Solved BRT-AC828 - Oldie but a Goldie? Dilemma.. Any Asus experts here? Comparing to RT- AC86U

brownie112

Occasional Visitor
I've been looking to upgrade my current router to basically any Asus router for the open VPN feature, network control and reliability.

My friend has a business who was looking at upgrading his business grade ASUS router and offered it to me for what it would cost similar to a RT-AC86U. The BRT has been hardly used as the business never really took off due to covid.

My dilemma is that being a business router, am I missing out on any consumer grade features that would otherwise be in an ASUS router?

I am looking to utilize the m.2 drive feature of the BRT as well.. but not at the cost of basic consumer features like open VPN, network monitoring, parental controls etc..
 

TheLostSwede

Senior Member
How would you compare it to RT-AC86U if both same price? I'm most likely going to stay on official firmware Asus
Personally, I prefer QCA hardware, which the BRT-AC828 has, but and this is the thing that ruins the whole deal, Asus hasn't updated the firmware in over a year and a half, so it's simply a no go. Merlin doesn't even look at Asus' QCA hardware, so that's not an option either.
The RT-AC86U has at least had three firmware updates this year, plus support from Merlin.
 

brownie112

Occasional Visitor
Personally, I prefer QCA hardware, which the BRT-AC828 has, but and this is the thing that ruins the whole deal, Asus hasn't updated the firmware in over a year and a half, so it's simply a no go. Merlin doesn't even look at Asus' QCA hardware, so that's not an option either.
The RT-AC86U has at least had three firmware updates this year, plus support from Merlin.
Wouldn't that just be because if the firmware doesn't need update maybe? Don't fix what's not broken philosophy..

I don't "need" all the fancy features of BRT but if it's only going to cost me what an AC86U will until I upgraded when the AX86U goes on sale in my country, maybe a good temporary option?

I'm about to buy "any" affordable Asus router that I can get my hands on and AC86u and brt are both somehow in the same price range.

End goal is to upgrade to ax but it might be a while till that model goes on sale and when it does I can always get my money back on the brt.

I read somewhere that BRT UI might* be laggier than consumer grade due to all the features- is that just myth or some truth in it?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The BRT-AC828 for the approximate price of an RT-AC86U is tempting. But what other options do you have? What are the absolute prices?

Don't forget that that is a 4-year-old model too. With RF design older than that.

I don't see this as a sound investment (depending on the actual price). Even temporarily.
 

brownie112

Occasional Visitor
The BRT-AC828 for the approximate price of an RT-AC86U is tempting. But what other options do you have? What are the absolute prices?

Don't forget that that is a 4-year-old model too. With RF design older than that.

I don't see this as a sound investment (depending on the actual price). Even temporarily.
"Even temporarily" - how though? Currently I have a shtbox old router, and provided my affordability can only extend to the cost of an AC86U at the moment* so I'm dead set on buying *something..

New ac86u is 190usd here.
Brt from a friend and is as new is $115usd which I thought is very reasonable.

New ax86u- $415 which my current budget simply cannot go...
It's either stick with my current router(which knowing me I won't) or buy next best thing which is to buy any* decent Asus router for its software and mobile app.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
That is very reasonable. But are you sure it will do what you want though?

What's your current router?
 

brownie112

Occasional Visitor
That is very reasonable. But are you sure it will do what you want though?

What's your current router?
So I borrowed my friend's AC86u to test and I was very satisfied with it's performance. Wifi was hitting 700mbps on my mobile which was crazy and 920 on wired. Most importantly, I love the Asus mobile app and parental controls especially the bandwidth limiter. This is why I was dead set of getting my hands on ANY Asus router asap..

I have a Linksys WRT 1900ac v1 which is great for speeds but the application sucks and doesn't do half the this Asus app does.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
What an RT-AC86U does cannot accurately predict what a BRT-828 will do for you.

For $190, you'll know your issues are solved.
 

brownie112

Occasional Visitor
What an RT-AC86U does cannot accurately predict what a BRT-828 will do for you.

For $190, you'll know your issues are solved.
Interesting.

Due to being a small house, range wasn't really an issue to start with and then again with old Linksys the speeds are adequate. So speed performance improvement is kinda irrelevant.

Hence why I made this thread to get info on BRT would perform similar or better than ac86 solely because it's "business/commercial" grade hardware and a solid router for the price considering it has IPQ8065 + QCA9984 which must be a decent combo. My assumption was speeds will be similar to ac86

But my fear of the unknown is that if the mobile app of brt any different and if it will have any less features and not as responsive as when I tested with AC86..
 

TheLostSwede

Senior Member
Wouldn't that just be because if the firmware doesn't need update maybe? Don't fix what's not broken philosophy..

I don't "need" all the fancy features of BRT but if it's only going to cost me what an AC86U will until I upgraded when the AX86U goes on sale in my country, maybe a good temporary option?

I'm about to buy "any" affordable Asus router that I can get my hands on and AC86u and brt are both somehow in the same price range.

End goal is to upgrade to ax but it might be a while till that model goes on sale and when it does I can always get my money back on the brt.

I read somewhere that BRT UI might* be laggier than consumer grade due to all the features- is that just myth or some truth in it?
I don't really know how to answer that. Yes, if you're happy to have a device that is not secure, please don't worry about an updated firmware, but if you at all care about the devices you connect to the internet via your router, you want it to be updated as often as possible. There are new security holes detected almost daily and although some of them might be minor, a router that hasn't been updated for over a year, should ideally not be connected towards the internet imho. I'm not a tinfoil hat if that's what you're thinking, but the reality is, way too many routers out there are being actively compromised and being used for large scale DDoS attacks and all sorts of nasty things. This is why I'm glad we have people like Merlin and Voxel that offers up to date and secure firmwares when the manufacturers don't.

I wouldn't waste the money on it, as it really is a solution looking for trouble.

If you're set on Asus, check that it's supported by Merlin, if it's not, don't buy it. I do believe the RT-AC86U is supported though.

I doubt the UI would be laggier, I mean, it's rendered in browser and I can't say I have ever owned a router with a laggy UI. There are some that have a slow interface, but that's a different matter.

If you're not familiar with Merlin's work, please see: https://www.asuswrt-merlin.net/

Until you get a new router, I would highly recommend that you put an open source firmware like DD-WRT or OpenWRT on your Linksys router.
 
Last edited:

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
That would not be my biggest fear. The fact that the firmware is based on 382.xx code and is from a year and a half ago is what would make me drop it from consideration. If security is as important to you as it is to me, even free, I would not connect this to my network.

Latest firmware available.

Version 3.0.0.4.382.70348
2020/04/09
 

TheLostSwede

Senior Member
That would not be my biggest fear. The fact that the firmware is based on 382.xx code and is from a year and a half ago is what would make me drop it from consideration. If security is as important to you as it is to me, even free, I would not connect this to my network.

Latest firmware available.

Version 3.0.0.4.382.70348
2020/04/09
Yeah, that's kind of what I mentioned in my first reply. I don't think it'll ever get another firmware update.
 

brownie112

Occasional Visitor
I don't really know how to answer that. Yes, if you're happy to have a device that is not secure, please don't worry about an updated firmware, but if you at all care about the devices you connect to the internet via your router, you want it to be updated as often as possible. There are new security holes detected almost daily and although some of them might be minor, a router that hasn't been updated for over a year, should ideally not be connected towards the internet imho. I'm not a tinfoil hat if that's what you're thinking, but the reality is, way too many routers out there are being actively compromised and being used for large scale DDoS attacks and all sorts of nasty things. This is why I'm glad we have people like Merlin and Voxel that offers up to date and secure firmwares when the manufacturers don't.

I wouldn't waste the money on it, as it really is a solution looking for trouble.

If you're set on Asus, check that it's supported by Merlin, if it's not, don't buy it. I do believe the RT-AC86U is supported though.

I doubt the UI would be laggier, I mean, it's rendered in browser and I can't say I have ever owned a router with a laggy UI. There are some that have a slow interface, but that's a different matter.

If you're not familiar with Merlin's work, please see: https://www.asuswrt-merlin.net/

Until you get a new router, I would highly recommend that you put an open source firmware like DD-WRT or OpenWRT on your Linksys router.
That's very interesting and thank you for the explanation. I didn't realize that security was that important and that routers that don't get firmware updates are basically a disaster waiting to happen.

I also used to believe that stick with the manufacturer official firmware rather than getting a third party one because, you know manufacturers knows what's best... At least when it comes to security etc and this belief originated from when I used to flash custom software on my phone's etc a long time ago..

I've never flashed custom firmware on a router, and was worried a little that I might break it
 

brownie112

Occasional Visitor
That would not be my biggest fear. The fact that the firmware is based on 382.xx code and is from a year and a half ago is what would make me drop it from consideration. If security is as important to you as it is to me, even free, I would not connect this to my network.

Latest firmware available.

Version 3.0.0.4.382.70348
2020/04/09
Thank you, I was thinking what's happening to all those ASUS routers that are being used in businesses currently.
I'm definitely flashing open WRT on my Linksys right away or buying a new AC86U but I really like to know the logic of what is going to happen to the existing Asus routers especially the business ones which they paid big money for..
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
If they're smart? They will be recycled. Or, if 3rd party firmware is available, current, and patches the outstanding security issues, it will be used.

For a business, this is just another expense. Nobody will lose any sleep over it.

As for custom firmware, Asus + Asuswrt-Merlin has a long history of excellence. The factory firmware has actually adopted many enhancements that originated by RMerlin.

Some features first debuted in Asuswrt-Merlin and were eventually implemented in the official firmware:​

  • HTTPS configuration interface
  • Persistent JFFS partition
  • LED control - put your router in Stealth Mode by turning off all LEDs
  • Turning WPS button into a radio on/off toggle
  • Clicking on the MAC address of an unidentified client will do a lookup in the OUI database.
  • WakeOnLan web interface (with pre-configured targets)
  • Display active/tracked network connections
  • VPN Status page
  • DualWAN and Repeater mode (while it was still under development by Asus)
  • Basic OpenVPN (client and server) support
  • Configurable IPv6 firewall
  • Improved compatibility with 3TB+ and Advanced Format HDDs
  • SSH access
  • Disk spindown after user-configurable inactivity timeout
  • Updated Samba version (3.6), with SMB2.0 support
  • TLS 1.3 support for some services (OpenSSL 1.1.1)
  • Modern DDNS client (In-a-Dyn), with https support
  • Full cone NAT support (on some models)
  • User-provided SSL certificate
  • Display the Ethernet port states
  • TLS support for the FTP server
  • Allow or disable WAN access to the FTP server
  • User-defined options for WAN DHCP requests (required by some ISPs)

Features | Asuswrt-Merlin

About | Asuswrt-Merlin

Another 'bonus' with Asus routers is that it is awfully hard to brick them (but not impossible!). The same can't be said of other manufacturers.

Even the latest Alpha 1 from August 11, 2021, has proven extremely stable too.

Download | Asuswrt-Merlin


Be sure you download a utility like HashTab and verify the downloaded firmware's sha256 match each time and you'll be as safe as can be from flashing third-party firmware issues. :)
 

TheLostSwede

Senior Member
That's very interesting and thank you for the explanation. I didn't realize that security was that important and that routers that don't get firmware updates are basically a disaster waiting to happen.

I also used to believe that stick with the manufacturer official firmware rather than getting a third party one because, you know manufacturers knows what's best... At least when it comes to security etc and this belief originated from when I used to flash custom software on my phone's etc a long time ago..

I've never flashed custom firmware on a router, and was worried a little that I might break it
Just to give you an idea, the link below is for security issues related to Broadcom based products. They obviously don't just make router chips, but last year there were 39 vulnerabilities and so far this year 24, with a handful or more of those being bad to severe. Obviously some of the code from Broadcom is in Broadcom based routers and those are issues that requires multiple steps to fix the problem from the router makers side.

This doesn't take any of the third party software that is running on a router into account.
Looking at the RT-AC86U for example, the second to latest firmware lists:
1. Fixed CVE-2021-3450, CVE2021-3449 OpenSSL related vulnerability.
2. Fixed authentication bypass vulnerability. Special thank Chris Bellows, Darren Kemp – Atredis Partners contribution.
3. Fixed PPTP and OpenVPN server username/password GUI bug.
4. Fixed high CPU utilization issue.
5. Fixed the fragattacks vulnerability.

That's at least half a dozen of issues that someone could potentially use to try and gain access to the router.
Obviously, not all CVE vulnerabilities are critical, but almost every firmware update from Asus contains a handful of fixed issues.

Merlin works reasonably closely with Asus, or at least used to, haven't really kept on top of things, but it's the same user experience, just with more features and usually more up to date security fixes. Voxel is the same for Netgear routers, although he doesn't support as many models.

OpenWRT and DD-WRT are different beasts entirely and I have two TP-Link devices in my home that I loaded OpenWRT on, because TP-Link released exactly three firmwares for each device and then moved on to a new hardware revision. It's not as user friendly as most default OSes on these devices, but sometimes it's better than the native firmware. DD-WRT is a bit nicer to use than OpenWRT imho, but the hardware support varies between the two. It generally won't break anything, but you might lose control over options like being able to turn off LEDs etc.
I think your current router should have better support for DD-WRT than OpenWRT, as it was something Linksys was touting when they launched it.

Keep in mind that big companies like Cisco is just as affected by these security issues as anyone else in the business, so I'm not pointing fingers at Asus or Broadcom here, it's just a fact of how things are, since software has bugs and these bugs are being exploited by some people.
But the best thing you can do to protect yourself, is to keep your router up to date. I'm not even worried about things like someone putting some kind of tool that can log credit card transactions on my router, but rather that it ends up as part of some botnet or something similar, as that's just as bad and much more likely.

I honestly wish there was more enforcement on router makers being liable for firmware updates for at least five years, at a minimum level to make sure they fix any kind of exploitable security issues, but alas, that is not the case. Asus and D-Link did actually get a slap by the FCC a few years ago and this is why Asus routers that are sold in the US tend to get pretty regular software updates, unlike some of their other models that are supported just as well as my TP-Link products... As such, check what you're buying, so you don't get a dud.
 

brownie112

Occasional Visitor
If they're smart? They will be recycled. Or, if 3rd party firmware is available, current, and patches the outstanding security issues, it will be used.

For a business, this is just another expense. Nobody will lose any sleep over it.

As for custom firmware, Asus + Asuswrt-Merlin has a long history of excellence. The factory firmware has actually adopted many enhancements that originated by RMerlin.



Features | Asuswrt-Merlin

About | Asuswrt-Merlin

Another 'bonus' with Asus routers is that it is awfully hard to brick them (but not impossible!). The same can't be said of other manufacturers.

Even the latest Alpha 1 from August 11, 2021, has proven extremely stable too.

Download | Asuswrt-Merlin


Be sure you download a utility like HashTab and verify the downloaded firmware's sha256 match each time and you'll be as safe as can be from flashing third-party firmware issues. :)

Wow, that really puts things in perspective for me.

I guess now my only options are too either be brave and flash DDWRT in my Linksys

OR

get the AC86u and try find which firmware is the latest and most stable.

Damn, was super keen on the BRT as it has so much hardware for the money!!
 

Latest threads

Sign Up For SNBForums Daily Digest

Get an update of what's new every day delivered to your mailbox. Sign up here!
Top