Asus Merlin vs Stock Firmware- Which One?

asus merlin vs stock firmware
asus merlin vs stock firmware

Asus is a world-renowned brand in the technology industry for producing quality products. One of the many products Asus creates is the router. You can search on the Internet for the best router brands of the year, and Asus never fails to show up in the top list.

Asus Routers are built for durability and versatility. Therefore, for Asus to maintain a unified update and upgrade to all their various router models, Asus releases a one-for-all stock firmware – Asuswrt (Asus Stock Firmware).

However, the original source code for Asuswrt is publicly available on Asus’s official website, which allows other software developers to create a different version of the original firmware. Hence, a third-party customizable firmware for Asus routers is created – Asuswrt-Merlin (Asus Merlin Firmware).

Asus Firmware for Asus Routers

Asus Merlin vs Stock Firmware

Stock Firmware

Asuswrt or Asus Stock Firmware is the original Asus Router firmware. The design goal is for you to understand the Asus router installation process quickly. No matter which Asus router model you have at home, Asus Stock Firmware will greet you with its familiar graphical user interface (GUI) on your computer screen and provide you with assistance.

Besides, you don’t have to be well-versed with computer science to operate Asus Stock Firmware. Its features cover most of the essential tools for a router to function correctly on the Internet. Depending on the Asus router model, Asus Stock Firmware features include, but not limited to, the following:

Note: Features marked with (*) are available for Asus Wireless Routers only.

Asus Merlin Firmware Developers

Merlin Firmware

Asuswrt-Merlin or Asus Merlin Firmware is the improved version of Asus Stock Firmware. Other than giving the existing firmware a boost, Asus Merlin Firmware also enables router personalization. This new feature appeals to tech-savvy users who would like to install additional third-party applications to enhance their routers further.

However, Asus Merlin Firmware follows a strict design guideline. In order for it to be compatible with Asus’s latest development, developers for Asus Merlin Firmware keep the following rules in mind:

1. Be In-sync with Asus Stock Firmware Changes

In fact, Asus Merlin Firmware developers respect the originality of Asus Routers. Therefore, they strive not to stray away too far from the original firmware. Once Asus releases a new version of Asus Stock Firmware, the developers limit the changes made to the latest source code. Their primary focus is to fine-tune known issues and bug fixes in the existing firmware. However, there will be a slight delay for a new release from Asus Merlin Firmware, as the adjusting process may take time.

2. Improve Asus Stock Firmware’s Functionality (Not Replace)

Commonly, most users mistook Asus Merlin Firmware as a better replacement for the existing Asus Stock Firmware. Instead, the main goal for Asus Merlin Firmware is to enhance the existing functionality. Therefore, there is no need to recreate a brand-new firmware for a replacement if the current firmware is already well-established.

3. Stability as First Priority

All in all, your home network depends on a stable router firmware.  Hence, Asus Merlin Firmware focuses on stability first, then only performance and features. If the developers make major changes in the source code, there is a higher chance for new bugs to appear.

4. Beginner-Friendly

Despite its advanced feature, Asus Merlin Firmware also targets beginner users. Advanced users can still manually install new features into the firmware without bombarding the interface with foreign information that may scare beginners away.


So, which is the right one for your Asus Router: Asus Merlin Firmware or Asus Stock Firmware? Eventually, it depends on your needs as an Internet user. If you are a casual or day-to-day Internet user, Asus Stock Firmware is the right choice for your Asus router.  However, if you are a heavy Internet user and would like to be in control of your router, Asus Merlin Firmware is the best choice for you. To summarize, here is a comparison table of Asus Merlin vs. Stock Firmware just for you.

AspectsAsus Merlin FirmwareAsus Stock Firmware
Target UsersAdvancedBeginner or Average
CustomizableAvailableNot Available
Third Party AddonsAvailableNot Available

Disclaimer: Please take note that either firmware is only applicable to Asus Routers. It is illegal to use this firmware on non-Asus Routers as it may cause compatibility issues and damage your router’s functionality.

2 thoughts on “Asus Merlin vs Stock Firmware- Which One?”

  1. I wish somebody would add this to the feature list of all the alternative firmware. Nosy technical people can ‘target’ (isolate to the owner of the router) by using the wireless MAC address. That means they know when the router is up and not up. As far as I know, only Tomato, and DD-WRT have addressed this. If not true, please advise. I would like to change the WIRELESS radio (2.4 and 5 Ghz) MAC addresses. And, if they can, I’d like to have specific instructions on how this can be done from a Windows operating system.

  2. You’d have to rotate it, not simply change it. Overall, this wouldn’t be a terrifically effective defense. You are either broadcasting your ssid — or you aren’t but someone with a wireless sniffer can find it anyway — no real way around this).

    Unlesss you are rotating both the ssid and the mac, your radio will remain identifiable. This is a rabbit hole: very quickly, it becomes evident that it is more important to strengthen the authentication and authorization schemes that ride on top of network protocols, rather than trying to make the network invisibile.

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