Find a good midrange 802.11ac WiFi Router for OpenWrt

Hi everyone!
I am new to this forum and to OpenWrt and I'd like to receive some advice from you.

I own a Fritzbox 7330 since 2013 and it's fine but I am thinking to change it with a newer WiFi Router and moreover I'd like to install OpenWrt on the new device.
I am reading hardware tables, comments, specs but I am kinda confused now.
My question is which device may I consider to buy in this period.

I'm just a normal guy with normal needs.
I do as everyone streaming. I use WiFi for PC, laptop, TV, smartphone. I have a RaspberryPi connected through Ethernet cable to act as a Nextcloud Server and I use Wireguard to access from outside to it.
These are basically my needs...

Furthermore I'd like to have a device which is WiFi 5 compatible and I'd like to use 5 GHz because I have seen that I would have less interference in my area.
In the future I'd like to use just a couple of IoT devices but nothing serious...
I'd like to spend for a router 50-70€ (my very limit is 100€) and right now I have a connection of 16 Mbps (yeah sometimes I feel like out of this world).

I am considering Netgear, Linksys, D-Link, GL.iNet, TP-Link but I cannot make up my mind because the choice is too big.
Could you please point me to some devices?

IMO, OpenWrt is only worth the hassle if you have complex requirements or just enjoy tinkering.

It sounds like your requirements can be met without needing to resort to a custom firmware. If that is the case, I suggest just using Google/Nest WiFi or Eero.

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Thanks for your reply :slight_smile:

I get what you mean. As stated on the website I was searching a safe, updated, open source, customizable system.
Yes, it's going to be some work to do. I was also thinking about installing OpenWrt on my FritzBox 7330 but I cannot find the OEM Firmware in case I brick the device or something goes wrong.

I genuinely laughed when I read your suggestions. I haven't said that I am totally against tracking companies and I never use their services. Google or Amazon are for sure hassle-free but are not going to get my money :grinning:

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It's rather difficult to provide guidance, without knowing what features you need - as your current Fritz!Box 7330 has some rather distinct features:

  • ADSL2+ modem
  • 802.11n/ wifi4 (2.4 GHz only)
  • DECT base
  • 1 FXS port

The important (missing) information would be:

  • what's your WAN connection (ADSL, VDSL, VDSL2+vectoring, VDSL2+super-vectoring, cable, ftth, …) and speed (16 MBit/s, 50 MBit/s, 100 MBit/s, 250 MBit/s, >>500 MBit/s, …)
    • do you already have some kind of (VDSL-/ cable-) modem/ ONT for it
  • do you have a solution for your landline (VoIP/ SIP) phones (SIP DECT base, etc.)

One rather popular (enthusiast-) 802.11ax/ wifi6 device would be the Belkin rt3200, just 5-6 EUR above your budget. But, depending on what your needs are, there might be other options.

In general, I'd phrase "mid-range" a little differently (as high-end would need to cover 500-1000+ MBit/s WAN speed - and that requires rather different approaches), putting the range somewhere between 80- and 150 EUR (maybe 70-180 EUR) - which offers plenty of performance for up to ~300-400 MBit/s, but WAN speeds exceeding that might require special attention, especially with VPN or QoS/ SQM requirements in mind.

Don't ignore the second hand market either, depending on your needs there might be interesting options (e.g. BTHub5 (low-end, but cheap and with an integrated VDSL2-vectoring modem), r7800, nbg6817 and towards the lower end quite a few mt7621a options). Make sure to cover (and mention-) your modem- and phone needs as well.

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That being the preference,
Definitely avoid any routers using a MediaTek MT7621AT/MT7615N combination.
Encountering buggy 5 GHz WiFi is not unusual.

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Guys thanks for your kind answers.
I have no idea what kind of WAN connection I have. Online I find no distinctive difference between ADSL, VDSL, ... and I cannot find the right answer.
Fritzbox 7330 is ADSL2+...I guess I have ADSL ?!
I have a 16 Mbit/s connection.
I have no phone at home...I don't even know what a SIP, DECT, VoIP is. I guess I don't even use that thing and if I use it, I don't know the technical name.
I haven't looked at second hand router because I am so inexperienced on this topic that I don't know a fair price for these devices (that's why I am avoiding products out of market and so many discussions are also from 2017-2019).

So to be honest I am still pretty confused right know. I have more questions than answers and still no product in my price range (if there is any).

Probably, that means you will need an xDSL modem as well - either separate or integrated. The problem with the later, OpenWrt only supports a single xDSL modem manufacturer, lantiq up to the vr9/ VRX2xx range of their chipsets (VDSL2+vectoring, up to 100/40 MBit/s, but not super-vectoring with 250/40 MBit/s yet) - and while solid, these chipsets are slightly dated and not really fast (not really mid-range). The best supported specimen of this range would be the aforementioned BT Home Hub 5 Type A, but it's an annex A device (doesn't matter for VDSL, but it does for ADSL…). It gets a lot easier with a dedicated xDSL modem in front of your router, but that pushes your budget (they can be very cheap (5-10 EUR) on the used markets, but…).

No landline phone does make it easier to find good/ supported devices though.

Possibly bridge the 7330 to a 802.11ac gigabit router...turning the 7330 into a modem only.

Did that for years before moving to a fiber connection.

Still using the same router.

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The vendor has removed PPPoE-passthrough from their OEM firmware (Fritz!OS) a couple of years ago (don't know if the Fritz!Box 7330 ever got a 'new-enough' firmware version to disable the feature) - yes, I see that it technically is supported by OpenWrt as well, but ARX188 is a barely tested SOC on OpenWrt, so I wouldn't quite pull the rug from underneath my feet…

The OP really needs to find out what the ISP requirements are for this device (I assume ADSL2+, assuming Germany (as that's the main market for AVM) probably Annex B (which rules out the BT Home Hub 5a) or Annex J) and PPPoE. Suitable second hand xDSL modems (especially if you don't need super-vectoring) can be cheap, really cheap (5-10 EUR), but new they'd add 40-120 EUR to the tally.

Some ISPs will allow both PPPoE and DHCP client.

I switched to DHCP client when I moved off the ISP's device, and bridged it to my gigabit router.

May or may not work for the OP.

That's rare in .de, most xDSL based ISP require PPPoE (and doesn't help that newer OEM firmware versions don't support modem mode, they're sold as all-in-one devices, modem, router, phone (FXS and DECT) - easy enough to be distributed as ISP rental, more capable than most of the competition (a little bit of everything, nothing really great)).

IMO, OpenWrt is only worth the hassle if you have complex requirements or just enjoy tinkering.

This is such a terrible response. People should ignore this person. Just because he can't seem to manage OpenWRT doesn't mean you cannot.

OpenWRT is NOT a hassle. It's really one of the few solutions to provide, modern, up-to-date secure firmware for your equipment. Most hardware vendors abandon their firmware maintenance with-in a year or two of the hardware release leaving the owner exposed and vulnerable. And the hardware vendors ultimate solution is to have you purchase new equipment every year because that is how they make money. There is no incentive (money) in it for them to maintain firmware on sold equipment. OpenWRT is a great solution to keep your equipment running for years.

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I use several Netgear Nighthawk X4S R7800 routers. If you are patient then you can purchase them used via eBay for around $50 USD. They are fast (dual processor) and are easy to manage. OpenWRT supports it very well. My primary router runs Wire Guard (VPN access) and I have it tethered (via USB) to an old mobile phone for backup internet access should my primary (cable modem) fail.

You may want to check out the TP-Link Archer A7v5. It's very reasonably priced (around $55 in U.S.) and extremely stable on 19.07.9. I have installed them as APs in 2 homes (both use WRT3200 as main wired routers) and as a main router in a 3rd home. They easily handle 600Mb connection. Downtime seems to occur only during power outage (once a year or so).

Edit: The A7 is Amazon's version. C7 is the generic one. No difference in hardware and it doesn't matter which one you buy as long as it's v5 version (A7 only has v5, which makes it easy).

Edit 2: only one 5GHz radio, if that matters to you


I've been using OpenWrt, on and off, since the Linksys WRT54GL days. My network currently consists of 6 OpenWrt devices and they are all running custom builds. However, to deny that OpenWrt is not for everyone is to deny reality.

If someone does or doesn't want to use Eero or Google/Nest WiFi, for whatever reason, that's fine. However, it is childish to insult or belittle someone just because their opinion differs from yours.

Does this also fall into your blacklist?

|Model|D-Link DIR-2660 A1
|Architecture|MediaTek MT7621 ver:1 eco:3|

If so may I know the reason? I have recently purchased this and really hapy with wifi performance on 5ghz. Alsobits the only architecture that has "Hardware flow offloading" working with openwrt.

There's tons of happy MT7621 users out there, and MT7615 is one of the more reliable MediaTek radios if you ask me. Don't mistake someone's opinion for more than just that.

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My personal choice for 'midrange' OpenWrt router: TP-Link Archer C6U. I recently got one with OpenWrt specifically in mind, and it has been working really well on 21.02.2.

[OpenWrt Wiki] TP-Link Archer C6U v1 (EU)

Thanks everybody for your opinion and suggestions. Some are different and it's ok. No need to argue if somebody had a different experience in the past.
Thanks for the suggestion regarding Netgear, TP-Link, D-Link and second market products with price range.

I've studied a bit and noticed that my knowledge was pretty low.
Now I can ensure that I have a ADSL connection 16 Mbit/s and I have to use a weird telephone cable to get internet from my ISP.

It looks like that I cannot use my Fritzbox 7330 as a modem link here so I need a modem if I want to upgrade the entire hardware and software.
Just to be clear, I'd also like to upgrade my hardware because my gateway is limited too to 16 Mbit/s and if I move somewhere else I cannot get faster connection.

Now, if I get a modem should I leave there the OEM firmware...OpernWrt is no needed there right?!
The only (new) modem that I have found is from TP-Link. Any suggestion for my search?