Need advice on replacing my Asus RT-N66U router - 2021

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GkarB5Narn

New Around Here
I want to replace my Asus RT-N66U router (purchased in 2013) with a brand new model. Please note that this old router seems to work fine - I'm only replacing it because recent Consumer Reports & NY Times articles advise to replace old routers if you're concerned about maintaining a good level of security. I'm using it at home for gaming, online banking & small business use.
Therefore, my highest priority is robust internet security & my second is online gaming. My current Internet speeds are 100Mbps down & 10Mbps up.
Questions:
1) What features (security & online gaming) should I be looking for?
2) Does having Asus AIprotection Pro versus Classic really make a difference in terms of better security?
3) How long can I expect Asus and Asus WRT-Merlin to support the firmware for a newly purchased router?

Thank you, in advance!
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
How old a router is, isn't a sign of how insecure it is. What firmware are you running on it?

If you were to flash the latest beta of @john9527's RMerlin fork, for example, you would be secure even from the threats of 2 days ago. :)





If you're set on getting a new router, with the ISP speeds you posted, an RT-AC66U_B1 or an RT-AC86U will be both huge improvements to your network for the lowest cost (and both with RMerlin support).

There is no guarantee how long RMerlin will support any model, but the newest one, the RT-AX86U, should be the one that is supported the longest, from today.
 

GkarB5Narn

New Around Here
I'm running the 380.70 firmware from Asuswrt-Merlin. I went to your above link for @john9527 RMerlin's fork. It's very difficult for me to judge whether or not his firmware would be the best option for me. I'm very far from being a router or networking expert. It would probably make my wife & I feel a whole lot better just purchasing a brand new router.

The RT-AX86U fits into my budget.

Thank you very much for your nicely detailed help.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I want to replace my Asus RT-N66U router (purchased in 2013) with a brand new model. Please note that this old router seems to work fine - I'm only replacing it because recent Consumer Reports & NY Times articles advise to replace old routers if you're concerned about maintaining a good level of security. I'm using it at home for gaming, online banking & small business use.
Therefore, my highest priority is robust internet security & my second is online gaming. My current Internet speeds are 100Mbps down & 10Mbps up.
Questions:
1) What features (security & online gaming) should I be looking for?
2) Does having Asus AIprotection Pro versus Classic really make a difference in terms of better security?
3) How long can I expect Asus and Asus WRT-Merlin to support the firmware for a newly purchased router?

Thank you, in advance!

Consider an RT-AC86U or RT-AX86U. Everything else comes along for the ride.

The AC86U is $153 now in the US:

ASUS AC2900 Dual-band Gaming Router, Mesh Wi-Fi support - Newegg.com

Update your trusty N66U and keep it for backup duty.

My install notes summarize a basic configuration... useful once you get into it.

OE
 

heysoundude

Very Senior Member
an Asus AC86 will be supported for some time to come I'm sure and fits your budget perfectly... if the n66 provided adequate wifi coverage, you'll be even more happy with this. and they're under $200 most places...I think someone found them on Newegg for 149 a few days ago too, so shop around
 

GkarB5Narn

New Around Here
an Asus AC86 will be supported for some time to come I'm sure and fits your budget perfectly... if the n66 provided adequate wifi coverage, you'll be even more happy with this. and they're under $200 most places...I think someone found them on Newegg for 149 a few days ago too, so shop around
Thanks for this info!
 

GkarB5Narn

New Around Here
How old a router is, isn't a sign of how insecure it is. What firmware are you running on it?

If you were to flash the latest beta of @john9527's RMerlin fork, for example, you would be secure even from the threats of 2 days ago. :)





If you're set on getting a new router, with the ISP speeds you posted, an RT-AC66U_B1 or an RT-AC86U will be both huge improvements to your network for the lowest cost (and both with RMerlin support).

There is no guarantee how long RMerlin will support any model, but the newest one, the RT-AX86U, should be the one that is supported the longest, from today.
Thank you very much for this info
Consider an RT-AC86U or RT-AX86U. Everything else comes along for the ride.

The AC86U is $153 now in the US:

ASUS AC2900 Dual-band Gaming Router, Mesh Wi-Fi support - Newegg.com

Update your trusty N66U and keep it for backup duty.

My install notes summarize a basic configuration... useful once you get into it.

OE
Thank you very much for this info! I've ordered the Asus RT-AX86U & should receive it by this Friday.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Thank you very much for this info! I've ordered the Asus RT-AX86U & should receive it by this Friday.

Yay! Weekend fun!

Update the firmware, reset the firmware, configure the basics, and then use it for a day at least to establish a baseline for your client behavior. Don't layer on configuration until you've proven the new hardware and trust it enough to do more, if required.

OE
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture

GkarB5Narn

New Around Here
Yay! Weekend fun!

Update the firmware, reset the firmware, configure the basics, and then use it for a day at least to establish a baseline for your client behavior. Don't layer on configuration until you've proven the new hardware and trust it enough to do more, if required.

OE
LOL!

A few questions about firmware & setting up this new router:
1) Which firmware should I run: Asus' own or Asuswrt-Merlin? What are the pros & cons of each one?
2) For online gaming purposes, what do you recommend I adjust in the firmware settings?
Here are my considerations:
a) Sometimes, I will be running NVIDIA GeForce Now on the Shield TV Pro & I want it to run smoothly;
b) Other times, I'll be using Xbox Live & need my NAT type to be "Open";
c) Other times, I'll be doing online banking & shopping and running a small business - therefore, I wish to maintain the highest level of security as possible.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
A few questions about firmware & setting up this new router:
1) Which firmware should I run: Asus' own or Asuswrt-Merlin? What are the pros & cons of each one?

Given your experience, I would commission your new network with stock Asuswrt firmware. Given the recent compressed timeline of firmware releases, this may not only be the current firmware, but may also be the more current firmware. Once you have proven your new hardware and learned Asuswrt, you can consider other firmware, if necessary.

Asuswrt-Merlin is explained on its website. I don't need or use it.

2) For online gaming purposes, what do you recommend I adjust in the firmware settings?
Here are my considerations:
a) Sometimes, I will be running NVIDIA GeForce Now on the Shield TV Pro & I want it to run smoothly;
b) Other times, I'll be using Xbox Live & need my NAT type to be "Open";
c) Other times, I'll be doing online banking & shopping and running a small business - therefore, I wish to maintain the highest level of security as possible.

My install notes suggest a few non-default settings for a basic and secure configuration until you determine otherwise (I've indicated the security* settings). Keep it simple... it mostly works right out of the box. Come back if you need to improve something specific.

You'll have to improvise on the AX configuration bits... I have not used AX yet.

OE
 
Last edited:

GkarB5Narn

New Around Here
Given your experience, I would commission your new network with stock Asuswrt firmware. Given the recent compressed timeline of firmware releases, this may not only be the current firmware, but may also be the more current firmware. Once you have proven your new hardware and learned Asuswrt, you can consider other firmware, if necessary.

Asuswrt-Merlin is explained on its website. I don't need or use it.



My install notes suggest a few non-default settings for a basic and secure configuration until you determine otherwise (I've indicated the security* settings). Keep it simple... it mostly works right out of the box. Come back if you need to improve something specific.

You'll have to improvise on the AX configuration bits... I have not used AX yet.

OE

The new router arrived earlier today - so I hope to set it up this Saturday.

OK, thank you very much for answering my questions.
I very much appreciate your help!
 

wh7qq

Regular Contributor
I'm running the 380.70 firmware from Asuswrt-Merlin. I went to your above link for @john9527 RMerlin's fork. It's very difficult for me to judge whether or not his firmware would be the best option for me. I'm very far from being a router or networking expert. It would probably make my wife & I feel a whole lot better just purchasing a brand new router.

The RT-AX86U fits into my budget.

Thank you very much for your nicely detailed help.
I have been using John's Fork firmware for over a year now on a rtn-66u and have had no problems, but I did have a problem recently with the "beta" software. The "release" versions seem to be rock stable. It is based on Merlin 374 and has a very similar interface so you probably will not notice the difference. It has regular updates so it will be at least as secure as most new "out-of the box" routers. If you are running a 380 variant now, you will probably need to utilize the Asus recovery utility disk (Windows) or the CFE mini web server with Linux to load it. A post on the OpenWRT pages details the way to access the CFE mini web server ( https://openwrt.org/docs/techref/bootloader/cfe). The difference is that John's does not restrict the WiFi power as much as Asus and Merlin (FCC requirements), but just leave it at the defaults and it will be fine. It's free to download and use, so forget the budget issue. I'll use my 66u as long as John continues to update.

Thanks be to John for his fine work.
 

GkarB5Narn

New Around Here
I have been using John's Fork firmware for over a year now on a rtn-66u and have had no problems, but I did have a problem recently with the "beta" software. The "release" versions seem to be rock stable. It is based on Merlin 374 and has a very similar interface so you probably will not notice the difference. It has regular updates so it will be at least as secure as most new "out-of the box" routers. If you are running a 380 variant now, you will probably need to utilize the Asus recovery utility disk (Windows) or the CFE mini web server with Linux to load it. A post on the OpenWRT pages details the way to access the CFE mini web server ( https://openwrt.org/docs/techref/bootloader/cfe). The difference is that John's does not restrict the WiFi power as much as Asus and Merlin (FCC requirements), but just leave it at the defaults and it will be fine. It's free to download and use, so forget the budget issue. I'll use my 66u as long as John continues to update.

Thanks be to John for his fine work.
Thank you very much for this answer!
 

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