One Netgear R7800 could happily cover quite a large area with no issues for me, but they are no longer easy to come by. Is there a worthy replacement? Does not matter if that is AC or AX as long as I do not have to deal with a mesh, etc. I would only need it for WIFI coverage.
Are ZYXEL NBG6817 & Netgear R7800 still the best routers for WIFI coverage and stability?
I can't answer the question I'm afraid, although I feel your pain in trying to find good, performant and up-to-date hardware which also supported by OpenWrt - the intersection between hardware I would wish to buy, good OpenWrt support and actual availablity in the UK is very close to an empty set.
Most of my kit is so old it doesn't run 802.11ac so I've been thinking of updating to something a little more modern - but choosing hardware is not straightforward.
The Armour Z2 (NBG6817) is EoL, I managed to pick one up as it looks to be the best bet for my needs but it was a lot more than I really wanted to pay (I guess we can also thank the silicon shortage for that). In completing the purchase I appear to have bought 50% of the stock which is available in the UK right now.
The Netgear X4S/R7800 is also EoL as far as I can see and I can't find one in stock at all.
I also bought a D-Link DIR-882 - which looks OK but I am puzzled. Does it have a Mediatek MT7621A as suggested by WikiDevi, several reviewers and by the OpenWrt hardware page, or a Broadcom BCM4709C0 as suggested by some other sources - it wouldn't be the first time manufacturers had put entirely different internals in what is ostensibly the same product but MIPS vs ARM is really chalk and cheese.
I also note that the DIR-882 is EoL, and VLANs require hacking config files by hand. Not an absolute show stopper - I've been playing with Unix and Linux systems since the 1980's so I'm not afraid of a text config file but I'm also not blind to the advantages of a well thought through GUI.
There is a theme here - by the time OpenWrt support for a device matures to the point of usability there is a high chance it will be obsolete. While this is great for keeping old hardware up to date (my two APs here are running Chaos Calmer and Attitude Adjustment which underlines just how old they are) is is not much use if you want a nice new shiny WiFi 6 product.
I don't know what the answer is - more support from manufacturers clearly but I'm not sure that is easy to organise.
Meanwhile, if anyone does have suggestions for a good 802.11ac router I also would be interested to find out what they are (or still interested even though I've bought some hardware).
In the UK, the Belkin rt3200 could be an alternative.
Hardware-wise, ipq807x would be the natural successor - but OpenWrt support is not quite in a usable shape, yet.
Disclaimer: I have no personal experience with this device, performance is supposed to be good - wireless range apparently not quite on par.
It still needs a snapshot build though AIUI.
In itself that's not a problem but, for the moment, I need kit which "just works".
That will apply to anything "better than r7800/ nbg6817", 21.02.x is done and dusted - new device support is only available in master (or not even there, yet).
That is not a big issue: snapshot is very stable almost all of the time and it is easy to flash the previous build and wait for a fix.
That is where a challenge lies: it is my impression that a mesh setup is an involved process and requires monitoring. My hope was there would be a device with a good range like R7800.
Netgear XR500 has recently been merged, though.
To an extent it depends on why you are looking at the snapshot build.
If you have a router which was supported in the previous mainline version then, yes, I'd expect snapshot to be stable.
But if your device was not supported in the last full release chances are snapshot might have some rough edges.
I confess I "missed" the Belkin - judging by the forum comments it is working fairly well but this brings me onto another minor gripe.
It would be useful if the main hardware table had a "years available" column to make it easy to find current hardware - the last supported version of OpenWrt can be a bit of a clue but even my venerable wzr-hp-g300nh is still supported as of 21.02.1 and that went EoL around 2011.
As an aside it would also be good if the 3rd party "best OpenWrt router 2021" pages were not still pushing obsolete hardware
Edit - I see that there *is* availability data on the extended hardware table - though it's not immediately obvious how to find it (Google helped). There are also notes on the Wiki that a lot of the availability data is out of date.
The data is as good as the input it receives from the community (you?).
If we want this to be usefull, the data needs to be updated regularly.
Everybody can do it, it's a wiki!
Yes, I agree, though the need to be logged in will tend to put some off.
I have updated the NBG8617 page to indicate it is EoL this year.