Alternatives to ASUS AC86U

Patrick9876

Regular Contributor
I have an ASUS AC86U running Merlin software and am perfectly happy with it, but I know it won't last forever and want to be ready when it dies, and I'd rather not be tied to one specific brand like I am with Merlin,

Ideally I'd like to have the replacement on my shelf or quickly available. Dual band is fine and it doesn't need to support WiFi 6 or 6E. It doesn't need any better coverage or speed than the AC86U. What it does need:
  • Dnsmasq or some some other way to add CNAME records to its DNS server
  • OpenVPN server
  • DDNS supporting FreeDNS (Afraid.org) ... although I guess I could change services
(I suspect I'll think of something else I use as soon as I submit this.)

I've been spoiled by Merlin's code. I suspect I could handle DD-WRT, OpenWrt, or Tomato but I'd rather not go that route.

What routers fit this modest list of requirements?
 
Last edited:

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
You don't have much of choice, if you want some customization options. DD-WRT is mostly untested builds, use at your own risk. Your router may not even boot. OpenWrt is with mostly old routers support, some MediaTek AX as exception. Netgear R7800 is perhaps the best router. FreshTomato is at dead end, old routers only up to 2017 model year. The fastest router/CPU is RT-AC1900P. Asuswrt-Merlin is the only project with newer hardware support.
 

Patrick9876

Regular Contributor
OK. I'm rethinking this. I have no real reason to consider non-ASUS routers. My real worry is that RMerlin is going to be hit by a truck or just decide he's got better things to do than support Asuswrt-Merlin forever. I guess I'll see what I can achieve with native Asuswrt ... but I think I'll wait until it's necesssary.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
My real worry is that RMerlin is going to be hit by a truck or just decide he's got better things to do than support Asuswrt-Merlin forever.

I hope @RMerlin is careful when crossing the streets and I wish him find better things to do. :)

Asus routers get usually longer support compared to other consumer gear manufacturers and Asuswrt is feature-rich enough.
 

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