Advice needed - choosing new Wi-Fi router

Hello everyone!

I'm looking for a new wi-fi router since my old trustworthy, though not-so-reliable-now, RT-N66U has begun acting up on me recently.
I decided to go with a device, that supports OpenWRT.
I've gone through the recommended "Table of Hardware: Ideal for OpenWrt" list and picked a few devices. Since I'm pretty new to OpenWRT I require some help/advice in choosing the right one.

The list of requirements:

  • Great support for OpenWRT
  • At least 4 Gigabit LAN ports
  • Gigabit WAN (my ISP connection is currently at 200 Mbit, but they increase the bandwidth constantly)
  • Fast ac Wi-Fi with good range (I live in an apartment, lots of concrete walls around, so i'm using RT-AC58U in AP mode as a repeater now - would be nice to remove it completely).
  • I'm not using a VPN on the router at the moment, but it might change later - I've got access to wireguard servers.
  • It should be fast and handle high loads with no problems. I've looked for 1,5+ GHz, 512 Mb RAM device on the HW Table. I've got a home server built on FreeNAS, and I'm running a cloud software on it with multiple device constantly connected to it. Plus a couple of media streaming devices, PC, Laptop, Network printer, couple of phones. In total - up to 13-15 devices.
  • Since I've got a separate NAS I don't really care for USB or SATA ports.
  • As for the budget - I'm expecting to pay around 200-ish USD.

The devices I've picked through my research:
NetGear R7800
Linksys WRT3200ACM (I've read it had some wi-fi issues)
Linksys EA8500
ZyXEL NBG6817 (Armor Z2) (oh god, why is it so expensive?)

Is any of the listed above good for my needs? Any other options?

Thanks in advance!

powerful x86 machine, you want to do a lot of stuff :stuck_out_tongue: . AFAIK none of the router you mentioned can do gigabit speed with openwrt firmware. some users here have great results with raspberry pi4 + unify ap.

WRT3200ACM can do linespeed however when you start to thow in QoS etc it'll surely not do that and includes many x86 platforms aswell.

If anything, and not necessarily running OpenWrt... RockPro64 + Dual Port Intel NIC will get you a long way in terms of hardware. :slight_smile:

As far as range goes faster speeds usually means less coverage because of signal degredation, so don't expect your new AP/Router to replace the need of a repeater irregardless of what you choose.

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Thanks for the replies guys.
Does the gigabit issue concerns only WAN? or LAN ports as well?
My ISP connection won't reach 1Gbit anytime soon I believe, so it shouldn't be an issue, I think It might top-out at 500 Mbit max in the near future. Even If it does reach gigabit in the next 5 years I won't go for it - no need really, even my current bandwidth is more than enough.
As for the LAN speed - that is important, since moving large chunks of data from PC to NAS and backwards is a regular activity. Currently I'm getting around 105-110 MB/sec which is close to 900 Mbit - wouldn't wanna loose it.

I really don't want to go full out advanced setup on this - not sure I'll have time to do all the research - I'm into tech stuff, but I don't do it professionally. So an ideal solution for me is out-of the box router + custom firmware.

P.S. I can live with repeater, even the current one :smiley: It only handles low loads - phones or laptop browsing internet. Everything "heavy" is connected via LAN to the main router.

LAN traffic is usually switched in hardware, at line speed - routing between WAN and LAN is the bottleneck.