It’s been a couple of weeks since I bought RT-N16 and during this time I’ve accumulated some experience. The most important thing that I could understand for this time – firmware from Asus – sucks, because even though it provides minimalistic features it is very unstable and does not utilize the power of router’s hardware!
Now, let me shortly review all firmwares I tried from Asus:
18.104.22.168 – was installed when I bought a router. Very unstable, huge pings to router if you visit rich flash site as youtube.com. It was impossible to talk via skype on this firmware: video and sound ware delayed, etc.
22.214.171.124 – installed it as soon as I’ve discovered that 126.96.36.199 sucks. At the beginning everything was stable, but then I got dropping wi-fi connections, even without a load.
188.8.131.52 – beta firmware from Asus, never published. Same problem as with 184.108.40.206 – network periodically disappears by itself.
220.127.116.11 – interesting firmware. A day after it was released, it was removed from Asus site, and then reappeared as another file – with different md5, creation date, but the version was exactly the same 🙂
If the company where I work treats its customers in the same way as Asus, I would already have been looking some job because of unemployment. Well, if you release 18.104.22.168 and found a bug, why not to release a corrected firmware as 22.214.171.124? And why there is no changes.log file for each firmware?
After all, it is important to know what bugs were fixed and what changes are made, because it will save time for users – if fixes are just cosmetic – there is no need to do firmware upgrade …
In 126.96.36.199 there were several critical issues which forces me to quit using Asus firmware:
1. Mystical disconnects of wi-fi
2. Asus tools are very buggy, for example, scanning does not work. Printer hungs sometimes. If you disconnect network cable or your laptop is not in the range of wifi spot the Asus tools use 100% of your CPU. Cool, huh???
3. After changing some options of router – it hangs. To remove the mystical disconnects I decided to shutdown unnecessary services, for example, upnp media server, firewall logs, etc. And what was my surprise when, after changing the options and saving them, the router after reboot did not connect the wi-fi clients!
At some point, while solving problems with Asus software, I caught myself thinking that it just sucks. I bought router to be stable and work 24×7. In fact, the RT-N16 became a capricious piece of hardware which became less stable as my old Dlink DI-524 for 40 $ 🙂
So I decided to look for something different, like dd-wrt, tomato usb mod, and oleg’s firmware. At this stage I can tell you that all three firmwares are more stable and better than Asus firmware. Make conclusions, gentlemen!
1. dd-wrt – interesting but raw firmware. It works quite stable, but to make printing or scaning work it is a pain.
2. tomato usb mod – very good firmware. The printer is fully operational just out of the box, firmware has an excellent web interface that shows you a lot of details – the noise of wifi signal, neighboring wi-fi spots, which channels they are use, etc. But at the same time I had trouble with USB flash drive formatted ext3 – it was unable to be mounted 🙁
3. oleg’s firmware – a very stable firmware which I use at the moment.
I’ve downloaded one of the nightly builds of olegs firmware: I discovered how cool it is.
First, it is very stable. Everything just works and does not disconnect.
Secondly, there is a huge amount of information on how to extend firmware with ipkg, etc.
Thirdly, the project is very active – almost every day there come new versions, and you can see the changelog on the project site.
There is also information on how to build firmware from sources, the site of the project also has the necessary mips toolchains for download.
And last, what is very important for me, with oleg’s firmware you can install via ipkg a sane scanning server on the router. Thus I was able to find a replacement for Asus Tools, I made printing and scanning work with my router.
Using ipkg I also was able to setup big amount of useful tools on the router like:
1.wakelan to turn on my computer from internet
2.vim to edit files
3.mc to browse files like in Far Manager
4.sane scanning server
So I am happy now 🙂 It just works and I don’t bother myself trying to dig into shitty firmware from Asus trying to explain why wifi suddenly stopped working, etc ..
P.S. You can download firmware from oleg here: ftp://core.dumped.ru/rt-n/ . Currently I am on RT-N16-188.8.131.52-rtn-r1639 . If by some reason you don’t trust *.ru websites, you can download firmware from my site: http://www.shcherbyna.com/files/rt-n16/RT-N16-184.108.40.206-rtn-r1639.trx.zip