Cheap Working Mesh Router with dual SSID

I need a cheap router for a large mesh network . What I need is stability and range not necesarily speed.

The problem is that I tried with Atheros older 8/64 routers TPLINK 842ND very old but with great result. Not very fast but able to run IBSS adHoc and also OLSRD for routing.

Trying to find a cheaper alternative that allows me today to buy lets say 100 pcs it is still very hard to find.

MT7620 has a problem that is not able to create dual SSID on single radio, so it does not work. Also I've seen that radio is not that fast. Maybe new drivers are better but Openwrt17 did not work very well.

QCA7 seems extinct , and I can hardly find any QCA9531.

Does anyone have any experieance with any cca.USD 20 router that is able to run as reliable as the cheap old ones ?

I need IBSS or 802.11s reliably + VAP on 2.4 , no need for me to go any faster. No need for dual radio as 5Ghz does not have range anyway. It might be good but not a requirement. I did tests and even 3rd chained radio has decent speed.

For instance one good application is to have radios spread along elevator shaft and in this way you will have VoWifi and still can use your mobile while in elevator. Its just a simple example that works. But for that I need mesh.

I'm looking at ZBT 2226 but i see no support. Any other tested choice for large mesh with cheap routers? Or is any recomended MTK chipset that is cheap and works well in 802.11s scenario with VirualAP on same radio ?

Thank you.

I would suggest the BT Home Hub 5a. Very well supported on openwrt. Has 64m flash, 128 ram, dual core arm cpu with atheros 2.4 and 5ghz radio. The board is a Lantiq XRX200 Soc. You can buy on cheaply, pay a little extra and you get it with openwrt installed.

Mesh works but you must use the ath10k firmware and kernel driver, not the ath10k-ct versions, in your build.

It's 128 MB NAND flash.

Actually 2*500 MHz mips, not arm.

The device isn't very fast, but considering its (used) price a bargain with a decent mix of functionality (and the distinguishing factor of having a supported VDSL2 modem).

It's too expensive . I was looking more like ZBT kind of device with QCA9533/9531 for 10 Euro but even device comes with OpenWrt preinstalled i don't see support in branch or snapshot for newer models .

Actually I was hoping someone has experienced with this class of device , dirt cheap with OpenWrt suport .

My best bet now is used old devices with good support but I can go that route forever.

Tplink 842ND v1-v2 is old slow but 10 euro used and it seems to work at least for now. I just need a cheap device with same level of support and bug free.

You are spot on, my apologies.

For the record, the full spec is here:


I get four bthh5a delivered to me for less than US$100 from seller fans on ebay uk. That's with openwrt installed. It is not far from the $20 per unit you mention in your first post.

There you also say "What I need is stability and range not necesarily speed".

If you look at the deviwiki page linked above, you will find this.

The wireless radios used are the following...

Atheros AR9227 - 2T2R 2.4GHz, 802.11bgn (300Mbps)
w/ 2x Microchip SST12LP15A - High Power 2.4GHz Power Amplifiers
2x internal antnenae, inline Hirose switching coaxial RF test connectors

Qualcomm Atheros QCA9880 - 3T3R 5GHz, 802.11ac (1.3Gbps)/n (450Mbps)
w/ 3x Skyworks SE5003L1 - High Power 5GHz Power Amplifiers
3x internal antnenae, inline Hirose switching coaxial RF test connectors.

**The device has surprisingly long range at 5GHz thanks to the SE5003L1 high-power amplifiers/front-ends.**

In my BTHH5a mesh (batman-adv), I use the 5GHz radio as the backbone. The device is stable with Trunk, or a recent stable build, so you get stability, speed and excellent range especially if you get devices facing one another square on using an 80MHz channel in the middle of the 5Ghz range.

I do not see any other hardware about as competitively priced that will give anything close to the real life performance on the BTHH5a in mesh. (btw, it is also available as the Plusnet Hub One in the second hand market).

Just my 2c.

Good luck!