I'm a first time OpenWrt user with TP-Link Archer C7 v5 hardware which I specifically purchased for use with OW, and have been using since 19.07, IIRC. The wireless performance, while reasonable for my use-case, has never performed anywhere near the limits of the hardware's capability, which irks me greatly. As detailed on another thread, my 802.11ac throughput peaks at 100 Mbps in real world, and around 150 Mbps on iperf (with wired machine on the LAN) for reasons I've yet to discover, let alone fix.
Since I have a laptop with 802.11ax capability, I was thinking that maybe I can just ignore the problem altogether by replacing it with a new, ax-capable router. I've gone through the ToH with ax filter, and this is the only one that appears to fit my requirement:
available in the local market
relatively easy and straightforward to flash with OpenWrt
Of the models featured in the ToH and had device pages, just having to SSH to flash the firmware satisfies my criteria. I think there was a TOTOLINK one which you can flash from the web UI, but unfortunately it's not available for purchase even on local Amazon, and I've never heard of this brand before either.
The above being the case, I would like to ask if this is a good idea to pull the trigger on this.
If I have to do it myself, doesn't that entirely defeat the purpose this forum's topic category...? It says Hardware Questions and Recommendations, hence my post...
And it depends, if it's Amazon or similar large retailer (which I don't prefer), I should be able to return, but likely not if I'm purchasing from some local small shop. Also, wouldn't you have to revert back to factory image before returning? If that's necessary, I'm not knowledgeable enough to figure out how to do that.
and if you get 10+ replies that praise the device and then you discover it doesn't fit your needs aren't you back in the above situation?
and yes - you should revert to factory to return it - most likely be able to do it via ssh as well
Like the title says, I just want to know if OpenWrt performs as expected of the hardware. If the hardware does what it says on paper, that's what I need. I'm not in some special situation with niche requirements, my requirements are a few GbE ports and WiFi that performs as advertised.
The MT7621 CPU in the RT-AX53U is not much faster than what is in the Archer C7. The MT7621 has one more core than the C7, but their single core capabilities are about the same. There are better options to replace an Archer C7 for about the same cost. Check out the Belkin RT3200 or something else with a faster MT7622 CPU.
Would the increased single core performance make much difference in my case? At best, there would be 5 wireless devices in regular use, and even then wouldn't ever be used simultaneously, And my internet service is 250 Mbps over PPPoE, so I won't even be approaching gigabit speeds and bottlenecks. Also, doesn't OpenWrt support hardware offloading on MT7621? Isn't that already advantageous over C7?
The above aside, I've seen the RT3200 in the ToH and it is available in the local Amazon and it is somewhat more expensive the than the RT-AX53U, but I've ruled it out mostly because I don't understand the UBI things in the installation steps, and the instructions are not even written on the wiki. From what I understand, OpenWrt's builds won't work to either install or upgrade, and I have to either build it myself using the script or download the prebuilts from the GitHub page for every release. I'm simply not comfortable or ready to do either.
In any case, as I mention in the OP, my primary concern is getting proper wireless speed. I've not had problems with Ethernet connection on the C7.
Been there, after dancing with ipq8064,ipq4019, mtk7261, qca95xx gave up and went to x86 thin client with pfsensefor main router and some openwrt ap have best solution for me. I can have gigabit pppoe without problem even with heavy torrenting, can have 550mbps over wifi anytime. My garbage ezviz w3 works nice with left side of home, my linksys velop wh01 fly with right side, and the rest are wire conected to tp-link t1700-28q switch with nas and workstations connected thru 10gb fibers. Uptime counted with hundreds of days.
You seem set on the RT-AX53U. If that is what you want, get it. It will be an upgrade over the C7. I was just pointing out it will not be a large upgrade, and that there may be better choices in your price range.
If you were looking for an all-in-one router to put in service as a dumb AP, the RT-AX53U would be a good choice. But it sounds like you are looking for an all-in-one device to do the work of both a gateway router and a WiFi AP. Even if the RT-AX53U is enough to just handle your current needs, it's certainly not going to have margin for greater future needs in this role.
Aside, the RT3200 is supported on stable OpenWrt as of 22.03 - no special builds required. It didn't look difficult to flash to me. I have one on order to flash for someone else, so wish me luck.
I think you misunderstood. I wrote that the C7 and MT7621 single core capabilities are about the same. The extra core on MT7621 is quite helpful for some tasks, but others can only run on one core anyway. The speedup factor, in other words, is not two.
It does. And it helps a lot. Just be aware that hardware offloading is not compatible with all things. If you want to reduce latency with SQM QoS, you can no longer use hardware offloading, and 200 Mbps SQM with fq_codel/simple is the most a dual core MT7621 can handle, and that is assuming no other loads like PPPoE or WiFi. As slh noted, just concurrent 250 Mbps PPPoE and WiFi may not be a trivial CPU load either.
The thing to keep in mind here is that if the CPU runs out of gas handling your PPPoE load and routing Ethernet, there is not enough left for the WiFi.
This is quite unfortunate. I'm heavy into "open source, distrust proprietary" mindset, so I didn't even try the factory firmware before flashing OW straight away. Since the stock firmware also likely to suffer from the anemic hardware, the advertised speeds would be borderline false advertisement then.
Not exactly; both price-wise and OW installation ease seems to be agreeable to me. However, if it offers no improvement to my Wi-Fi experience, I'll simply not buy. That's why I made this thread.
Please let me know how the UBI thing goes. All I could gather is I'd have to use the custom script/build from the GitHub page; if it's as you say, I'll seriously consider getting this for myself.
I've not had time to play with OW despite how long I flashed my router with it. I'll consider reading up on this.
I've had my C7 in two situations where it served as AP, but always restricted to 100 Mbps. Does NAT hit the CPU that hard, and it always should be a dumb AP to get such speeds?
So far, the three of you have convinced me that getting RT-AX53U might not give me a better experience at all.
I want to do this someday, but I don't want to run old power-inefficient hardware as router, nor am I in financial position to justify such beefy network gear for my situation. Maybe I should get a non-Wi-Fi router and flash OW on it instead.
By the way, why pfSense? OW can run on x86, right? Does that not work well?
Why pfsense over openwrt or opnsene? Because i run ids, more complex firewall rules and all can do with nice webui, fujitsu s920 with intel x520 tops about 15-20w from wall and i am happy with that, also simple update process, big advantage is also high availability with two the same boxes. Virtualized pfsense works even better . and if fw goes offline i have still redt of network online and can backup with spare teltonika lte router .
Oh, I completely ignored "thin client" phrase. I knew the concept of "thin clients," but never thought about it, and never knew there's an entire hardware category. How very interesting, I'll be looking into that.
pfSense is BSD, so how does that experience work out? I've only used Linux, never thought of trying any of BSDs.
Yep, very elastic in terms of options to run different softwares and not pin down to ofw or luckily openwrt if available . and you can quite easyly upgrade parts like ram , wlan, storage, also performance is better.
Painless. Stock firmware was on version 1.0, so I did not even have to upgrade it to 1.2 to use signed images (1.0 is no longer available on the Belkin web-site for downgrading, at least that I could find).
In any event, it's just a two step flash from the web user interfaces (once from the stock firmware interface to memory, second time from OpenWrt flash upgrade interface for keeps). I thought the directions were quite clear and it went fine with no mishaps.
I had no intention of going back to stock, so I didn't bother with stock firmware back-ups, etc. Went straight to UBI. No USB to serial wires, no serial terminal, no tftp server, etc. required. Much easier to flash the Belkin RT3200 than EA8500, Askey RT4230W or even ER-X devices I've flashed in the past.