AP Hardware for around 50 EUR / 60 USD

I have my Archer C7 V2 sharing an NTFS HDD and running SMB and miniDLNA, with 16 MB of FLA. I imagine 32 MB should be comfortable for what you are asking.

If the TV is the device that will play media the most then I would have miniDLNA on the device in that floor if it can be connected by cable, especially if you will be playing files that doesn't need trans-coding (e.g. not demanding of the router at that floor). That way you don't overload your network with high volume of data necessarily, and you also avoid interruption of video steaming if WiFi drops. Or you could have the miniDLNA server on the main router but have the AP connected with cables to both router and the TV.

I think you mean if it can not be connected by cable. Your suggestion would be to limit wifi retransmission congestion. If it's connected by cable, the issue is moot, as the gigabit bandwidth is enough to stream something like 100 HD streams.

EAP225 V3 has only 1 Ethernet port. If that post is connected to the main router then the TV will have to connect wireless, unless:

Yeah I was thinking of wiring up only the APs, of course if you need to wire more devices, then $15 dumb gigabit switches provide more ports where needed.

@jeff
Since I am based in Germany, I am absolutely not worried about getting anything like a symmetric 1 GBit fiber connection in the near future. Before this happens, hell will freeze. :rofl:
I just got my 100 Mbit VDSL connection one week ago. Before that I had some crappy LTE connection, that was unable to provide a consistent 16 Mbit downstream. Feels like the universe is dropping on my devices now.

@dlakelan
The WRT32X costs about 200 Euro new/used in Germany, which I am not really willing to spend. Having to buy at least 2 more APs. Other than that it would surely fit my needs well.
You guys don't know some shops that ship this to Germany? (maybe even avoiding taxes? :sunglasses:)

VLANs I will do sir! I guess you will here me screaming for help, once the new hardware is set up.

@mhegab
The TV is connected by WiFi, which is working pretty fine for streaming. I could however also run a flat cable to AP1.


I quickly created a small layout of my network setup, see Post 1.

Might want to look at @slh's suggestions and the comments following

His opinions have always held weight with me, and he's much more familiar with the European market and its availability and pricing than I am.

Edit: It wasn't long ago that I was thrilled by a 30/3 xDSL connection. The changes in availability and pricing have been over the last 3 years or so, and you did mention "future-proof" as a desirable attribute.

Yeah, that's a lot, particularly since you can get a Mini PC for less and it will have way way more power to route and be NAS etc.

Of course no WiFi

Even at 100Mbps if you want SQM (and you do) and OpenVPN, you're best off getting the mini pc, consolidating services, and considering it as a longer term investment. The Mini PC will route and NAS at satisfying performance for a decade. Current devices below the level of WRT32X or ZyXEL Z2 are kinda sorta adequate for speeds available today. Only those two (or ones similar in price) have headroom at all for your speeds with SQM and NAS etc.

From a capital investment strategy, buying the mini pc + a smart switch + 2 or 3 external APs is going to provide high quality high speed performance for much longer than the cheaper up-front route of buying something like Archer C7s used and distributing them around. Of course you have to have access to the cash...

I've long been a proponent of used Archer C7 v2s (and have five) at ~US$30-40. However, if IPQ40xx-based units (like the NBG6617) are available in Europe for not much more new, I'd be buying those in a heartbeat over the Archer C7.

Well, f it's working fine then you don't need to run a cable until you need it. I just presumed that you will be streaming 8k videos or something, or why else would you be worried about the 100 mbps?

When you are done with them, send me one! I would like to try the WDS (or alternative solutions) with the one I have :slight_smile:

That NBG is not cheap here in US, more than the WRT32X !!!

The gl-b1300 looks like it's in the range of cost.

slh indicated that the NBG6617 was significantly more affordable in Europe. The Linksys EA6350 v3 he suggested as another, less-expensive, alternative (with the caveat that the v1 and v2 are not supportable). I'm waiting on the https://www.gl-inet.com/products/gl-s1300/ to be released, hopefully soon after the New Year's break.

@jeff
Thanks for linking this helpful post!
With future proof I didn't mean the support of higher internet speeds, number one priority for me is the OpenWRT update support! Because I know that the images get bigger and bigger from time to time. That is way I want as much flash as possible, even on the dumb APs.
Gigabit LAN should be enough for the next 10 years I guess. Everything in my network that needs high speeds is wired anyway.


I just looked around some online markets and if I'm lucky I could get 2 used EA6350 for 80 Euro. (currently asking the seller if they are v3's)
I guess that is a pretty good deal, for AP only hardware?
The 128 MB flash and 256 MB RAM should be more than enough for OpenWRT and the mesh plugin. (I hope it is called plugin?)
POE-APs are no use to me as I need gigabit switches on each of the APs, since there are some wired clients on every AP.

I also think @dlakelan is right. I should get either a really powerfull router or mini-PC for handling all the other tasks and start using VLANs.
I really fell in love with the WRT32X, but they are so expensive in europe. Wish I could buy it somehow cheap in the US.
The thing is, even if it doesn't have enough power anymore in lets say 3 years. The prices for these high end routers are so stable in the european market. I could sell it with minimal losses.

EDIT:
What I also would like to ask.
Lets say my APs have a different wifi chipset than the WRT32X.
Is this a problem for the mesh wifi? Will I run into any compatibility issues?

EDIT 2:
Just found this: Netgear R7800 exploration (IPQ8065, QCA9984)
Wouldn't the EA6350v3 have enough cpu power to provide an upload speed of 40 Mbit/s running openvpn? It is using the same chipset as the RT-AC58U.
When I need more speed one day I could still outsource these tasks to a mini-PC and keep the EA6350v3's running as APs.

Instead of mini-PC, check
https://pcengines.ch/apu2.htm
Top-of-the-crop hardware.

Actually the APU2 is a good board, but not top of the crop any more. The mini PC I linked with J3160 at 1.6GHz CPU is probably faster.

In any case the PC based hardware is all much higher performance than even high end embedded stuff like the WRT32X so if prices are similar the x86 based solution is a no brainier.

Sadly the two EA6350 have been v1's.

But you guys got me thinking:
One dedicated APU2 or Mini-PC for all the routing and server stuff.
Three Archer C7 running OpenWrt, for wifi mesh.

Shouldn't this be the best option for me?
Considering the fact that the C7's have the best bang for the buck in terms 5 GHz troughput.
Or will OpenWrt stop to support devices with 16 MB flash?

I've been advocating this route for about a year here. For anyone with the up-front cash and/or anything like significant requirements (+200Mbps WAN, SQM, gaming, NAS functions, proxy, etc)

I think 16MB is fine for a while, certainly for dumb AP mode.

archer-c7-v1-squashfs-sysupgrade.bin	83100d7101d9e6d5a36ad431228779ff579b8e684c60a49b617eacf80671c291	3968.0 KB	Wed Jan 30 22:12:16 2019

So about 4MB for the base image for an archer c7. If it has 16MB flash it should be fine for the remaining years you're likely to get out of it (4-5?). But I'd be looking at used and hopefully something like $30-40 at most. Otherwise that GL-B1300 starts to look a lot better: smaller, more modern chipset, 32MB flash and 256MB RAM.

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The GL-B1300 isn't available used anywhere, costs 80 Euro new and has only 3 LAN ports.
Then I guess I am going to first get me some C7's. They cost about 40 Euro used.
Is it recommended to look for the latest hardware revisions? Or is the wifi performance the same for each of the revisions?

What APU/Mini-PC would you then suggest?
Especially which specs should I be looking for? (except for AES obviously)

Any of the C7s seem to work based on the fact that there are images for v1,v2,v3,v4,v5 on the download site (which is very limited research on my part). I did remember someone complaining about the v5 here, but it was a while back. I'd recommend to read the device page and make sure you understand any limitations related to specific versions.

I'd recommend any MiniPC with AES-NI and 4 Intel NIC ports. 2G RAM and 32G flash or better. The one I linked above seems nice.

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The v1 revision should be avoided at all costs, as its 5 GHz wlan (QCA9880-AR1A) is not supported by ath10k - revisons v2-v5 and the archer a7 v5 come with the supported QCA9880-BR4A and should be fine, although I wouldn't buy them for their current prices anymore (neither new, nor used).