Any plans to enable repeater mode on DSL-AC68U via official or 3rd party firmware?

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Qbcd

Regular Contributor
So I got a DSL-AC68U and currently using it as an AIMesh node. But in the future, I might need to set it up as a repeater (non-AIMesh). The issue is, the router doesn't have that option for some reason. The Operation Mode tab is missing completely. I guess they figured very few people would use it without the DSL modem function. Yet they did enable AIMesh node support for it, so... are there also plans to enable repeater mode, AP mode, media bridge, etc.? The functionality is clearly there, it's just a matter of including it in the GUI, which they haven't done for some reason. Does anyone have insight on whether Asus plans to do that?

Alternatively, is there another legit way of enabling repeater mode that won't brick the unit or make it unable to receive firmware updates? This router is not supported by 3rd party firmware it seems. Some people have managed to install the RT-AC68U firmware on it, but that requires some hacking that I'm reluctant to do.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Have you tried the @GNUton fork?
 

Qbcd

Regular Contributor
Have you tried the @GNUton fork?

Hm no, not too crazy about that idea, I wanna stay on mainstream stuff. Apparently there was a secret link "http://192.168.1.1/Advanced_OperationMode_Content.asp" that used to grant access to the operation modes menu, but it was eliminated in recent firmware versions. Maybe I can roll back the firmware and see if it works, my guess is the version just before they introduced AIMesh support in 2018 is the last one that worked... I'll try it later. Still not ideal though, staying on old firmware is not great.

Why won't they enable it, the router supports AIMesh, so it clearly supports repeater function, and also AP and media bridge. Wish I knew what their justification is.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
You're crazy to not use it. Asus is done with that model. Time to move on.

Based on RMerlin code, which Asus themselves are finally supporting, @GNUton's work is the best you can do for that hardware today.
 

Mr Tvardovsky

Regular Contributor
You don’t need the Operation Mode tab to set up your DSL-AC68U as an Access Point. All you need is to turn off the DHCP server and connect it LAN-to-LAN to your main router. This works with every router and every firmware.

If you can’t have proper ethernet connection between routers, you can try the quasi-ethernet solutions, i.e. MoCA or powerline adapters. Performance will be somewhat poorer compared to ‘regular’ CAT 5e or 6 LAN cable (better for MoCA), but you will have your access point connected and fully operational.

Finally, I echo @L&LD’s point about @GNUton’s Merlin fork. It’s a piece of cake to flash and works extremely reliably. It retains all the stock firmware options + adds the Merlin magic on top of them.
 

Qbcd

Regular Contributor
You don’t need the Operation Mode tab to set up your DSL-AC68U as an Access Point. All you need is to turn off the DHCP server and connect it LAN-to-LAN to your main router. This works with every router and every firmware.

If you can’t have proper ethernet connection between routers, you can try the quasi-ethernet solutions, i.e. MoCA or powerline adapters. Performance will be somewhat poorer compared to ‘regular’ CAT 5e or 6 LAN cable (better for MoCA), but you will have your access point connected and fully operational.

Finally, I echo @L&LD’s point about @GNUton’s Merlin fork. It’s a piece of cake to flash and works extremely reliably. It retains all the stock firmware options + adds the Merlin magic on top of them.

It need it to function as a repeater though, the other options aren't viable. I won't be impacted by the bandwidth penalty of repeating a Wi-Fi signal because the connection to the main router is a 3x3 80MHz on an interference-free channel and the internet plan is 100 mbps, so I still get the full 100 mbps even after one hop. The Merlin fork seems like a good solution, but the thing is, I wanna leave this router to function as a repeater after I leave my current place of residence (and take my RT-AX86U and with it the AIMesh function), and I want it to be easily configurable by laypeople in case they ever want to change the Wi-Fi credentials. And I also don't want them to think the router was running some "hacked" software that can't get security updates.

Or will the Merlin fork get security updates? If I install it, could I still use the DSL-AC68U as an AIMesh node for now with a non-Merlin main router?
 
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Mr Tvardovsky

Regular Contributor
Or will the Merlin fork get security updates? If I install it, could I still use the DSL-AC68U as an AIMesh node for now with a non-Merlin main router?

The GNUton's Merlin fork will definitely get the security updates. The new version is now in the making, at the Alpha stage:

The last stable version is mentioned in my signature. You can download it from here:

And nobody should think of using this firmware as any kind of hacking. The best evidence: it doesn't void your warranty (if it's still active):
 

Qbcd

Regular Contributor
Hmm okay, I'll try it right now, can't hurt. I'm just always a little skeptical of forks, they're not as "official", and when it's one guy working on it, it's all dependent on him. If he gets tired of it, that's it. But I guess I just need it to work, and beyond that I can just get an RT- router.
 

Mr Tvardovsky

Regular Contributor
I'm just always a little skeptical of forks, they're not as "official", and when it's one guy working on it, it's all dependent on him. If he gets tired of it, that's it.
Nice thing about Merlin FW is that you can easily go back to stock.
 

Qbcd

Regular Contributor
Nice thing about Merlin FW is that you can easily go back to stock.

So I installed the GNUton Merlin fork and I still don't see the option to enable repeater mode or the other operation modes. Did I miss it? That's really what I wanted to accomplish here, I don't care about the other features of Merlin.
 
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Mr Tvardovsky

Regular Contributor
So I installed the GNUton Merlin fork and I still don't see the option to enable repeater mode or the other operation modes. Did I miss it? That's really what I wanted to accomplish here, I don't care about the other features of Merlin.
You don’t miss it, it’s not there. Sorry if I confused you - for me the point about the fork was separate to the repeater question.
 

Qbcd

Regular Contributor
You don’t miss it, it’s not there. Sorry if I confused you - for me the point about the fork was separate to the repeater question.

No worries. I see it's not available in the stable builds, there is an experimental "repeater" build, but I'm not too keen on trying that.

I guess I'll try to sell this router while it still catches a decent price and look for an RT-AC66U B1. They're not much more expensive on the second hand market.
 

Mr Tvardovsky

Regular Contributor
I guess I'll try to sell this router while it still catches a decent price and look for an RT-AC66U B1. They're not much more expensive on the second hand market.
Good luck, I’m a big fan of this model, too :cool:
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Repeater mode is available in a separate epxerimental build:


See the link in the readme section underneath.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I knew I had read that. :)

Thanks, RMerlin.
 

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