Buying a MT7621 router

I'm looking to upgrade my TP-Link 1043N v5 which is a single core QCA9563. I'm using a TP-Link EAP225 as an AP so I don't need WiFi.

For now, my requirements are

  • the router should be able to handle at least symmetric 300Mbps (500Mbps would be better) with no noticeable performance loss
  • using VLANs to segregate personal and guest devices
  • (optional but nice to have) run dnscrypt-proxy with adblocking
  • (optional but nice to have) using dual WAN with mwan3 and do load balancing

The MT7621 SoC devices seem to be a decent choice but I'm confused between

  • Mikrotik Hex
  • Ubiquiti EgdeRouter-X
  • Netgear R6260/R6850

The ER-X isn't available in my country right now so I'm basically left with Hex and R6260/R6850. Which would be the better choice among these two? A couple of questions -

  • is hardware offloading supported on R6260/R6850 in OpenWRT without any bugs/issues?
  • looks like MT7621 devices have switched to something called "DSA" which brings issues related to VLANs in LuCI. Would VLANs work via CLI? Any other issues I should be worried about?
  • the Hex apparently "makes use of 2Gbps bandwidth between CPU and ports. Hence, it could support 1Gbps full duplex routing. ER-X's on the other hand can only do 500Mbps full duplex routing because UBNT either fails to enable it or purposely not enable the full 2Gbps CPU bandwidth." What about the R6260/R6850?
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The 300 Mb speed would be really pushing a MT7621. Look for a small x86 or quad-core ARM instead. If you engage offloading it limits what SQM can do. Better to overpower the situation with pure CPU.

As for offloading or other features, all those models have the same chip so they would work the same with OpenWrt. The Mikrotik is the lowest price since it doesn't have wifi, and you don't need wifi.

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Have you considered something like an RPi4 and managed switch?

Maybe check out Linksys EA8100 - speced as a 2600Mbps (ie. ~325MB ) class router based on MT7621 /7615. Amazon could pickup a cheap used.

it has 1x Usb3, 1x Usb2, which allows you add-on a RTL8153 USB3 1000mbps to config it to a dual WAN

All architectures will eventually switch to DSA (which has been introduced upstream in the Linux kernel). It should be able to do everything you can do with legacy OpenWrt swconfig today, but yes, LuCI isn't fully adapted to it yet. But on the CLI you can just configure it.

As for routing, you can use hardware offload with MT7621 AFAIK. That should increase the throughput numbers substantially. This topic may be very helpful to compare, however I see no MT7621 numbers with hardware or software offload enabled:

I am looking at the Gl.iNet GL-MV1000 (1 GHz dualcore ARM Cortex-A53, see topic above) myself, for an edge router without wireless.

I would not recommend doing that. USB NICs should be considered a "better than nothing" solution, but not a worthy alternative. Better just reconfigure the internal port layout and borrow one of the LAN ports as a second WAN port. Should not be too much of an issue.

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yep, reconfigure the internal port layout and borrow one of the LAN ports as a second WAN port is a workable solution, although i dont know if thread starter want the use of all 4 LAN ports.

The Hex should achieve gigabit throughput with hardware offloading.

PD: I don't own MT7621 hardware just guessing

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The mt7621 should be able to do close to a full GB/sec with HW offload.


Watch the thread as it may be broken in current releases though!?

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then the next question is: does openwrt support mt7621 HW offload?

19.07.4 does support it. Unfortunately the master branch (and thus also a future 20.x release) does not, since the new DSA driver is incompatible with hardware NAT.

this is real bad news... 19.07.4 has it, but 20.x does not.

Why can't 20.x use the old DSA driver since HW offload is such a important performance factor?

There is no old DSA driver, DSA is the new thing. Swconfig driver was the old driver used in 19.07.X. And the reason why we're switching, is because the DSA driver is used upstream, which means less maintenance, faster/more updates and better stability. It also greatly simplifies VLAN functionality.

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DSA refers to Dynamic Site Acceleration?

Which has a higher performance hit : using swconfig driver / not having HW offload?

Distributed Switch Architecture

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I have the R6220 as the router with 19.07.3. It can handle 500 Mbits download and 800 Mbits uploading by Speedtest with wired link(iperf can go 900Mbits in both direction). VLAN is also supported.

I have tried to use K2p, which has dual cores, hoping to improve throughput. However, it's almost the same, although the CPU usage is about 50%, the input speed is still throttling.