Stock firmware or Merlin?

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decker

Occasional Visitor
I just got the RT-AC86U. The very first thing I did was flash to latest Merlin firmware 386.2_6. I didn't even know I was supposed to do a factory reset after flashing to different firmware but I'll do that later. I have several questions. First one is should I even use Merlin? I read some older threads that said some versions of the stock firmware were more stable and secure than Merlin. Is that usually the case? Which firmware gets updated more?

Another question is QOS. I never used it before (except for traditional which is trash) and I don't know which one to pick, Adaptive, Flex, or Cake. I noticed Cake was already included in the QOS settings. Is this because of Merlin or is it part of the stock firmware also? My d/l is 200Mbps and u/l is around 15-20Mbps. I'm inclined to go with Adaptive because I like the idea of prioritizing categories but I read that Adaptive is merely ok and that Flex is a much more polished version of Adaptive. So is the choice really between Flex and Cake? If your bandwidth was completely saturated which one would make it least noticeable?



I see many threads where people are talking about fq_codel and sfq options in the QOS settings but I don't see them in mine.
asus.jpg


I'm concerned about privacy issues with AIProtection like a lot of people. If I use a VPN (not through the router) will that still send data to Trend Micro?


Sorry for all the questions. There's just so many options in this router.
 

Tech9

Very Senior Member
All your questions have been answered already. You never bothered to read Asuswrt-Merlin changelog. Why do you need Asuswrt-Merlin? Start with Asuswrt and learn what available options do. If you want something more - learn what Asuswrt-Merlin options can give you on top of Asuswrt.
 
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decker

Occasional Visitor
All your questions have been answered already. You never bothered to read Asuswrt-Merlin changelog. Why do you need Asuswrt-Merlin? Start with Asuswrt and learn what available options do. If you want something more - learn what Asuswrt-Merlin options can give you on top of Asuswrt.

No I didn't read the changelog. I didn't know there was a changelog. It was my first time installing Merlin so I probably wouldn't have thought about reading about changes from previous versions. I did read the features where it says things like:

System:
Various bugfixes
Performance optimizations to some CPU-bound components like OpenVPN
Some components were updated to their latest versions, for improved stability and security


So I thought that Merlin was basically a more stable version of Asuswrt with extra features and there would be no downside to using it. Why do I need Merlin? Doesn't Flex require Merlin? And everyone says Flex is far better than Adaptive QOS.
 

Tech9

Very Senior Member
Go for it then. Before you jump to custom scripts, test what's already available in Asuswrt-Merlin. If you don't share data with TrendMicro (AiProtection), you also can't use Adaptive QoS (including FlexQoS), Apps Analysis, Parental Controls, Traffic Analyzer and Web History. They all require TrendMicro engine. Test Cake QoS first and see how it goes. It works well for most people as it is. Keep an eye on router's temperature, this model may overheat in some conditions. Asuswrt-Merlin is based on Asuswrt and major fixes come from Asus or Broadcom. I wouldn't worry about updates - both Asuswrt and Asuswrt-Merlin receive regular updates. When comparing firmwares, read below what RMerlin says (about Wi-Fi, but applies for other things too):

 
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decker

Occasional Visitor
Yea I know about the required data collection from Trend Micro. Something else I wanted to ask, how risky is it to update the firmware wirelessly? I know you're not supposed to but is it as dangerous as some people make it out to be? My pc isn't connected through ethernet so it's a pain if I have to constantly disconnect all the cables and move the router to my pc to update it. If it was relatively safe to do it through wifi I would much prefer that way.

Also do I need to factory reset the router everytime I update the firmware or is that being overly cautious?
 

Treadler

Very Senior Member
Yea I know about the required data collection from Trend Micro. Something else I wanted to ask, how risky is it to update the firmware wirelessly? I know you're not supposed to but is it as dangerous as some people make it out to be? My pc isn't connected through ethernet so it's a pain if I have to constantly disconnect all the cables and move the router to my pc to update it. If it was relatively safe to do it through wifi I would much prefer that way.

Also do I need to factory reset the router everytime I update the firmware or is that being overly cautious?

I mostly update wirelessly, seems to work fine.:)

Factory reset if the release notes recommend it, or you have a router problem that seems unfixable any other way.
 

Tech9

Very Senior Member
Also do I need to factory reset the router everytime I update the firmware or is that being overly cautious?

Unmount and detach USB devices and reboot the router before updating. If your free memory is low, the update will fail. It mostly happens on routers with 256MB RAM, but I've seen it happening on AC86U too. Don't use the router as NAS (attached HDD storage), it's not working reliably.
 

BreakingDad

Very Senior Member
I noticed Cake was already included in the QOS settings. Is this because of Merlin or is it part of the stock firmware also?
Cake was recently added to the gui on Merlin, it was previously available through AMTM.

I have tried both Cake and Flex, Cake is good they say only up to about 250 dl, which would suit you. That said I personally prefer adaptive (with flex), you can install this via ssh and amtm. This would add Flex to the GUi. Cake is more switch on and forget, flex is a bit more configurable

fq_codel and sfq options in the QOS settings appear when you install Flex as part of its settings. The general view is fq_codel is the one to go for.

Wouldn't worry about trend collecting data, they have a pretty standard privacy policy, and don't ever think you have privacy using the internet anyway. They are generally trusted and are only interested in preventing Malware, they would have no interest in some bloke in some house somewhere.

If I use a VPN (not through the router) will that still send data to Trend Micro?
No it won't your midnight viewing is safe dw :)
 

decker

Occasional Visitor
I mostly update wirelessly, seems to work fine.:)

Factory reset if the release notes recommend it, or you have a router problem that seems unfixable any other way.


Should I cut off internet access to everyone else in the house before updating it wirelessly just to be safe? If so, what's the simplest way to do it? Limiting DHCP pool to a single IP and reserving that for myself?
 

TheLyppardMan

Very Senior Member
Should I cut off internet access to everyone else in the house before updating it wirelessly just to be safe? If so, what's the simplest way to do it? Limiting DHCP pool to a single IP and reserving that for myself?
Admittedly I am using an RT-AX88U, rather than an RT-AC86U, so it has more memory and CPU power, but I haven't had any problems updating the firmware via Wi-Fi and I haven't found the need to cut off Internet access to anyone. I usually just ask everyone if it's OK to interrupt their access to the Internet and my NAS before proceeding, just to make sure no-one would lose any important work when the system goes down for a few minutes. I also dismount my attached flash drives first, as I had some problems with high CPU usage previously if I didn't do that, but I think that may have been because I was running quite a few amtm scripts at the time.
 

decker

Occasional Visitor
Admittedly I am using an RT-AX88U, rather than an RT-AC86U, so it has more memory and CPU power, but I haven't had any problems updating the firmware via Wi-Fi and I haven't found the need to cut off Internet access to anyone. I usually just ask everyone if it's OK to interrupt their access to the Internet and my NAS before proceeding, just to make sure no-one would lose any important work when the system goes down for a few minutes. I also dismount my attached flash drives first, as I had some problems with high CPU usage previously if I didn't do that, but I think that may have been because I was running quite a few amtm scripts at the time.

Great that will make things much easier for me. Thank you.
 

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