Cheapest router suggestion for basic need

Hey there,
I was using openwrt on tplink C6 ac1200, but due to monsoon, water entered my router through the cable that comes from ISP. Now the router has stopped working. My ISP said they will give me free installation for fiber. (Its my choice if i want to continue with the current cat cable or new fiber, but I will have to buy a new router regardless. And price for my plan will remain same even if i choose fiber.)
What my need is:
I have 20 Mbps plan, (yes bits, not bytes) and happy with it. Only two or three devices are connected at the same time.
A typical home router which also has wifi.

My questions are:

  1. Now I've never had fiber connection, so is there anything new I should know?
  2. Should I change to fiber, or continue with cat cable? I know fiber is faster, but I will use 20Mbps only, but response time may be better. So what is your suggestion? Is a fiber router more useful/future proof?
  3. I don't want to spend a lot of money. The cheaper the better. ISP said they can give me Tp-link XC220-G3v ac1200 for 2,800 INR. Is there any other home router with wifi which is better/cheaper than this (India)? This device does not openwrt support, is there any privacy risk when using tp-link default firmware? Can they use internet to send any data to themselves? Sorry for asking for better device here, I could not find a list of device fully supported by openwrt.

Sorry for my English, I would really appreciate any help. If it seems like I didn't do any research, it is because I don't have my internet working and can't use my pc for research.(I use lan cable in pc).

Thank you!

Edit: Whatever you suggest, cat or fiber, I would appreciate if you could also suggest the device. :slight_smile:

go for fiber.
search flipkart and Amazon for routers, and compare with openwrt TOH.
Just remember to don't buy anything with less than 128/
128 flash and ram.

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Thank you for your reply!
What is TOH?

search amazon and flipkart with routers in your budget. check it in TOH

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There aren't any OpenWrt compatible routers with a fiber (GPON / XPON) wan interface. If you bring your own router, you will need the ISP to supply a separate fiber to Ethernet converter, commonly called an ONT. Usually they have a basic unit as part of the service price. If you have to pay for it separately, either buy it from them or see if they have a list of approved third-party equipment. This box will be running closed-source firmware but it is outside your firewall so you treat it as an untrusted part of the Internet.

As far as what I would consider the lowest specifications that someone should buy today as an entry level router to run OpenWrt, it would be:

  • 16/128 memory
  • GbE ports
  • 5 GHz WiFi: ac or ax

There are many many MT7621 boxes that meet this. The MT7621 is capable of routing ISP speeds in the low 3 digits.


I'm using the Mi Router 4A Gigabit Edition 1200 Mbps Router, which I got from Flipkart a while back. Right now, it has the same price as I brought it because I was in hurry to test OpenWrt. But sometimes it decreases price a lot. On this platform, OpenWrt is supported.


Yes I like the 4A Gb but hesitate to recommend Mi routers as installation and if ever necessary de-bricking is difficult.

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I don't know about de-bricking, but I installed OpenWrt easily using invasion script from GitHub. And also it is the least priced router available in Indian market with OpenWrt support. I brought it for learning before going to costlier one. Now, I am stable with it. :slight_smile:

But 4A supports cat cable, and not fiber right? What is ont converter? can you use that to take the fiber from isp and use it in cat cable router?
I did not know there are different interfaces in fiber. why couldn't they use a standard like ethernet does? So if gpon and xpon are not supported, which are? epon?

Yes exactly. In its simplest form it is a box with one fiber port and one Ethernet port. It works as a network bridge doing basically what a cable modem does, only with light instead of RF.

it is provided by the ISP in most cases

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@frollic You seem like an expert... Any suggestions?

your budget ?

For ONT devices no, I'd just get (if not supplied by ISP) a plain media converter type of box, as @slh suggested, then add a router.

If you're happy with the Mi you've got, keep using it.

he doesn't have the mi. looking for a router. @firefoxOnFire has it

Ah, diff user.
In that case, @hepl, Mercusys MR70X, should be cheap pretty much everywhere.

Personally I would take the fiber option, with light in glas being less prone to electrical issues and fiber being potentially less affected by water.
The next question then is, what kind of technology does your ISP run on top of that fiber. The big alternatives are passive optical network (PON), where multiple end users share a single fiber port (often called OLT) at the ISP's side, or active optical network (AON) where each end user uses a dedicated fiber port on the ISP side.
Many ISPs opt for PON because that is somewhat cheaper to build and operate and reserves more control in the ISP's hands, but that is not universal, so you need to ask your ISP or pist a link to their website describing the fiber option.

As a rule of thumb, it is easier to get one's own end-user side optical terminal for AON than for PON, but that is not a strict 'law'.

These terminalsmedia converter can come as dedicated stand-alone devices that can be typically be put in front of any ethernet router or as something like a SFP module that can be plugged into a SFP cage (there are routers that offer SFP cages, albeit these tend to be 'not that cheap' at least over here).

I would guess your ISP offers something already. Maybe post a link describing their offerings so we can have a look before commenting any further?

Thank you everyone for the reply. I have decided to ditch fiber and just go with the current cable.
Mercusys MR70X is too expensive for me, and doesn't have holes at the back to mount it on the wall.
I will only use 2 or 3 devices at the same time (including only one connected via lan cable), and only have the speed of 20 Mbps.

So if you know cheap and basic router, please let me know!

Thank you!!

Edit: also couldn't find it in TOH

There are no OpenWrt docsis/cable modem-routers, so you will need a 'cable modem' (nowadays mostly full cable routers that with luck can be configured to act like a bridged modem)) and then an OpenWrt capable router. For 20 Mbps the old ath79 mips based SoC (like the netgear wndr3700v2 or the wndr3800) would be a decent performer and you might be able to get these second hand and hence quite cheap...

I did not understand what you are saying but I was using tplink archer C6 ac1200 with no problem.