Edgerouter-x-sfp OpenWrt impressions in 2022?


I have an edgerouter x-sfp with stock firmware (2.0.9-hotfix4) and would like to try latest openwrt (currently 22.03.2) on it. I find edgeos a bit difficult with some things that should be easier. Configuring multi-wan (when I had two ISPs) was a pain, and the IPv6 support requires some wizardry to get working well. Many of these things I find easier in openwrt, or they just work.

I read many forum posts, including the one that had a branch to improve performance in many devices up to 2Gbps, but sadly the x-sfp is not included in the list of devices that would see improvements.

My question is, today with 22.03.2, are there any performance or stability issues in the edgerouter x-sfp compared to stock firmware? Right now I have 300Mbps down, but I expect that to be upgraded in the next year (there are better offerings in my area already, up to 1Gbps, but the price is still not in my range).

My usage is:

  • 300/150Mbps fiber connection, using PPPoE with an ISP provided modem in bridge mode
  • 4 VLANs, with more coming in the near future
  • zone based firewall
  • wireguard VPN
  • possibly multiple ISP links in the future (I had it in the past with edgeos, and in the further past, with a wndr3700 on some older openwrt version)
  • will possibly add OSPF or BGP routing for internal network, because I bring up many lxd and k8s/docker containers in different hosts, and would like direct internal routing to them without NAT, and without having to keep adding static routes every time. That means yet another set of internal networks that need to be routed
  • wifi is provided by ubiquiti access points throughout the house, and the controller is in a raspberry pi 3, so not a concern
  • I don't plan to run "generic applications" on the router. Just what needs to be there.

Would I lose any of the above, or get lower performance or other issues, with openwrt, compared to stock firmware?

And finally, how easy is it to get back to stock firmware from 22.03.2, if need be :wink:

I used stock EdgeOS and then OpenWrt on an ER-X (as far as the router capability goes, pretty much the same as an ER-X-SFP) used as our home gateway router since 18.06, until recently replacing it with a NanoPi R4S. ER-X was replaced after our ISP upgraded to 400/20 service from 200/10, because the ER-X MT7621AT SQM capability topped out at 200/10 with fq_codel/simple (and ~100 with CAKE) and, of course, even with Wireguard an ER-X won't deliver VPN speeds anywhere near that either.

I would say no, not with 18.06, 19.07 or 22.03. All comparable or better routing speed than stock using the same offloading settings (none, sw offloading or hw offloading) in my experience. I would not recommend 21.02 - there were some growing pains with the DSA conversion on that release - especially with offloading and IPv6. One caveat - I never used PPPoE, which loads up the CPU more. Might be fine compared to stock - I just don't know from my own experience.

Meh. EdgeOS is still limited to at best symmetric 500 Mbps for 1 Gbps total like it always has been, right? That this recent OpenWrt goody is not available for the SFP version wouldn't influence me too much.

Make sure you confirm and if necessary update the EdgeOS boot loader version BEFORE you flash OpenWrt. Boot loader Versions 2 and later added tftp recovery capability, which makes returning to stock much easier.

As for how easy is it to return to stock? My personal success rate is 1 out of 2 with the two ER-X's I've had. I'm pretty sure I updated the boot loader before flashing OpenWrt on the one I could not return to stock for ebay sale, but I may have missed that boat. After tftp recovery failed, I tried various how to's with it hooked up to a USB to serial dongle and gave up. I have successfully flashed OpenWrt on a Linksys EA8500 (USB to serial connection on open case needed) and recovered an Askey RT4230W Rev 6 (same), so not a complete novice, but I'm certainly no expert. Oh well - I'm keeping it as a spare over-powered managed switch for now. There are far worse things than being "stuck" with OpenWrt on an ER-X!

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Thank you for your comments!

I'm preparing a backup router, just in case I brick the ER-X-SFP, so I at least have a plan B. Something I should already have done, to be honest.