Run Merlin or Factory on AiMesh nodes?

Yarzy

Occasional Visitor
Hi, I am sorry if this has been asked before but I have seen a few different posts about how it is best practice to run stock/factory Asus firmware on the AiMesh nodes vs Merlin. Can someone explain why that is? Is there any downfall in running Merlin on both? I have a 3 node setup, two AX86U's running Merlin and a RP-AC1900 running stock firmware (all ethernet). Is this not ideal? Please let me know the best firmware config, I just assumed running Merlin on both would be the best but perhaps not. Thanks!
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I don't follow that method at all.

RMerlin is used on all routers, main, and nodes. To me, nothing else makes sense (I want the routers to be on the same level of firmware, always).
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Hi, I am sorry if this has been asked before but I have seen a few different posts about how it is best practice to run stock/factory Asus firmware on the AiMesh nodes vs Merlin. Can someone explain why that is? Is there any downfall in running Merlin on both? I have a 3 node setup, two AX86U's running Merlin and a RP-AC1900 running stock firmware (all ethernet). Is this not ideal? Please let me know the best firmware config, I just assumed running Merlin on both would be the best but perhaps not. Thanks!
Boils down to what works best for your network/hardware. Some have better AiMesh performance/connectivity with Asus firmware on the nodes (or both).
 

capncybo

Senior Member
@Yarzy I think the best advice "formerly" was to have everything on RMerlin firmware.
Except somewhat recently... it seems the non-AX routers will lag somewhat behind in terms of release-dates.
In theory... Nodes are basically Centrally managed Access-Points.
And Access-Points(typically) are not using (any/many) of the advanced RMerlin router features (Ex. Entware-via-USB-drive)
So if they are Plain-Vanilla type config devices...
Latest Stock AC-firmware will be more secure & very likely more compatible with RMerlin's latest AX-Firmware releases.
 
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Spud

Occasional Visitor
Hi, I am sorry if this has been asked before but I have seen a few different posts about how it is best practice to run stock/factory Asus firmware on the AiMesh nodes vs Merlin. Can someone explain why that is? Is there any downfall in running Merlin on both? I have a 3 node setup, two AX86U's running Merlin and a RP-AC1900 running stock firmware (all ethernet). Is this not ideal? Please let me know the best firmware config, I just assumed running Merlin on both would be the best but perhaps not. Thanks!
I run Merlin on the main router and stock firmware on my two nodes (also routers) - always the latest versions. It’s been rock solid for ages.

Eventually the whole system will need a reset, e.g. after a couple of Merlin updates or some lost AiMesh connections.

An advantage of keeping stock firmware on the nodes is you’ll be able to set those up again as nodes straight from the initial menu after a factory reset.

This initial node option is missing from Merlin (a strange niggle), so you have to set it up as a router, AP or media bridge first, which is a little time-consuming.
 

Yarzy

Occasional Visitor
@Yarzy I think the best advice "formerly" was to have everything on RMerlin firmware.
Except somewhat recently... it seems the non-AX routers will lag somewhat behind in terms of release-dates.
In theory... Nodes are basically Centrally managed Access-Points.
And Access-Points(typically) are not using (any/many) of the advanced RMerlin router features (Ex. Entware-via-USB-drive)
So if they are Plain-Vanilla type config devices...
Latest Stock AC-firmware will be more secure & very likely more compatible with RMerlin's latest AX-Firmware releases.
So if I am running AX86U's, should I just keep Merlin on both or do a 1:1 Merlin/stock? If I am running AX's, will I see any difference? Thanks!
 

capncybo

Senior Member

Keenan

Senior Member
A related question, if I might ask it here. I've read that running an AC AiMesh node with an AX main router is not recommended, but I don't recall the reasoning. Also, if it isn't recommended should I set the node up as a simple AP instead?

Running a GT-AX6000 with an RT-AC86U as an AiMesh node.

Thanks
 

Yarzy

Occasional Visitor
The problem is mentioned here (Click on the spoiler for image): https://www.snbforums.com/threads/a...all-supported-wifi-6-models.82084/post-806291
So (for the time being) I would recommend...
Merlin=Main, but Stock=Node
Yes, I am seeing that as well, but as long as it is just cosmetic, I am good with it. I am talking about performance/stability only. I have determined it is using a hardwired connection even though it says it is not, but if I am going to get better performance/stability from running stock firmware, I am all for it. It not, I will leave it be. Thoughts?
 

capncybo

Senior Member
@Yarzy I cannot speak about running the latest firmware on multiple AX86U's (as I only have one) but it does sound like a minor cosmetic issue so far.
@Keenan Logically the more differences in hardware between mesh components the more opportunity for incompatibilities.
However I had read within these forums (quite a while ago)...
Try not to combine AiMesh devices with very different antenna numbers (Not sure if it's 100% true) but I suppose it could make some sense.
On my family's Home network...
-I have an RT-AX86U primary & (1 or 2) RT-AC68U Nodes... Note: All router types are still the Three External style.
I have been contemplating upgrading at least one node to an AX but...
In real-world performance terms:
-It's typically the slowest Client & NOT the router which slows down your network +
Our current IP package is an asymmetrical 300/10Mbps (Which can pull 330/15Mbps maximums)
And when I look at most of Clients that are like 2x2MIMO... in reality an actual throughput of like 455 Mbps (±45 Mbps) when like 25 feet away is expected.
It certainly doesn't make me keen to throw down lots more money for better router tech.
Besides with WireGuard & other advanced features disabling HW acceleration the sweetspot seems to keep hovering around 300-350.
Hence I Don't see the point in paying for more speed that I'll never really use
 

Morris

Very Senior Member
A related question, if I might ask it here. I've read that running an AC AiMesh node with an AX main router is not recommended, but I don't recall the reasoning. Also, if it isn't recommended should I set the node up as a simple AP instead?

Running a GT-AX6000 with an RT-AC86U as an AiMesh node.

Thanks
The router sends it's WiFi settings to the nodes. The AX and AC routers have some different settings so some control of the AC node is lost. Having used this configuration it dose work
 

Morris

Very Senior Member
I run Merlin on my Router RT-AX86U and stock on my nodes, one RT-AX86u and one XD6. Works great. Nodes simple to upgrade as you do it in the GUI and the downloads are taken care of for you. You only need to download the firmware for the router and then load on the router.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I run Merlin on the main router and stock firmware on my two nodes (also routers) - always the latest versions. It’s been rock solid for ages.

Eventually the whole system will need a reset, e.g. after a couple of Merlin updates or some lost AiMesh connections.

An advantage of keeping stock firmware on the nodes is you’ll be able to set those up again as nodes straight from the initial menu after a factory reset.

This initial node option is missing from Merlin (a strange niggle), so you have to set it up as a router, AP or media bridge first, which is a little time-consuming.

You're setting up your AiMesh nodes wrong.

All you need to do is reset to factory defaults, point the main router to the node, and it will be added. Do not touch the node via it's GUI at all.
 

Keenan

Senior Member
You're setting up your AiMesh nodes wrong.

All you need to do is reset to factory defaults, point the main router to the node, and it will be added. Do not touch the node via it's GUI at all.
That's how I set up my current node; the only change I've made since first setting up the node and the main router was to switch over to Merlin on the GT-AX6000; the node was left as is.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
That is not what you said (and what I quoted you saying).
 

GHog

Regular Contributor
just did a dirty update to the 388.1 Absolutely zero issues and all functions from what I have tested work correctly. I have a RT-AC68U, original release, in mesh mode as a node and it continued to work perfectly with a wireless connection. The node is running 386.7_2 firmware. Had time today so I ran new cat cable between the AX88u and the AC68u to finally get it setup in backhaul mode. Plugged in cable and selected backhaul and the connection switched without a bump. I let everything run for 4 hours and then powered both node and master down. Let them sit for 5 minutes and then powered node up first and after it was booted, then the master. Everything connected back up and no issues.

I have been running this way since I switched to Merlin firmware. My master and node always run Merlin with no issues. Up to this last weekend, my mesh system was wirelessly connected and performed without any issues for at least 2 years. Now I changed to the wired backhaul connection and still everything works great.
 

Spud

Occasional Visitor
You're setting up your AiMesh nodes wrong.

All you need to do is reset to factory defaults, point the main router to the node, and it will be added. Do not touch the node via it's GUI at all.
Nice tip, thanks. Are you sure it works when the nodes are also routers?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture

kernol

Very Senior Member
@L&LD - Your signature still shows that you running 2 x RT-AX86U's in AiMesh mode ... however the signature does not show what firmware you are running. You do say
RMerlin is used on all routers, main, and nodes. To me, nothing else makes sense (I want the routers to be on the same level of firmware, always).
Please advise whether you are successfully running RMerlin 388.1 on both RT-AX86U's - without the webui "not connected" error message? I have tried everything to get my 2 x RT-AX86U's to behave under 388.1 without success - so am forced to run the Node under Asus stock as per my signature.
 

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