Broke uni student looking for a hackable "pirate wifi" setup

Hey everyone,

New to the forum and to OpenWrt in general here. I have a bit of experience with networking but I'm not an expert so apologies if I make any mistakes.

The background
I just moved into university accomodation (not run by the university, but by a company that caters to students in the city and provides studios in a campus). Each room has a Ruckus H320 on the wall -- basically an AP that gives each resident their own network. 400Mbps is what I was told I'd get when I moved in, which already isn't too great, but testing it gave me 100Mbps or less from my PC connected straight to the box. I can't configure the Ruckus box at all, no matter what I try, including factory resetting it -- I suspect there's some kind of central management server but I don't know enough about it to say for sure.

But being an irresponsible young person I realised that the AP unscrews from the wall, where we can see it's supplied with a beautiful blue Cat5e cable that feeds it connection and PoE. I was told the campus connects to an ISP with 1Gbps fiber, and whaddayaknow, plugging that blue sucker into my PC gives me 1000-1200Mbps. It's a beautiful sight to behold.

The goal
I want a router+wireless AP combination (either one box, or two separate devices) that I can plug into the Secret Blue Cable and use to provide networking to my PC, phone, TV and whatever else I'm messing about with at the time. OpenWRT is a must on the router and I'd really like it on the AP as well, should that be a separate box. Because I'm not lucky enough to be blessed with infinite wealth, the whole setup has a max budget of about 150 EUR, but lower is always better. I'd like speeds of around 600-800Mbps - I think using the full quota, even on short downloads, could arouse suspicion. Ideally all the items would be purchaseable in either the Netherlands or Germany.

The question
What would be the best setup for me? I could get a NanoPi R4S 4GB as a router and connect it to a cheap-as-chips AP, but the NanoPi would already run me 125EUR and I don't know what AP would be best. I could get an all-in-one box: the TP-Link Archer C6 v3 seems good and is available for under 40EUR which would be a godsend. The Asus RT-AX53U is a bit pricier but supports WiFi 6. There are a couple of options from Linksys, but they seem to be a worse value than the two I mentioned.

What do you think would be a good option for me?

I know this is a lot of text, and a few hard limitations. Thanks for reading this far and for all your help in advance. Love from NL <3

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The contract you signed when moving in probably states that you are not allowed to replace their AP by your own.


It doesn't. I don't think they'd suggest me to change the router, but there's no clause where it's mentioned anywhere.

RT3200 / E8450
and the usual suspects from Xiaomi

Roqos RC10, if you can find one.

DAP-X1860 if you don't need ethernet ports

Thanks for the suggestions!

The Netgear WAX206, Dynalink DL-WRX36, Linksys E8450 and Belkin RT3200 aren't available where I am, as far as I can tell. I definitely do need Ethernet ports.

What are the 'usual suspects' from Xiaomi? Of the Xiaomi routers listed on the filtered ToH page you linked, only the AX3200 and Mi AX3600 are available for me, for 65 and 90 EUR respectively. The AX4200 and Mercusys MR90X are also available but quite expensive. What do they offer over the Asus RT-AX53U?

where are you then, the WAX206 is usually available across Europe, the others are (becoming) unobtainiumware.

the ones on the list, but they can be tricky to flash ...

probably nothing, it's just not one of the common AX devices, based on the amount of threads created ...

if you don't mind AX1800, the MR70X could be an option, it's also quite cheap.
the WAX202 and Multy M1 (WSM20) are two other options.

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CoolBlue, Amazon, MediaMarkt and Bol all offer no joy.

Uff, the wiki pages are scaring me off. I'd rather not mess with that.

I can find the Mercusys MR70X for 60 EUR, and the Zyxel Multy M1 for 84 EUR. Neither seem to offer much of an advantage over the Asus RT-AX53U, and the Zyxel Multy M1 is considerably more expensive. So, I would need to choose between the Asus and the Mercusys boxes, right? I'd probably go for the Asus, unless you think there's something I'm missing.

Also, the MR70X isn't listed on the ToH?

I would too ...

Yeah, it's manual labor to get it in there, it just haven't been done.

It's supported since March

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Righty. Gonna go for the RT-AX53U. Thanks <3

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Hoi! Hilarious post and made me laugh. Reminded me of my Cambridge days. Kudos for trying out removing the AP and connecting your PC directly. I'd definitely have done the same. Being overly risk averse in life won't serve you well, and sometimes it is better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. Seems like you've already discovered the latter!

The ASUS RT-AX53U may well be fine for your needs, but if you haven't already pulled the trigger then I think it might be worth double checking you can't get a router with a stronger CPU to serve you whilst you are not at lectures or drinking Heineken. I know you only want circa 800Mbit/s, but I don't think the RT-AX53U will handle shaping at that rate. I took a look at a few Dutch sites and admittedly found it hard to find the NETGEAR WAX206 as suggested by @frollic, but that looks like a nice device. The RT-AX53U has a MediaTek MT7621AT 880 whereas the WAX206 has a MediaTek MT7622BV 1350. I regularly visit Munich (I'm there at the end of this month) and less regularly visit NL, and could purchase any device in the UK and hand it over to you in Munich or NL, but if you're anything like me you'd rather get this sorted now rather than later.


Why thank you :‎) It's a way of life that doesn't always work out but is really a great deal of fun along the way.

God no. Beer is awful. No offence to the people who like it (which, if I can employ a smattering of stereotype, probably is most of the userbase on here) but I can't stand the stuff. And I like my lungs too much to partake in my locality's, ahem, other major export.

I'd love a handover like that, but unfortunately my home in Germany is nowhere close to Munich. I'd be happy to move into DMs though to discuss any possible arrangements. And yes, I'm horrifically impatient, but I'm gonna be stuck with whichever router I buy for the next four years, so I'm willing to go through a bit of agony waiting.

Cheers :‎)

WSM20 the cheapest box out there, you can get two for $70 (because it is a router meant by the manufacturer to be a mesh system, so they thought that one was not enough, but in your case it's more than enough). Share the second with your family :crazy_face:

Also you can buy a WAX206 from I bought 3 units last month. It has the 2.5GbE port that may get you over the 1Gb Wifi speed (but if there are so many routers all around the 5G bands could be collapsed so I'm uncertain if taking 4 bands for a 160Mhz connection will be a great idea). Personally over Wifi I find that 300-400 Mb over 20Mhz is the best for stability and gaming (I don't even use AX, most of the times AC feels much more stable, 10ms less than AX on average)

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What are import VAT fees like with buying from Japan? It would be less than 45 EUR to buy the product but 70-ish with delivery (still a good deal) and 80-ish with potential 19-23% VAT fees (looking less like a good deal compared to the Asus)

I would rather go for WSM20 than the ASUS if you have to choose.
If you go for WAX is because you want the 2.5GbE port for going over the 1Gb mark.
On price it moves a ton. I happen to buy the 3 on the prime day for barely $40 per unit to Europe, it cost me in total $160 including delivery and taxes. (~$55 per unit). So I think that you can get it on the $80s with ease.

Pretty sure Amazon final check out rates are all inclusive, you pay what they say, there are no additional government fees/taxes on top of that.

Out of curiosity, why is that?

I don't. I won't need 1Gbps anyway.

For starters ypu could just hook the blue cable to a switch and connect your PCs and the ruckus unit to separate ports. That should give you better service than right now for the cost of a switch and 2 patch cables, so you can research your options for a longer term solution?

I don't have a switch, and I'm not in that bad of a hurry -- I want a good solution for the long-term :‎)

If I were you I would limit your max bandwidth to 400Mbps or lower using SQM or similar just to fair to your other classmates, If you steal all the bandwidth someone else will end up with less than 100. I personally would set it to 200 or maybe 300 max.

The IT department should easily be able to tell your using in their opinion a rouge network, you said they have no documentation on what happens if you use your own router but do you really want to find out what the punishment would be if you get caught.

I would not buy a MT7621 box for a gigabit line, it's really not enough CPU. If you're truly broke and someone else is paying the electric bill, a typical retired small desktop PC can run an x86 build and route / SQM at Gb.