DLink DIR860L B1 vs Archer C7v2

I have 2 routers in my network, and currently, one is configured as WiFi AP (no DHCP) while the other is the main router with WiFi + DHCP. The DHCP router is the Archer C7 v2, and it is presently running with Cake/Layer of Cake.

My WAN is cable internet from Spectrum, 118/12 measured without Cake on. I have an Arris SB6141 as the cable modem.

My question is: which of the 2 routers makes sense to use as the DHCP + Cake router? At present, this is setup as the Archer, but is it better to use the DLink instead? I know the DLink is a dual-core processor, while the Archer is ~3years old at this point.

Thanks!

With LEDE 17.01.0 for me the DIR-860l crashes when used with SQM. But there have been reports that this has been fixed, see: DIR-860L B1 Firmware Question

I will be able to test this tonight or tomorrow. Unless this issue has been fixed, I would recommend the Archer C7 as the router, so that bufferbloat can be kept under control. If it has been fixed, then it doesn't really matter which one you will pick as both routers will be able to handle those speeds with cake. The DIR-860l will have a lot more CPU headroom though, so if you plan on getting a speed upgrade in the future, or if you want to run other CPU intensive things on the router (samba, VPN, mediaserver, etc) as well, then the Dir-860l will be the better pick.

Unfortunately, SQM still crashes the DIR-860L at high loads for me. So I would recommend the Archer C7 as the router for your particular setup, and the DIR-860L as dump AP for the extra range.

See this bug report for more details about the issue: https://bugs.lede-project.org/index.php?do=details&task_id=764

I've got a C7v2 (and v3) and have extensively tested speeds vs CPU/IRQ. I can tell you that, if its doing nothing else but running cake as SQM and being the NAT/DHCP wifi AP, it should just about handle your DL speed and stay off 0% idle. I typically can see 100-120mbit (set the limit to 115-125) before it runs out. I can get more speed out of it, but it's pegged at 0% idle, and cake is not doing it's full job. If you go only thru the switch, i.e. ethernet to PC, not wifi, it can make it to 120-130mbit before saturation.

So, for your speed, your C7 should handle almost all or all of your bandwidth. Other than the above mentioned problem with the DLink, maybe wifi performance would be the deciding point. I wonder which is the better wifi radio station?

For me, I need a faster one since I have 300/30mbit cable. I either have to back down to 120/28, or disable SQM on the DL, (0/28) and accept some more spikes and a bit higher latency on the download. Then I get 220-240mbit on the DL thru the 5Ghz radio, and the CPU still has some room. Had been looking at a DIR860L as an upward move from some suggestions elsewhere, too bad to hear about the crashing issue!

Other than the crashing issues, the DIR-860L has been amazing for me. I tested the NAT performance from a client to a server connected to the NAT side of things. It reached full gigabit speeds (900+) in both directions with 36-37% cpu idle left over. In the same setup with fq_codel enabled, it was reaching 600-700 mbit/s in both directions, although it did crash occasionally due to the above mentioned bug. For the money, it's way faster than similarly priced routers.

We opened a bug report on the issue on flyspray yesterday. An upvote would be appreciated, so that the developers will hopefully look at it soon. You can find the opened issue here: https://bugs.lede-project.org/index.php?do=details&task_id=764

In the following topic we are also discussing the issue and looking into potential fixes. Preliminary results by Bartvz show that disabling SMT in the build might fix the issue, though more testing is needed. I will run some tests hopefully today as well. If this fixes the issue, we at least now where to look to debug the issue and in the meantime we can use this workaround. The topic I am talking about can be found here: Optimized build for the D-Link DIR-860L

Any direct experience comparing wifi performance between the DIR860L, and the C7? Hoping I woudn't be giving up anything if I changed.... got one user in a far corner of the house that's a bit of a challenge.

I actually used an Archer C7 before the DIR-860L, although in a different home, so no direct comparison unfortunately. But my general feeling says that the range on 2.4ghz is much better on the DIR-860L. Speeds were comparable between the two routers, although I've read that the DIR-860L doesn't like crowded spectrums. I can't comment on that myself, since the 2.4ghz spectrum is still relatively clean in my new place.

On the 5ghz radio, I believe the Archer had better range. I can't really compare the speeds, since my old internet connection with the Archer was a 200 Mbit connection, which the 5ghz was able to handle at full speeds. I never tried local speed tests with the Archer. The DIR-860L does 200-300 Mbit for me depending on range and obstacles between the client and router.

The Archer C7 does support 3 spatial streams instead of 2 like the DIR-860L does. So if you client supports that, the Archer C7 is probably faster on 5ghz. I don't any 3 stream clients myself, so for me it was a moot point.

In my reading it appears that 5ghz Wifi is slightly faster on DLink, but 2.4ghz might be faster on Archer. I will use Wifi on both routers so this is a moot point.

I think I care more about the CPU headroom, so I'm anxious to see the DLink sqm issues fixed!
I have heard that hardware NAT on Archer isn't great, but DLink is able to do full gigabit on that, along with jumbo frames!

For us noobs, what is SMT?

SMT stand for simultaneous multi-threading. It allows each physical core to work on 2 threads at the same time for improved overall performance. A well known implementation of this technology is Intels hyperthreading. But this mediatek soc also uses SMT, and so does AMD's zen processors.

At this point, i think the latest trunk snapshot is rock solid for the dir860l. It runs cake just fine and has now become my primary router, with Archer acting as AP.

Didn't you mention in the other DIR-860L topic that you just had a crash while downloading torrents and trying to change a SQM setting? Or was that with a different build? Curious if it really is indeed completely stable with the latest trunk :slight_smile:

Haha so I mentioned that right before it crashed. If you don't mess with the settings once you do initial setup, it stays stable even under load.

Pardon me for chiming in, is there any wireless benchmark between 860L B1 and C7v2?

Cheers.

I found this review of many routers, which also compares DLink and Archer : https://us.hardware.info/reviews/5333/80211ac-routers-review-20-models-tested

Thanks. But am not sure if they tested an A1 or B1...?

BTW, when browsing wikidevi (https://wikidevi.com/wiki/MediaTek_MT7621#Devices_using_MT7621A_.2F_MT7621S) there is a "Xiaomi MiWiFi 3G". A little more googling and found this (http://www.mi.com/miwifi3g/).

Apparently, it's China-only and not yet available for sale. But the MSRP is quite interesting (CNY249, ~37USD).

Sorry I've gone way off-topic...

Cheers.

My DIR-860Ls works just fine, they're however hard to find in US/CA/North America which I guess where you are since you're mentioning Charter. The AFOUNDRY router is based on the same SoC with more memory.


https://www.amazon.com/AFOUNDRY-Wireless-External-Processors-Enterprise/dp/B019DZ1JGG/
It does require serial however but that shouldn't be much of an issue.

Another option if you can live with slightly (probably) dodgy wifi is to pickup a refurbed WRT1200AC/WRT3200ACM


https://www.amazon.com/Linksys-WRT1200AC-AC1200-Certified-Refurbished/dp/B017HW712I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497122957&sr=8-1&keywords=wrt1200ac+refurbished
https://www.amazon.com/Linksys-Dual-Band-Tri-Stream-WRT3200ACM-Refurbished/dp/B06Y5W188F/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1497122986&sr=1-1&keywords=wrt3200acm+refurbished

However Marvell seems to be picking up the ball on the WRT3200ACM at least so it might not be a bad alternative at all.

I wouldn't recommend you getting a single core MIPS device, the IPQ4**** devices might also be an option.

Thanks a lot for your information.

The reason I chime in this thread is that, there is a possibility that I may have to replace one 1-stream 11n router with a dual-band model because of congested 2.4G space (talk about >30 APs during a casual scan). And naturally the first model came up my mind is the Archer C7v2 because I have one in another place.

Although C7v2 is a 3x3 device, there aren't many 3x3 clients anyway. OTOH, I may have a use of the dual-core processor on the DIR860L B1 (or other similar models) because of high link speed.

The C7v2 currently can pretty much handle a 500M link speed without SQM.

OTOH, I'm concerned if the wireless performance of Mediatek. Benchmarks with the open source mt76 drivers seem to be far and far between.

Cheers.

FWIW, I'm seeing about 100mbit real speed between two DIR-860Ls running a few months old firmware in WDS mode (5Ghz). It was a quick fix so I didn't have time to tune it but I'd say it's pretty good, certainly faster than my WDR3600s in WDS mode.

No idea about WDS, IIRC currently I can achieve 200~250Mbps between my box and the router on the 5G channel.

Note: Archer C7v2 running LEDE 17.01

Cheers.

Reviving this thread a bit:

Currently, the DIR860L B1 still has the cake crashing issues, possibly related to the mt7621 drivers.

In addition @r00t has built a firmware for Archer C7v2 with Qualcomm Fast Path enabled. This allows hardware NAT-like speeds through the WAN port. People are reporting iperf results at gigabit speeds. In addition, Cake also works fine at my ISP speeds (100Mbps down/10 Mbps up)

I think at this stage, it would make sense to have my main DHCP router be the Archer, while the DLink runs as access point.

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