We are moving towards Wi-Fi 6 era and today, while browsing on a well-known forum for networking enthusiasts, I’ve come across with a thread that currently in its active status for the discussion in between alpha-testers out there to test the upcoming Build 384.16 for the supported models. So what is the big deal anyway?
Well, there is. According to the link given in alpha testing for the given model, it seems RT-AX56U and RT-AX58U are listed as well. This mark, the AX56U and AX58U to be supported by Asus-Merlin in their upcoming firmware build. [Refer to this guide on how to flash to Asus-merlin firmware]
ASUS’s networking gear were considered the best consumer-based networking gear currently. This is due to their flexibility, providing long term support for their networking geared, hardware specifications and after-sales support (it may differ in certain countries) and features, which surprisingly good for home consumers.
Thanks to a dedicated developer that committed to providing a better flexibility using the firmware by fixing identified bugs thanks to a few dedicated contributors out there and enhancing its features while maintaining the exact performance as the stock firmware.
What I like about Asus-Merlin firmware over ASUSWRT are, it provides a better flexibility for the power users to tweak their routers to perform at its peak. As an example, I am currently using an ageing AC68U, with the stock firmware, it is not possible to maximize its performance as most manufacturers won’t give excellent features such as ad-blocking or an advance firewall, speaking about marketing and the cost of implementing such feature and how many users will actually aware of such feature exist in their routers, right? While retaining the same performance of the stock firmware, Asus-Merlin allows a few certified scripts to be installed and to be used. This feature was meant to be for power users initially, however almost anyone can use it, with the right way of setting it up. With Asus-Merlin, I don’t really need to buy a Raspberry Pi to dedicate it to block ads at router level. Although its performance not up to Raspberry Pi standards, it does the job as it should be. Also, an enhanced firewall known as Skynet that provides a better and powerful firewall function compared to the built-in stock firewall. The firewall further, analyses and filters out most of the identified bad domains and offers flexibility to tweak the firewall rules by the users.
Since most manufacturers say good-bye to their old consumer-based products in the market, they have to give away to a newer product to shine, by default (speaking about marketing strategies here). The same principle is being applied here as Wi-Fi 5 routers are slowly fading away from the market as the Wi-Fi 6 hits the market. With various choices of Wi-Fi 6 routers in the market, it is hard to pick the right one to be used as a gateway to the internet. I believe, it is safer to assume that, somehow, we have to abandon the old technologies to migrate to a newer one. With this, upcoming official support by Asus-Merlin for both AX56U and AX58U, this will definitely welcomed by most users out there who actually planning to migrate from Wi-Fi 5 networking gear to a newer and improved Wi-Fi 6 networking gear.
To conclude this article, the bugs identified for both routers cannot be solved in a single Merlin build, as it requires time to fully reduce the amount of bugs present and providing a better feature that’s worth for your investments.