Thursday, October 25, 2018

Update firmware of Asus wireless router to the enhanced Asuswrt-Merlin version

Asuswrt-Merlin is a 3rd party enhanced version of Asuswrt, which is the official firmware in used by all recent Asus wireless routers. Asuswrt was originally forked out from the Tomato-RT/Tomato-USB firmware, which in turn developed base on the codes of Linux-based HyperWRT, a 3rd party enhanced firmware for Linksys routers.

Asuswrt-Merlin is mainly developed and maintained by Eric Sauvageau (a.k.a. RMerlin) based on the Asuswrt firmware developed and maintained by Asus technical team.

Asuswrt consists of open sourced GPL codes as well as closed source proprietary components. Asus releases the source codes of Asuswrt firmware in their website, with the closed source portion included as compiled binary codes. This GPL release includes everything needed to completely recompile a working firmware, with the exact same features as found in their firmware releases, making it possible to enhance it into Asuswrt-Merlin firmware.

The general goal of Asuswrt-Merlin project is to provide an alternative to the original firmware, and remain in sync with Asus's own development of each firmware release, so that new features and bugfixes development in original Asuswrt firmware can be trickled down into the subsequent Asuswrt-Merlin firmware.

Asuswrt-Merlin is intended to improve but not to replace the original Asuswrt firmware functionality. Its priorities are: Stability > Performance > Additional Features.

The website of Asuswrt-Merlin is, and you can click here to view the list of its enhancements made on top of the original Asuswrt firmware.

There is an Asuswrt-Merlin forum in the SNBForums for community discussion and support of this firmware, and RMerlin himself is an active participant and moderator there.

To date, Asuswrt-Merlin is made available and supported for the following Asus wireless routers:

  • RT-AC66U_B1
  • RT-AC68U, RT-AC68P, RT-AC68UF, RT-AC1900, RT-AC1900P
  • RT-AC86U, RT-AC2900
  • RT-AC87U
  • RT-AC88U
  • RT-AC3100
  • RT-AC3200
  • RT-AC5300
You can check for new release of Asuswrt-Merlin firmware at the following places:
  • If your router is already installed with Asuswrt-Merlin firmware, you can check for new firmware version by clicking the Check button in Administration > Firmware Upgrade > Firmware Version in the firmware's web GUI.
  • By manually searching for new topic in Asuswrt-Merlin forum with title "[Release] Asus-Merlin 384.x is now available".

You can click here to go to the download webpage of Asuswrt-Merlin firmware in its website, or click here to go to its main download site at SourceForge.

At the SourceForge download site, select your Asus router model correctly, then select Release, and download the latest version of firmware accordingly. The firmware is packaged in a ZIP file.

After the download, you need to unzip the file. Before uploading the firmware file to your Asus router, it is advisable for you to check for its SHA256 signature and match it with the checksum information inside the sha256sum.sha256 file. This is to make sure you won't upload a corrupted file to your router and potentially brick the router.

The easiest way to perform a file checksum in Windows is by using 7-Zip. Once you have installed 7-Zip in your Windows computer, you can right click on the file, select "CRC SHA" and then select "SHA-256" to get the SHA256 signature of the file.

If you want to install Asuswrt-Merlin firmware into a new router, make sure you have gone through the Quick Internet Setup wizard to get the initial configuration of the original firmware. You don't need to do this if you are installing to router already in used, be it currently running on original Asuswrt firmware or Asuswrt-Merlin firmware.

It is advisable for you to manually record down your major settings by using printscreen, and also make a backup of your existing settings by going to Administration > Restore/Save/Upload Settings. Save both your Router Settings and JFFS Partition (the later might not be applicable to stock firmware) to your local computer.

Then, you can proceed to go to Firmware Upgrade section, click on Choose File, select the Asuswrt-Merlin firmware file which you have downloaded, and Upload it to your router. The firmware updating process will begin, and your router will be rebooted.

Normally, your router will be up-and-running with no lost of previous settings after the firmware update. If you find it not working properly, you can try to Initialize your router to Factory Default, take out your printed screens and redo all your settings from scratch. If you still facing any problem, you can go to SNBForums and seek for help there.


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