I’ve installed asuswrt-rmlerin and it’s cool 🙂
I got SSHD on my router, which was what I really needed. And I got to keep all the features of the stock firmware. Pretty great. And it has package support. Not that I am looking to install anything else at the moment.
Found out there is a thing called Entware which is supposed to be the evolution of Optware.
I am not big on getting the latest routing hardware as I know I wouldn’t benefit much as far as throughput is concerned but I’ve had an old Asus WL-500gP for a ridiculous amount of time(I think at least 7 years) which could only do 802.11g back from back when 802.11 g meant something. I’ve run OpenWRT on it since forever because the basic Asus firmware was a bit lame at the time and I love experimenting with low power devices (it’s probably why I have 2 Raspberry PIs). The big draw of OpenWRT was the ability to install packages and do crazy stuff like a Radius server, OpenVPN on the little MIPS 266MHz box.
The breaking point was that the wireless signal was somewhat low in the house so I finally decided to upgrade. I didn’t go for the latest AC draft router but instead I went for last year’s star, the Asus Dark Knight (I really like this name).
An initial speed assessment would indicate that the speed has doubled in all situations from my old WL-500gP. Right next to the router I would get around 60-70Mbps on the 5GHz band and even on the 2.4GHz band. Good.
In the end I disabled the 5GHz radio because my iPad was too dumb to hop from one to another automatically.
The real test was how would the signal hold up through 3 solid armored concrete walls. The speed dropped to 20+ Mbps in this situation which is still cool for watching a twitch.tv stream in bed in high def. I used to get around 6Mbps on my old router even though I had an enhanced antenna, not using the default one.
OK, so better throughput, that’s what I wanted!
But, then I realized I miss my OpenWRT flexibility where I could mess up my router no matter how I wanted and then just ref-lash it.
At core, this router is very similar to my old one, it has a similar bootloader, the button combination for entering recovery mode is the same and so on so forth. However, OpenWRT does not properly support it and I am too protective of it at the moment, I don’t want to brick right away this rather expensive piece of hardware.
So, OK, let’s keep the default firmware which is kinda nice(and open source too! – a guy put it on github here: https://github.com/pjotrligthart/asuswrt-RT-N66U
But… I need SSH on my router! And packages!
Alas, there is a solution called Assuwrt-rmerlin which is a fork of the official firmware that adds new features and fixes bugs. Very nice Mr. RMerlin: https://github.com/RMerl/asuswrt-merlin
So this looks like the direction I will be going into ASAP. Custom firmware forked from the original one. Excelent, a lot less risky than flashing a DD-WRT and with only a couple of extra features I really need. And the same WiFi performance, most importantly!
Long story short, good comes from open sourcing your firmware. Unlike D-Link that just got raped for having a hidden backdoor in their router firmware. Was it for the NSA?
Thank you mister Joel Backdoor!
Keep on routing packages and forking code on github ;).