Asus RT-AC68U Goes to ASUStek CFE MiniWeb Server after Asus Merlin Firmware Upgrade

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ptmy2

Occasional Visitor
I've successfully used the Asus Merlin firmware on my Asus RT-AC68U router for years, upgrading to newer versions when appropriate during this period. I upgraded the firmware from version 384.11-2 to 384.15 yesterday. At the end of the upgrade process, I got a message saying upgrade was successful and to reboot router manually (note - on previously upgrades, router just rebooted automatically). I toggled power to reboot the router. Now when I go to the router's IP address from a web browser after a router reboot, I get the ASUStek CFE MiniWeb Server page instead of the usually Asus Merlin UI. I am at a lost on how to get the router functional again. Does anyone have suggestion on how to resolve this problem?
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Upload the firmware again from the CFE MiniWeb Server page.
 

ptmy2

Occasional Visitor
Upload the firmware again from the CFE MiniWeb Server page.

I tried uploading via the CFE MiniWeb Page around 30 minutes ago. I still can't access any page on the router yet. I'm not sure whether the upload has completed, is still in progress, or has failed. Before the upgrade, my router has the IP address 192.168.37.1. I've removed the router from my network so the only thing connected to it is an isolated PC. I set a static address on the 192.168.37.0 network on the PC, and was able to access the MiniWeb page at 192.168.37.1. I wonder if the router reverted back to 192.168.1.1 after the upload from the MiniWeb page. I'm a bit hesitant to change the PC's static IP address to the 192.168.1.0 network to try in the event that the firmware is still uploading from the PC to the router on the 192.168.37.0 network. What do you think?

Update - upload's done. I'm back to the miniWeb page at 192.168.37.1. On the bottom of that page, there's a button I can click to reboot the router. Should I try rebooting? I speculate it's just going to take me back to the MiniWeb page. Should I try uploading an older version of the Asus Merlin firmware, or maybe a version of the ASUS stocked firmware from the miniWeb page? At this point, I would be happy to get this router back to working condition with any firmware version. Just don't want to brick it.
 
Last edited:

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
192.168.37.1 is an unusual IP address for an Asus router. What model do you have?

Is it a genuine Asus branded device or is it one of these re-branded models supplied by a phone company? If it a phone company version then you will be blocked from uploading the newer firmware versions.
 

ptmy2

Occasional Visitor
192.168.37.1 is an unusual IP address for an Asus router. What model do you have?

Is it a genuine Asus branded device or is it one of these re-branded models supplied by a phone company? If it a phone company version then you will be blocked from uploading the newer firmware versions.

RT-AC68U genuine. As mentioned, it's worked for years with Asus Merlin. 192.168.37.1 is not the factory default setting. I set it to that for my home LAN; just wanted something different than 192.168.1.1.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
RT-AC68U. 192.168.37.1 is not the factory default setting. I set it to that for my home LAN; just wanted something different than 192.168.1.1.
Personally I would try resetting it to factory defaults (NVRAM) and trying to access it at the normal address, 192.168.1.1.
 

ptmy2

Occasional Visitor
Personally I would try resetting it to factory defaults (NVRAM) and trying to access it at the normal address, 192.168.1.1.
Already tried resetting NVRAM and rebooting earlier. Router still kept my old setting at 192.168.37.1.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Already tried resetting NVRAM and rebooting earlier. Router still kept my old setting at 192.168.37.1.
Try using a different browser or (preferably) an entirely different PC. Configure the PCs NIC as 192.168.1.10/255.255.255.0 and try pinging 192.168.1.1.

That way you can eliminate the possibility that your browser is caching the old page.
 

ptmy2

Occasional Visitor
Try using a different browser or (preferably) an entirely different PC. Configure the PCs NIC as 192.168.1.10/255.255.255.0 and try pinging 192.168.1.1.

That way you can eliminate the possibility that your browser is caching the old page.
Just tried that on a MacBook using a static address of 192.168.1.100. No reply when pinging 192.168.1.1. PC with the static address of 192.168.37.10 is still connected to the router; no reply when pinging to 192.168.37.1 from the PC either. BTW, I back flashed with Asus Merlin version 384.11_2. Now I can't even get the MiniWeb 45 minutes after re-flashing.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
As per this post I would start by:
If your router fails to boot due to corrupted/invalid nvram settings, then you will have to turn off the router, press the WPS button (on Asus routers), then turn on the router. Wait about 10 seconds, then release the WPS button.

Then either;
a) try booting up the router normally and accessing it at 192.168.1.1
or
b) trying to get back into rescue mode by powering off the router, pressing and holding the reset button, wait until the power light flashes slowly and then release the reset button.
 

ptmy2

Occasional Visitor
As per this post I would start by:


Then either;
a) try booting up the router normally and accessing it at 192.168.1.1
or
b) trying to get back into rescue mode by powering off the router, pressing and holding the reset button, wait until the power light flashes slowly and then release the reset button.


I did the WPS procedure as you described, then got into rescue mode using the reset-button procedure. I set the PC to static address 192.168.1.10 and started the ASUS Rescue program downloaded from the ASUS site. Using the Rescue program, I successfully uploaded to the router the ASUS stocked firmware downloaded from the ASUS site. I got all the expected messages from the Rescue utility. But even after all that, I still can't access the UI page at 192.168.1.1. What can be wrong? Everything was working perfectly yesterday until I tried upgrading from ASUS Merlin 384.11_2 to 384.15. Any other suggestions? I really appreciate your help with this.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Maybe it's just dead. These things happen.

With your PC still manually configured with an address of 192.168.1.10 (and connected to the router by Ethernet cable) can you run a continuous ping to the router's IP address as follows.

Windows
Code:
ping -t 192.168.1.1

Mac
Code:
ping 192.168.1.1

Then with the ping still running power off the router. Wait a few seconds and turn it back on. Do you see it respond to the ping at any point in the next 3 minutes?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Did you try to access it at 192.168.50.1 with the latest firmware? :)
 

ptmy2

Occasional Visitor
Maybe it's just dead. These things happen.

With your PC still manually configured with an address of 192.168.1.10 (and connected to the router by Ethernet cable) can you run a continuous ping to the router's IP address as follows.

Windows
Code:
ping -t 192.168.1.1

Mac
Code:
ping 192.168.1.1

Then with the ping still running power off the router. Wait a few seconds and turn it back on. Do you see it respond to the ping at any point in the next 3 minutes?

No response on ping. Can the Merlin firmware be uploaded via the Asus Rescue utility? If yes, maybe I can try uploading an older version of Merlin. Of course there's the possibility that the router is just dead as you said, but I'm a bit suspicious of the timing though. Worked perfectly one minute and dead right after a Merlin upgrade attempt that supposedly succeeded according to the on-screen message.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
No response on ping. Can the Merlin firmware be uploaded via the Asus Rescue utility? If yes, maybe I can try uploading an older version of Merlin. Of course there's the possibility that the router is just dead as you said, but I'm a bit suspicious of the timing though. Worked perfectly one minute and dead right after a Merlin upgrade attempt that supposedly succeeded according to the on-screen message.
To be able to upload any firmware the router will be in a state where it's responding to pings.

If you want to try an older firmware I suggest you try Merlin's 380.57 which should be the most compatible of all versions.

192.168.50.1. because some of the newer routers/firmwares default to this address instead of 192.168.1.1. But I don't think that's the case with your router.

EDIT: Switch to using a different Ethernet cable. Try plugging it into a different LAN socket. Make sure you have nothing else plugged into the router and no USB devices.
 

ptmy2

Occasional Visitor
To be able to upload any firmware the router will be in a state where it's responding to pings.

If you want to try an older firmware I suggest you try Merlin's 380.57 which should be the most compatible of all versions.

192.168.50.1. because some of the newer routers/firmwares default to this address instead of 192.168.1.1. But I don't think that's the case with your router.


Even though I can't ping, I did get messages from the ASUS Rescue utility saying firmware upload was successful (i.e., progress indicator going to 100%, then the success message), but utility also says wait for router to reboot. But the router doesn't seem to be rebooting; lights didn't change during the time that it was supposed to be rebooting.

In regards to version compatibility, I know Merlin 384.11-2 is compatible since I've been using that version from the day it became a release all the way up to yesterday morning.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Version 380.57 is more compatible because it's smaller and can often be uploaded even when the router's partition table has been screwed. That's why I suggest that version. If 380.57 loads successfully you can then update it to the latest version.
 

ptmy2

Occasional Visitor
Version 380.57 is more compatible because it's smaller and can often be uploaded even when the router's partition table has been screwed. That's why I suggest that version. If 380.57 loads successfully you can then update it to the latest version.

I uploaded Merlin 384.10_2 using the ASUS Rescue utility. At first, I still couldn't access the UI using ethernet cable. But I noticed the router WiFi lights were on, so I tried connecting via WiFi. It connected, and I was able to bring up the UI. I then turned off WiFi on the PC and tried the cable. Mysteriously, it worked. So now everything seems to be working again. Maybe the router had some problems with the latest Merlin release. Not sure whether I want to tempt fate and try upgrading again. Thanks for all your help.
 

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