Best Wireless AC router for LEDE?

I'm looking for the best and presumably most powerful, recent router to use with LEDE. Right now I'm using a Netgear R8000 (the last Netgear product I will buy; I have nothing but problems with this company) and I'm thinking about replacing it. I'm also trying to plan for when I move out of my parents' place, and I'll need a router for myself. What would you guys recommend for the best overall Wireless AC (or better) LEDE-compatible router?

I have a Linksys WRT3200ACM and I can highly recommend it. It runs super stable with LEDE. The only problem I have recently is that DFS doesn't seem to work properly (but my wifi module is a bit outdated, maybe that issue is resolved already). Only real downside I see is the price.

Overview of devices which

  • are available (you can buy them somwhere)
  • have >4MB flash
  • have >32MB RAM
  • AC supported


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Considering that the R8000 was more expensive at release than this was, that shouldn't be too big of a problem. I had avoided the Linksys because I had problems with the firmware in the past, only to find out about OpenWRT and later LEDE after the Netgear (which I knew I shouldn't have purchased because they give me even more trouble than any other brand) started acting up.
I hope the latest development branch of LEDE keeps my wireless running right for now though; my wireless kept cutting out in the latest stable release.

The R7800, its Qualcomm CPU is significantly faster than any of its dual core peers other than the Synology RTAC2600ac which uses the same chipset, and reviews wise has probably the best 5Ghz performance/range of any consumer router, ironically even outperforms the R9000 which uses the same Wifi chipset. Hnyman releases builds for the R7800 every few days, the 17.01.2 builds are rock stable. I don't think you can judge a company by one device because I can assure you pretty much you will find similar complaints about various models in different companies. FYI I had the R8000 without any issues and is still running. Anyway I prefer Qualcomm over Broadcom based routers now, they seem more open source friendly.


I have a linksys WRT1900ACS and a WRT3200ACM. The 1900ACS works great to laptops, but periodically kicks off android clients. The WRT3200ACM is complete garbage for open source. Someday there might be good support, but right now it is really flakey. WDS is completely broken. DFS seems really flakey, as a bunch of WiFi channels don't work. It periodically gets in to a situation where the radio is disabled and no matter what channel I select it won't work so I have to reboot. That makes it super frustrating to try to find a working channel by trial and error. Also, the third radio (the primary reason I got the thing) doesn't work at all.

In frustration, I went and got a Netgear R7800, and everything works on that. I wish it had a third radio, but for now I'm using the R7800 as a primary WDS access point and the 1900ACS as a station, while the 3200ACM gathers dust on my shelf. So my advice would be stick to Atheros and avoid Marvell for now. Linksys puts a lot of lip service into how great the WRT series is for open source, but so far they haven't delivered. I do expect that down the line things will change and my WRT3200ACM will someday work really well, but I sure wish I hadn't bought one now in 2017.

I have an R7800 and recently switched to a WRT1900ACv2. Only one CPU core is being used on the R7800 for some reason. Either that or it's seriously biased towards 1 core.

Anyway, wifi seems to be better than the R7800. Also, eSATA :slight_smile:

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@neheb: Maybe the ACv2 is better than the ACSv2. Or do you have any android devices? I actually just shelved my WRT1900ACS and replaced it with an ArcherC7 because I got sick of not even being able to stream music or videos without interruption. The ArcherC7 has lower average throughput, but doesn't kick my android devices off the network every 10 minutes or so.

Now I have two useless linksys boxes. I wish the stock firmware supported WDS or even client mode. I'd actually consider just running stock on one of the routers if it did. But linksys factory firmware lacks almost every possible feature. You can't even block outgoing port 25 on a guest network.

I suppose what I could do, if I were so inclined, is to build a wireless relay out of two routers. I could use my ArcherC7 (or even an old broadcom router running DD-WRT) as a 5GHz cient in 4addr mode (WDS), hook that up with Ethernet to one of the WRT boxes with Ethernet, and then use the WRT box to run a 5 GHz AP on a different channel with the stock firmware. Still, at that point the bottleneck is still the link between the old router and my R7800.

ACS should be newer. I'm using the latest wireless driver from the GitHub page.

My Android phone sometimes lags massively with the ACv2 but I'm putting the blame on the wifi chip on my phone (ath10k based). I can go on and on about why ath10k is complete garbage but that's a story for some other time.

Otherwise the Linksys performs better than my R7800. If only monitor mode would get fixed :slight_smile:

Oh yeah I also like how I can get lower latency in online games by tweaking the Ethernet driver in my router. I disable GRO, GSO, and TSO which shaves off around 1-2ms. Not much but ping > skill. My Archer C7 had the lowest latency. Unfortunately I no longer have it.

You must have used master builds for the R7800 instead of stable because I haven't encountered any issues on stable builds. I haven't seen a single review where the WRT series beats the R7800, it has the best performing 5Ghz performance range/speed wise in the consumer space. The QCA9984 is a great WiFi chip. The bug in the master builds however is fixed with a new patch that's being tested. Plus irqbalance allows you to use both cores evenly, I use it on hnyman's build. Also rather than your phone maybe the ACS Marvell driver has compatibility issues. :grin: From what a person from another project told me, Marvell wasn't exactly open source friendly earlier, its good to hear things have improved in that aspect.

Yes, to confirm, I'm running 17.01.2 with stock wireless drivers on my devices. But I also test with dd-wrt, where everything is a beta and they update the drivers frequently. As soon as either lede or dd-wrt can support an android client stably on one of my WRT devices, I'll put it back into use. It sucks to have $400 worth of routers sitting there useless.

Incidentally, it's not just android. I have a skybell doorbell that absolutely doesn't work with the marvell routers. At first I thought it was a distance thing and set up an old broadcom router (WNDR4500v1) running dd-wrt right next to the doorbell. However, now the doorbell works just fine with my R7800 sitting in a different part of my house.

So you can blame the chipset in the router or the one in the clients, but ultimately I have more choice in routers than clients and just want something that works with my 3 different models of android phone and 3 different models of tablet, none of which is happy with the marvell routers running anything but factory firmware.

That said, I do have new appreciation for the amazing intel 7265 wireless card in my laptop. It achieves great reliability and insane performance in both directions no matter what router I throw at it.

irqbalance helps there, it rebalances things between the two cores based on interrupt frequency/number.

For the record, since I've complained a lot about the linksys WRT series routers in this thread, let me at least point out that the NAT performance is fantastic under LEDE. I have a gigabit WAN connection. With my WRT1900ACS, I'm able to download at 830Mbps (over the wired ports on the router--it's more like 450Mbps over wireless). With my Netgear R7800, I can't crack 250Mbps downloads with LEDE.

The Netgear stock firmware of course does better. I vaguely considered using it until I discovered that it doesn't NAT networks that are not directly connected, so if you have other routers on your network, the NAT is useless.

At this point, I'm sending my WRT3200ACM back for warranty replacement, because the 5GHz WiFi is so unreliable with Android, even under the factory firmware. It's possible I just got a bad unit.

Since I have so many routers, I'm vaguely considering just using my WRT1900ACS with radios disabled as a NAT box running LEDE, and my R7800 as an access point with the DHCP server disabled.

830 Mbps with wrt1900acs and 250 Mbps r7800 -
How did you do the test? Is it over wired or wireless?

Generally, even an older router like ac68u or r6300v2 which uses a dual core 800 mhz broadcom BCM4708 can do ~650 Mbps on pure software nat, or full gigabit with accelerated software nat fastpath/CTF, IF all the traffic only goes through ethernet ports.

I did not specifically do iperf on wireless+nat on these routers, but I've observed that with even just little wireless activity (~10 Mbps) it can tank an ongoing wired iperf test with NAT quite dramatically.

Though wireless activity has no impact on purely offloaded lan-lan traffic provided the traffic stay on the same vlan and the datapath does not enter/leave the cpu.

The wireless throughput to sirq usage ratio is indeed a lot lower than that of wired.

On your deployment setup - I think that is one of the most stable/performant setup you can have on a home network, having separate router doing 1) Wired NAT 2) bridged wireless AP w/o NAT 3) sqm.

Generally I do the following:

  1. Use the cheapest gigabit router doing wired NAT. It doesn't even need to be LEDE/ddwrt, if you can configure the firewall properly.
  2. Use the router with best cpu doing SQM over bridged virtual interfaces (can be bridged wan-lan) without NAT
  3. Use 3x3:3 / 4x4:4 dual band as a wireless AP connected to the NAT router through the SQM device.

My current setup look something like this

public ip / NAT router <---ethernet---> 192.168.1.A bridged SQM device <---ethernet---> multiple 192.168.1.B wireless AP <---wireless---> clients

Both the nat router and sqm router are running LEDE, and couple wireless APs running merlin / ddwrt / lede (yes, I even have dedicated 2.4ghz and 5ghz routers, one for my roommates the rest for myself...)

I was testing with the wired ports, using a combination of iperf3 and I have a feeling my ISP "cheats" on speedtest, basically throttling everything that isn't speedtest, but at least it offers an easy way to check that my NAT performance is decent.

I've read that there are issues with load balancing on the R7800, and that if you only have one flow the NAT may be happening entirely on one CPU core.
Unfortunately, I've swapped my R7800 bank into production use at this point, so can't test any further right now. It's entirely possible that by fiddling I can get better throughput. However, I tried both lede and dd-wrt on the R7800, and neither had good NAT performance. To my surprise, the WRT1900ACS gave much better WAN performance right out of the box.

250 Mbps NAT on ipq8065 does sound quite awful. I assume this is what you did with the iperf nat test:
iperf server/client on say <--> nat router <--> iperf server/client

If it was a irq balance issue, have you tried setting affinity to bind the wan/lan to the 2nd core?

Unfortunately I don't have a r7800. I usually get used/refurbed lede compatible older generation high end router for really cheap. So I don't expect to get a r7800 until at least 2 years later...

Unfortunately, it wasn't such a clean setup. I just had lan <--> R7800 <--> wan, plus possibly (now I don't remember) also one extra firewall rule blocking outgoing SMTP. There were some static routes to other prefixes in And the numbers were from in chromium. (Somehow speedtest-cli gives worse numbers.)

I didn't investigate too carefully because I thought my ISP was giving me really bad upstream performance. I tried both LEDE and DD-WRT with similar results. Then I flashed the stock firmware and got much improved performance. I tried using the stock firmware until I realized the (fast) NAT doesn't work for subnets, so broke my network. To fix things quickly, I threw in my WRT1900ACS, which happened to have LEDE on it, and found to my surprise that I got really decent NAT performance immediately.

As I said, it's not very scientific. It could be that my ISP was throttling me and reset when I reflashed the firmware. But it's one data point suggesting it's easier to get good NAT performance from the WRT1900ACS than from the R7800. Of course, I have another data ponit that It's easier to get stable 5 GHz WiFi from the R7800.

So sadly there is no perfect router, but at least both the WRT1900ACS and R7800 are better than the WRT3200ACM at the moment. The 3200ACM doesn't support client and server on the same radio, and doesn't support 4addr mode. That means not only can't you do WDS, but you can't even use the same radio for both a client and AP. The third radio (which I was initially excited about) can barely get over 100 Mbps even in the 5 GHz bands, so the 3200ACM is completely unusable as a repeater.

I guess what I will say is that the R7800 has finally edged out my ArcherC7 as the best WiFi repeater. I now have the WRT1900ACS as my edge router and the R7800 as a WiFi repeater. I'm think that may be as good as I'm going to get at the moment. I can speedtest 200+Mbps in the same room as the R7800, and 100 Mbps through floors and walls. That's nowhere near the 750 Mbps my wired machines get or the 450 Mbps I get wirelessly in the same room as the WRT1900ACS, but it's a lot better than I was getting before.

hi !
Every 6 months there is a new router out with a faster WIFI, so if you want to stay upto date with that, you have to buy a new $350 router each time...
Buying a PCengines APU2 board for 100€ (or anything like that) and upgrade just the minipci wifi module, where the cost is between $30-$90, can be a cheaper solution.

Compex is making some powerfull boards too :
and they sell Wifi modules:

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Why have I never heard of this before!? It looks so cool! Not to mention I love to tinker with and build stuff like this. I know a lot of people who build their own computers, but I might be the first of my friends to build his own router...