling IPv6 either - I had issues that only resolved when I disabled it on my old router, so I never had any desire to enable it now. (I'm afraid of what I don't know about tunneling)

But you will not learn anything unless you use uncle google on some of the concepts the GUI presents as options. Read until you have a clear understanding on how a function can help you.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
You don't learn to swim by looking at the water. Jump in. Experience the vast ocean called IPv6. ;)

When you're ready to be in test mode, do the above. Be sure you have your handy notepad with you during your tests to write down/screen snip anything you may have a question about.

You may decide that IPv6 isn't for you. But it will be through experience and expanding your knowledge. Always a good thing.

Sure, search to see if you're not leaping blindly off a cliff. But IPv6 is the future, whether anyone wants it or not. Get comfortable with it sooner, rather than later (the 'hill' will just seem steeper then).
 

heysoundude

Part of the Furniture
No, keep IPv6 disabled, @jontalk. This is the Default setting for a reason.

Don't enable firmware settings you don't know what they do or you don't need/use.
It's the default for now, the time being, but if jontalk wants to start their journey into learning internetty things, I'm happy to point them in the direction of ipv6.he.net/certification
a little free education never hurts - it's why they've come here, after all
 

jontalk

Senior Member
You don't learn to swim by looking at the water. Jump in. Experience the vast ocean called IPv6. ;)

When you're ready to be in test mode, do the above. Be sure you have your handy notepad with you during your tests to write down/screen snip anything you may have a question about.

You may decide that IPv6 isn't for you. But it will be through experience and expanding your knowledge. Always a good thing.

Sure, search to see if you're not leaping blindly off a cliff. But IPv6 is the future, whether anyone wants it or not. Get comfortable with it sooner, rather than later (the 'hill' will just seem steeper then).
Interesting feedback from everyone. Regarding IPv6, I found this when attempting to see if Xfinity supports it: https://www.xfinity.com/support/articles/about-ipv6

That said, I'm unlike most who may have tons of WiFi devices in the network nor do I have host servers etc. so not sure if enabling it makes sense, nor will I install Merlin. From what I read about IPv6, its beneficial for those in need of multiple streams, servers, etc.
 
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heysoundude

Part of the Furniture

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
By not using Merlin's firmware you give up many useful features which for many people make the ASUS routers more useful and more reliable.

I use numbers for assessment. On the next Asuswrt-Merlin release look at downloads per week for AC68U firmware. It is still one of the most popular models around. The firmware covers all Asus models from AC66U_B1 to AC1900P plus AC68U V4. Most Asuswrt-Merlin users upgrade shortly after release, so monitor for 2 weeks. You are going to get a number in some thousands. Do you know how many AC68U variants Asus have sold between 2013 and 2022? If you do, you will get an idea of "many people" in numbers. My realistic expectation is under 5% of Asus router users run Asuswrt-Merlin firmware.

I'd wager if it's enabled on your gateway/"modem" device, your AC68 will probably see an IPv6 WAN address and you've been using it unknowingly for some time.

No. IPv6 Disabled means disabled, not used, not available. It better stays this way, if not needed.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
I use numbers for assessment. On the next Asuswrt-Merlin release look at downloads per week for AC68U firmware. It is still one of the most popular models around. The firmware covers all Asus models from AC66U_B1 to AC1900P plus AC68U V4. Most Asuswrt-Merlin users upgrade shortly after release, so monitor for 2 weeks. You are going to get a number in some thousands. Do you know how many AC68U variants Asus have sold between 2013 and 2022? If you do, you will get an idea of "many people" in numbers. My realistic expectation is under 5% of Asus router users run Asuswrt-Merlin firmware.
Sourceforge is just one of the download sites, so you are also missing stats from mirrors like Onedrive and Softpedia.

A few years ago I was able to get an estimate of the number of installed users based on the amount of DNS traffic hitting Cloudflare for the update server, and it was around 120,000 unique users hitting the update server within the 48 hours time period of the update check cycle.

I can no longer get that estimate however because I now have the main website sharing the same domain as the update server.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Sourceforge is just one of the download sites, so you are also missing stats from mirrors like Onedrive and Softpedia.

This number represents all Asuswrt-Merlin users or AC68U variants users only?
 

SomeWhereOverTheRainBow

Part of the Furniture
Sourceforge is just one of the download sites, so you are also missing stats from mirrors like Onedrive and Softpedia.

A few years ago I was able to get an estimate of the number of installed users based on the amount of DNS traffic hitting Cloudflare for the update server, and it was around 120,000 unique users hitting the update server within the 48 hours time period of the update check cycle.

I can no longer get that estimate however because I now have the main website sharing the same domain as the update server.
@RMerlin You would think with all the growing consensus for security consciousnesses that the 120,000 number could have easily doubled by now.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I also believe the total number of users is higher, but still in single digit % of Asus router users with Asuswrt-Merlin supported models.
 

SomeWhereOverTheRainBow

Part of the Furniture
My realistic expectation is under 5% of Asus router users run Asuswrt-Merlin firmware.
Maybe this estimate would have been true in the first couple of years of running asuswrt-merlin. I remember my first asuswrt router was the RT-AC68U and RT-AC56U. This was in the early days of these router models. I remember my internet connection was crap until I decided to research what the average users settings were for the time. Don't ask me where i got this information, but it was here in the SNBForums from a very very old post. This was before I was even an active participant of the threads though. My Internet connection was crap on these routers until I installed Asuswrt-Merlin on them. (using the same settings that I had previously selected from this forum for as a regular asuswrt user.) Hell, Even the default settings worked better on Asuswrt-Merlin version of firmware at the time, then it did with the stock firmware. I remember switching back to stock firmware constantly trying to replicate whatever it was that made RMerlins firmware better, but I simply couldn't; meaning, I was not able to replicate on stock firmware, whatever RMerlins version was doing to make my connection better. Now stockfirmware does not have nearly as many bugs as it did back then. I honestly believe alot of some of the strengths of Asuswrt firmware can be attributed to backports off of RMerlin. But, I am not expert in this regard, or any on that matter.
 
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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
What is also missing here from this weak assessment is that I download all the models I support once, and reuse those files for many, many upgrades.

Another falsity is assuming that the most popular models are indicated by their downloads/week stat. To make that an apples-to-apples comparison, do so when the other models are the same age as the RT-AC68U, and, when they have the same number of variants too.

I haven't seen or touched an RT-AC68U in years. At least, not for use as the main router. So much for stats and blindly following numbers to less than accurate conclusions.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Now stockfirmware does not have nearly as many bugs as it did back then.

In my mostly 386 code base experience I never encountered a case where something was broken in Asuswrt, but was working in then available Asuswrt-Merlin release. I would like to have examples of such cases so I can test and see. If I find something broken in Asuswrt-Merlin, I check Asuswrt. Most of the time the issue is present in Asuswrt and transferred to Asuswrt-Merlin, but often Asuswrt works correctly because is already a step ahead in code base. Asuswrt-Merlin users have to wait for the next release. If the issue is somewhere around closed source components, Asuswrt gets the fix first always.

I always reset the routers and start fresh. I don't install any custom scripts when testing firmware release. 386.4 Wi-Fi on AC86U wasn't working properly on my unit and I did mention it in corresponding release thread, few other people as well, but there was no fix until 3 months later with 386.5 release. This very same unit was working properly on stock Asuswrt all this time. When I got AX86U the first thing to do was to load 386.7 on it. I was thinking the unit is defective. Back to Asuswrt 49447 and the same Wi-Fi issues. It was clear something is wrong with the base. Asus fixed it quickly with Asuswrt 49599 on Jul 12th. Good working Asuswrt-Merlin came on Jul 24th with 386.7_2 release. Many Asuswrt-Merlin users had to reverse to 386.5_2 to keep going.

I honestly believe alot of some of the strengths of Asuswrt firmware can be attributed to backports off of RMerlin.

I believe you are correct. Asuswrt comes with more and more Asuswrt-Merlin features included. My concern is this cooperation will turn Asuswrt-Merlin firmware into more niche option for mostly advanced VPN configurations and custom scripts. Folks loading Asuswrt-Merlin for DDNS external IP detection, DoT, DNS server extra settings, WAN extra settings, few devices excluded from VPN, etc. have it all available in 388 code base Asuswrt and with GUI refresh on top. Even form of DNSFilter is now available in Asus App. I see some GUI related bugs only so far. Asus run beta testing for many months already.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
This number represents all Asuswrt-Merlin users or AC68U variants users only?
All of them, including EOL models.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
@RMerlin You would think with all the growing consensus for security consciousnesses that the 120,000 number could have easily doubled by now.
It probably did increase, but I have no easy way to get accurate numbers.

There is a way I might be able to get a sample, I just need to take the time to implement it, and it's simply not a high enough priority at this point.
 

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