Best device at ~60 eur

Hello everyone,
After extensively reading the forum I still did not get to a conclusion...
I'd like to pick the best performance at about 60 eur for the following use case:

  • decent ac WiFi speed
  • VPN ( 2 simultaneous tunnels using wireguard)
  • firewall ( outgoing) with quite few rules...
  • vlan support - need to make sure my set top box gets different DNS addresses from DHCP versus all other devices
  • all gigabit ethernet ports
  • service at my location is 200mbit dl and 100mbit upload

I know there's bound to be limits at this price point , but the idea is to get the best bang for buck!

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
Any suggestion is very appreciated!

How fast is your internet connection?

Thanks for bringing this up totally forgot to put this in the initial post.
It is 200mbit dl and 100mbit ul.

I think something based on MT7621 (I use a ZBT WG3526 and a WG2626) could suit your needs.
WiFi speed on 5Ghz is around 340Mbps, on 2.4Ghz around 100 Mbps (the client is a MacBook Pro Late 2013).
You don't specify what kind of VPN. With a WireGuard VPN you may reach 200 Mbps, with an OpenVPN not more than 30Mbps.
All ports are gigabit and VLAN configurable (to be fair, some people reported a bug in the switch mt7530 which has never been fixed and causes some reboot, you may find some other info on the forum. Personally, I don't recall having it).

The price varies but is close to your budget.


Given the need for VPN, I'd favour ipq40xx over mt7621 here, as its CPU performance is quite a bit better (and quad-core will also help with multiple VPN tunnels), This will slightly push the budget to ~70 EUR though.

Thanks for your feedback - I just updated the thread stating that the tunnels will be using wireguard.
I've trued to search for the WG2626 but could not find it, only the 3G version, which does not make sense for me.
From the list of supported devices in the wiki, most are impossible for me to buy or no longer sold, but I think I can get this for a reasonable amount - Asus RT-AC57U
The ASUS RT-AC65P could also be a possibility, the advantage I'm seing is USB 3.1 (not very relevant for me and the 256MB Ram...
Perhaps either of these could be a good choice?
Woudl like to see about options, but does not seem easy to find stuff that is for sale at this point...

Thanks for your feedback, I was looking around the wiki for supported devices using this arch but all I could find that was actually available to buy or have sent to me is the Asus RT-AC58URT-AC58U.

I'm actually surprised that so far the devices that I'm being able to find as purchasable are Asus...

Again, if other devices come to mind that I may be looking over, I will be thankfull for any further suggestions.

This is (the only-) device strongly recommended against, as ASUS equipped it with only 128 MB RAM - which is insufficient for a device with two good ath10k (qca4018) radios, for ipq40xx you really mustn't go below 256 MB RAM (which basically all other devices using this SOC ship with). Yes, ath10k-ct-smallbuffers mitigates this to some extent, but you're still limited with 128 MB RAM on these devices - strongly prefer something, anything, else using this SOC.

Thanks for pointing that out, my incorrect understanding of the smalbuffers change was that it completely fixed it. Now coming to terms with my conclusion is that I likely need to spend more.
At this point I am also considering starting out with a RPI3 (which I already own) and then moving on to a RPI4 (which I also already own but is taken for other purposes), without a USB secondary ethernet port and a cheap managed switch, such as the zyxel or the d-link 8 port switches.
This approach kind of sucks in the sense that I will have to pass both the wan interface and the lan interface trough the same ethernet port. While I'm not worried about performance (especially in the case of the RPI4) it is concerning that there will be no physical separation between interfaces since the same physical eth RPI port will be used for both WAN and LAN... Less then ideal, but gets me started for the time being.
I read in the foruns that the tp-link managed switch offers the admin interface in all ports and that cannot be changed, so I'm staying away from that.
For the time being WIFI is not very important so it'll do.
Perhaps later on i'll get back to this search altough this time knowing that a 256Mb device min is the only way to go.
Thank you very much for your insight, it did help a lot to context some of the stuff in the forum threads.
But if anyways you know of a cheap ipq40xx with one ath10k (or 2) radios (ath10k seems to be the best for OpenWrt because of drivers, right?) and enough memory to be a good choice do please do share it with me as I would vastly prefer this to the RPI plan.

You could possibly go for NanoPi R2S (I am not sure how well it is supported now, but there are posts about it on the forum) or even the newer R4S (if or when it's in the market).

Hi mhegab, I've been looking around in the foruns. But 3 things are concerning:

  1. No Official support for OpenWrt
  2. Some people report very high temperatures while running
  3. the 2nd interface is an USB3.0 nic, so I'm fearfull of the same heat and low performance (both CPU occupancy and troughput) on that interface...
    Do you have some first hand experience with the board?
    Thank you, Mario

I don't have the board, I am afraid.

It appears that R4S is out already. A bit more expensive but is more powerful, and the second Ethernet is PCI based if I remember.

I have a r2s myself. Regarding the high temperatures: The manufacturer used to sell them with plastic cases that are inappropriate. The newer metal box (which I have) looks pretty much okay concerning the temperatures.

There is official support in newer linux kernels but it seems like u-boot itself does not officially support the board yet. Of course, you can't run official 19.07 there at the moment - is this a requirement for you? If yes, please update your initial post.

The major issue I see with the r2s is the lack of wifi. You would need to attach an external wifi (over USB) which is not really power-efficient and the available bandwidth should be very limited because the single internal USB3 connection is already in use for the second NIC, leaving you only with USB 2 for wifi.

The r4s might be better in this regard but is even less supported. Also, I suppose the r4s to have a much higher power consumption which should be comparable to the rockpro64.

Please don't get me wrong. The r2s and r4s are interesting devices, but given your requirements regarding fast wifi and good support in OpenWRT I would not encourage considering them at this point.

I see newifi3 routers selling as long as 20USD in my market place, that thing is rocking with 512mb ram so.