Archer A\C 7 Versions

There are better options today than an Archer C7/A7. The Linksys EA6350 V3 (only the V3 is supported by OpenWrt) can be had for $25-$30 on ebay. Despite its quirks, I think it's a far better choice than an Archer C7/A7. I replaced an Archer C7 V2 with one to improve my WiFi speed.

The EA6350v3 supports faster 5 GHz than the Archer A7/C7 despite having only two antennas (and how many clients have more than that anyway?), because it has Wave 2 WiFi (Archer A7/C7 is Wave 1) support. The four core 710MHz ipq4018 SoC ARM CPU on the EA6350v3 is considerably faster than the single core Archer MIPS CPU despite its slightly slower clock rate. It also has double the memory and flash of the Archer A7/C7.

There are a couple quirks.

  1. The radio calibration file that comes with OpenWrt for the EA6350v3 delivers terrible 2.4 GHz performance. This is easily fixed by replacing the file /lib/firmware/ath10k/QCA4019/hw1.0/ board-2.bin with /files/etc/calibration/pwr/board-linksys_ea6350v3.bin (rename it to board-2.bin) from NoTengoBattery's optimized build. I last pulled the replacement file from his openwrt-1.11.oc.tar.gz custom build archive (it's an older version of his custom build). Or just use NoTengoBattery's optimized build.

  2. Do not use luci to edit the VLAN set up (it will save it wrong on this device) and do not touch or change the default LAN eth0 and WAN eth1 assignments. If you set up vlan's, put your vlan's on eth0.20, eth0.30, etc. and do it by editing the network file directly. There is something about the switch in the ipq401x SOC that requires its default vlan assignments to be left alone.

That said, the Archer A7/C7 is not without its issues:

The Archer C7/A7 is still a usable, albeit dated all in one router design if you already have one and its performance meets your needs, but if I were starting out with a new (or new used) device, I would look elsewhere. The EA6350v3 is but one alternative.