@dlakelan Thanks, I hadn't twigged that VLAN support was possible now with a generic switch.
Crazy cool feature. I haven't checked into OpenWRT dev for a while, and it's amazing to see the way it continues to evolve - it's great.
So, yes, I will definitely get a gigabit Ethernet switch in the mix...
As for the VPS, there are Azure and AWS datacenters in Johannesburg and Cape Town, so that should be fine (I'm a DevOps engineer as it happens).
Although... @bnhf I was intrigued and a bit confused by one or two things you said:
USB also works for any devices supporting tethering like many "MiFi" type devices do.
Do you mean in this case the common USB 4g-wifi "dongles" that are often offered by telco providers? eg the HUAWEI E8372 (which also has external antenna connection).
Connecting 2 of these via USB could be a solution for me.
In general, though, MiFi routers do NOT have the ability to form network connections via USB, as far as I know. They generally have mini USB ports for charging, and all network connections are over 802.11. Hence why I had to hunt to find slightly more costly models like the Netgear LB1120 which have Ethernet ports.
Please correct me if I have any of this wrong.
Regarding RPi as AP - I think I will go with probably the TP-Link AP that I mentioned, as I need to cover a good area.
I'm still a bit mystified by this comment though:
with the 3B being an OK choice, when combined with a Gigabit switch on the LAN side (using a single subnet)
Are you saying that if I use a 3B and Gigabit switch on the LAN side, then I CANNOT use VLANs and must use a single subnet, unless I want to be slowed to 100Mbps? Thereby meaning that I cannot use the switch now to connect my Ethernet-enabled WAN routers?
I'm sorry for the confusion - I just can't get clear on the exact scenario that you're advising on(ie what is connected to what?).