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AX88U Pro - Official vs Merlin FW

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I recently got a new AX88U Pro and upgraded to Merlin firmware right away, before setting it up. Everything runs great, but I was wondering if there is a use case for the official Asus firmware. I know VLAN feature is not present in the Merlin firmware yet, but this is not something I need in my home LAN.

So a couple of questions:
  • Is Merlin firmware more stable for this router (it is for other Asus routers in my experience)?
  • Am I missing anything (outside of VLANs) from the official Asus firmware?
  • Is there any other reason I should consider the official Asus firmware over the excellent Merlin firmware?
Thanks for any input on this...
Except for the wondering about anything I'm in the same boat with it's sister, a GT-AX6000.

If RMerlin's firmware is available for a certain model, running stock isn't an option (imo) even if stock firmware has shiny new features (that probably won't be stable).

Yes, RMerlin is much more stable, much more secure, and more reliable, and performant in every single network I've used Asus routers in.

That is why no new Asus router is used/recommended prior to being supported by RMerlin firmware.

RMerlin goes over the GPL code with a fine tooth comb, after Asus has done their best, and that is what we get to use.

I used to test stock vs RMerlin firmware for each release a decade ago. Haven't needed to do that for a long time now. 🙂

The positives always greatly outweigh the negatives in (almost) every case. And for the handful of times it didn't, waiting for the next release was an easy solution.
I have 3 RT-AX88U Pro routers and on the current latest release versions of both RMerlin and Stock I haven't experienced any significant difference in stability - they are both good. I personally feel that the decision should be based on the features you need.

I have noticed one feature in this model when upgrading my setup. A normal factory reset via the user interface doesn't seem to do a good enough job to result in a stable setup. I upgrade to the version I plan to use, and then do a WPS button reset following the Asus Method 2 procedure https://www.asus.com/support/FAQ/1039078/ which gives me a stable environment once reconfigured.
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Not coming any time soon to Asuswrt-Merlin.
Is there any reason why that's the case?

Brand new firmware base. The main developer of Asuswrt-Merlin has to receive GPL from Asus, review the code, decide how to integrate custom features. This is a long process. The firmware is getting more and more complex year after year. Also Asuswrt-Merlin team has no resources of Asus development team. Patience is needed.
Ahh, I see. I guess I assumed it would be similar to the AX88U, but from what I have read, its completely different hardware, so that makes sense it would take some time to develop. Thank you!
I guess I assumed it would be similar to the AX88U

The older RT-AX88U model will never get firmware. This is what we know at the moment.
I was wondering why my RT-AX88U Pro wasn't showing VLANs as described here (https://www.asus.com/support/FAQ/1049415/).
As already explained it is unknown if or when will come to the Asus Merlin firmware and which supported routers it will be available on. Will likely be months away at the earliest, after the developer receives the GPL's from Asus and reviews them. Currently Asus has the release firmware for the GT-AX6000 and RT-AX88U PRO. If you want the Guest Network Pro/VLAN support for the RT-AX88U Pro then download and install the Asus release firmware for it.
But only on the newer "pro" model hardware...

Are you sure there is no marketing involved?

Look at ExpertWiFi EBR63 hardware. The specs look suspiciously similar to RT-AX58U V2 hardware. It runs firmware.
Yeah, I was referring to "if you want ... then..." which I believe was the opening question.

Yep, the Expert stuff looks to be same chipsets as novice stuff, but maybe more RAM.
So the RT-AX88 Pro, which seems to be getting updates from Asus at the newer codebase (102) is getting updates from Merlin using the previous codebase 388 right? That means, Asus shares latest fixes from their side to Merlin who in turn issues his firmware. Is that correct?
I am asking because for about a year now, Asus didn't share any firmware on 388 codebase for this model.
The major codebase demarcation is now X.0.0.4 and X.0.0.6 lately with X=3 for production and X=9 for pre-production. At least that's what I've seen.

Merlin hasn't publicly ventured into .6 yet.
Asus shares latest fixes from their side to Merlin who in turn issues his firmware. Is that correct?
Asus' engineers prepare GPL drops for me for all my supported models with the same codebase, as I can't deal with different mismatched versions.
hi everyone
i just bought a AX88U-PRO to replace my AC88U.
my AC88U has been running on Merlin Firmware since the beginning, no worrries at all :)

i thought doing the same with my new out-of-the-box AX88U-PRO.
Always runs fine until i test my interconnectiono_Oo_Oo_Oo_O

With the Asus firmware : 943Mbps
With the Merlin firmware 3004.388.6_0 : 94Mbps

every criteria was the same :
- sames options activated (l also tested without certain options (firewall, QOS...), but that didn't change the bad result of the Marlin Firmware).
- same equipement tested
- tests made on the firmware interface to avoid a wifi problem (that make me think the problem is on the wan output managment )

Go back to Asus Firmware and i retreive my Gbps connection....

do you face the same issue?
did you test before and after installing Merlin Firmware?

thanks for tour advise
When flashing between stock and RMerlin firmware, are you performing a full reset? And not using a saved backup config file? Minimal and Manual configuration only, to secure the router and connect to your ISP?

Particularly when you're jumping back from and firmware levels?

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