Is there a cheaper device than an Archer C7 to play with VLAN

I am switching to a totally new network setup with VLANs. But I have to learn a lot, so I think to buy a very cheap router, which supports openwrt to play with. I have 3 Archer C7v5 using Openwrt. So the question is, if there is a cheaper device to buy for testing than the Archer C7v5? Advantage of the C7 is, that I have flashed 3 pieces already with success. On the other hand, after testing, I have no use for it.

Most ath79 based devices (with 1 GBit/s ports at least) would be very similar (but not necessarily all identical, topic CPU ports and topology) in regards to the switch setup. Mediatek mt7621 would also offer similar feature, but the ramips architectures have moved from swconfig to dsa recently and would therefore use a very different configuration concept.

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I want an Atheros device and didn't find one, which is cheaper than the Archer C7.

A Fritzbox 4040 is more expensive, about 20€, but has 32/256 RAM, while the C7 has 16/128. No idea, if has advantages to buy the 4040.

At the end I have 1 router unused, but I could use the 4040 instead of an already used C7.

Before going with a Fritzbox 4040, read this:


Maybe a stupid question. I have read about the problems with the Linksys, You think the Linksys problems could happen with the Fritzbox too because of the comparable chip?

It's the same chip regardless of the router brand. Running VLANs on that particular chip is not for beginners.

The IPQ4018 is also a dual core ARM thus a lot more CPU power than the single core MIPS in the C7.

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So which model can you recommend instead of the Archer C7 for VLAN, which is not too expensive? It must be Atheros based, since this works best with bridged WLAN-routers. I have 3 C7 in use and I could use a C7 for VLAN testing and buy a better one for normal use.

Emphasizing on the cheaper, but similar aspect for representative testing, you might get lucky to score a TP-Link TL-WDR3600 or TL-WDR4300. To be very clear, this is a solid device - but not one I would recommend to buy in 2021 - but you can get them for ~10 EUR on the used markets. 560 MHz, 8/128, 802.11n, 1 CPU port, 4+1 1000BASE-T ports - less flash, only 802.11n and slower than an archer c7-v5, but rather similar.


Thanks, but I don't want such very old routers.

I have a few TP-Link TL-WR1043ND v1.8 lying around, which still work as wireless bridge for webcams if needed, bricked one for unknown reasons. I don't care a lot if it costs 10€ more or less, thought only if there is a good recommendation cheaper than the C7, I am interested to check this router.

So I am asking in the other direction, what is the next expensive router for VLAN compared to the C7?

In that case, use those. 32 MB RAM is an issue for luci (possible, although not fun), but other than that the switch setup is almost the same as on your c7-v5.

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Well, I have to find them, which have a very old OpenWRT installed, maybe 2014. It was not easy to flash a newer OpenWRT, got 2 working, bricked 1 and then I stopped it, since they are very rarely used. I don't want to destroy the configuration of devices with OpenWRT from 2018 I think. There have been very strange things.

Anyway, what is a little more expensive than the C7 and recommended with VLAN and Atheros chip?

The problem in your search and with this quest, modern targets are slowly migrating away from swconfig to DSA for the switch configuration, which is functionally equivalent (and partially superior), but needs a very different configuration approach.

mvebu, ramips, mt7622 and realtek (the rtl838x/ rt839x/ rtl93xx based smart-managed switches with 8-52 ports) have already switched to DSA, ipq806x and lantiq will follow very soon (PRs already submitted, pending to be merged). There isn't a whole lot better than ath79, but still using swconfig for the forseeable future - and while there is plenty hardware better than ath79, it's both more expensive or DSA (at least soon to come), making it non-representative for your primary intention of being a testbed for your c7-v5 switch configuration. While I'd prefer ipq40xx over ath79 any day of the week (very similar prices compared to the c7-v5), the VLAN specific issue in its swconfig driver will only disappear once it moves over to DSA as well (drivers available, needing further integration testing).

Yes, ath79 also has a chance to be migrated over to dsa one day, but that will need further work on qca8k to support ar8237 in addition to the already supported qca8337 sporting on ipq806x.

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I want to give you a little bit more info. I am a beginner with VLAN and want to use separate networks for WLAN and LAN for security reasons, so I need 2 VLANs, Changing all current networks is very dangerous, so I want to do some tests before to understand better what I am doing.

Mikrotik RouterBOARD 4011iGS+RM (AL21400) - will be used as Firewall
Mikrotik Switch CRS326-24G-2S+IN (98DX3236) - will be used as Switch
*) certificate - removed DSA (D) flag;
I don't understand what removed in this case means.

So my first step is to get 2 networks from the openWRT Router / C7 to the switch. Probably this has to be done with 2 tagged VLANs. I am open to any ideas. See Playground for VLAN

Certificate DSA is Digital Signature Algorithm, an old encryption standard that is no longer considered secure. Nothing to do with Distributed Switch Architecture.


Sorry, I don't understand if swconfig / DSA is related to internal openwrt coding only or do I have to take care, if it works with my Mikrotik switch?

I tried to understand:

From my C7:

~# swconfig list
Found: switch0 - ag71xx-mdio.0

I use a Netgear too, which should be configured with VLAN too.

root@R7800:~# swconfig list
Found: switch0 - gpio-0

There is a new challenge, VLAN with wireless bridged routers: Router with Wireless bridge-vlan support

So maybe I need new routers and can test with my existing C7.

Are you running OpenWrt on the Mikrotik devices?

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No, AFAIK OpenWRT ist not supported with these Mikrotik devices.

4011 search:

326 search:

MikroTik search:

Both run Router OS, the switch could run Switch OS too. The switch is unpacked and the router / firewall is ordered.

Router OS Manual:
Model Switch Chip CPU Cores Wireless SFP+ port ACL rules Unicast FDB entries Jumbo Frame (Bytes)
CRS326-24S+2Q+ Marvell-98DX8332 650MHz 1 - + 170 32,000 10218

So the witch chip is a Marvell-98DX8332.

As a totally anecdotal recommend, I just switched to a VLAN setup using Belkin AX3200 and it worked out great. I was using some Ubiquiti devices and the internal switch would strip the 802.1q headers one way and not the other. I hacked it together but it was ugly. The AX3200 worked exactly like I needed.

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This sounds, that I have to try it. I need more ports than the AX3200, my Mikrotik has 24, 16 Gbit ports would be enough.