Best Practice Setup Once Flash Latest Merlin Release on brand new router

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Regular Contributor
Wondering if anyone has a best practices to get a router setup on Merlin. I had to send my RT-AC86U away and totally forgot all I had done. I have a fairly simple setup, but I have been debating to a few more add-ons such as that Skynet one.

I want to have a secure router as well as optimized for gaming, hence the FlexQoS. I also don't care about anything wireless. My 86u is a pure wired router with wifi disabled as I am using TP-link EAPs.

Here is a brief list, hoping others can chime in with things I will add to my list!
1. hard rest , hold WPS button and power on
2. Change Router IP to
3. Change DHCP pool Range 101 start
full cone NAT
wifi off (Wireless -> Professional -> Enable radio off, do for 5ghz too)
Admin tab Enable JFFS custom scripts and configs Yes
Service enable SSH lan only
Local Access Config Auth Methods HTTPS
adaptive qos on per flexqos
amtm for flexqos


Part of the Furniture
What Router? What firmware? What are your ISP speeds? What other clients on the network? What is the maximum number of concurrent clients and what is the cumulative workload to the network then?

What USB drive will you be using? Do you use anything else on the network, like a managed switch or? pi-hole?


Regular Contributor
Sorry missed your response.....
Just wanting a step by step guide that would work for "most" people..... I'll assume most people just want FlexQoS and maybe Skynet. I've now decided that Diversion won't fly with most families without tinkering. It seems FlexQoS and maybe Skynet can be set and forget with few issues....

While I wait for asus to send my replacement rt-ac86u as my brand new one died in 3 months, I bought another on amazon I plan to return.....

For myself, I want a quick guide of every step I do to get a replacement brand new router up and running for my needs.

To answer your questions. I have a brand new rt-ac86u. I used the newest stable release 384.19
. I am unusual in that i use my asus router as a router only with no wifi. So my steps include disabling wifi....
My ISP is Spectrum cable modem with 400/30 speeds
I have around 18-22 concurrent devices.
3 gaming desktops wired. Two work laptops using vpn tunnels over WiFi. A few pixel cell phones. A couple iPads, nintendo switch, a few wyze pan cameras, MyQ garage opener, 2 nest hubs, nest hello doorbell, two outdoor nest cams, synology NAS 916+ that runs the tplink omada cloud controller in a docker container that controls my two to link APs (wired backhaul) eap245 v3 model.
Oh a brother laser printer..... Wired lg oled tv, yamaha receiver, nvidia shield in family room. Master bedroom has a amazon fire tv wireless, rarely used. Oh a few google minis too.

Regarding USB, I picked up 99 cent ativa microusb reader
With a Samsung PRO Endurance 64GB microsd card.

No pi holes or other devices....
Ok switch wise, just a few unmanaged....
Modem to the ac68u. Directly to ac86u I have one gaming pc, then a dlink gigabit switch with the other two Gaming pcs.
Then another port on router goes to a to a tp-link gigabit switch. Into this switch I have my NAS, and then two pre-wired panels that each run to living room and family room. Living room has one of the APs. Then to family room I have another gigabit switch with my TV, receiver, shield and the other AP.....
Do I have too many dummy gigabit switches around???

Sorry long post, but hopefully sheds light onto my issues and my setup.
I've been considering to get a big managed switch to have right off the router....


Part of the Furniture
L&LD | SmallNetBuilder Forums

New M&M 2020

I need to update all the 'guides', but you'll get the idea if you dig in with either the link above or the M&M Config and/or Nuclear Reset guides. And finish with the amtm Step-by-Step guide for the proper script and Entware support. Just remember that amtm doesn't need to be 'installed' anymore (since RMerlin firmware 384.15_0).


Regular Contributor
Just got my replacement RT-AC86U today from ASUS!
Going to give this a shot, I assume best to go ahead and use the latest release right? 384.19
Out of the box, should we begin with a nuclear reset?
Remember in my case I disable WiFi, but you could easily use whatever I make as a unbox guide/restart from scratch guide. Then add your WiFi recommendations.

I am reading your links/guides and trying to make myself a nice linear step by step guide.....
ill log all my steps and ask questions as I go.

This will be step by step to the extreme! haha :)

Perform nuclear reset steps 1-9 (make note of step 1, but since this is a brand new,cold router, proceed to step 2)
Stated here:

Regarding Step 4 of nuclear reset. I dont see an initialize check box you are noting. There are now a Restore Button and an Initialize Button. Are you now recommending to do the Initizliaze button instead of the restore button?


Part of the Furniture
Let's start at the beginning. What version firmware shipped with your new RT-AC86U?

If it has 384.xx or 385.xx code on it, then the 384.19_0 RMerlin firmware should be okay.

If it has 386.xx, then I would flash RMerlin 386.1 Beta 4b (in the Pre-Beta Test Builds link, below).

Download | Asuswrt-Merlin (

I would first flash one of the firmware above and then go full Nuclear on it. But going Nuclear on stock firmware also is okay too.


Regular Contributor
Wow great catch, didn't think of that!
It has, so thinking that means 384 then.

I'll proceed with nuke before and after!

Regarding Step 4 of nuclear reset. I dont see an initialize check box you are noting. There are now a Restore Button and an Initialize Button. Are you now recommending to do the Initizliaze button instead of the restore button?


Part of the Furniture
I haven't seen stock firmware for a long time. :)

Does it look anything like this? If not, you may be in the wrong Tab.



Regular Contributor
Haha I bet!
Once I flashed merlin it looks like that.
In stock, instead of a check box and yellow text, there is just another button named initialize. I am guessing that the initialize button does the same thing as the checkbox and then clicking restore basically.

Thanks again I'll keep plugging away


Regular Contributor
Hope OK, just had a few minor questions since completing the nukes and m&m.....

It appears IPv6 was already disabled by default
IPv6 menu, then Basic Config , Connect Type Disabled
Just double checking this is where to look.....

what about IPv6 firewall, it was Yes by default?

We could also change USB mode from 3 to 2 as part of m&m?
In my case I don't' use Wifi though.... just wanted to note it.

what about Jumbo Frames? It is disabled by default, is it not really worth using or introduces issues until you are sure router is stable?


Part of the Furniture
If you're not using Wi-Fi, leave it on USB 3.0 mode. The actual USB drive and router combination may not like that though (i.e. on a reboot, the drive may stay unmounted) if that is the case, then switch to USB 2.0 mode and see if the issue goes away. Also, try any other USB Port too, if available.

Leave Jumbo Frames off. All devices on the network need to be enabled with the same JF settings. If you cannot ensure that, leave it off.

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