I am looking for a AP with the following requirements:
AC support (no AX needed)
Good range, gotta go through a few walls sometimes
Well supported, I am not new to Linux, but have little experience with OpenWRT. Therefore, creating my own image seems like one bridge to far. Going into the CLI is fine from time to time, but prefer to take the more "safe" road on this one.
No TP-Link (bricked enough of them haha), Ubiquiti (recent versions don't support flashing OpenWRT. Although the devices are great... have an older one which is rock solid with OpenWRT.) nor Turris (bad speed and range). For the record these are my experiences. Nothing against any of the companies. Just for me, not an option.
Dumb. I need WIFI that's it. Anything else is done by other equipment. No DHCP, No DNS, No firewall, etc.
POE would be nice
Up till now my best experiences have been with Qualcomm chips. I am fine with others, but would prefer this one. A "nice to have".
Latest OpenWRT (21.02.2) support
I looked through the ToH, but can't really find a good one that fits. A lot seems like REALLY old devices or it's some kind of obscure device.
Curious what you guys would advice! Thanks in advanced!
ipq40xx is a bit temperamental setting up VLANs. Also, to get decent WiFi range and throughput out of an ipq4018 EA6350v3, I had to replace the calibration file after installing "stock" OpenWrt. The EA6350v3 is small (so it doesn't stick out in the room decor), very inexpensive used, and works well as an AP, but wouldn't be my first choice for a user friendly device.
I also use an EA8500 as a dump AP (ipq8064) and it's performed just great on stock OpenWrt, both 5GHz and 2.4GHz. Excellent range and throughput - better than the EA6350v3. An EA8500 can be a bit tricky to flash the first time (USB to serial dongle needed and the case is a challenge to open up), but for the right price used on ebay....still, I expect you can find more trouble free ipq806x options too. Just read through the installation instructions and search the forum for other's experience for whatever you pick before you buy it.
I second frollic's recommendation. A 4x4 ipq806x target is a really good option for a dumb.
It's up to you on the TP-Link thing, but if I found a good deal on a used C2600....I'd trust frollic on that and take a chance buying it
I'm using several devices as AP, with several targets.
ath79 is outdated
ipq40xx and ipq8060 are good choices, although you may find them expensive. These devices are much capable, and using them as simple AP may be a squandering. Unless you find a cheap model that fits precisely your need.
I also have a mt7621 as main AP, and it works great.
Netgear R6220. It's not sold anymore, but you may have it as a second hand.
You have also the WAC104 which is almost identical. The WAN port has been removed.
There is also the WAC124 which is more powerfull and can be set as a AP or a router.
Many other possibilites in other brands.
Look at the SSH option in terms of installation. That one seems doable to me. I actually have an older ASUS router right now (not supported), did the same process (SSH). Think I found my new wifi blaster
Well if you feel confident enough ...
Sure everything is doable with enough experience. I had a LOT of issues/surprises experimenting with all my devices until I gain experience in the matter.
Anyway, this device is powerfull enough as an AP. It's more powerfull than my actual AP.
Regarding ipq806x, I use one now as an AP/switch. It's a good switch and I get by as an wifi AP but I would not go QCA again. If you end up reconsidering, definitely stick to models that are popular and well supported in the forums (the R7800 for example).
I would try an E8450 (mt76 based). Seems popular and likely to be well supported but might also be difficult for the initial openwrt install. It's AX capbible which you don't need or want, but, if the price does not put you off, having AX may mean your likely to see it supported for longer.