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ASUS RT-AX88U with Asuswrt-Merlin firmware - Few queries

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I have an ASUS RT-AX88U WiFi router. It doesnt currently support VLAN. So if I update the firmware with Asuswrt-Merlin one (RT-AX88U_3004_388.6_0)

1. Would I get an option to setup VLAN?

2. Would I be able to use AiProtection?

3. Would I be able to install OpenVPN clients?

4. What all features in the ASUS original firmware would I lose with Asuswrt-Merlin custom firmware?

Sorry, I don't follow all the different models of Asus routers. The following page says these models support VLANs. But check that's actually correct as I think much of the support is only in beta so far.

2). VLAN supported models:

  • RT-AX86U Pro, RT-AX88U Pro
  • GT-AX11000 Pro, GT-AXE16000, GT-AX6000
  • ZenWiFi_Pro_ET12, ZenWiFi_Pro_XT12
  • ExpertWiFi Series
3). Support firmware version Version). This is an early stages beta. This version can be downgraded via web GUI only.

P.S. I'm assuming you're not talking about WAN VLANs required by an ISP. That is configured in the IPTV settings.
Is there any hardware spec difference between RT-AX88U and RT-AX88U PRO as PRO seems to support VLAN?

Is it possible to upgrade to RT-AX88U PRO?

Yes, huge hardware differences.

If you mean upgrade the firmware, no. Buy the RT-AX88U Pro and sell the old non-Pro version is your only upgrade option.
The XT12 is a tri-band router and the RT-AX88U Pro is a dual band router. Do you need a tri-band router?
Pretty sure 3004 releases have no GUI configuration support VLANs, 3006 releases have no Merlin release, though there are ways to set up VLANs under the 3004 release, but not from the GUI. Pro version has an Asus stock firmware that does support VLANs form the GUI

ASUS RT-AX88U Pro Firmware version
The RT-AX88U Pro has only 4 GigE + 1 2.5Gb ports, unlike the non-Pro AX-88U.
In addition to the WAN port also being 2.5 Gbps.

The RT-AX88U_Pro is my current favorite model to recommend for anyone thinking about > 1 Gbps Internet.
In addition to the WAN port also being 2.5 Gbps.

The RT-AX88U_Pro is my current favorite model to recommend for anyone thinking about > 1 Gbps Internet.
Its been great for me so far.

I'm hoping the next model will support 1/2.5/5/10 Gbps on the WAN port and one additional LAN port with the same speeds and 2GB of Ram :)
May I know what is the next cheapest ASUS router that supports VLAN

What do you need VLANs for? Few people reported in Pro firmware VLAN configurations are available only in Router Mode and not in AP Mode. If your plan is to use this router as access point to VLAN capable gateway or firewall - not going to work. Not at the current firmware development stage at least.
On my rt-AX88u I have a VPN menu where you can setup a VPN server, client, or Fusion.
Current Version :
Note that the Asus-Merlin firmware does not use VPN Fusion. Instead it uses VPN Director.
Example of VPN director:
VPN Director.jpg

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