Performance improvements on ROG routers vs stock firmware

um hombre

Occasional Visitor
Hi guys, hi Merlin :)

Are there any performance benefits of using Merlin’a firmware vs Asus stock firmware on Asus ROG router?

I know of the feature set and improvements current firmware from Merlin offers:

Merlin features

I am wondering, though, if there is any tangible performance gains in network latency, OpenVPN performance or other functionality components etc etc.

I used to have ac88U router with Merlin’s firmware but this was long time ago.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Yes, there are tangible performance gains. The harder you push your network, the more features/options you use, the more apparent they are.

Which router are you talking about, btw?

With RMerlin firmware installed, the network is more responsive, more consistent, and capable of greater throughput at a higher total workload too, while still being 100% reliable (barring using the router as a NAS, of course). This is due to the optimizations RMerlin does on his fork of the stock firmware, including going over the code (he has access to) with a fine-toothed comb and making it work as it's supposed to.

Stock firmware is far from that (high) mark.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
I am wondering, though, if there is any tangible performance gains in network latency, OpenVPN performance or other functionality components etc etc.
Merlin's OpenVPN implementation is different than Asus' so you might see some improvement there. But for general WiFi or network "performance" there would be no difference.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
No network performance improvements observed here. I have the opposite experience - stock Asuswrt is simpler and takes more beating. Less chances for configuration errors in Asuswrt. It also works better in AiMesh configurations, especially with mixed generation or model routers.
 

Jbennett360

Regular Contributor
Trying to decided which route to go down myself. Stock or Merlin for the 86S.

Use the stock at the minute on the 86U
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Are there any performance benefits of using Merlin’a firmware vs Asus stock firmware on Asus ROG router?
There might be a few CPU optimizations that aren't there in stock (for example I have spent more time finetuning performance for OpenSSL and everything tied to it). This will mostly impact things like OpenVPN. Some setups may also benefit from being able to use Cake for their QoS. Routing and wireless performance should be identical however.
 

um hombre

Occasional Visitor
I have GT-AX6000 ROG router so it will take a while before there is a stable version of Merlin on it.

I have 500/50 internet connection so I don’t think I care about QOS.

I also need VPN Fusion or some kind of corresponding functionality in Merlin, my Smart TV is tunneled to different country via VPN while the rest of devices is not.

I have Adguard Home installed on my NAS via Docker (with tls and dnssec) and my router pointing at it. Don’t think this is something I would like to install on the router with Merlin, though. Even if I did, not sure if I would experience any benefit doing that vs NAS?

I am interested in performance, stability and safety of the firmware and I am happy with Asus firmware so far.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Trying to decided which route to go down myself. Stock or Merlin for the 86S.
When I first got my current router I ran it with stock firmware for about two weeks so that could get a good understanding of its performance, issues, etc. Then when I switched to Merlin's firmware (which was always my intention) I was in a position to compare the two without always thinking "I wonder if stock is better at doing X".
 

Jbennett360

Regular Contributor
When I first got my current router I ran it with stock firmware for about two weeks so that could get a good understanding of its performance, issues, etc. Then when I switched to Merlin's firmware (which was always my intention) I was in a position to compare the two without always thinking "I wonder if stock is better at doing X".
Did you stick with Merlin?
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Did you stick with Merlin?
Yes I did, but that's because I like "messing around" with scripts and the like.

If I weren't using any of Merlin's advanced features I would have stuck with stock firmware (at least for a while) because there was a problem with the WiFi driver in Merlin that wasn't present in stock. Fortunately I was able to work around the problem using a custom script, because it was 6 months before Merlin released a firmware that picked up the fix from stock.
 

Jbennett360

Regular Contributor
Yes I did, but that's because I like "messing around" with scripts and the like.

If I weren't using any of Merlin's advanced features I would have stuck with stock firmware (at least for a while) because there was a problem with the WiFi driver in Merlin that wasn't present in stock. Fortunately I was able to work around the problem using a custom script, because it was 6 months before Merlin released a firmware that picked up the fix from stock.
Hmm. I tend not to use any of the scripts/add-ons etc so I'll probably just stick to stock I think!
 

elorimer

Very Senior Member
Yes I did, but that's because I like "messing around" with scripts and the like.
Take the Adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes! ‘Tis but a banging of the door behind you, a blithesome step forward, and you are out of the old life and into the new! -- Sea Rat to Water Rat
 
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um hombre

Occasional Visitor
Yeah, I am not a script tinkerer myself and am perfectly happy having stuff like AdGuard on my NAS Docker, instead of router itself.

I will be happy to try Merlin firmware, though, just for the fact it might offer better stability and performance out of the box.
 

Gary_Dexter

Regular Contributor
Stock will also provide more up-to-date bug fixes and security patches, right?

As these will only come at a later date with Merlin's release?
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Stock will also provide more up-to-date bug fixes and security patches, right?

As these will only come at a later date with Merlin's release?
Not necessarily. There are certain parts of the firmware that only Asus can fix and therefore RMerlin has to wait for Asus to give him the relevant GPL. But for everything else Merlin's firmware is more up to date, either from the open source packages, or from fixes he's applied himself. Just look at the changelog to see all the updates and fixes he does for each release. Because Asus and Merlin release their firmware on different schedules there are times when one particular component will be ahead and another time when it will be behind. Generally speaking Merlin's firmware is more up to date with less bugs.
 

Gary_Dexter

Regular Contributor
Not necessarily. There are certain parts of the firmware that only Asus can fix and therefore RMerlin has to wait for Asus to give him the relevant GPL. But for everything else Merlin's firmware is more up to date, either from the open source packages, or from fixes he's applied himself. Just look at the changelog to see all the updates and fixes he does for each release. Because Asus and Merlin release their firmware on different schedules there are times when one particular component will be ahead and another time when it will be behind. Generally speaking Merlin's firmware is more up to date with less bugs.
So does 385.5_2 have the fixes in for the Cyclops Blink Malware that ASUS stock released recently in the last 2 weeks?
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
So does 385.5_2 have the fixes in for the Cyclops Blink Malware that ASUS stock released recently in the last 2 weeks?
I assume you mean 386.5_2. As has been repeatedly explained in the dedicated Cyclops thread none of the 386.x releases are vulnerable to Cyclops. The security updates Asus have been releasing recently are to do with hardening the existing security.
 
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BreakingDad

Very Senior Member
Merlin's OpenVPN implementation is different than Asus' so you might see some improvement there. But for general WiFi or network "performance" there would be no difference.
Do you see much performance increase from overclocking your router? Also does it make it run hot?
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Do you see much performance increase from overclocking your router? Also does it make it run hot?
I don't use that router anymore. It was running John's firmware so didn't have things like AiProtection. When I did, the overclocking only really effected VPN throughput as that model is limited by its lack of hardware encryption. IIRC VPN throughput scaled proportionally to clock speed.

I didn't run the router with the VPN client enabled all the time (if ever). As such the CPU load was normally near zero (because NAT acceleration was also enabled). Therefore the temperatures didn't change. I think I did stress test it at one time and I think at 100% CPU load the temperature was about 5 to 10 degrees C higher when overclocked.
 

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