[HELP] Not sure what device to pick


I'm setting up the network at home and I'm unsure about what devices should I get; currently I only have the ISP modem and 1 Linksys WRT1900ACS router with OpenWRT on it doing all the work, my plan is to run ethernet cables to 3 bedrooms and 1 office, at the end of each cable install a cheap router to act as dumb AP with fast roaming, i.e. let the WRT1900ACS handle all the DHCP, routing, DNS, firewall, etc.

The bedrooms will mostly add wifi coverage for mobile devices, and maybe use 1or 2 cable connections for a TV / console; the office one, however, will have a bigger load consisting of: 1 desktop PC, 2 SBC (Odroid), 1 printer, 1 laptop (cabled, ocassionaly), therefore I may need to add yet another switch after this new dumb AP to have more ethernet ports handy.

After doing some research, these are the two options that I've come up with for those 4 dumb AP / switch:

The TP-Link is 30% more expensive than the Asus, but it has 128Mb of RAM while the later has 64Mb only.

Any suggestion about what to pick? I was thinking maybe the 3 Asus for the bedrooms and 1 TP-link for the office since it'll have a bigger load, altough all the legwork should be handled by the WRT1900ACS as far as I know.

Thank you.

Explicitly without recommending any particular device here, but:

  • avoid 64 MB RAM for new purchases, the end of the road for these devices is somewhat in sight.
  • avoid mwlwifi for wireless purposes, its development ceased almost half a decade ago and remains bug-ridden.

…choose a device without either of these deficiencies (the used markets might extend your range of options).

I had no idea about the mwlwifi thing, I got that WRT1900ACS years ago, I think it may be due for a change but since I only have 50mbps ADSL in this house I don't see the benefit of replacing it just yet, will consider it in the near future, thank you!

By EOL for 64Mb you mean it won't be supported by OpenWRT in a "near future"? e.g. in a couple of years it won't be enough RAM to run a dumb AP / switch? If yes then I'll discard the Asus router in favour of the TP-Link, since that one has 128Mb of RAM

8 MB flash devices are 'at risk' of becoming unsupported with the next release:

64 MB is already scraping the lower limit of the minimum system requirements, for long term operations aim to go (comfortably) beyond this.

Admittedly, 'AP' usage requires less system resources than 'router' uses, but still - if you want good and/or long term support, aim higher than the bare minimum.

I guess that settles it! Of the two choices that I found, the TP-Link seem to be the way to go, now I'll just research common / known issues about it, and maybe try to get some new suggestions.

Thank you for your amazing help.

That's why I explicitly refrained from recommending either of these devices…

MediaTek MT7603E && MediaTek MT7613BE is not exactly a match made in heaven. While modern mt76 (mt7615 and up) is considered to be fine, mt7602e/ mt7603e is known not to particularly like interference (e.g. in crowded and busy environments) and mt7613be is known not to cope well (read, "at all") with DFS (frequencies; and ch36-48 only is not exactly great for an AP).

There are better alternatives in these (any) price ranges.

Oook... I know my way a bit around software, but I reckon that networks aren't my main strength, I'm not too sure what you're talking about, but sounds like the TP-Link is a poor choice.

I'll try to find better ones, I assume something along the lines of MT7615 and above, as you said.

Thank you again!

For the purposes you stated, these platforms would be promising:

  • ipq40xx
  • mt7621a+mt7615e+mt7615e
  • ipq806x+qca998x
  • mt7621a+mt7915/mt7916
  • mt7622+mt7915/mt7916

(roughly in ascending order of performance and pricing)

ipq807x (further into the future also ipq60xx) and filogic 830 would be options for the future, but aren't (fully) supported yet (so skip for now, unless you really know what you're doing and are willing to take some kind of gamble).

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Welp... guess I'll need to do a bunch of extra research because I can't find many of those in here https://openwrt.org/toh/views/toh_available_16128?dataflt[RAM+MB*~]=128 and the few that show are impossible to find in Amazon.

Thank you for your help x3! I've learned quite a lot.

Not to detract from @slh ‘s advice and despite your WRT1900ACS being EOL, it is more than capable to service your needs based on your use case. Probably longer term than you might think. As @slh notes, mwlwifi is a pos, but just turn radios off and rely on AP’s for wifi service.

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I don't think it fits in the hardware models that you shared, but do you know if there are any issues with https://openwrt.org/toh/hwdata/tp-link/tp-link_archer_a7_v5 ?

It explains why some of my devices have had issues with the WiFi for a long time, I seriously had no idea about mwlwifi being such a bad thing.

I would still rely on this router as wireless AP, but since we've used it for years I don't think it'll be "worse", at least not until I decide to replace it with something new.

Keep the 1900 as a wired router, and add an AP (or router set up as AP) for proper wifi ?

An used AC2600 or AX1800 device would probably cost you less than $30 on eBay.

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Thank you, the problem isn't the WRT1900 though, the problem is to find 4-5 cheap / dumb wireless APs

Define cheap?

BTW, 22.03 seems to be the last version for 8 mb flash devices.

I'd define the devices I'm looking for as: "One of the least expensive wireless router with 16Mb de flash memory and 128Mb of RAM and fast roaming (802.11r AFAIK) support, with the highest OpenWRT compatibility / less known issues as possible.*"

Again, I plan to use many (4-ish) of these devices spread over the whole house as dumb APs, i.e. leveraging on my main router WRT1900ACS to do the "leg work" of routing, firewall, DHCP, DNS, ad-blocking, VPN, etc, etc.

Thank you!

*: Also available to buy in MX, sorry :cry:

I have zero price experience with HW in MX, but the WAX202 seems to be sold at a decent price on MX Amazon.

Well, I'm not "counting pennies", just don't want to spend a lot of money on something that I won't need.

I assume you mean the Netgeat WAX202 here https://www.amazon.com.mx/Netgear-4-Stream-Dual-Band-Gigabit-Router/dp/B097HMLTQX/

The price is ~$65USD, doesn't look too bad. I'll check for any known issues.

Thank you!!!

ath79 (as in archer c7) is getting a bit long in the tooth, yes, its support is solid, but it goes back over a dozen years by now. While it would do for your current needs, I personally wouldn't recommend it for new purchases anymore (there is better for the same and/or less money).

I don't want to "ask too much" but is there any chance for you to recommend me a few actual router model options to pick from?

Tried to search the ToH for the models your recommended but could barely find any.

The easiest brands to get for me are: Asus, TP-Link, Linksys, D-Link.

Thank you!