Upgrade from old firmware

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donut

New Around Here
Hello, my apologies if this has been answered, but my searches came up short. Does Merlin firmware always incorporate all previous firmware changes?

I found an AC68U (HW ver A1 with 800MHz CPU) at a garage sale and thought it would be nice to have a spare or maybe tinker with AiMesh. I reset it using the WPS button and found it on firmware 3.0.0.4.380.7266. I upgraded it to the latest Merlin 386.3, and the upgrade completed in a few minutes.

This actually confused me and caused me to ask the question above, because my main router, also an AC68U (with 1400MHz CPU), took almost an hour to upgrade to Merlin 386.2.6. (I was a few versions behind, and I think there was a database rewrite, or something like that). The subsequent upgrade to 386.3 did go more quickly. My configuration is pretty minimal with basic functions and Samba for a USB HDD being the most “complex”.

So I was expecting the garage sale router to take at least an hour to make the huge jump in versions, since it would have to go through all the changes in between, including the 386.2.6 database rewrite, and had a slower CPU. Are there any intermediate versions it should go through before getting the latest Merlin? If not, what am I missing? Why would the faster router with minimal configuration take so long, and the slower one go so quickly to make the larger jump?
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Does Merlin firmware always incorporate all previous firmware changes?

Firmware is complete. Install it, reset it to its factory defaults, and configure it from scratch to enjoy the latest features and functions and defects.

OE
 

donut

New Around Here
Firmware is complete. Install it, reset it to its factory defaults, and configure it from scratch to enjoy the latest features and functions and defects.

OE
"...and defects" LOL. Thanks for the reply. That was my original understanding. Any insight as to the counterintuitive difference in upgrade times between the 2 routers?

Now that I think about it, I think my original router may have started connecting devices sooner than later following the 386.2.6 upgrade, with just the GUI taking forever. But since I follow the same steps you outlined, and had to wait to perform the reset until the GUI came back up, I remembered it as one big lump of time.

Just to see what would happen, I took the garage sale router from 386.3 down to 386.2.6 and back to 386.3 with a reset at each step, and each firmware change completed within minutes, so nothing gleaned there. I should note that it was/is not connected to the network. Could that make a difference?
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Any insight as to the counterintuitive difference in upgrade times between the 2 routers?

This database maintenance on just reset router is not necessary or happening. I've never seen waiting time on any of my experimental Asus routers. My routers were never used long enough to build this database, or whatever it is there. I switched between 384 and 386 back and forth multiple times.
 

donut

New Around Here
This database maintenance on just reset router is not necessary or happening. I've never seen waiting time on any of my experimental Asus routers. My routers were never used long enough to build this database, or whatever it is there. I switched between 384 and 386 back and forth multiple times.
Thanks, but I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. I didn't run the database maintenance, per se. When the 386.2.6 upgrade (on main router) took an unusually long time, I searched for a reason and found that as the explanation for the GUI delay.

As stated, my configuration is pretty minimal, upgrades are always followed by reset and manual configuration, and the reboot scheduler is set to run weekly, so I don't understand how different my database could be from one that hadn't been "used long enough" to have had such a dramatic effect.
 
Last edited:

Ronald Schwerer

Very Senior Member
On a garage sale router (or any used routers), be sure you format the jffs partition (in Admin/system settings) and reboot. That will clear out any old databases and ensure there's no hidden trojans. A factory or WPS reset doesn't clear jffs (unless that's changed recently).
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I didn't run the database maintenance, per se.

It runs automatically, if needed.

I don't understand how different my database could be from one that hadn't been "used long enough" to have had such a dramatic effect.

The longer the router was used on 384 without reset, the longer the wait when upgrading to 386 first time. Some folks say they had to leave the router overnight to do it's thing. If you start with fresh reset 384 firmware and upgrade to 386, there is no waiting time. I don't use Asus routers on my network, but I have some different models in my collection for testing purposes. I never had to wait after 386 update.
 

donut

New Around Here
On a garage sale router (or any used routers), be sure you format the jffs partition (in Admin/system settings) and reboot. That will clear out any old databases and ensure there's no hidden trojans. A factory or WPS reset doesn't clear jffs (unless that's changed recently).
Thank you, that's great info. Anything else I should look at to get it completely clean?

BTW, I normally perform a reset by going to [Administration - Restore/Save/Upload Setting], checking the "Initialize all the settings..." box next to the Restore button, and then clicking Restore. Is there any difference between this and using the physical WPS button method?
 

donut

New Around Here
It runs automatically, if needed.



The longer the router was used on 384 without reset, the longer the wait when upgrading to 386 first time. Some folks say they had to leave the router overnight to do it's thing. If you start with fresh reset 384 firmware and upgrade to 386, there is no waiting time. I don't use Asus routers on my network, but I have some different models in my collection for testing purposes. I never had to wait after 386 update.
Thank you for the clarification. I understand more clearly now.

I automatically think of database in terms of quantity of data. It's very interesting that usage time is such a factor.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
While the GUI method should work (identical) to the WPS Button method, sometimes it doesn't.

That is why the hardware method is preferred (the installed firmware may have become corrupt).
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
I automatically think of database in terms of quantity of data. It's very interesting that usage time is such a factor.
It is directly related to the quantity of data. Time is a factor because the longer the router has been in operation the more data it has accumulated.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
It's very interesting that usage time is such a factor.

I don't know what data this database contains. What I know is folks actually using the routers in their networks have to wait longer. I reset, upgrade/downgrade, test something, repeat. My routers rarely have more than 3 days uptime. Fresh routers update from 384 to 386 instantly.
 

donut

New Around Here
While the GUI method should work (identical) to the WPS Button method, sometimes it doesn't.

That is why the hardware method is preferred (the installed firmware may have become corrupt).
Thanks! Very helpful to know.
 

donut

New Around Here
It is directly related to the quantity of data. Time is a factor because the longer the router has been in operation the more data it has accumulated.
Thanks for the insight! I guess it must be a continually appended log or something along those lines.

It also lines up with this observation...
I don't know what data this database contains. What I know is folks actually using the routers in their networks have to wait longer. I reset, upgrade/downgrade, test something, repeat. My routers rarely have more than 3 days uptime. Fresh routers update from 384 to 386 instantly.
 

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