Router Charts

Click for Router Charts

Router Ranker

Click for Router Ranker

NAS Charts

Click for NAS Charts

NAS Ranker

Click for NAS Ranker

More Tools

Click for More Tools

Wireless Reviews

Tweaks - more

The wireless radio temperature tracking page is kind of interesting. Since increasing transmit power makes the radio run hotter, which will decrease its lifespan, this graph attempts to let you make an informed decision. I didn't mess with transmit power at all to test this. As I mentioned in the past, I've never had good luck with boosting transmit power on other routers and don't expect that to be any different in this case.

Wireless radio temperature history for transmit power tuning
Wireless radio temperature history for transmit power tuning

I did run an unofficial wireless test on the default transmit setting with LAN Speed Test just to see how it fared against my NETGEAR WNDR4500. I only tested 5 GHz, but I saw about a 10-20% better throughput, something confirmed in the router charts.

Merlin firmware also adds an OpenVPN client and server to the firmware to add more secure VPN options (OpenVPN uses SSH) than the stock PPTP-based VPN server.

OpenVPN client and server options
OpenVPN client and server options

SSH is also added as a login option for secure command-line management of the router.

JFFS partition and SSH options
JFFS partition and SSH options

The screenshot above also shows a persistent JFFS (Journaling Flash File System) partition option to support configurable scripts.

The last notable feature addition is the option to use short names for shared folders vs. disk name-folder name convention used in ASUS' stock firmware

Closing Thoughts

While open source based firmware like DD-WRT and Tomato are valuable in their own right, ASUSWRT-Merlin adds a lot of value to the ASUS' stock firmware. Eric's main focus on bug-fixing provides improved stability. And his selective approach to feature addition doesn't put that improved stability at risk by possibly introducing new bugs along with features.

The dirty little secret of alternative firmware is that the open source drivers it must use aren't always the best. This is particularly true of wireless drivers, where chip manufacturers work closely with their customers to squash bugs and tweak performance. By using ASUS' own code as the ASUSWRT-Merlin base, Eric is able to provide value to both users and to ASUS, which is a win-win.

While other alternative distros like DD-WRT and Tomato add a wealth of features, they usually introduce problems of their own along with potentially lower performance. Eric Sauvageau's ASUSWRT-Merlin firmware provides improved reliability and a few carefully-chosen new features, while not putting performance at risk. It's a minimalist, first-do-no-harm approach that is very refreshing.

More Wireless

TRENDnet logo

How Powerline Can Solve Your Wi-Fi Woes - There's a better way to get WiFi Everywhere™.

Wi-Fi System Tools
Check out the new Wi-Fi System Charts, Ranker and Finder!

Featured Sponsors


Support Us!

If you like what we do and want to thank us, just buy something on Amazon. We'll get a small commission on anything you buy. Thanks!

Over In The Forums

Hi There,I'm running 382.1 on an ASUS 85u, and all my clients show up as MAC address and not computer name.Its only in the web console tho, when I use...
I just configured a new AC86U for OpenVPN connections. I am able to connect successfully. However I experienced random disconnect, from some seconds t...
Details on the blog:https://www.netgate.com/blog/pfsense-2-4-2-release-now-available.htmlMy web gui slowed to a crawl with 2.4 release. This release s...
My ISP speed, DL=370Mb, UL=22Mb.Web speed testing site = speed.netAll LAN cables are CAT5E or CAT648 port LAN switch = HP J9660AHP LAN switch connecte...
Hi all been a long time since I rapped at you.Want to stream steam games via vpn? My N66U's PPTP works like a charm (windows rdp will block the consol...

Don't Miss These

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Get Backblaze Now!