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I have an ASUS RT-68UC router. I successfully installed DD-WRT on it about 2 yrs ago, build r28493M.

Recently, I wanted to upgrade it so I went to https://www.dd-wrt.com/site/support/router-database. Entering the router info got me

RT-AC68U Firmware - Webflash image asus_rt-ac68u-firmware.trx 2017-09-07 26,30 MB. No real version info, though I notice the download url is https://www.dd-wrt.com/routerdb/de/download/Asus/RT-AC68U/-/asus_rt-ac68u-firmware.trx/4392. Is 4392 the version here?

I downloaded it, went to the router's Administrate/Firmware Upgrade and well, upload and applied.

Didn't go well. 10 mins or so later, no router. Eventually, power on/power off. Still not good.

I eventually recovered it via the ASUSTEK Web CFE recovery mechanism and I now on : DD-WRT v24-sp2 (04/22/14) version. One post I saw mentioned that you get the Web CFE when you have the wrong firmware, in order to avoid bricking.

Big advice on ddwrt wiki is to know which firmware to use. But aside from looking up the router database, which had no instructions whatsoever re upgrade flashing, at least for this model, what is the strategy to pick the correct firmware version and the correct installation/firmware upgrade instructions? DD-WRT wiki has endless pages some of which are really really old. Some instructions tell you to use 30-30-30 resets, some say nope, 30-30-30 is for old routers, don't use.

What are the ways to find authoritative sources for firmware versions & install/upgrade instructions within DDWRT? I don't mind reading through complex instructions, once I know they are current and apply to my device.

Edit: while it would be great if I got an exact answer to my question, it would be really nice if someone could sketch the broad strategies for dealing with DD-WRT about this, for other routers too. I am sure the build developers do a wonderful job - I like DD-WRT itself - but the website makes it quite hard to find one's bearing if one is not already an expert. Should I look elsewhere entirely?

https://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Supported_Devices#Asus lists RT-AC68U (AC1900), but only the earliest compatible DD-WRT.

  • The supported devices table says that it's recommended to use the Asus Recovery Tool for the initial flash. Did you do this? Otherwise I can't offer specific help for your router. DD-WRT is maintained by volunteers and documentation is often left to users of the software so it might not be consistent or up to date. I've had good experiences with OpenWRT so you could try and see if your router is supported and if the documentation is more up to date. – AdmiralFreebee Mar 12 '18 at 8:26
  • Yes, but that's first install, not firmware upgrade. And, on a mac, so I would have to look for the ART equivalent. And, I think my device is not on compatibility lists for some of the other router projects. Thing is, I like DDWRT, the software. The instructions/guidance are what I'm struggling with. – JL Peyret Mar 12 '18 at 17:45
  • I would recommend to always do a full reinstall of DD-WRT when you're doing a major upgrade. Still not an answer but that's what I used to do on my old WRT54GL. Minor version updates were fine with the built in upgrade interface but I always performed major updates with a full reinstall. – AdmiralFreebee Mar 15 '18 at 8:03
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    Excellent question. I'm struggling with exactly the same problem for my AC87U. I've got a bsc.in CS, 30 years experience as sysadmin/networkadmin... If I can't figure out which one I need, what's a normal user supposed to do? – Tonny Mar 18 '18 at 19:35
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    DD-WRT is not a company, but rather a group effort by hobbyists. The only sure way not to miss out on something is to google your router with site:dd-wrt.com. There will usually be a page dedicated to the router (yours is here) that you should compare with the router-database, but more recent builds may be found in the forum. You must search and analyze all this info, and most importantly - to have ready a sure-fire emergency recovery method for a bricked router. Installing DD-WRT is not for everyone. – harrymc Mar 19 '18 at 7:35
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For ASUS routers your safest approach is to use ASUSwrt-merlin. Your device appears to be supported. The official site of Asus-merlin is here.

For your ASUS model some information can be found @Karim Elatov's github page (note: the information is from 2014) - the page is here

The general information on DD-WRT:

You can find out your newest already compiled version via google doing search:

RT-AC68U site:https://download1.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/downloads/betas/

Which would lead you to (as of 19.3.2018):

https://download1.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/downloads/betas/2017/12-04-2017-r33986/asus-rt-ac68u/

To quote the firmware wiki

DO NOT USE THE ROUTER DATABASE (router database): unless directed in a device wiki.

It does NOT have Recommended Builds, and the firmware build dates are not correct.

What I'm suggesting next is rather difficult so you need to have some reasonable technical skills.

1) First an easier approach - firmware-mod-kit

You can deconstruct (decompile) your old firmware which you know it is working and see what has changed in the new firmware. The firmware-mod-kit wiki is rather informative about it. I would try to compare everything step-by-step. If you find out what has changed then you can repack it too.

2) When firmware-mod-kit fails you need to some reverse-engineering yourself Please see this guide or this guide for firmware unpacking and packing. Both are rather long so I'm not copying the information here. If you would like to tell me in comment.

3) Build the DD-WRT yourself from source, which is rather hard to do. Which even the developers admit it is hard:

To quote development wiki:

Building DD-WRT from source is difficult and according to the text here definitly not working on first try. You will see lots of strange errors and many confusing install-scripts. The forum is full of people who were not able to make this install-procedure running through. The infos in the forum is much newer than these here, but also very confusing and mixed up.

Brainslayer does not have the time to do everything. Until the day comes that DD-WRT will build without any extra steps, I've written some scripts that will set up a build environment for DD-WRT. Newer builds of DD-WRT may break compatibility with these scripts. If this happens and I don't update them, please take the time to update them if you are sure your changes are appropriate.

So be sure to follow the directions here and if you are in luck then you will get your own version of DD-WRT.

To answer your question:

There is no definitive source of information for DD-WRT. You have to search for the pieces and glue them together. The worst part is that some information is invalid or incorrect, which you have to filter out.

If you are stuck the best way forward is to ask at the DD-WRT forum.

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+200

You are not missing anything - documentation and the router database for this router is "not great". The closest thing to an authoritative source would be the DD-WRT Wiki for the appropriate router - https://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Asus_RT-AC68U

My recommendation - from experience with a number of this very same model router - is to forget about the "Original Firmware Link" and use the KONG Builds mensioned in the Wiki - specifically I use this one (but the build from October - because that was the latest when building my deployments)

  • Your link is bad : http://www.ac_arm_std_128k.bin/. – harrymc Mar 23 '18 at 7:15
  • @harrymc ta - fixed – davidgo Mar 23 '18 at 9:05
  • OK, so, reading its wiki. KONG BUILDS: Link to Kong Builds. Download dd-wrt.v24-K3_AC_ARM_STD.bin. That's a link to the directory, not a file. However, looking in the directory, I see a dd-wrt.v24-K3_AC_ARM_STD.bin file. And this is the same file you link to yourself. I think that answers my question. But, from your experience with dd-wrt, is this type of point to directory, with indication of file to use generally present on a router's wiki entry? If this is representative of what people can usually find there, I can live with this answer. – JL Peyret Mar 25 '18 at 3:03
  • I can't answer for the generic case, only for this specific router. Sorry. – davidgo Mar 25 '18 at 4:03
  • ok, you get the bounty. still not quite totally happy that's a generic answer applying to most of DDWRT, so am leaving the question open in case someone comes up with a better answer. if someone else finds it to work with another router model, can you mention it in the comments? – JL Peyret Mar 26 '18 at 5:32

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