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Asuswrt-Merlin - build 380.

59 (10-May-2016)
----Asuswrt is the name of the common
for their various router models.
Tomato, it has since grown into a
some more technical features that
also adding new original features

firmware Asus has developed

Originally forked from
very different product, removing
were part of Tomato, but
such as support for dual WANs.

Asuswrt-merlin is a customized version of Asus's firmware. The goal is

to provide bugfixes and minor enhancements to Asus's firmware, with also
a few occasional feature additions. This is done while retaining
the look and feel of the original firmware, and also ensuring that
the two codebases remain close enough so it will remain possible
to keep up with any new features brought by Asus in the original firmware.
This project's goal is NOT to develop yet another firmware filled with
many features that are rarely used by home users - that is already covered
by other excellent projects such as Tomato or DD-WRT.
This more conservative approach will also help ensuring the highest
level of stability possible. Priority is given to stability over
performance, and performance over features.

Supported Devices
----------------Supported devices are:
* RT-N66U
* RT-AC66U
* RT-AC56U
* RT-AC68U
* RT-AC68P
* RT-AC87U
* RT-AC3200
* RT-AC88U
* RT-AC3100
* RT-AC5300U
Devices that are no longer officially supported (but forked builds might
exist from other developers):
* RT-N16
NOTE: all the "R" versions (for example RT-N66R) are the same as their
"U" counterparts, they are just different packages aimed at large
retailers. The firmware is 100% compatible with both U and R versions
of the routers. Same with the "W" variants that are simply white.
-------Here is a list of features that Asuswrt-merlin adds over the original
- Based on source code from Asus

- Various bugfixes and optimizations

- Some components were updated to newer versions, for improved
stability and security
- User scripts that run on specific events
- Cron jobs
- Ability to customize the config files used by the router services
- LED control - put your router in "Stealth Mode" by turning off
all LEDs
- Entware easy setup script (alternative to Optware - the two are
mutually exclusive)
- SNMP support (based on experimental code from Asus)

Enable/disable the use of shorter share names
Disk spindown after user-configurable inactivity timeout
NFS sharing (through webui)
Allow or disable WAN access to the FTP server
Updated Samba version (3.6)

- Force acting as a Master Browser
- Act as a WINS server
- Allows tweaking TCP/UDP connection tracking timeouts
- CIFS client support (for mounting remote SMB share on the router)
- Layer7 iptables matching (N66/AC66 only)
- User-defined options for WAN DHCP queries (required by some ISPs)
- Advanced OpenVPN client and server support
- Netfilter ipset module, for efficient blacklist implementation
- Configurable min/max UPNP ports
- IPSec kernel support (N66/AC66 only)
- DNS-based Filtering, can be applied globally or per client
- Custom DDNS (through a user script)
- Advanced NAT loopback (as an alternative to the default one)
- TOR support, individual client control (based on experimental code
from Asus)
- Policy routing for the OpenVPN client (based on source or
destination IPs), sometimes referred to as "selective routing")
- DNSSEC support
- Experimental support for fq_codel in Traditionnal QoS
(ARM-based models only)
Web interface:
- Optionally save traffic stats to disk (USB or JFFS partition)
- Enhanced traffic monitoring: added monthly, as well as per IP
- Hostname field on the DHCP reservation page
- System info summary page
- Wifi icon reports the state of both radios
- Display the Ethernet port states
- Wireless site survey
- Advanced Wireless client list display, including automated refresh
- Redesigned layout of the various System Log sections
- Editable fields for some pages
A few features that first appeared in Asuswrt-Merlin have since been
integrated/enabled/re-implemented in the official firmware:

64K NVRAM for the RT-N66U

HTTPS webui
Turning WPS button into a radio on/off toggle
Use shorter share names (folder name only)
WakeOnLan web interface (with user-entered preset targets)
clickable MACs on the client list for lookup in the OUI database
Display active/tracked network connections
VPN client connection state report
DualWAN and Repeater mode (while it was still under development
by Asus)
OpenVPN client and server
Configurable IPv6 firewall
Persistent JFFS partition
The various MAC/IP selection pulldowns will also display hostnames
when possible instead of just NetBIOS names
Improved compatibility with 3TB+ and Advanced Format HDDs

-----------Simply flash it like any regular update. You should not need to
reset to factory defaults (see note below for exceptions).
You can revert back to an original Asus firmware at any time just
by flashing a firmware downloaded from Asus's website.
NOTE: resetting to factory default after flashing is
strongly recommended for the following cases:
- Updating from a firmware version that is more than 3 releases older
- Switching from a Tomato/DD-WRT/OpenWRT firmware
If upgrading from anything older and you experience issues, then
consider doing a factory default reset then as well.
Always read the changelog, as mandatory resets will be mentionned
there when they are necessary.
In all of these cases, do NOT load a saved copy of your settings!
This would be the same thing as NOT resetting at all, as you will
simply re-enter any invalid setting you wanted to get rid of. Make
sure to create a new backup of your settings after reconfiguring.

----** JFFS **
JFFS is a writeable section of the flash memory which will allow you to
store small files (such as scripts) inside the router without needing
to have a USB disk plugged in. This space will survive reboots (but it
*MIGHT NOT survive firmware flashing*, so back it up first before
flashing!). It will also be available fairly early at boot (before
USB disks).
On that page you will also find an option called "Enable custom
scripts and configs". If you intend to use custom scripts or

config files, then you need to enable this option. This is not
enabled by default so if you create a broken config/script that
prevents the router from booting, you will still be able to regain
access by doing a factory default reset.
Try to avoid doing too frequent writes to this partition, as it will
prematuraly wear out the flash storage. This is a good place to put
files that are written once like scripts or kernel modules, or that
rarely get written to. Storing files that constantly get written
to (like very busy logfiles) is NOT recommended - use a
USB disk for that.
You can backup and restore the content of the JFFS2 partition,
from the same page you can backup/restore the router configuration.
** User scripts **
These are shell scripts that you can create, and which will be run when
certain events occur. Those scripts must be saved in /jffs/scripts/ ,
so, JFFS must be enabled, as well as the option to use custom
scripts and configs. This can be configured under Administration -> System.
Available scripts:
* ddns-start: Script called at the end of a DDNS update process.
This script is also called when setting the DDNS type
to "Custom". The script gets passed the WAN IP as
an argument.
When handling a "Custom" DDNS, this script is also
responsible for reporting the success or failure
of the update process. See the Custom DDNS section
below for more information.
* dhcpc-event: Called whenever a DHCP event occurs on the WAN
interface. The type of event (bound, release, etc...)
is passed as an argument.
* firewall-start: Firewall is started (filter rules have been applied)
The WAN interface will be passed as argument (for
example. "eth0")
* init-start: Right after jffs is mounted, before any of the services
get started
* nat-start: nat rules (i.e. port forwards and such) have been applied
(nat table)
* openvpn-event: Called whenever an OpenVPN server gets
started/stopped, or an OpenVPN client connects to a
remote server. Uses the same syntax/parameters as
the "up" and "down" scripts in OpenVPN.
* post-mount: Just after a partition is mounted
* pre-mount: Just before a partition is mounted. Be careful with
this script. This is run in a blocking call and will
block the mounting of the partition for which it is
invoked till its execution is complete. This is done so
that it can be used for things like running e2fsck on the
partition before mounting. This script is also passed the
device path being mounted as an argument which can be
used in the script using $1.
* qos-start: Called after both the iptables rules and tc configuration
are completed for QoS. This script will be passed an
argument, which will be "init" (when QoS is being
initialized and it has setup the tc classes) or
"rules" (when the iptables rules are being setup).
* services-start: Initial service start at boot

* services-stop: Services are stopped at shutdown/reboot

* unmount: Just before unmounting a partition. This is a blocking
script, so be careful with it. The mount point is passed
as an argument to the script.
* wan-start: WAN interface just came up (includes if it went down and
back up). The WAN unit number will be passed as argument
(0 = primary WAN)
Don't forget to set them as executable:
chmod a+rx /jffs/scripts/*
And like any Linux script, they need to start with a shebang:

** SSHD **
The router can be accessed over SSH (through Dropbear). Password-based
login will use the same username and password as telnet/web access.
You can also optionally insert a RSA or ECDSA public key there for
keypair-based authentication. Finally, there is also an option to
make SSH access available over WAN.

** Crond **
Crond will automatically start at boot time. You can put your cron
tasks in /var/spool/cron/crontabs/ . The file must be named "admin" as
this is the name of the system user. Note that this location resides in
RAM, so you would have to put your cron script somewhere such as in the
jffs partition, and at boot time copy it to /var/spool/cron/crontabs/
using an init-start user script.
A simple way to manage your cron jobs is through the included "cru"
command. Just run "cru" to see the usage information. You can then
put your "cru" commands inside a user script to re-generate your cron
jobs at boot time.

** Enhanced Traffic monitoring **

Under Tools -> Other Settings are options that will allow you to save
your traffic history to disk, preserving it between router reboots (by
default it is currently kept in RAM, so it will disappear when you
You can save it to a custom location (for example, "/jffs/" if you have
jffs enabled), or /mnt/sda1/ if you have a USB disk plugged in.
Save frequency is also configurable - it is recommended to keep that
frequency lower (for example, once a day) if you are saving to jffs, to
reduce wearing out your flash memory. Make sure not to forget the
trailing slash ad the end of the path.
Note that the first time you use that option, you must tell the router
to create the data file. Make sure you set "Create or reset data
files" to "Yes".
Also, Asuswrt-Merlin can track the traffic generated by each individual

IP on your network. This option is called IPTraffic. To enable this,

you must first set a custom location to store your traffic database
(see above). Once again, you must also tell it to create the new data
file, by enabling "Create or reset IPTraffic data files". Once done,
enable the IPTraffic Monitoring option. This will add three new
entries to the Traffic Monitor page selector (on the Traffic Monitoring
You can optionally specify which IP to monitor, or exclude some IPs
from monitoring. Each IP must be separated by a comma.
It's strongly recommended that
wish to monitor to ensure they
which would make the collected
monitoring is done per IP, NOT

you assign a static IP to devices you

don't get a different IP over time,
data somewhat unreliable. The
per MAC.

** Adjustable TCP/IP connection tracking settings **

Under Tools -> Other Settings there are various parameters that lets
you tweak the timeout values related to connection tracking for TCP and
UDP connections. You should be careful with those settings. Most
commonly, people will tweak the UDP timeout values to make them more
VoIP-friendly, by using smaller timeouts. Timeout values are in

** Mounting remote CIFS shares on the router **

You can mount remote SMB shares on your router. The syntax will
be something like this:
mount \\\\\\ShareName /cifs1 -t cifs -o "username=User,password=Pas
(backslashes must be doubled.)

** Disk Spindown when idle **

Jeff Gibbons's sd-idle-2.6 has been added to the firmware, allowing you
to configure a timeout value (in seconds) on the Tools -> Other Settings
page. Plugged hard drives will stop spinning after being inactive
for that specified period of time. Note that services like Download
Master might be generating background disk activity, preventing it from

** OpenVPN (client and server) **

OpenVPN is an SSL-based VPN technology that is provided as a secure
alternative to the PPTP VPN. OpenVPN is far more secure and more
flexible, however it is not as easy to configure, and requires the
installation of a client software on your computer client. The client
can be obtained through this download page:
Explaining the details of OpenVPN are beyond the scope of this
documentation, and I am in no way an expert on OpenVPN.

Fortunately, there is a lot of available documentation and Howto guides

out there. I tried to stick to the same option descriptions as used by
Tomato, so about any guide written for Tomato can easily be used to
guide you on Asuswrt-Merlin. For pointers, check the Wiki on the
Asuswrt-Merlin Github repository.
You can provide your own custom client config files for the two server
instances. Store them in the /jffs/configs/openvpn/ccd1/ (and ccd2/)
directory based on which server instance they belong to, with the
filenames matching the client common names. See the OpenVPN
documentation for more details on the ccd directory.

** Customized config files **

The services executed by the router such as minidlna or dnsmasq relies
on dynamically-generated config files. There are various methods
through which you can interact with these config files to customize
The first method is through custom configs. You can append content to
various configuration files that are created by the firmware, or even
completely replace them with custom config files you have created.
Those config override files must be stored in /jffs/configs/. To have
a config file appended to the one created by the firmware, simply add
".add" at the end of the file listed below. For example,
/jffs/configs/dnsmasq.conf.add will be added at the end of the dnsmasq
configuration file that is created by the firmware, while
/jffs/configs/dnsmasq.conf would completely replace it.
Note that replacing a config file with your own implies that you
properly fill in all the fields usually dynamically created by the
firmware. Since some of these entries require dynamic parameters, you
might be better using the postconf scripts added in 374.36 (see the
postconf scripts section below).
Also note that for customized config files to be available, you need
to have both JFFS and the custom config and script support options
enabled, under Administration -> System.
The list of available config overrides:

exports (only exports.add supported)
fstab (only fstab supported, remember to create mount point
through init-start first if it doesn't exist!)
group, gshadow, passwd, shadow (only .add versions supported)
hosts (for /etc/hosts)
profile (shell profile, only profile.add suypported)

* torrc (for the Tor config file)

* vsftpd.conf
* upnp (for miniupnpd)
Also, you can put OpenVPN ccd files in the following directories:
The content of these will be copied to their respective
server instance's ccd directory when the server is started.
** Postconf scripts **
A lot of the configuration files used by the router services
(such as dnsmasq) are dynamically generated by the firmware. This
makes it hard for advanced users to apply modifications to these, short
of entirely replacing the config file.
Postconf scripts are the solution to that. Those scripts are
executed after the router has generated a configuration script, but
before the related service gets started. This means you can use those
scripts to manipulate the configuration script, using tools such as
"sed" for example.
Postconf scripts must be stored in /jffs/scripts/ . JFFS must be
enabled, as well as the option to use custom scripts and configs.
This can be configured under Administration -> System.
The path/filename of the target config file is passed as argument to
the postconf script.
The list of available postconf scripts is:

adisk.postconf (Time Machine)

afpd.postconf (Time Machine)
avahi-daemon.postconf (Time Machine)
openvpnclient1.postconf (up to openvpnclient5.postconf)
openvpnserver1.postconf (and openvpnserver2.postconf)

To make things easier for novice users who don't want to

learn the arcane details of using "sed", a script providing

support functions is available. The following dnsmasq.postconf
script demonstrates how to modify the maximum number of leases
in the dnsmasq configuration:
source /usr/sbin/
pc_replace "dhcp-lease-max=253" "dhcp-lease-max=100" $CONFIG
----Three functions are currently available through
pc_replace "original string" "new string" "config filename"
pc_insert "string to locate" "string to insert after" "config filename"
pc_append "string to append" "config filename"
Note that postconf scripts are blocking the firmware while they run, to
ensure the service only gets started once the script is done. Make
sure those scripts do exit properly, or the router will be stuck
during boot, requiring a factory default reset to recover it.

** NFS Exports **
IMPORTANT: NFS sharing is still a bit unstable.
In addition to SMB and FTP, you can now also share any plugged
hard disk through NFS. The NFS Exports interface can be accessed
from the USB Applications section, under Servers Center. Click on the
NFS Exports tab.
Select the folder you wish to export by clicking on the Path field.
Under Access List you can enter IPs/Networks to which you wish to give
access. A few examples: - will give access to the whole local network - will give access to the two IPs (separate with spa
Entering nothing will allow anyone to access the export.
Under options you can enter the export options, separated by a comma.
For example:
For more info, search the web for documentation on the format of the
/etc/exports file. The same syntax for the access list and the options
is used by the webui.
You can also manually generate an exports file by creating a file named
/jffs/configs/exports.add , and entering your standard exports there.
They will be added to any exports configured on the webui.
Note that by default, only NFSv3 is supported. You can also enable
NFSv2 support from that page, but this is not recommended, unless you
are using an old NFS client that doesn't support V3. NFSv2 has various

filesystem-level limitations.

** Easy Entware setup **

Entware is an alternative to Optware. They are both online software
repositories that let you easily install additional software to your
router (such as an Apache web server, or an Asterisk PBX). The main
benefit of Entware over Optware (which is used by Asus for their own
Download Master) is it is very actively maintained, with recent
software versions.
Entware and Optware cannot be used at the same time however, so you
can't use Download Master while using Entware.
There is now a script to make setting up Entware ware easier.
Access your router through SSH/Telnet, and run
Note that Entware requires the JFFS partition to be enabled, and an
ext2/ext3/ext4 formatted USB disk (NTFS, HFS+ and FAT32 are not supported).

** DNSFilter **
Under Parental Control there is a tab called DNSFilter. On this
page you can force the use of a DNS service that provides
security/parental filtering. This can be done globally, or on a
per device basis. Each of them can have a different type of filtering
applied. For example, you can have your LAN use OpenDNS's server to
provide basic filtering, but force your children's devices to use
Yandex's family DNS server that filters out malicious and adult
If using a global filter, then specific devices can be told to
bypass the global filter, by creating a client rule for these,
and setting it to "No Filtering".
DNSFilter also lets you define up to three custom nameservers, for
use in filtering rules. This will let you use any unsupported
filtering nameserver.

can configure a filter rule to force your clients to

whichever DNS is provided by the router's DHCP server (if
changed it from the default value, otherwise it will be
router's IP). Set the filtering rule to "Router" for this.

Note that DNSFilter will interfere with resolution of local

hostnames. This is a side effect of having devices forced to use
a specific external nameserver. If this is an issue for you, then set
the default filter to "None", and only filter out specific devices.

** Layer7-based Netfilter module **

Support for layer7 rules in iptables has been enabled on MIPS-based
routers (RT-N66/AC66). You will need to manually configure the
iptables rules to make use of it - there is no web interface exposing
this. The defined protocols can be found in /etc/l7-protocols.

To use it, you must first load the module:

modprobe xt_layer7
An example iptable rules that would mark all SSH-related packets
with the value "22", for processing later on in another chain:
iptables -I FORWARD -m layer7 --l7proto ssh -j MARK --set-mark 22
These could be inserted in a firewall-start script, for example.
For more details on how to use layer7 filters, see the documentation on
the project's website:

** Custom DDNS **
If you set the DDNS (dynamic DNS) service to "Custom", then you will be
able to fully control the update process through a ddns-start user
script. That script could launch a custom DDNS update client, or run a
simple "wget" on a provider's update URL. The ddns-start script will
be passed the WAN IP as an argument.
Note that the script will also be responsible for notifying the firmware
on the success or failure of the process. To do this you must simply
run the following command:
/sbin/ddns_custom_updated 0|1
0 = failure, 1 = successful update
If you cannot determine the success or failure, then report it as a
success to ensure that the firmware won't continuously try to
force an update.
Here is a working example, for's free DDNS (you must update
the URL to use your private API key from
wget -q
ere -O - >/dev/null
if [ $? -eq 0 ]; then
/sbin/ddns_custom_updated 1
/sbin/ddns_custom_updated 0
----Finally, like all custom scripts, the option to support custom scripts and
config files must be enabled under Administration -> System.

** OpenVPN client policy routing **

When configuring your router to act as an OpenVPN client (for instance

to connect your whole LAN to an OpenVPN tunnel provider), you can
define policies that determines which clients, or which destinations
should be routed through the tunnel, rather than having all of your
traffic automatically routed through it.
On the OpenVPN Clients page, set "Redirect Internet traffic" to
"Policy Rules". A new section will appear below, where you can
add routing rules. The "Source IP" is your local client, while
"Destination" is the remote server on the Internet. The field can be
left empty (or set to to signify "any IP". You can also
specify a whole subnet, in CIDR notation (for example,
The Iface field lets you determine if matching traffic should be sent
through the VPN tunnel or through your regular Internet access (WAN).
This allows you to define exceptions (WAN rules being processed
before the VPN rules).
Here are a few examples.
To have all your clients use the VPN tunnel when trying to
access an IP from this block that belongs to Google:


Or, to have a computer routed through the tunnel except for requests sent
to your ISP's SMTP server (assuming a fictious IP of for your
ISP's SMTP server):


Another setting exposed when enabling Policy routing is to prevent your

routed clients from accessing the Internet if the VPN tunnel goes down.
To do so, enable "Block routed clients if tunnel goes down".

Source code
----------The source code with all my modifications can be found on Github, at:

Contact information
------------------SmallNetBuilder forums (preferred method:
t-merlin.42/ as RMerlin)
IRC: #asuswrt on DALnet
Development news will be posted on Twitter. You can also keep a closer
eye on development as it happens through the Github site.

For support questions, please use the SmallNetBuilder forums whenever

possible. There's a dedicated Asuswrt-Merlin sub-forum there, under
the Asus Wireless section.
Drop me a note if you are using this firmware and are enjoying it. If
you really like it and want to give more than a simple "Thank you",
there is also a Paypal donation button on my website.
I want to give my special thanks to Asus for showing an interest in
this project, and also providing me with support and development
devices when needed. I also want to thank everyone that has
donated through Paypal. Much appreciated!
Finally, special thanks to r00t4rd3d for designing the Asuswrt-Merlin

---------This is the part where you usually put a lot of legalese stuff that nobody
reads. I'm not a lawyer, so I'll just make it simple, using my own words
rather than some pre-crafted text that will bore you to death and that
nobody but a highly paid lawyer would even understand anyway:
I take no responsibility for issues caused by this project. I do my best to
ensure that everything works fine. If something goes wrong, my apologies.
Copyrights belong to the appropriate individuals/entities, under the appropriate
licences. GPL code is covered by GPL, proprietary code is (c)Copyright their
respective owners, yadda yadda.
I try my best to honor the licences (as far as I can understand them, as a
normal human being). Anything GPL or otherwise open-sourced that I modify
will see my changes published to Github at some point. A release might get
delayed if I'm working using pre-release code. If it's GPL, it will eventually
be published - no need to send a volley of legal threats at me.
In any other cases not covered, Common Sense prevails, and I shall also make use
of Good Will.
Concerning privacy:
This firmware does not contact me back in any way whatsoever. Not even through
any update checker - the only update code there is Asus's.
--Eric Sauvageau