Linksys ea8500 vs Netgear r7800

Quick question for the community.
I currently have two offers for a router upgrade.

The first is the Linksys ea8500 for $50.
The second is the Netgear R7800 for $90.

Looking at the hardware, the R7800 is slightly newer (newer/faster CPU, newer WIFI chips) but are these worth the extra cost? Would there be a noticeable impact on performance to make it worth it?

Currently I use Wireguard VPN and SQM for buffer bloat on top of standard router functionality. Some home automation devices which will increase the device count to a few dozen, but traffic shouldn't be to high. Lastly, security camera traffic saving to NVR. My ISP speeds are not high, so I'm not really concerned about maxing out - that won't happen.

The last consideration is "futureproof" - even though I know both of these probably aren't the best for this concept (wifi 6 on the horizon), but support future Openwrt releases and chip support, etc.

So, is the R7800 worth the extra investment - or are the two close enough in performance (and support) that the ea8500 is a better deal at almost 1/2 the cost?


I'd say, yes. You get the newer/ faster SOC (ipq8065, 2*1.7 GHz vs ipq8064, 2*1.4 GHz) and considerably newer/ better WLAN (QCA9984 vs QCA9980). On top of that the EA8500 has a rather particular hardware design, which only uses a single CPU port to the switch, while the r7800 connects two of them, one for WAN, the other for LAN.

This doesn't really say anything, these days that could refer to anything between 10 MBit/s and probably a third to half of 1000 MBit/s, but it means something quite different in terms of hardware requirements.

The situation would be rather similar for both, yes the r7800 is faster, but by the time that becomes an issue, you'd want something much faster than either of them.

I'd still buy the EA8500 if it were cheap enough, but 50 USD vs 90 USD would make me look very thoroughly through my purse to find a few more bucks. Especially as the r7800 is more popular among OpenWrt users/ contributors, so it has more attention than the EA8500. Depending on availability and pricing, the ZyXEL NBG6817 might be another option (it is very similar to the r7800)

1 Like

Firstly, fantastic response!
Thank you very much for taking the time to write all this up.

This one note is something I overlooked!
I will be honest and say I don't have a good understanding of the total result of this difference, but I do understand that it is a significant difference that could potentially greatly impact performance!

One follow up question... I have seen talk about ath10k-ct vs ath10k causing some issues... does this mean that the current newest release (19.07.2) is not stable? Or is this just something those experienced users and DEV's are working on straightening out?

ath10k/ ath10k-ct is by far the most reliable opensource driver you'll find at this time (and very actively developed, both Candelatech and Qualcomm-Atheros are regularly providing firmware updates; the kernel/ driver side is also actively developed).

Long term, mt76 for Mediatek devices might have better prospects (very small firmware, most handled in the kernel/ mac80211, allowing more hands-on development - including by third parties, like OpenWrt, while ath10k/ ath10k-ct depend on bugfixes happening in the proprietary firmware), but right now, ath10k/ ath10k-ct is (imho) in a much better state than mt76 (and given the history for mt7602e/ mt7603e, mt7612 and mt7615, I don't expect that to change within the next few years).

1 Like

Okay, I was meaning that if I get the R7800 (that's the goal) should I avoid 19.07.2 (use 18.06.8 instead?) or is 19.07.2 good as a daily driver on it.

I want to avoid any random restarting or wifi drops due to ongoing bug fixes.

Thanks again for all the help!

19.07.x is fine, it uses ath10k-ct which is not affected by the current stability discussions regarding ath10k (from v4.19, v5.4 or v5.7-rc2 backports). I've been using my nbg6817 as my main router since early 2017 - it's fine since at least 18.06.x (running 17.01.x is not recommended, as it didn't properly apply pre-cal settings and could (did) cause problems).

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 10 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.