Better performance with OpenWrt

Is it possible that router with openwrt have much better performance than the stock firmware?
How it even possible?

Typically stock firmware is based on SDKs from the hardware manufacturer. These SDKs tend to run behind upstream OpenWrt in regards to general software and kernel, on the plus side they tend to offer access to acceleration engines in the SoC that often are not supporyed by upstream Linux and hence OpenWrt.
The consequence of all of this is that use cases that match the often limited capabilities of the hardware accelerators often are faster with stock firmwares than with OpenWrt, while features that improved/were introduced with more recent kernel versions and do not profit from the accelerators might well be faster with OpenWrt.
So the answer is IMHO: 'it depends...'


"Better" performance depends on how/what you want to measure. Stock firmware is for most devices based on old(er) SDKs like @moeller0 is saying. This means older kernels which may have security issues if the OEM didn't patch them (which is 99.9% sure they didn't).

Older kernels/firmware usually means less features. With OpenWrt you can add additional features that the stock firmware doesn't support. You can think about something like Wireguard for VPN. But also, and I'm surprised @moeller0 didn't mention this, "Performance" is not specifically the router. With Active Queue Management, SQM (Bufferbloat), depending on the device, the throughput will be less (in measured performance), BUT the overall latency of the network will reduce making "the internet" much snappier from an end-user point of view.

I agree with the the answer "it depends...". Especially since you didn't mention which device and how old.

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The device is Xiaomi AX6 , ipq807x
I think it manufactured in 2019 or 2020
The openwrt is SNAPSHOT, but seems very promising..

+1; "performance" can mean quite a lot of things, I naively assumed "maximal throughput" in an on-line speedtest here, as that often is the first measure that people take and compare. I should have asked the OP instead of simply assuming...

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Actually specifically that device is already on a fairly modern kernel 4.4.x. If you can run a vanilla OpenWrt version on that AND have the benefits of the NSS cores you could actually see some performance improvements. Looking at the work on the NSS cores on the IPQ806x it should be relatively simple port that work to the 807x series. That way you will have the benefit of getting security updates/patches and have the hardware accelerators plus "any" OpenWrt package / feature that you might like.