Budget Router Shopping | Plan A Failed, Plan B Needed, Plan C Dreaded

Hey, so today my used TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 arrived... And subsequently sent to a refund ticket. The seller practically lied to my face multiple times and sent me the product that is not what was promised. But first let me give you some context in why i decided to refund it beyond the obvious. I have issue with my internet infrastructure for a while now, and while my internet plan is a definite limiter of my setup, the wifi coverage is also another. The TP-Link TL-WA901ND that i have constantly crashes and needs restarting by someone in the house and the connection is really bad in few places where we need actual internet the most. And so with that i decided that i want to kill two birds with one stone and reinforce my own local internet set, this also have an additional benefit in that any new internet providers i go with when i moved out of the house, i am ready with something good to connect it with. so with those in mind i lined up these as my criteria.

  1. 5 gigabit port (4+1 WAN is also valid). While i know a separate switch and AP combo would be a better way for me to create an expandable infrastructure, i personally want to miniaturize it. Bringing 2 devices around a house move is just asking for trouble personally, but if you can convince me to get 5 gigabit port switch and a random router that can fit these criteria and budget, im all ears.
  2. WRT/LuCI-able. I want a guaranteed capability for me to be able to use DNS Encryption, MAC Address Whitelisting, and DDOS Protection. And having something tweakable would also be a bonus hence this criteria.
  3. Dual band AC, preferably with MU-MIMO support. Pretty self explanatory really.
  4. Less than 70 USD new or used. This is pretty much all i got personally on money, and what my mum would cover in terms of the rest of the budget. I would love for it to be less so i can budget for Helldivers 2.
  5. Optionally 16mb ROM. 8mb is the minimum, but if you can get me 16 to be inline with openWRT requirement that would be really appreciated for stability.
  6. Easy to find in SEA market, Indonesia specifically.

And overall, the Archer C7 wouldve fit it perfectly, atleast the used ones were. I found one listing of it in Indonesia that sells it as a version 5, but when it came into the door it was a V1.1 that is not at all like it was on the listing. It came with a broken wireless switch as well, so i ended up refunding it. Thats the plan A. My plan C was to purchase the TP-Link Archer C54. This is highly ubiquitous, but its 4/32 flash setup means that it basically locks me out of any form of firmware customization. The other would be the TP-Link Archer AX23, but this would be high on the bugdet, so this is the plan B i got. Although, Id like to know if anyone have other recommendations. Linksys and Netgear is kind of out of the contention, so does Ubiquiti. All 3 are taxed pretty hard in ID which inflates its price massively.

You have dozens of options, check for 2.4 AX, sufficient ports, more than 2 antennas per band for wireless mesh. Yes, AX23 or ASUS RT-AX54 fits your bill.
https://openwrt.org/toh/views/toh_available_16128_ax-wifi
Maybe you can get 2 even from the cheap end and wire into opposite corners of your house for ideal coverage and tons of ports?

I guess you need a device available in Indonesia then, or are you importing?

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https://www.tokopedia.com/eagle/mi-ax3000-ax3000t-gaming-wifi-6-router-mesh-gigabit-dual-band-ax3000t-d3bf4
This seems on par with EU amazon price, but you need to check if it is same global revision or even visit the store to check if it is the real thing.

DDOS protection really does not work in a home router, for that you need upstream helpers that separate attack from non-attack packets and basically have the capacity to absorb the volume of attack packets without suffering capacity shortages...
MAC whitelisting also is less useful than it seems as MACs can easily be spoofed..

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TOH is not good source for information on recent devices anymore. Due to missing brands it's impossible to add new devices via pages:
[OpenWrt Wiki] Create a new device page
[OpenWrt Wiki] Create New Dataentry Page
It's impossible to add it as afaik there is no active wiki admin after tmomas .And forum entries in "Documentation" category are ghosted.

@SorryBella Best way is to look into snapshot download page and compare it to what You can buy locally
I would start here Index of /snapshots/targets/mediatek/ (openwrt.org)

or simply use https://firmware-selector.openwrt.org/ and select snapshot, it's as bleeding edge as it gets, but if you want a list @nicefile's suggestion is better.

DDoS protection is more gaming related, one can discard surplus wan packets with ease.
Modern routers like in that toh extract can handle all of that.

Would you give a ball-park estimate of the amount of tax that's imposed? 10%? 100%? That would help us with the starting price of the router.

Also: how fast is your ISP speed - that also would affect the router that was recommended. Thanks.

Its a 50/15 Asymmetric from Indihome, but i am very much intending to use it for other network ill encounter in Indonesia. And if its possible, maybe function later on as pure AP in Australia as i am intending to move there.

Yeah, preferably available in Indonesia as individual imports here gets really rough with the customs agents that its not worth it if its available local.

on technical merit any on optimal list (and most gigabit outside it) will do 500/500mbps NAT, some even gigabit like 3 examples we gathered.

eg my choice not knowing local language would be:
mesh two with wired backhaul within budget

not top but certainly ships correct boxes and you dont have to move wifi to cover opposite home corner. You can buy one now and second later to cover dark spots.
review https://youtu.be/a4fDwG3aEb8

or you say model x y z in major store - which would be better.

Ive considered 4A but reading up on certain version having proprietary chipset that cant be flashed with anything just drives me off. If i cant have a guaranteed working unit i really would rather not risk it. Although i did found a used Mi Router AX3600 listing that did enticed me even though it would be complete and utter overkill for what i need it to do.

Just one cent towards official importers being able to keep prices as everywhere. Indeed no chance to get wrong chipset in EU, cannot vouch for ID store.

Unbelievavle, that v2 does not even have downloadable firmware...

I feel like im now obliged to show this thread what ive found individually, both on the TOH, and also the index in 23.05.3 tree that doesnt have a TOH page yet.

Green Light (Pretty much on the money on what i need, and the only sketchy part is the OpenWRT installation):

  1. TP Link Archer AX23 | Rp. 830.000
  2. Linksys E5600 | Rp. 590.000

Yellow Light (Also on the money with some caveats):

  1. Linksys EA8100 | Rp. 1.030.000: It has all the feature sets, but reading up on post purchase review on other regions in asia suggests that people have issues with ISP compatibility and Linksys application on getting to the settings page the first time. And quite costly too.
  2. Xiaomi AX3600 | Rp. 1.150.000 (not gonna put the listing because i really dont wanna get sniped on it): Its... Used. Pretty much gonna put me in the same predicament as the Archer C7 but for more money. Although if it end up being a fully working model, it would be insanely overkill for anything i do with a router ever, and it would be pretty much a router i run until i die or budget Wifi 9 routers come out.
  3. D Link DIR-878 | Rp. 200.000 and D Link DIR-842 | Rp. 400.000: Its D-Link and ive had bad experience with it and around it. Something is always wrong with this thing out of the box and it always needs a post-purchase intervention. But it is "looting off a dead body" cheap and follows my criteria.

Red Light (8/64, but ubiquitous and WRTable, and fit the rest that i need):

  1. TP Link Archer C50 | Rp. 650.000
  2. TP Link Archer C20 | Rp. 350.000
  3. TP Link Archer C60 | Rp. 475.000

Gray Light (Found on the Release Tree, it could be a basket case of an install because i have no TOH page to guide me on the flash):

  1. Xiaomi Redmi AX3000 | Rp. 600.000, thanks @brada4 for this recommendation

I do have to mention that the most that i need is 3 ethernet port, but 4 would give me the ability to expand to an actual proper switch later on or plug in my laptop if time needs it. I have mild understanding of image flashing in general but not to the point where i could figure out where to put my foot on which pedals, so having a hand to guide me until i hit GUI would be very nice.

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ax23 could wish more flash for money, not 4x better than 878 for sure. Say docker or biggest adblock will not fit on either.
good point with spare port.

@SorryBella
Check this for the Redmi AX3000:

https://openwrt.org/inbox/toh/xiaomi/xiaomi_redmi_ax6_ax3000

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I couldnt find much on DIR-878 experience outside of the initial, but people seemed to have a decent experience on it atleast from what i searched. Even if things did go awry i am going to be pretty high on budget to make it work. Between it and the AX6/3000, which one should i go with?

The DIR-878 has a limited 16/128 configuration, but if you are not planning to run additional services on it and need a router right now - it wins.
The OpenWrt installation seems easy and it's cheap.

The AX6/3000 has more headroom for future tinkering and WiFi 6, which I heard is good for gaming.
But, if I read the instructions correctly, it requires another OpenWrt router for installation.
So if you don't have one or can borrow one - it's gonna be tricky.

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