How to flash other firmware on the T-Mobile Cellspot WiFi router

cellspotSo, T-Mobile is giving away a $200 A/C WiFi router to its customers, essentially for free. It’s a fairly powerful router (basically, it’s the ASUS RT-AC68U, with a T-Mobile sticker slapped on the front), with lots of features and only a little bit of customization from the carrier. However, some people are upset that a few key features of RT-AC68U have been removed. Namely:

  • There is no dual WAN support.
  • There is no support for the Download Manager app, which allows you to download large files and torrents directly to USB attached storage.
  • There is only support for up to four guest networks, instead of six on the RT-AC68U.

While many people wouldn’t ever use any of these, there are power users (like me) who want them. Luckily, the stock RT-AC68U firmware can be flashed onto the router with no issues, along with forked versions of the firmware like that provided by Merlin. Here are two options, depending on the current state of your Cellspot router:

Option 1: You have not connected your Cellspot router to the internet.

In this case, you are probably on the original software version, and it’s as easy as uploading the firmware to the router like normal. To do this, simply download the specific firmware you want (here’s the stock firmware from ASUS). Unzip the file, sign into the web UI for your router (while connected, navigate to, and click on the firmware version number at the top of the page. You are now at the firmware upgrade page – to continue, click Choose File, find your unzipped firmware file, and click upload.

That’s it!

If you get an error while doing this, you’ll have to try option 2.

Option 2: Your router has been connected to the internet and automatically updated to the latest firmware version, or it shipped with later firmware.

If this is the case, you’ll have to flash the firmware in recovery. To do this, you’ll need to download the ASUS Firmware Restoration Utility. Although ASUS has removed the download links for this utility from the RT-AC68U support site, it is available here. (This version, although it’s officially for the RT-N66U, will work will all current ASUS routers.) If you haven’t already, you’ll also need to download a copy of the firmware you want to flash.

Next, follow these steps to flash the firmware onto your router in recovery mode. (Again, the instructions are written for the RT-N66U, but will work just fine for the Cellspot router. These are the instructions I used myself, with zero issues.)

That’s it! You’ll have a fully functional ASUS RT-AC68U router, with a fancy T-Mobile sticker.


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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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