Asus RT AC 86U,can I upgrade to Merlin firmware?

  • ATTENTION! As of November 1, 2020, you are not able to reply to threads 6 months after the thread is opened if there are more than 500 posts in the thread.
    Threads will not be locked, so posts may still be edited by their authors.
    Just start a new thread on the topic to post if you get an error message when trying to reply to a thread.

Robt7613

New Around Here
Hi to all. I'm new here. I bought an asus ac 86u and straight out of the box I have the system version 3.0.0.4_386.447 .. I don't have much technical knowledge and I want to set up a vpn connection with two or three of my receivers, such as tv or tv box, using a cable. I know that to do this, I need a Merlin firmware upgrade. Can I directly upgrade to a newer version or do I need to install some older versions first
 

Centrifuge

Senior Member
Hi to all. I'm new here. I bought an asus ac 86u and straight out of the box I have the system version 3.0.0.4_386.447 .. I don't have much technical knowledge and I want to set up a vpn connection with two or three of my receivers, such as tv or tv box, using a cable. I know that to do this, I need a Merlin firmware upgrade. Can I directly upgrade to a newer version or do I need to install some older versions first
No, you are already into the 386 codebase, you might as well go for it.
 
Last edited:

CaptnDanLKW

Regular Contributor
Welcome. You have come to the best community on all of the internet. Merlin has many years of effort into his additions and because this is 'mature' software, you can imagine that most every question has already been asked and answered a number of times in this form - even if they are not specific to his fork, but to the underlying AsusWRT GPL version his is based on.

Search is your best friend, but so are the members of this community. My $0.02, once you put his latest version on - as of this post, v386.3_2 - you should do a full reset, followed by the minimal config, get your basic network functioning, save your config. Then move to your VPN config.

My humble recommendation is:
Start clean - Upgrade and then reset to factory with the initialize option checked
Follow, L&D's Minimal Configuration guide (look for guide)
Make sure you use fixed channels and turn off those 'features' in the Professional section of your Wi-Fi bands that best practices. (Many posts)
Run amtm from the command prompt, set up entware. You'll want/need a good quality USB drive for its installation point. (Many posts)

For my personal choices AND opinions, which differ from some on here...
Don't go crazy with addons - install only what you really need. I ONLY use scribe, connmon and dn-vnstat.
The Trend-Micro engine and features are not really a privacy concern and they don't slow down the device, use them.
Don't use any QOS unless you really need to - try without it first. Use speed tests and Buffer bloat tests. If you need, stick with 'Adaptive'. Anything other than adaptive shuts off the hardware acceleration, severely limiting your performance.
I use SmartConnect. It works very well for me. (I also use AI Mesh 2.0 but you only mention 1 new device)

All that, I don't use VPN at the router level but that's something I'm starting to think about.
Your choice of the AC86U was good because it has CPU features which accelerate VPN performance.

Good luck. As I always say, YMMV.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
 

dosborne

Very Senior Member
Thank you for the advice, but I think it's too much for me
Up to you, but the only additional steps to "switch" to Merlin fw is really to download the fw file and flash it to your router. The rest of the steps (reset, save config, VPN setup, etc) all have to be done even if you stick with stock Asus fw.

(Personally, I would suggest forgetting about the USB stick and amtm stuff until you are comfortable in the future, as that part is truly optional.)
 

Robt7613

New Around Here
Up to you, but the only additional steps to "switch" to Merlin fw is really to download the fw file and flash it to your router. The rest of the steps (reset, save config, VPN setup, etc) all have to be done even if you stick with stock Asus fw.

(Personally, I would suggest forgetting about the USB stick and amtm stuff until you are comfortable in the future, as that part is truly optional.)
Usb stick and amtm scared me the most. I connected my router last Sunday and set up the vpn client. So, before doing the Merlin firmware, should I factory reset or leave everything as is? After reading all these instructions on the forum, I'm a little unsure what to do. Maybe also because English is my second language. I understood that I should first download the firmware file to the laptop, unpack it, upload to the router, configure everything, set vpn and only then save the settings and restore the factory settings, which seems pointless to me because then the settings from the manufacturer will return
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Restoring to factory defaults does not load the original firmware.

It allows the firmware that is currently installed to properly see and use its expected defaults.
 

Tech9

Very Senior Member
Download Asuswrt-Merlin firmware, extract the firmware file, upload it to the router in GUI, let it boot. Reset the router to factory defaults, set it up manually. You don't need USB sticks and AMTM scripts. Read the new VPN Director instructions how to set your VPN clients. This is all you need to do.
 

Robt7613

New Around Here
Download Asuswrt-Merlin firmware, extract the firmware file, upload it to the router in GUI, let it boot. Reset the router to factory defaults, set it up manually. You don't need USB sticks and AMTM scripts. Read the new VPN Director instructions how to set your VPN clients. This is all you need to do.
Thanks for quick reply
 

Robt7613

New Around Here
Restoring to factory defaults does not load the original firmware.

It allows the firmware that is currently installed to properly see and use its expected defaults.
Thank you for quick reply. And what if I ever want to go back to my factory version?
 

Wisiwyg

Senior Member
Thank you for quick reply. And what if I ever want to go back to my factory version?
Same thing... download the Asus Factory version, upload to the router, reset to default, then set it up.

The nice thing about Merlin's version is it starts out as factory firmware. He adds enhancements, provides 'hooks' for other customizations supported by this community. But at the core it is still factory firmware, but better.
 

Robt7613

New Around Here
I think I will use version 386.2 because it seems easier to use. On YouTube there is everything shown step by step how to do everything and even instructions on how to do Nord vpn with what you need to enter in costumer configuration, dns, etc. Everything is shown step by step, which is as it should be for a layman like me. I was browsing the forum about this new firmware and vpn director and I don't understand almost nothing of it. I only want 2 of all devices connected to the network with vpn
 

Latest threads

Sign Up For SNBForums Daily Digest

Get an update of what's new every day delivered to your mailbox. Sign up here!
Top