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Merlin Newbie: Please Be Gentle (ASUS XT8/RT-AX95Q Questions)

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Howdy. I am in the process of moving and instead of setting up Ubiquiti gear which I used at the old place I went with the ASUS XT8 (RT-AX95Q). I have one router and three remotes to provide coverage for the house.

I haven't had much time to play with it until now, and I'm starting to have issues with the lack of features in the stock firmware, especially SNMP (I'm an open source network monitoring nerd).

In addition to lack of SNMP support out of the box, the DDNS feature doesn't support my registrar of choice, Namecheap. Also, when I went to turn on the traffic stats, I got this warning:

Screenshot 2023-02-28 at 10.17.40 AM.png

I don't really want to share this information with Trend Micro.

It looks like Merlin is pretty awesome so I'm eager to switch. My model is supported through the Gnuton builds and the installation looks pretty straightforward. I do have some questions that I was unable to find answers for so I'm asking them here. Thanks in advance for your help.

1) What is the best way to upgrade the mesh network? Upgrading the main router and setting it back to factory defaults seems pretty easy, but then do I just need to re-associate the remote nodes or do I need to install Merlin on them manually first? I'm on at the moment. Pointing me to the "fine manual" if it exists is welcome.

2) Does the traffic analyzer under Merlin send information to Trend Micro? If so, it seems possible to run softflowd on Merlin and if this is the case I can do my own traffic management.

Again, thanks for any help you can provide and hats off to the community for building such a great option.
If you want to use the traffic analyzer you have to accept the TrendMicro EULA.

The EULA simply means the data is run through their servers to be "Analyzed" , not that they will spying on you.

Any cloud based antivirus does the same thing , nobody queries that.
I am in the process of moving and instead of setting up Ubiquiti gear which I used at the old place I went with the ASUS XT8

You did a mistake. Send it back and build Ubiquiti UniFi or TP-Link Omada system. All major features in Asuswrt use 3rd party TrendMicro service. XT8 is an older underpowered and overpriced set with long history of firmware and stability issues. AiMesh is more marketing name and less "mesh".

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