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Merlin or stock firmware?

Discussion in 'ASUS AX Routers & Adapters' started by neil0311, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. neil0311

    neil0311 Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2012
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    I've been using Merlin's firmware for about 10 years through various models of Asus router. My requirements for a router are very minimal and simple. I don't use VPN, or QoS, or any advanced features. I may setup an AIMesh with two routers, but that's as complicated as my use cases get.

    I bought an AX88U for the WiFi 6 capabilities, and have been using the Merlin version of the ASUSWRT firmware on it, but wondering if I'd be better off just sticking with stock firmware at this point. It seems like Merlin now has to rationalize his dev work on multiple devices, and the stability benefits over the stock ASUS firmware aren't what they once were years ago.

    Anyone have any thoughts on anything I'd be giving up going back to stock firmware, or anything to be aware of given I haven't used stock firmware in a long time?
     
  2. RMerlin

    RMerlin Super Moderator

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    You decide what YOU need most: my features, or Asus, latest features. It depends on your personal needs.

    Sent from my ELE-L04 using Tapatalk
     
    Kingp1n, Luizlp10 and neil0311 like this.
  3. FTC

    FTC Senior Member

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    Hi, even if you don't use 'advanced features' and all you need is supported by stock firmware I'd stick with Merlin because in case of problems you have a much more responsive platform to help you here... and you have the peace of mind of knowing that you can also go stock as a last resource. Plus eventually the 'latest features' end up in Merlin also in a couple of weeks.

    In any case it is quite easy to swap from one to another, specially for simple installations as you described yours.
     
    L&LD likes this.
  4. neil0311

    neil0311 Regular Contributor

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    Thanks for the reply. Your firmware has always been the default for me.

    I haven't really used the Asus stock firmware in a decade, which was more the issue for me. Is stability still an issue?

    I started using the Merlin firmware because of the generally rock solid reliability. Your post on your forum seemed to indicate you were concerned that changes to the way Asus is releasing code for various hardware could lead to reliability concerns.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
  5. raven-au

    raven-au Regular Contributor

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    Perhaps your misinterpreting ongoing development challenges with stability ...

    I found the stock AX88U firmware quite stable but so are the Merlin releases.

    But there have been problems with stock over time which often don't show up in Merlin.
    Occasionally problems show up in Merlin but that's going to happen with any firmware.

    The problem is that the stock firmware does often have quite annoying and IMHO sometimes quite serious problems that continue for way too long.

    One advantage is Merlin isn't going to be immediately up to date with the latest stock releases (yes, I claim that's an advantage) because of the work required to merge together the stock and Merlin updates. So there's an opportunity for Merlin to pick the least problematic stock releases when updating and avoid the more problematic ones.

    I think that alone makes Merlin a good choice ...
     
    neil0311 likes this.
  6. RMerlin

    RMerlin Super Moderator

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    No, it doesn't crash left and right by looking at it funny, like it used to back in 2012, where PPTP VPNs caused spontaneous reboots, SMB access caused spontaneous reboots, having a WDTV on your network caused... you get the idea. :)

    Availability issues, not reliability.
     
    Luizlp10, L&LD and neil0311 like this.
  7. lindros2

    lindros2 Occasional Visitor

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    seeing as Merlin isn't even doing firmware for the AX11000 (and rightfully so - it's a PITA), I'd stick with stock Asus on the AX88
     
  8. brummygit

    brummygit Senior Member

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    I recently bought a RT-AX88U after years of faithful service from my RT-AC68U running Asuswrt-Merlin. I initially installed 384_17 but QoS doesn't seem to work nicely on it and I wanted to see if the latest stock firmware fixed some bugs in the WiFi drivers. I also wanted to align with the latest stock firmware on my RT-AX56U AiMesh nodes.

    My experience is that I miss a few features on Merlin straight away mainly around understanding what's going on in my network - DHCP, QoS, traffic etc have all got enhanced functions in Merlin. I also use QoS and FQ_Codel (which I see the OP doesn't need) but in short I'll be going back to Merlin once 384_18 is more finalised for my routers.

    There is a currently a bit of a bump in the road as Asus change their QoS categories so I'll stick with 384.9107 before 384_18, although I wonder if I'd have been better on 384_16 or even 384_15 (pre-WiFi driver update) as 384_17 doesn't work well with QoS for me even with FreshJR.

    So in summary as someone who jumped back to stock, I can't wait to return to Merlin.
     
  9. MarkyPancake

    MarkyPancake Senior Member

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    I've used Merlin firmware for so long now, spanning my last three routers, that it's become the norm and I don't actually know what features and functionality I would lose going back to stock.
     
    jerry6 likes this.
  10. jerry6

    jerry6 Very Senior Member

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    I've been using Merlin since my rt 16 , still using it on mY AC5300 . Just picked up an AX 92U that will be used for a while , if no Merlin FW is made for it I'll sell it and buy a model that is supported . b een 10 years and have yet tohave a FW problem
     
  11. mcmxmk19

    mcmxmk19 New Around Here

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    I just recently switched from the stock firmware to Merlin. I’ve had my rt-ax88u for over three months. This is my first ASUS router. Up until the most recent stock firmware update I hadn’t noticed any issues. Once I updated to 9107 I saw an immediate drop in performance (buffering while streaming, high latency while playing CoD on PS4). I tried a couple of things but nothing fixed the performance issues and again I could tie it back to the 9107 update. I was reluctant to move to Merlin until I actually looked into it. Firstly, I didn’t realize how easy it is to switch to Merlin (I thought it was more of a process). Secondly, once I switched over the performance issues I had experienced were gone. Thirdly, Merlin firmware offers a lot more (more than I care for, but will experiment with over time). Lastly, I’ve read on here that Merlin was more stable after firmware updates and now I can also say that. The simple fact that the performance issues were gone after switching to Merlin are enough for me to keep using it going forward. The extra options aren’t necessarily something I care for anymore (I just want to enjoy my high speed internet and game online lol), but again the fact that it’s there is nice.
     
  12. alba666

    alba666 Occasional Visitor

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    I ran Merlin on my retired AC88U for years. Bought a AX92U when WAN port on AC88U got flaky before I realized no Merlin. Missing DoT in particular.
    IMHO, stick to Merlin supported devices.
     
    jerry6 likes this.
  13. jerry6

    jerry6 Very Senior Member

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    That is just what i'm going to do , just to bad there are no 3 band new routers getting Merlin support , guess i'm stuck with the 5300 and 3200