Increasing transmit power on an ASUS RT-AC68U wifi router

BIG WARNING: Increasing your router to it’s maximum power can reduce it’s life expectancy, cause problems for your neighbours, can be illegal depending on your location and in some cases even has the potential to cause actual dangerous situations since RADAR can share this frequency!

Taking the above warning into consideration, the allowed transmit power depends on your location and any transmit licenses you might have. With many people living in modern houses which are essentially faraday cages not a lot of harm can be done by increasing the power a bit. But due note that this might not be legal in your country so please check how much you are allowed to transmit using this table.

ASUS RT-AC68U

The first thing you need to do is install the Merlin firmware version 374.43_2, newer ones won’t work! You can download the firmware from Merlin’s site: http://asuswrt.lostrealm.ca/download

Secondly, after installing this you will need to connect either through telnet or through ssh. Here you can enter the following commands but don’t blindly enter them! The last few tell you the transmission power and you probably don’t want it to be 500mW, but these are (as far as I know) the maximum supported:

nvram set 0:regrev=0
nvram set 1:regrev=0
nvram set 0:ccode=#a
nvram set 1:ccode=#a
nvram set pci/1/1/ccode=#a
nvram set pci/1/1/regrev=0
nvram set pci/2/1/ccode=#a
nvram set pci/2/1/regrev=0
nvram set regulation_domain=#a
nvram set regulation_domain_5G=#a
nvram set wl_country_code=#a
nvram set wl_country_rev=0
nvram set wl0_country=#a
nvram set wl0_country_code=#a
nvram set wl0_country_rev=0
nvram set wl0_reg_mode=off
nvram set wl1_country=#a
nvram set wl1_country_code=#a
nvram set wl1_country_rev=0
nvram set wl1_reg_mode=off
nvram set 0:maxp2ga0=114
nvram set 0:maxp2ga1=114
nvram set 0:maxp2ga2=114
nvram set 1:maxp5ga0=114,114,114,114
nvram set 1:maxp5ga1=114,114,114,114
nvram set 1:maxp5ga2=114,114,114,114
nvram set wl_TxPower=500
nvram set wl0_TxPower=500
nvram set wl1_TxPower=500
nvram commit
reboot

Note that the #a here is the country, #a is the “wildcard” country which enabled all channels supported by the hardware.

The TxPower are the ones you need to change to set the transmit power and the nvram commit permanently saves these settings to the router. After that the reboot command will apply everything for you.

I should note that this firmware has some issues with a crashing web interface, luckily that’s easily recoverable through ssh. Just enter this command through ssh and it will be up and running again:

service start_httpd
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About Rick van Hattem

Rick van Hattem is a Dutch Internet entrepreneur and co-founder of Fashiolista.com

16 Responses to “Increasing transmit power on an ASUS RT-AC68U wifi router”

  1. Wayne | 2016-01-02 at 14:06:30 #

    I must downgrade the firmware to 374.43_2 ?
    I am currently using Merlin 378.55.

    • Rick van Hattem | 2016-01-02 at 14:10:06 #

      I personally haven’t tested it, but that’s what others have reported. Unfortunately the 374.43_2 firmware has a few bugs but once set up correctly it runs just fine. There are just one or two admin pages that make the webserver crash but that’s easily fixable by restarting httpd

  2. Cor | 2016-04-15 at 15:28:02 #

    Hoi Rick,

    Kun jij mij helpen een hoger vermogen in te stellen in mijn Asus ac66u om meer bereik te testen?

  3. leatherface | 2017-06-17 at 22:10:19 #

    does this also work with the asus dsl-ac68u modem router?

  4. mr 4 u | 2017-10-15 at 23:26:32 #

    Works on 380.58

  5. Bill | 2017-10-27 at 22:09:38 #

    FW: Asuswrt-Merlin fork – build 374.43_2-18E1j9527

    It does not save settings enterd via Putty, e.g. setting country to #a and commit shows #a for a little while but then switches back (to EU in my case).

    Am I doing something wrong?

    • Rick van Hattem | 2017-10-31 at 22:49:19 #

      The “nvram commit” line should store the settings permanently

  6. Ann Onimaus | 2018-01-18 at 16:21:47 #

    If your AP router has a higher transmit power than your station it may not do you much good. See https://boundless.aerohive.com/experts/Does-AP-Transmit-Power-Play-A-Role-In-WiFi-Connectivity-Problems.html
    Think of two people if a very noisy room … only one has a megaphone. Two-way communication is not possible.

    • Rick van Hattem | 2018-10-24 at 12:56:30 #

      Correct, this is mostly useful for site-to-site accesspoint connections. Beyond that it probably won’t help much

  7. Oscar | 2018-05-11 at 09:18:13 #

    Hi Everyone,

    Is there a possibility to see if the wireless 2.4ghz band is enabled via a ssh command? My ac68u doesnt broadcast the 2.4ghz and i think it’s “secretly” disabled somehwere wich cant be seen via the gui

    • Rick van Hattem | 2018-10-24 at 12:54:55 #

      With the iwconfig command you should be able to see all of the wifi transmitters. But I’d suggest resetting the firmware alltogether. If it’s somehow disabled there might be other settings corrupted.

  8. FCC | 2018-07-21 at 05:37:09 #

    You don’t even write what the commands are. What is the point of this useless post?
    Delete your blog.

    • Rick van Hattem | 2018-07-21 at 05:40:17 #

      I did, it appears a recent wordpress upgrade has broken my code highlighting plugin which resulted in invisible code blocks.

      Also… rude much?

  9. APRILIA | 2018-10-24 at 07:25:47 #

    i will wait your next information

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