Asus RT-N16 from merlin, will settings be preserved?

I have a Asus RT-N16 that currently uses merlin. Would an installation of openwrt preserve the settings? I'm pretty lame at router stuff. This unit is public facing; behind it sits another (older) router that supports my small business lan and one or two ip addresses that are on the internet. This means that the RT-N16 config is not bare bones simple. But it's not really complex; I'd just prefer not to have to repro all the settings.
I am not sure I've ever switched firmware like this. Merlin firmware is really old, I should have been after this long ago. I'm hoping that most of the settings would be preserved.
What I can think of that is being used on the RT-N16:

  • port fowarding
  • wifi
    vpn is not being used

There's no guarantee you can migrate directly from Merlin to Openwrt, but might
have to install stock FW in between.

You should probably assume a reset is required, to make the migration.

Btw, it's a Broadcom device, wifi might be crippled using Openwrt.
Read, but the info could be outdated.

Thanks Frollic that's super helpful. I'll go by way of the asus firmware.

I just realized that the most recent firmware offered by asus is from 2017; just a few minor iterations up from the firmware that is currently installed.
That changes things. Am I right in thinking that most of the security aspects of openwrt firmware are inherited from the manufacturer's firmware? I don't need new features, particularly. I would like it to be more up to date in the security arena. If I'm correct, it may mean I have to buy a new router and forget about the RT-N16.

No it's the opposite, but you can assume the Asus/Merlin firmware (both based on an old Openwrt derivative, made by Broadcom) uses a 10 or so years old Linux kernel.

While the latest stable Openwrt release uses a kernel from end of March -22.

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That's good news. So shorthand, the openwrt firmware would most certainly be more secure than the asus or firmware from 2017.
Frollic thank you, you've really helped out.

Argh I installed the asus firmware and then the release version of openwrt. The dialog where asus blocks the update due to regulatory restrictions comes up. I saw references to this on my way towards taking action. I think there might be a way around it but don't recall.
I'm not very swift with routers; I need the simplest option.
I could revert to merlin and see if openwrt will work from there?
Does this mean that OpenWRT isn't an option for any ASUS router? But that can't be so as so many asus routers are listed as supported here.

Hey, flashing instructions are detailed on the page frolic linked above.

Either via Tftp or by installing Tomato or ddwrt first.

I just want to point out that OpenWrt, especially recent versions, will not work really well with the Asus RT-N16. In particular the wireless support will be instable.

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Your best option is probably to run the most recent version of “John’s fork” of Merlin, which was last updated in December.


Wow, John's fork of Merlin, how excellent! And Jow thanks for the tip about OpenWRT and wifi, I knew that was a risk, but was hoping I'd evade it.
A question I have to ask - as Frollic has said that any security enhancements to these non-OEM firmwares are up to the author/community, is John's fork going to be of high quality? In this case I have to look a gift horse in the mouth.

John’s fork is very highly regarded over on the other forum. It’s a good way to keep an old router alive and more secure than it otherwise would have been.

Re the blocking of third party software by ASUS, does it imply that any new ASUS router will fight off replacement firmware like OpenWRT, unless that extended steps I'm reading about over on the dd-wrt site are taken?
If so are there other makers (linksys etc) that don't put up that wall? The process to defeat the OEM ASUS firmware protections are quite daunting to me.

There are certain router models that are harder to flash than others, TFTP isn't the easies, but far from the hardest.

Some will require opening, and additional hardware, to make the initial flash.

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