Best Cheap Routers with SQM

Hello friends, how are you ? You could recommend me options for cheap routers that have decent hardware (1000mbps or 100mbps )to handle SQM without cpu and memory ram problems, and have a decent signal range. It can be only 2.4 ghz or 2.4/5 ghz, no problem. Thanks so much if you can help.

obs: That the installation of LEDE is easy to do, for users with little knowledge.

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There's a whole thread on cheap routers, and a whole thread on enthusiast routers. I think you need to decide based on speeds which you need. If your speed is under 100Mbps you can probably work with some cheap routers, if your speed is over 100Mbps you should look at the enthusiast routers:


Generic question --> Generic answer
Get ARM (Marvell or QCA) of if you feel adventurous MT7621, don't bother with MT7620 or older Atheros/QCA platforms.

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With "cheap" being a relative term (your definition of "cheap" may not be mine), more an more people getting connectivity in the 500-1000 mbps range, greater desire for SQM, VPN, and other CPU-intensive functions, more and more people are suggesting x86_64 / AMD64 hardware for a router, then combining that with either a "formal" stand-alone AP, or using a solid, inexpensive all-in-one router with good wireless support configured as a "dumb AP", especially at higher rates and CPU loading.

I certainly wouldn't be looking at an all-in-one MIPS-based device, based on your descriptions, nor anything with less than, say 64 MB flash and 128 MB RAM.

Also, x86 can sometimes be "cheap" even at high prices, for various reasons: maybe you are replacing a machine anyway, and can repurpose it to your router. Maybe you can buy something used from eBay or a local store. Maybe you have a high speed connection coming to town next year and you won't have to replace your router next year if you have x86. Maybe you look at a longer timeframe: 5 to 10 years and see that x86 will last you the whole time whereas consumer all-in-one stuff will need replacement 2 or 3 times in this timeframe... Maybe you also want a NAS and are willing to run your router and your NAS as separate containers or Virtual Machines on a single piece of hardware...

It's not all down to the up-front cost of buying a new device in the market.

That being said, unless you can do a repurpose or a used purchase or split the machine across multiple uses, x86 will probably be one of the more expensive up-front choices.

Please add energy costs into the calculation for repurposing old devices, yes well-chosen x86 hardware can be very low power (my own special-purpose x86 LAN server chugs 6 watts from the wall), but a repurposed desktop system easily swallows 35-80 watts for semi-current gear and more than 130 watts for older stuff continuously. While electricity prices vary significantly around the globe, taking a little care of this when purchasing devices that are meant to run 24/7 and don't need, e.g., top end 3d performance might make a better targetted device pay for itself in energy costs within rather short time.

@dlakelan thank you for you feedback, I will read all the posts quoted by you.
@diizzy What do you think of the Linksys EA4500 and 4200v2? Cpu Marvell 88F6282. The problem is due to the weak signal, since it has no external antenna.

When I say cheap would be for example a TP LINK wr1043NDv2-v3-v4, or something similar. V4 is a superior model to others. But his installation tutorial is different from the others.

Absolutely, this is a very good point. Repurposing a small NUC type desktop makes much more sense than a 200 watt gamer box.

The archer c7 also looks good, however the 1043NDv4 is much cheaper, just does not have 5 ghz.

Explain me better please? A router with 64mb of flash and 128mb of ram are not able to handle SQM LEDE?

It really depends on the speed of your WAN. Memory is not usually the bottleneck for SQM rather CPU power is the bottleneck. How fast is your WAN?

Old units in that price range are almost certainly going to cause you problems due to:

  • Comparatively slow, single core MIPS SOCs
  • Many have only a single Ethernet NIC, limiting throughput
  • Limited RAM (64 MB is barely enough these days, without SQM)
  • Small flash limiting their useful lifespan (16 MB is enough today, but likely won't be in a couple years)

I think there are better "cheap" routers than the Archer C7 (though I do own 5 of them running as APs), unless you are picking them up used in the 30€ / US$40 or less range.

For the purchase of a new device, in pretty much any price range, my personal suggestion is a minimum of "64mb of flash and 128mb of ram" to allow a few years of use prior to it being under-resourced. Many units are available at well under US$100 that meet those minimums.

Edit: At 35 mbps, yes, something in the class of an Archer C7 (750-1000 MHz MIPS, 128 MB RAM, dual Ethernet NIC) should handle SQM. Again, I think there are better options than the Archer C7 on the market today, especially at its price new.

I have 35 mb ADSL2+.

Jeff Can you specify some models? Obs: I own a TENT AC10, Realtek 1 ghz, 128mb ram ddr3, could I use it as an AP? Would this setting decrease the use of cpu and router ram with LEDE?

obs : i have tp link wr841n v9.3, it's 560 mhz atheros, 32 mb ram, i need upgrade my router =((.

Avoid ARMv5, it's more or less deprecated.
You want ARMv7 or better, the "cheapest" "best" solution would probably be Espressobin board and using whatever you already have as AP. Linksys WRT1*** are solid choices or IPQ4***-based ones might be worth a look.

The thread on "Favorite cheap" linked above is a good starting point. I broke down and bought a GL.iNet "Slate" (~US$70, dual-band, travel-sized) a couple of weeks ago, but haven't unwrapped it yet, so can't comment further. I purchased it for its dual-band capability, size and ability to run off 5 VDC, not its CPU power. From the OpenWrt mailing list, last night, Alberto Bursi wrote;

On 05/12/2018 15:08, Carlos Ferreira wrote:

I still have a bunch of Old Foneras and some TP-Link 703N and TL-MR11U
battery powered micro-routers.
The foneras are kinda useless, but the TP-Links are somewhat usefull
and I still use them with OpenWRT.

What other inexpensive routers would you sugest to substitute the ones
from TP-Link I just cited?

I'll recommend GL.inet minirouters, AR150 (which is basically the same SoC but with 16MB flash and 64MB ram) or MT300N, AR300M lite. Can be found for 20$ or less and are all straight upgrades over the 703N while keeping the same size, more ram/rom/ethernet ports, SD card slots and PoE modules in some cases.

Their battery-powered minirouter has a mini pcie slot for a 4G modem, but it's not inexpensive. It's around 60$ without the modem (or more with a 4G modem installed) It's the GL-MiFi.

They use OpenWrt as base firmware, and have web interface in uboot for firmware recovery.

That all said, if I wasn't looking for size, I'd definitely go with a ARM-based router if looking for an all-in-one. I personally run my routing on x86_64 / AMD64 devices.

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