Dumb AP upgrade recommendations

Hello everyone,

I'm currently using Xiaomi MI R3G as a dumb AP connected with vlans to my main "router on a stick" (Dell Optiplex 7080 Micro).

I'm no longer happy about the range and speeds of that AP as I'm trying to get closer to having a Gigabit network :slight_smile: it's mostly to connect my home devices and access my homelab, NAS etc.

I'm not sure what should I pick to make a new dumb AP.
I was thinking about AX (no real reasons why - maybe because it's "futuristic") - ASUS RT-AX53U but it seems the only way to have OpenWrt on it now is with soldering which I'd prefer to avoid. But I can consider other options as well.

I was also looking at TP-Link Archer C7 but I'd prefer something cheaper, unless its a good pick for at least several years. If you'd tell me to wait because soon AX support will become wide with OpenWrt - then probably it wouldn't make sense to buy it.

I guess there are lots of devices better than the Xiaomi I have. However it's mentioned many times that R3G has good amount of RAM memory which isn't as easily found in other devices for similar price.

I'm also not sure if it's better to pick something without AX network, or maybe it's better to wait a moment and choose AX ?

Belkin RT3200 will satisfy your requirements and is rock solid as an AP running OW.

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I am using Belkin RT3200 as a main router and MIR3G as an AP. I had the same dilemma as yours, as RT3200 is not expensive, better hardware, ax speeds etc.. And I was thinking of getting an up upgrade. However, when I received the RT- it is 3 times bigger in size than the mir3g. You cannot " hide" it easily behind a TV, it is just big and with its vertical shape, hard to be hidden.
On top of it mir3g as an AP can give you a 800 + megabit connection, so unless you have a gigabit ISP connection and want to exchange free room space , against 200 Megabits- I would not go for it, and I will not... for now :slight_smile:
Hope it helps.

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Thank you both for your answers :slight_smile:
2 important thing I'm taking out of it are that :

  1. RT3200 might be the right direction....
  2. ... if the size won't scare me :smiley:

Thanks & Regards!

I'd like to add that not too long ago I was in the same situation and in the end went for a "better", but still 802.11ac AP. While that will probably not give you the 800+ mbit of an AX device it can do 500-ish mbit on VHT80, even 700-ish if you push VHT160 which I don't -- if you, and that's very important, get a 4x4 MU-MIMO device.

In my case that turned out to be a TP-Link RE650 which, after a few months of use, turned out to be a cheap (~€30 used) worthwhile upgrade from my previous 2x2 ac AP, both in speed and in range.

I'm not advocating against AX wifi, clearly that is the way forward, but as long as the device selection is still a bit slim there's still wins to be had with AC devices.

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Makes totally sense and I was thinking about something similar.
But for me the upgrade would have to be an access point, not extender as I don't need another device - just want to replace the old one.

there's no difference, from an openwrt point of view, you can use the device whichever way you'd like,
an extender could be used as a router, and a router as an AP or extender.

I did as @takimata, and repurposed routers as APs.

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@frollic I keep forgetting this - you're right :smiley:

@takimata I think you were lucky if you bought it for ~30 €.
The cheapest one (looking for V1) I can find is around 70-80 € - for used of course.
Will keep looking :slight_smile:

That's a bit surprising, that is actually more than the brand new in-box retail price here. While V1 is a bit more comfortable due to the 16 MB flash instead of the 8 MB of the V2, in practice it doesn't really make any difference for an access point, you will probably not run much of any packages on it. You can also look for the RE500, it is supposed to be identical to the RE650 V1, just crippled in OEM firmware.

All that being said, I don't really want to appear to push hard for these specific models. They do serve me well in now two locations, but really I just wanted to name them as an example for a 4T4R AC access point which I happen to have personal experience with.

I'm waiting myself for ax options to mature a bit more. The RT3200 may give you faster short range WiFi and it comes with a decent CPU for routing (not that you need that with an x86 router!), but I've heard its WiFi is not so great at longer range. If we ask nicely, @Underworld may be able to give us some good apples-apples iperf3 comparisons between his RT3200 and R3G at a longer range? Please :wink: ?

That is fantastic 5GHz WiFi speed for a low cost bargain like the R3G. That has got to be up close?

For now, my EA8500 4x4 AP's deliver 400-500 Mbps with 80 MHz wide channels through a couple walls or a floor to 2x2 devices. I'm happy with that long range performance. If a device is close to my AP, I plug it into the AP switch port and get great speed :wink:

If you can find C7's used for ~€20 and don't already have something close to them in performance (like your R3G), they make good low cost AP's. Especially if you are inclined to experiment with over clocked C7 builds. I wouldn't bother in your case though-you already have the R3G.

Purchased new, the Archer C7 is far too expensive for what you get: a slow CPU (less capable than the R3G MT7621AT), Wave 1 5GHz WiFi and not a good investment for several years into the future. When it first came out, the C7 deservedly received great reviews that never die on the internet. TP-Link is no doubt very happy to live large on that legacy with high profit margins today.

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Sure, however, I am renovating my apartement now and I hope I can power up my routers in 3 weeks :slight_smile:
I didn't measure the mir3g real performance thought. I was reffering to ac possible speeds.
Once I am back in the apartement I will measure the speeds ( hopefully I will still have my network, after the renovation)
Kind regards