"Best" new router that supports Merlin?

AppleBag

Regular Contributor
I have a 68U that's great but starting to show it's age. I'm thinking about buying a more state of the art router and would love references from those with lots of experience/expertise in the area.

Does anyone have any knowledge on the best one to get that still uses the Merlin firmware that I've grown to know and love? One with a nice, fat NVRAM so I can't stop all this fighting with my router over ever single little byte, etc.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The best new router is the GT-AX6000, RT-AX86U, or RT-AX68U. In descending order.
 

AppleBag

Regular Contributor
Thanks guys.

A couple questions:

  1. What size NVRAM is in the AX6000 and 86U Pro?
  2. After looking at a few reviews, does the 6000 benefit from using the Merlin FW over it's stock firmware? (related: since Merlin bases it's changes on the actual firmware, does the 6000 retain it's Red/ROG theme when using the Merlin firmware? I assume, yes, but just curious)
 

Viktor Jaep

Very Senior Member
I have a 68U that's great but starting to show it's age. I'm thinking about buying a more state of the art router and would love references from those with lots of experience/expertise in the area.

Does anyone have any knowledge on the best one to get that still uses the Merlin firmware that I've grown to know and love? One with a nice, fat NVRAM so I can't stop all this fighting with my router over ever single little byte, etc.
You just missed some fantastic black Friday/Cyber Monday deals... hopefully there are still some deals. Newegg had the GT-AX6000 for sale at $272 and picked one up myself. Moving away from the RT-AC86U on my end. ;)
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
What size NVRAM is in the AX6000 and 86U Pro?
Either 128K or 192K (I don't remember which models got upgraded to 192K a few weeks ago beside the GT-AXE16000).

does the 6000 retain it's Red/ROG theme when using the Merlin firmware?
Currently both versions are available as of 388.1, however I haven't committed to keeping both versions available in the long run, the ROG version of the UI is currently an experiment to see how viable it is for me to maintain two separate UIs. If it becomes too much of a chore in the future, I may drop it again and return to only supporting the regular UI.
 

Piotrek

Occasional Visitor
The best new router is the GT-AX6000, RT-AX86U, or RT-AX68U. In descending order.
They're old models that don't support the latest technology.
Only GT-AXE16000 is the best.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Only GT-AXE16000 is the best.
"Best" is relative. GT-AXE16000 has the best specs, but the worst pricing.

The router should be selected based on both the needs and the budget. If you don't need the pair of 10 Gbps ports or the Wifi 6E radio (some countries don`t support it anyway), then the GT-AX6000 would be the best choice.
 

Piotrek

Occasional Visitor
"Best" is relative
You know it and I know it, but @AppleBag asked for the best new router - he didn't specify requirements or expectations. He didn't say anything about the price.
I suspect that RT-AX56U or RT-AX58U/AX3000 would be enough for his needs, but they are not the best. ;)
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
They're old models that don't support the latest technology.
Only GT-AXE16000 is the best.

No, they are not (all) old models.

I would agree that the GT-AXE16000 has the best paper specs today, but that doesn't mean much (and therefore can't recommend it) when I haven't tested one myself. And even the paper specs won't mean much when WiFi 7 equipment will launch soon enough as-is. Then even this model will be outdated at their availability dates.

The best new router is the GT-AX6000 because it offers the best balance of hardware and features today. In addition to noticeably improved performance (~20% faster throughput than the last 'king' I've used extensively; the RT-AX86U).

The GT-AXE16000 will be equivalent to all the previous router's first tries at the newest standards (i.e. good enough for today, but not worth buying when a Gen 2 or Gen 3 model is released soon afterward).

As an example of that, the RT-AC68U was great when it debuted, but was eventually outclassed and outperformed by the RT-AC3100, and later, that model too was shown as outdated when the RT-AC86U appeared on the scene - for AC class routers (and specifically for 1Gbps ISP speeds). Even if the RT-AC3100 still holds the range coverage record in my environment, it doesn't justify its price and can't hold a candle to the networking performance of the RT-AC86U (and for the record, I never saw/used a faulty one as reported on the forums here). And all these are surpassed by a 'lowly' RT-AX68U.

And with the above of the way, the best router is the one highest level and with the most balanced hardware, at the cheapest price, which gives the most performance and is widely available today. That title goes to the GT-AX6000 hands down. Any other Asus router today is a trade-off, from what I have tested in my own environment and/or in my customer's environments too. If you are using it as the main router and you want to use it for as long as possible too.
 

elorimer

Very Senior Member
Still think the ax88u at $200 is the current sweet spot.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I believe @AppleBag will be happier with current AX86U. It's the same form factor as his AC68U with small footprint, acceptable looks, good hardware for Asuswrt-Merlin, tested reliable and on acceptable price. No need to pay for features you don't use. No future proofing with home routers.
 

AppleBag

Regular Contributor
Thanks everyone for the help!

It looks like I have $250 in gift cards for BestBuy to help knock the price down, so before taxes I'm looking at $149 for the GT-AX6000. Sound like a good deal? I've had this RT-AC68U now for going on 9 years, so it kinda shows that I don't like updating routers all that often. lol
 

AppleBag

Regular Contributor
Quick side question, related to my NVRAM question: is there a script or something that I can add that will monitor my clients list for clients that haven't connected in X amount of time, and if so, save it's info (MAC + name and chosen icon) to a file, remove it from NVRAM, and if the MAC is ever seen again, add it back from the backup file?

This way I'd never have to micromanage that portion of NVRAM; it would keep my clients list lean and mean, and if an old client ever crops back up I would immediately know what it is again since I had it's name saved.
 

Slapdaddy

Occasional Visitor
Either 128K or 192K (I don't remember which models got upgraded to 192K a few weeks ago beside the GT-AXE16000).


Currently both versions are available as of 388.1, however I haven't committed to keeping both versions available in the long run, the ROG version of the UI is currently an experiment to see how viable it is for me to maintain two separate UIs. If it becomes too much of a chore in the future, I may drop it again and return to only supporting the regular UI.
I do like the ROG theme for your firmware, I just wish it had the CPU utilization graph on the dashboard page.

Thanks everyone for the help!

It looks like I have $250 in gift cards for BestBuy to help knock the price down, so before taxes I'm looking at $149 for the GT-AX6000. Sound like a good deal? I've had this RT-AC68U now for going on 9 years, so it kinda shows that I don't like updating routers all that often. lol
$450 for the AXE16000 sounds better. ;) Really though, keep in mind future upgrades for your network and what you might need going forward. It's one of the reasons I bought the AXE16000 - those two sexy 10Gb ports.
 

cc666

Senior Member
"Best" is relative. GT-AXE16000 has the best specs, but the worst pricing.

The router should be selected based on both the needs and the budget. If you don't need the pair of 10 Gbps ports or the Wifi 6E radio (some countries don`t support it anyway), then the GT-AX6000 would be the best choice.

What about the GT-AXE 11000? I have that one and its rock solid, 2nd best specs to the 16000.

CC
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
What about the GT-AXE 11000? I have that one and its rock solid, 2nd best specs to the 16000.
It's more of a niche product, since you pay extra for the ROG marketing, and Wifi 6E is not available in every country. For many users it might not be the best option.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
t looks like I have $250 in gift cards for BestBuy to help knock the price down, so before taxes I'm looking at $149 for the GT-AX6000.

USD400? This router was CAD380 on sale or USD282 just few weeks back here in Canada. Too expensive if in USD.
 

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