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[Amazon] Refurbished T-Mobile RT-AC68U Dual-Band Gigabit Router US$48 + $15 to ON

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  • May 25th, 2019 11:29 pm
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[Amazon] Refurbished T-Mobile RT-AC68U Dual-Band Gigabit Router US$48 + $15 to ON

Refurbished T-mobile branded router is back on sale. $48USD plus $14.99USD for shipping and duties to Ontario. About $80CAD total. I have been trying to buy this router used and everyone is asking $100-$140 on Kijiji. I just ordered two of these to create try AiMesh. If you want to try AiMesh make sure you don't update to the latest asus firmware (see notes from review below)

Previous threads from Jan, Feb and March

Re-flashing Asus firmware to convert it to RT-AC68

Important info from this review
It now appears that Asus has disabled AiMesh functionality completely for anyone running a T-Mobile TM-AC1900 that is flashed to a ASUS RT-AC68U with its latest firmware update (Version 3.0.0.4.384.20624). Upon upgrading via the router admin interface, you will no longer see any AiMesh nodes nor anything to do with AiMesh, period. Also, after trying to reinstall the same updated firmware manually, my router was reset back to its original T-Mobile Firmware!!! What's worse, is that this may mean no future updates of any kind for TM flashed variants that are running AC68U firmware. Even Merlin over at SNB forums suggested somewhat cryptically that Asus is starting to tighten up on the TM-AC1900 routers and perhaps even his custom firmware won't work on them for much longer.
Last edited by fatestkid on Apr 11th, 2018 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Thread Summary
This is the thread summary created by user fudge_u in the March thread.

Go here to convert the TM-AC1900 to an RT-AC68U:
http://www.bayareatechpros.com/ac1900-to-ac68u/
- Make sure you flash CFE 1.0.2.0 AM if you want AiMesh to work

Go here for Merlin's Asuswrt-Merlin firmware:
https://www.snbforums.com/threads/asusw ... ters.7846/

Go here for a Fork of Merlin's firmware which uses an older wireless driver (actively maintained by john9527):
https://www.snbforums.com/threads/fork- ... 1e6.18914/
- People have indicated they get the best wireless performance with the older wireless driver
- Contains patches for the KRACK WPA2 exploit

Here are the steps to flash Asus firmware version 3.0.0.4.384.20648, without breaking AiMesh:

Code: Select all

#WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!
#IF YOU PERFORM THESE COMMANDS ON YOUR T-MOBILE AC-1900 ROUTER, YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK!
#THERE'S A GOOD CHANCE YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO GO BACK TO THE ORIGINAL T-MOBILE FIRMWARE AFTER PERFORMING THESE COMMANDS
#IF YOU MESS SOMETHING UP AND BRICK THE ROUTER, THEN THAT IS ON YOU!!!

#Before you begin, make sure you installed CFE 1.0.2.0 AiMesh.  Follow the instructions provided by Bay Tech Area Pros in the link above.
#Backup your mdt5 partition
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# cat /dev/mtd5 > /jffs/mtd5_backup.bin

#Use WinSCP in Windows to copy the mtd5_backup.bin off the router to a safe place.

#View the mounted file systems. One of them should be TMO for T-Mobile.
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# df -h

#Remove the TMO mdt5 partition
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# mkdir /tmp/asus_jffs
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# mount -t jffs2 /dev/mtdblock5 /tmp/asus_jffs
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# rm -rf /tmp/asus_jffs/*
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# sync && umount /tmp/asus_jffs
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# rm -rf /jffs/.sys/RT-AC68U
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# nvram unset fw_check && nvram commit && reboot

#Write all FFs to the mdt5 (in case that didn't happen when you removed the TMO partition in the previous steps)
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# ln -s /sbin/rc mtd-erase
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# ./mtd-erase -d asus

#Now you can flash firmware version 3.0.0.4.384.20648
#To be on the safe side, download the firmware from the Asus site, disconnect the router from the internet, and then perform the upgrade
#If you are paranoid, you can SSH to the router after you finish the upgrade and re-flash CFE 1.0.2.0 AiMesh

SSH commands you should be aware of to make your life easy:

Code: Select all

Reset NVRAM: mtd-erase2 nvram <Enter>
Check the current CFE version: nvram get bl_version <Enter>
Reboot router: reboot <Enter>
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Here is some info on performance of AiMesh with an ASUS RT-AC86U and RT-AC88U.
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how is this router better than any other dual band AC router out there? I have Asus AC66u myself
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fatestkid wrote:
Apr 11th, 2018 6:48 pm
Important info from this review
Nonsense. There's a method for removing the T-Mobile partition, so you can safely upgrade to the current Asus firmware. Just make sure you flash the 1.0.2.0 AiMesh CFE, when you convert the router from TM-AC1900 to RT-AC68U. Both of my TM-AC1900 routers are on the current Asus firmware, and AiMesh still works.

Refer to this thread. You'll need to dig through it to find the instructions.
http://snbforums.com/threads/aimesh-on- ... 1900.43278

Just be aware. You could potentially brick the router, if you mess up running the SSH commands, and Asus could find other ways to prevent the T-Mobile routers from receiving further Asus upgrades.
Last edited by fudge_u on Apr 11th, 2018 6:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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divx wrote:
Apr 11th, 2018 6:52 pm
how is this router better than any other dual band AC router out there? I have Asus AC66u myself
The AC66U has single core CPU, this is a dual core unit. At $80 shipped to the door, can't beat the price.
Last edited by will888 on Apr 11th, 2018 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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fudge_u wrote:
Apr 11th, 2018 6:58 pm
Nonsense. There's a method for removing the T-Mobile partition, so you can safely upgrade to the current Asus firmware. Just make sure you flash the 1.0.2.0 AiMesh CFE, when you convert the router from TM-AC1900 to RT-AC68U. Both of my TM-AC1900 routers are on the current Asus firmware, and AiMesh still works.

Refer to this thread. You'll need to dig through it to find the instructions.
http://snbforums.com/threads/aimesh-on- ... 1900.43278

Just be aware. You could potentially brick the router, if you mess up running the SSH commands, and Asus could find other ways to prevent the T-Mobile routers from receiving further Asus upgrades.
The moderators should resurrect the old thread and merge it with this thread. No point re-inventing the wheel.
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will888 wrote:
Apr 11th, 2018 7:08 pm
The moderators should resurrect the old thread and merge it with this thread. No point re-inventing the wheel.
There's been a few threads now... the last one I created contained some useful links and additional info though. I made sure I added that stuff in the thread summary to help people out. I also included the steps for removing the partition and upgrading the firmware to version 3.0.0.4.384.20648 in the thread summary.

Link to the previous thread:
amazon-com-certified-refurbished-t-mobi ... s-2181396/
Last edited by fudge_u on Apr 11th, 2018 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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will888 wrote:
Apr 11th, 2018 7:04 pm
The AC68U has single core CPU, this is a dual core unit. At $80 shipped to the door, can't beat the price.
Do you mean the AC68U has single core?
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will888 wrote:
Apr 11th, 2018 7:04 pm
The AC68U has single core CPU, this is a dual core unit. At $80 shipped to the door, can't beat the price.
but this is the ac68u?
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had some amazon.com gift card balance

ordered this without thinking lol
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NoCountry4RFDer wrote:
Apr 11th, 2018 7:15 pm
Do you mean the AC68U has single core?
Shoot, typo. The AC66U has single core.
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will888 wrote:
Apr 11th, 2018 7:36 pm
Shoot, typo. The AC66U has single core.
The AC66U B1 version is dual core.
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i have a couple of these i am using as access points, they've been solid after flashing them to 68U with merlin.
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Be sure to use Merlin not the ac68u proprietary firmware. In most cases you won’t notice significant improvement with AIMesh, so use Merline. I spent about 6 hours last night find a new way to fixed a roll back router. It is not just that ASUS rolls it back, but they remove tftp and disable firmware loads in the recovery console. Next time they’all probably close the remaining holes. Then your only choice would be to literally start swapping out chips.

The firmware that comes on these is @$@&. Security flaws that go back to 2014. 5GHz will not work correctly. Many USB drives will not be recognized. If you don’t intend on installing alternative firmware, do not buy.

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