Asus RT-AC66U: How to Configure DHCP Static IP Reservations for IOT/Smart Home Devices

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I’ve never been a fan of using DHCP reservations to reserve an IP address for a device. However, there are a few situations where a static reservation is the best route to take.

Try your hand with Home Automation via devices like the Wink Hub,  IP cameras,  smart plugs,  satellite receivers, or even the Raspberry Pi and you will know full well the right time to use a static IP reservation.

In this post, I am going to walk you through that process on the Asus RT-AC66u.

First, log into your Routers webUI, select “LAN” in the left-hand menu. Then select the “DHCP Server” tab. Scroll midway down the page. Locate “Enable Manual Assignment” and select the “Yes” radio button.

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Just below the section above, you will see a drop down box that you can use to select your device using the MAC or currently assigned IP. Enter the “Hostname” for the device. Select “Add/Delete“. This will add your device to the list.

 

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Scroll down and find your device in the list. Select the icon to the left.  Change the “Name” of the device if you so desire. The only really important information here is the “IP” and the “MAC”. 

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Here you also can change the default icon for the device, or add your own custom icons. Here, I am using a camera icon that I downloaded.

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Below you can see some of the custom icons and names that I have set to help me keep track of my devices.

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Asus RT-AC66: Cannot Login Unless Logout Another User First

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When attempting to login to your router’s webUI, you may have run into the error below.

cannot Login unless logout another user first.

This error is usually caused by improperly closing router’s WebUI. This can occur if you are logged in and lose connectivity, or if your browser crashed.

Fortunately, the fix is simple… Assuming you have SSH enabled.

First, SSH into your router and run the two commands shown below.

admin@RT-AC66U:/tmp/home/root# nvram unset login_ip
admin@RT-AC66U:/tmp/home/root# nvram commit

See screenshot below

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Now, attempt to login via the webUI. You should be able to log in without issue.

If you do not have SSH or telnet enabled, you can just power cycle your router.

 

 

Asus RT-AC66U – Installing the ipkg Command

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Note: The RT-AC66U and the RT-AC66R are identical other than their product number. The RT-AC66R is the product sold through Best Buy and RT-AC66U is the product sold directly from ASUS.

IPKG is a cli utility used for package management. It is required to have ipkg installed if you want to configure your router for SNMP,  install BIND, or view I/O to a usb disk as you will need to install software packages that are not included in the stock firmware.

Note: I am running the ASUSWRT-Merlin firmware, you can find it here. The stock firmware may be a bit different, so you might not see the exact screens as shown below.

Prerequisite : USB Drive

To install ipkg you will need to install Download Master.  To Install Download Master you will need to have a USB drive plugged into the router and mounted. In the image below you can see my USB disk, labeled as “SMI USB DISK”

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Troubleshooting USB Drives

I had a bit of an issue here as I was trying to mount a drive that was formatted as EXT4. Apparently this was not supported. See error below.

EXT3-fs: sda1: couldn’t mount because of unsupported optional features (240).
EXT2-fs: sda1: couldn’t mount because of unsupported optional features (240).

I pulled the drive, reformatted as EXT3 and was off and running.

usb 1-1.1: USB disconnect, address 4
usb 1-1.2: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 5
usb 1-1.2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
scsi2 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
scsi 2:0:0:0: Direct-Access SMI USB DISK 1100 PQ: 0 ANSI: 4
sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] 8196096 512-byte hardware sectors (4196 MB)
sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Write Protect is off
sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Mode Sense: 43 00 00 00
sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Assuming drive cache: write through
sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Assuming drive cache: write through
sda: sda1
sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Attached SCSI removable disk
sd 2:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg0 type 0

You can find the list of supported formats and partition sizes here. I would suggest EXT3. NTFS and FAT32 are supported, but I have heard that you might run into issues.

Installing Download Master

Now that you have your USB disk mounted you can install Download Master.

Select USB Applications on the left pane. Then click on Download Master. In the example below, you can see that I have already performed the install.

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You should see the screen below once Download Master is installed.

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Accessing the Router via the CLI

Now you can either telnet or SSH to your router using its LAN IP address.  Note that telnet is the default protocol, however you can enable SSH by clicking on “Administration” in the lower left pane, and then clicking the “System” tab. Under “SSH Daemon” select “Enable SSH”.

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Ipkg installs to the path shown below.

# which ipkg
/opt/bin/ipkg

A guide to using ipkg can be found here.

 

 

Configure the Asus RT-AC66U Router as a Caching DNS Server with Bind

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Introduction

In this article I am going to walk you through the necessary steps to configure your Asus RT-AC66U as a caching dns server using bind. According to Wikipedia“Caching name servers (DNS caches) store DNS query results for a period of time determined in the configuration (time-to-live) of each domain-name record. DNS caches improve the efficiency of the DNS by reducing DNS traffic across the Internet, and by reducing load on authoritative name-servers, particularly root name-servers. Because they can answer questions more quickly, they also increase the performance of end-user applications that use the DNS. Recursive name servers resolve any query they receive, even if they are not authoritative for the question being asked, by consulting the server or servers that are authoritative for the question. “

As you must already know, the Asus RT-AC66U runs Busybox, which is a very small but powerful embedded Linux distro. Because of this there are a lot of familiar commands available via the CLI. However, don’t get to comfortable, as this is still a very foreign land.

Note that this article assumes that you have ssh or telnet working and can log into your RT-AC66U via the CLI.

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