Devices with MT7621 vs IPQ40xx for the best WLAN speeds

I see a lot of people recommending devices with the MediaTek MT7621 chipset. In particular, I've seen Xiaomi routers, the D-Link DIR-860L B1, ZyXEL routers and ZBT mentioned.

However, the Xiaomi routers are difficult to flash, and the D-Link, ZyXEL and ZBT models aren't available here in Australia. The Netgear R6220 is another device, but I've read about there being issues with it.

I see people suggesting that the TP-Link Archer C7 is now too old and that IPQ40xx is a better option. However, the Linksys EA6350v3 doesn't have support in stable yet, which means that there would be no internet configured after flashing a snapshot build, since Luci wouldn't be installed. I've seen references to the Asus RT-AC58U having issues due to a lack of memory, though I'm not a heavy user, so I'm wondering if it's still an option.

I'm particularly interested in obtaining the fastest wifi speeds across my LAN rather than fast WAN speeds, as I'm only on a 50Mbps connection.

Would the Asus RT-AC58U offer better wifi speeds than the Netgear R6220? Are there any other recommended devices for my usage case?

It sounds like you're mixing things up. If you e.g. have a cable connection that just relies on DHCP, it will work out of the box, be it a master snapshot or a stable release build. PPPoE and the likes still need configuration (your login credentials etc.).

I understand you'd find LuCI missing bothersome, but that can be remedied rather easily. Log in through SSH (which you need to do anyway to set your password), run opkg update and opkg install luci and be done with it.

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My provider doesn't use DHCP, it uses PPPoE, hence if I flashed the snapshot without Luci, I'd have no Luci and no way of downloading it without internet. I'd need to be pretty sure I knew how to configure the connection using SSH.

If you have your PPPoE credentials it's pretty easy. Your WAN section in /etc/config/network would need to look like this, kinda:

config interface 'wan'
	option ifname 'eth0.2'
	option proto 'pppoe'
	option username 'bla@bladibla'
	option password 'blablabla'
	option ipv6 'auto'

ifname of course depends on your hardware. If you have an OpenWrt router already, just make a backup so you can use that as a reference to configure your new hardware.

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Thanks. That looks straight forward. I'll stick the EA6350v3 on the list again. :slight_smile:

it isn't you can't install luci on trunk. just enter ssh and type opkg install luci

Installing packages typically requires an internet connection. :wink: However, configuring it from the command line is no longer a barrier.

by the time ipq40xx gets stable people will suggest that it is too old and to get something newer. seriously, there is no reason to switch from archer c7, better idea is to try to offload/optimize it a bit more

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I have the Asus RT-ACRH13 (same thing as RT-AC58U) and the wifi speeds seem pretty good to me. Not a great test, but I can get ~630 Mbit through Windows file sharing. It seems to have enough RAM for my basic use case. It does require soldering wires for a serial terminal for the initial flash though.

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If you're looking to buy a new device, I'd strongly recommend >=256 MB RAM for dual-ath10k devices.

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Thanks for replying. Opening the case is no longer required. I haven't got the link handy right now, but in one of the other RT-AC58U threads on here, there's a link to a Russian forum with an initial stock to OpenWrt .trx which people have confirmed works. At least it's easier than it used to be.

ipq will provide better speeds than mt76.

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This is a generalization. Please give some more detail: in which areas does ipq deliver more speed than mt76?

For my knowledge it often depends. E. g. if the CPU is not saturated for routing/NAT speed at line speed, then you normally won't get an improvement of a faster CPU (or more cores). Or: if the transmittable layer 3 speed is below what the wifi channel can deliver you normally won't get noticable improvemens for your application from faster wifi components.

Also mt76 can do hardware NAT with OpenWrt as far as I know so it depends if it really will be slower in this category than ipq40xx.

So this being written, I would differentiate more, e.g. by saying that this SoC could deliver more single core VPN throughout as another SoC (backed by throughout numbers) or that another SoC offers more wifi capabilities than just saying that one family of SoC is generally performing better that another family.

Also, to be in the real world: comparing actual hardware should be of more value to the community than to stick to SoCs in theory. E. g. discussing whether to buy Zyxel NBG6617 or Xiaomi Mi 3g. Then also soft facts could be discussed.

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The topic is about WLAN speeds, not routing or CPU.

ipq hardware typically has Wave-2 radios. I think all mt76 ones are Wave-1.

From my experience, this is correct. The best WiFi speeds that I've been able to get are on an R7800. Slow ethernet though.

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Wave 2:

So, yes, Wave 2 is nice if you got a four stream wifi base station which will hopefully increase wifi coverage by using better diversity. But for most clients and with 80 MHz channels the difference will mostly be small if not even noticeable: most 802.11ac clients will be two streams at best. If you got an 866 Mbps two stream connection on a Wave 1 AP before and now also 866 Mbps connection on Wave 2 there should be no difference in wifi speed.

Also, ipq40xx is two stream Wave 2, so with 80 MHz channels and without MU MIMO there is no real advantage over three stream Wave 1 APs.

My phone supports MU MIMO with two streams. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Since I don't have the test equipment to verify it, I'll put it out there that 802.11 is inherently an analog thing, even if you're putting bits in one end and hopefully getting the same bits out the other. Theoretical link performance is meaningless without good RF chains, A/D converters and demod algorithms. ASIC technology continues to improve so that you can get more gates with good yield per dollar. Given that, it is likely that even within the same manufacturer at the same price point, today's chips are significantly better in real-world conditions than ones designed several years ago, especially when you couple with increased knowledge of changing operating conditions, such as increased channel crowding (both APs and definitely cell phones) and Bluetooth.

In general newer wifi radios have less bugs given that they support the same standard and are better tuned for overall performance.

No problem! Use https://chef.libremesh.org/ and you will not only have access to LuCi, but all the other packages, you can even apply the interface language right away.

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Exactly! Most smartphones still have single stream wifi chips, some top end smartphones have two streams.
Wave 2 doesn't make any sense if you don't have a device supports it.