I am planning on buying an openwrt compatible wifi router which will be the first such device for me. I have searched here for some reviews & found some contradicting info.
The above says mediatek processor in R6220 is preferred by developers for being more open source.
However the below topic mention wifi stability issue with R6220 even with latest openwrt versions.
From my understanding the tp-link archer A7/C7 is considered as a solid budget router compatible with openwrt with no major known issues. I am planning on using the device as a wireless bridge to extend wifi network(to a floor below where due to signal strength the max network speed will anyway be limited to 40-50mbps) & use its usb port for sharing a usb printer & no other task so 16mb rom should be enough for this while installing the latest stable release v21.02.3, right?
As for the R6220 (I own or manage three such devices), I haven't had any issue with wifi. These devices are reliable, and they are running 22.03.0 rc5 or even master snapshots. I mainly use them as wifi AP.
As you plan to use your device as a wifi extender, you should better consider the WAC104 which is a clone of the R6220 with more memory. Also have a look to the WAC124 which has a better wifi.
Just one more thing, considering that I will be a first time user of openwrt will you still suggest R6220 over Archer A7 because to me it seems archer a7 is more "popular" so more chances of getting help for any potential issues in future from fellow users.
You should not stick to the devices names, but rather to their SoC. Both are very common, but old and low-end. You will have support and help for both.
I had a look to the TOH of several TPlink A7/C7 devices, and I will rather choose the R6220: less old target, more flash memory. And it's the cheapest of your price. Also the openwrt installation is immediate within the Netgear firmware. In case of any issue, there is an in-build protocol to recover using the nmrpflash tool.
You need to install packages, but it's not a big deal. One of the R6220 that I manage has print sharing, it works well.
Once you will have experience in installing, configuring and using OpenWrt, you should consider the next step which is building your own image. In this way you will have an updated version with all the packages you need. For example, this is the command to build for a R6220 with print server.
make image PROFILE="netgear_r6220" PACKAGES="kmod-usb-printer p910nd luci-app-p910nd"
It's not my thread but the op seems to be an expert so I thought maybe he did something "advanced level install" instead of the "simple openwrt install" which I will do so just wanted to make sure that I indeed try only "simple install" stuff.
For further clarification, this is my understanding:
Get the R6220 router.
Open the stock config page to make sure default username/password working.
Open 192.168.1.1 & login via LuCI web ui & do the basic configuration.
Are the above steps right or something else need to be done? I understand that installing p910d print server will take additional steps after doing the basic configuration(the wiki page you linked earlier mention running 3 commands via ssh).
Basicaly yes, but:
2. you must go through very boring procedures while first booting with Netgear firmware (registration, update). I have done it a week ago. Just blame Netgear for that
3. I never had to flash twice a factory image. Maybe a bad block issue for users that had to do this?
4. Beware of browser cache if you use 192.168.1.1 for both Netgear and Openwrt. While in Netgear, I use this http://routerlogin.net, and while in OpenWrt this http://192.168.1.1. Doing so the browser never gets confused.
I also recommend that you had a look to this page. It's a recovery tool in order to go back to Netgear firmware.
R6220 and WAC104 use the single core variant of the MT7621 (MT7621ST instead of AT). R6260 or WAC124 have dual core CPU and also a MT7615 5 GHz chip instead of MT7612. The only MediaTek I have is MT7612 and it has no problems running as an AP. I think the MT7613 chip was the problem one and MT7615 is also OK, and higher performance than MT7612.
Damn, it's so stupid that I never thought about it.
I never had any issue installing it. The tool is meant to recover a safe state with the original firmware. Than ... I immediatly install again OpenWrt. Recently I had issues when going back and forth between differents versions. That is not a common behavior, so don't worry that much.
I got an Archer C7, dualBand and gigaBit ports were my needs, flash worked easy and no problems at all, usb port is perfect to printer or samba share, not so cheap, stability and high bitrate in 5G until now (2 weeks testing), not experienced in openWRT, I used DDWRT in past, but after some research openWRT is really superb
So 2.4Ghz is not working correctly on R6220, I can live with reduced speeds of even 40-50mbps but stability is must. @badulesia maybe the R6220 quality/performance varies from region to region as I have seen similar wifi issue comments from buyers on amazon for my country for the 6220 model.