Choosing a router to run Asuswrt-Merlin

chrisisbd

Occasional Visitor
I'm wanting to buy a (probably used) Asus RT series router to install and run Asuswrt-Merlin.

I don't want to pay too much (it's not going to be my main router) but I do want it to get Asuswrt-Merlin upgrades for as long as possible. So, which of the less expensive routers are newest, or at least most likely to get support for a reasonably long time?
 

kernol

Very Senior Member
Frankly - the REAL value in Merlinware is when you DO use it for your "Main Router" - I see little value in using it for Node firmware ... you may just as well stick to stock firmware on AP's or AiMesh nodes if you not controlling everything through a Merlin equipped Main router.
 

chrisisbd

Occasional Visitor
OK, I may migrate to being my 'main' router but I still want to know which ones are likely to be supported longest! :)
 

heysoundude

Part of the Furniture
What @kernol said...
it's the scripts that make Merlin shine: diversion, SkyNet, WireGuard...

But to your question, I wouldn't go with anything older than an AC86, and even those are looking a little doomed to get dropped sooner than later since Asus is pushing out all sorts of AX and AXE hardware. To focus your decision, take a look at the wireless specs of all the wireless devices you own - you may be surprised to see more of them than you expect support wifi6/wireless AX (I know I was), so an "entry level" AX machine may be a good hedge - in my neck of the woods, a new, warranteed AX68 (on sale) goes for the same as a used AC86...and I think it has been pointed out to me that the AX50-something is a better/faster processor (or was it radios?) with more RAM for just a few currency units more...
but the real decision should be made based on your ISP package speed: If you're below 300Mbps download, an AX router is overkill unless you plan to upgrade soon because thats pretty much where the wifi speeds top out on the AC-series stuff
 

bennor

Very Senior Member
I'm wanting to buy a (probably used) Asus RT series router to install and run Asuswrt-Merlin.

I don't want to pay too much (it's not going to be my main router) but I do want it to get Asuswrt-Merlin upgrades for as long as possible. So, which of the less expensive routers are newest, or at least most likely to get support for a reasonably long time?
If you want to run Merlin firmware on an Asus router, see the Asus-merlin website (if you haven't already) where the supported routers are listed. Don't bother asking if XYZ router not on the list will be supported as that is explained here and here. One can review the supported router's list to find a lower cost supported router within one's budget. Just note that one may have to sacrifice router capability (processor/RAM and certain features) when choosing a lower cost Asus router.

Generally if one is going to run AiMesh then many seem to just stick with the stock Asus firmware on the Mesh nodes but run Merlin on the main router.

You may want to add context to why you would use an Asus router as a secondary router to your existing main router. If using one's broadband provided router/gateway, generally one can reconfigure (bridge mode or DMZ mode) their ISP/broadband provider router so an Asus router takes over being the main router. Many of us do this, reconfigure (in some cases remove) our ISP provided router/gateway/equipment so the Asus-Merlin router takes over as the main router/gateway for the local network.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
I still want to know which ones are likely to be supported longest!
That`s impossible to predict as I am tied to Asus' own support, i.e. I can`t continue supporting a model once they drop support for it.
 

chrisisbd

Occasional Visitor
We're really not heavy wireless users. All the WiFi use here comprises mobiles (cellphones) for voice/sms over WiFi and my laptop for E-Mail, Usenet and Web browsing. We're out in the sticks (well, UK version of out in the sticks) so our internet connection is only 80Mb/s down, 20Mb/s up which is plenty fast enough for all we expect of it. We may get fibre in the next year or two but I'm not sure about that.

Thus super fast WiFi isn't really what I'm after. What I'm looking for is something to replace a Linux box which acts only as a backup system, a network switch and a WiFi router in a cabin in our garden. If I can replace all three with an Asus router with a USB disk drive it will save on both complexity and electricity costs. The disk doesn't have to be all that fast as the backups are run overnight and, even if they take a couple of hours, it doesn't matter. The WiFi router is just for use from mobiles (cellphones) in the cabin and maybe the garden a bit. The switch will become redundant if the Linux box is no longer required.

If, in addition, I can move my dnsmasq from my Linux desktop to the router that's an added bonus.
 

heysoundude

Part of the Furniture
The garden cabin sounds like the home office/workspace...
How modern are your phones and laptop? That'll make/break the argument for AX over AC. if under 3-4y, you've phones that can likely handle wifi6 so even though your package speed is currently not that fast, your phones will appreciate a lower-range AX machine...and everything you're looking for will be handled by the RIGHT one (for you, the RT-ax56 probably)

(check the asus site for local retailers and current (promotional?) pricing on each model...)
 

Sign Up For SNBForums Daily Digest

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