RT-AX89X Firmware development lag

ifisher

Occasional Visitor
I'm not sure anyone at Asus reads this but it's quite disappointing that a flagship router such as the RT-AX89X lags behind in new firmware deployment consistently.

It seems Asus focuses on other models releasing frequent firmware to improve security and stability as well as adding new features.

I think it's somewhat unfair to RT-AX89X owners especially when cheaper, and lower end models are prioritized.

I read some posts claiming it's because the RT-AX89X is a Qualcomm platform, which offer less frequent update and support to vendors. However, if you examine other vendors (Ruckus, Arista, H3C, for example) models using Qualcomm platform get frequent updates on-par with Broadcom models. Regardless, the AsusWRT platform security and functionality improvements don't necessarily require updated drivers from Qualcomm.

I hope someone at Asus takes notice and communicates this to the teams responsible for developing and releasing firmware for the RT-AX89X.
 

alex1236hk

Regular Contributor
AX89X latest FW Version 3.0.0.4.386.45130.

even popular router like AC86U are still staying at Version 3.0.0.4.386.45956 from Nov last year.
I seriously don't see the point of complaining....

AC66U on beta 9.0.0.4.382.52503 from Feb 2021 : Hello? Anybody home??
 
Last edited:

ifisher

Occasional Visitor
AX89X latest FW Version 3.0.0.4.386.45130.

even popular router like AC86U are still staying at Version 3.0.0.4.386.45956 from Nov last year.
I seriously don't see the point of complaining....

AC66U on beta 9.0.0.4.382.52503 from Feb 2021 : Hello? Anybody home??
You can't really compare WiFi 5 routers to WiFi 6 routers, and the RT-AC86U is quite a few builds ahead of the RT-AX89X. As for the RT-AC66U, that's an entry level router with limited resources (CPU, RAM, storage) so it might be more challenging to add features to it.

Regardless of the model, I think Asus really needs to step up and align AsusWRT across all supported models. Vulnerabilities detected in Asuswrt need to be quickly patched across all models. The same goes for stability / compatibility enhancements. The only thing that should create variations is driver/kernel updates (depends on hardware vendor like Broadcom/Qualcomm/Intel/etc.) and as stated, features that might be too resource-intensive to implement on older models.

With the RT-AX89X having one of the most powerful CPU in the market, as well as ample RAM and storage, there shouldn't be reason why it lags other models.
 

Calkulin

Regular Contributor
The RT-AX89X uses a Qualcomm chipset, so I wouldn't expect it to be on the same release timetable as the Broadcom units. Most of Asus routers are Broadcom based, so that's usually why you see consecutive releases for a bunch of them compared to a very select few Qualcomm based ones,
 

ifisher

Occasional Visitor
The RT-AX89X uses a Qualcomm chipset, so I wouldn't expect it to be on the same release timetable as the Broadcom units. Most of Asus routers are Broadcom based, so that's usually why you see consecutive releases for a bunch of them compared to a very select few Qualcomm based ones,
That's part of my point. I get how kernel / driver / SDK updates from Qualcomm can be on a different timetable than Broadcom's. However, since other vendors release timely updates of their Qualcomm-based equipment, there's no excuse for Asus to lag so much.

Additionally, there are so many other parts of AsusWRT that are independent on the platform, and nobody forced Asus to build the RT-AX89X on a Qualcomm chipset. They positioned that model as a high-end unit both in terms of processing power and capabilities (10G Fiber & Copper), performance testing still show it's one of the top 3 WiFi6 routers in terms of range and performance. Yet software-wise, it's lagging in support for new features and vulnerabilities fixes.

So Asus is basically making customers choose between hardware capabilities (interfaces, performance) and software updates (some of it has no dependency on the hardware). Imagine Microsoft not releasing security fixes for Windows running on AMD processors or lagging way behind Intel-based systems..
 

DarkKnight75

Senior Member
That's part of my point. I get how kernel / driver / SDK updates from Qualcomm can be on a different timetable than Broadcom's. However, since other vendors release timely updates of their Qualcomm-based equipment, there's no excuse for Asus to lag so much.

Additionally, there are so many other parts of AsusWRT that are independent on the platform, and nobody forced Asus to build the RT-AX89X on a Qualcomm chipset. They positioned that model as a high-end unit both in terms of processing power and capabilities (10G Fiber & Copper), performance testing still show it's one of the top 3 WiFi6 routers in terms of range and performance. Yet software-wise, it's lagging in support for new features and vulnerabilities fixes.

So Asus is basically making customers choose between hardware capabilities (interfaces, performance) and software updates (some of it has no dependency on the hardware). Imagine Microsoft not releasing security fixes for Windows running on AMD processors or lagging way behind Intel-based systems..
So sell your old router and get an ac86u or ax86u..problem solved.
 

ifisher

Occasional Visitor
So sell your old router and get an ac86u or ax86u..problem solved.
No. Problem not solved.

First, I would lose money having paid top $ for what is considered a top product with inferior service and it would be more time and hassles for me.
Second, anyone buying it would be having the same issue I have with the poor service experience.
Third, the RT-AX86U is a great unit but it doesn't have the 10GB interfaces, only has 4 LAN 1GbE Interfaces - so unless I got with the GT-AX11000 or AXE11000 I will be sacrificing hardware capabilities for the software update related advantages.

Asus simply needs to stop the firmware fragmentation and organize their firmware release schedule.. If Samsung managed to do it on their previously terrible update schedule consisting of so many models and sub-models, so can Asus with a much more limited number of supported devices.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Asus simply needs to stop the firmware fragmentation and organize their firmware release schedule.. If Samsung managed to do it on their previously terrible update schedule consisting of so many models and sub-models, so can Asus with a much more limited number of supported devices.
Samsung drops support within less than three years. You want Asus to also do that?
 

ifisher

Occasional Visitor
You are completely missing the point.

First, if Asus offered 3 years of consistent monthly updates (or sometimes twice a month), and released 3 major OS versions with significant functionality improvements - I'd be quite happy and I'm sure many other people.

I already replace my routers every 3-4 years as new technology is introduced.

But all of this is not my point. Asus sells an expensive, high-end product with top of the line hardware features but hurts the value claim by lagging in software updates.

I'm quite surprised by your attitudes - do you disagree that Asus needs to have a better software release cycle for all its supported products?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I don't think anyone disagrees with better. In today's tech/labor climate though, this is as good as you're likely to find anywhere else in the same industry.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I'm quite surprised by your attitudes - do you disagree that Asus needs to have a better software release cycle for all its supported products?

ASUS may even agree with you... so what? If you have a better option than ASUS today, go for it!

OE
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
I'm quite surprised by your attitudes - do you disagree that Asus needs to have a better software release cycle for all its supported products?
I simply have a better understanding of software development than you do, and what you are asking for is simply unrealistic. And you asking that out of the router manufacturer who has the most frequent and the longest software support of all of them. They already add major new features every 12-18 months to existing models, which none of the competitors do. AiProtection, AiMesh, DNS over TLS, AiCloud, OpenVPN, IPSEC, Wireguard - all features that were added in major updates after the product was already launched.

Two releases a month - you understand that QA alone probably takes more than two weeks, let alone the actual development?

Asus's pre-pandemic release cadence was generally to have one new firmware every two months for the current high end models. That was already about twice as frequent as all of their usual competitors, who might perhaps issue three updates per year. Things slowed down during the pandemic like for everyone else.
 

ifisher

Occasional Visitor
With all due respect, it's very condescending and typical developer attitude to think you know best, completely missing parts of the bigger picture.

Asus' adding features they port from OpenWRT/dd-wrt/tomato and other distributions is great, but lack of timely vulnerability patching is actually leaving customers worse off, especially when they patch vulnerabilities for some models leaving others wide open (sometimes for vulnerabilities that have been out there for years).

When I buy equipment, I take a look at the vendor's commitment to maintenance on top of other things. AsusWRT's feature set, and Asus constant improvement of it are a huge selling points for Asus products. Asus disappointing attitude towards one of their top of line products is a concern.

There are numerous ways to manage adding new features while not hurting the security, performance, and reliability release cycles and there are also numerous ways to optimize build and QA timelines.

The claim that the pandemic slowed down things is not supported by the actual data, which clearly shows Asus is lagging in firmware update cycles for the RT-AX89X (not to mention excluding it from most of the beta releases).

Here's the official firmware releases data:

RT-AX89X:
DateVersionDays
11/11/2019​
3.0.0.4.384.81324
26/12/2019​
3.0.0.4.384.81361
45​
18/02/2020​
3.0.0.4.384.81377
54​
04/05/2020​
3.0.0.4.384.81444
76​
09/07/2020​
3.0.0.4.384.82800
66​
03/11/2020​
3.0.0.4.386.22790
117​
04/03/2021​
3.0.0.4.386.23012
121​
26/08/2021​
3.0.0.4.386.45120
175​
18/09/2021​
3.0.0.4.386.45130
23​

Average Firmware Update Cycle: 84 days.. and considering the last update was 126 days ago it seems like this is getting worse.

GT-AX11000:

22/11/2018​
3.0.0.4.384.5252
29/03/2019​
3.0.0.4.384.5977
127​
02/05/2019​
3.0.0.4.384.5979
34​
21/06/2019​
3.0.0.4.384.6208
50​
23/09/2019​
3.0.0.4.384.6436
94​
22/01/2020​
3.0.0.4.384.7979
121​
19/03/2020​
3.0.0.4.384.7997
57​
25/03/2020​
3.0.0.4.384.8011
6​
07/05/2020​
3.0.0.4.384.9165
43​
06/08/2020​
3.0.0.4.384.9566
91​
18/01/2021​
3.0.0.4.386.41700
165​
21/05/2021​
3.0.0.4.386.43129
123​
08/07/2021​
3.0.0.4.386.44266
48​
01/09/2021​
3.0.0.4.386.45375
55​
06/10/2021​
3.0.0.4.386.45898
35​
10/11/2021​
3.0.0.4.386.45934
35​
11/01/2022​
3.0.0.4.386.46065
62​

Average Firmware Update Cycle: 72 days and quite good over the last 5 builds.


RT-AX86U:

30/12/2020​
3.0.0.4.386.41535
18/03/2021​
3.0.0.4.386.42095
78​
29/04/2021​
3.0.0.4.386.42840
42​
28/06/2021​
3.0.0.4.386.44130
60​
31/08/2021​
3.0.0.4.386.45375
64​
07/10/2021​
3.0.0.4.386.45898
37​
11/11/2021​
3.0.0.4.386.45934
35​
11/01/2022​
3.0.0.4.386.46061
61​

Average Firmware Update Cycle: 54 days and quite quick generally.

And yes, clearly the 386 branch took a long time to get to production, but once it did, the Broadcom models get much more frequent updates.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
So much misunderstanding, and no due respect.
 

Odkrys

Senior Member
I don't use Asus routers anymore, but a small complaint I didn't mention about asuswrt was that they released firmware too often and each model had different release numbers.

Now I use a Ruckus AP, but it also seems to have a fairly frequent update cycle. 4-5 times a year.

Personally, I don't think frequent updates of network equipment is a good thing, as firmware updates can break down complex networks that are already configured.

Asuswrt has already reached a state full of various features compared to other companies.

Leave the initially configured network alone for a few years unless significant vulnerabilities are discovered.
I think it's a good network.
 

Yota

Senior Member
I think the OP missed the point of why to buy a router.

On phones we use the OS every day, so there should be frequent updates there.

But on the router we use the network, so there's no reason to go after bloated new features when everything is working fine.





With all due respect, it's very condescending and typical developer attitude to think you know best, completely missing parts of the bigger picture.

Asus' adding features they port from OpenWRT/dd-wrt/tomato and other distributions is great, but lack of timely vulnerability patching is actually leaving customers worse off, especially when they patch vulnerabilities for some models leaving others wide open (sometimes for vulnerabilities that have been out there for years).

When I buy equipment, I take a look at the vendor's commitment to maintenance on top of other things. AsusWRT's feature set, and Asus constant improvement of it are a huge selling points for Asus products. Asus disappointing attitude towards one of their top of line products is a concern.

There are numerous ways to manage adding new features while not hurting the security, performance, and reliability release cycles and there are also numerous ways to optimize build and QA timelines.

The claim that the pandemic slowed down things is not supported by the actual data, which clearly shows Asus is lagging in firmware update cycles for the RT-AX89X (not to mention excluding it from most of the beta releases).

Here's the official firmware releases data:
Average Firmware Update Cycle: 54 days and quite quick generally.

And yes, clearly the 386 branch took a long time to get to production, but once it did, the Broadcom models get much more frequent updates.
Of course you have the right to express your needs, but if you want to get frequent feature updates, maybe you should consider buying RT-AX86U. and the RT-AX89X just lets it do what it's supposed to do, providing powerful wifi and 10 Gbps ethernet.
 

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