Looking for a good router 250CAD - R8500 died tonight

So I bought a R8500 in 2016 thinking it would last a couple of years... I didn't think it was going to be exactly a couple of years though. I was using ddwrt but I find the lack of organization, unmaintained forum, divided (?) contributors painful although I love the firmware (to an extent). I wanted to switch to openwrt for a couple of months now.

I would like an ax compatible router but I guess I would pay a premium (again!) so no thank you - ehhh maybe? :stuck_out_tongue:

I would like something that can handle traffic. I hate waiting and I hate lags.
Current devices:
Synology NAS
4 raspberry pi
2 computers
4 iot devices (smart plugs)
2 phones
1 tablet
1 voip box
1 printer
2 Nintendo switch
1 xbox

Plenty of QoS, static IPs, open ports and iptable rules.

I also have - or had - an isolated 2.4GHz AP that is shared openly with my neighbours.

I would normally compare and think about my next router for 6 to 8 weeks but I'd like to order tomorrow because internet.

I found the WRT32X (260 CAD) and the WRT3200ACM (320 CAD) from linksys that looks good and since their WRT relaunch, it seems they are doing ok now with the openwrt community.

There is a 60 $ price difference, I'm not sure why.

Are they any good? They looks good. Is there anything else out there similar with similar or lower price?

Good OpenWRT compatibility / "long term" firmware update is important, I want security patches.

Thanks for reading this. I'm waiting in front of my screen :smile:

EDIT: I do not want Google/Amazon/Huawei devices. (Huawei could do it though, I don't hate them as much). I read here than Qualcomm have good chips, but I just read that the WRT have Marvell chips. Any difference?

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Might be of interest: What's your favorite enthusiast LEDE/OpenWrt device?

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Yes I've been reading that since before I wrote my post :laughing:
Also checking the OpenWRT device list and wikidevi, although I'm not deep in the wireless jargon.
Do you know if there is issues with the WRT32X/ACM runniong OpenWRT? I know the first WRT they released a coupl eof years back was horrible.

most people are happy ... and in terms of "power offerings" they are one of the few that are commercially available...

I got burnt too many times by flakey Linksys' in the past so as a rule... I prefer other brands...

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It kinda depends on your requirements

Marvell SoCs have good and mature support however 512Mbyte of RAM isn't much if you want to add services apart from basic firewalling and routing. While the wifi driver is open source it's not recieveing much love these days does which may of concern for long term support. I have a few of these devices and they're working great in terms of stability and performance but 2.4G can be a bit troublesome with some devices.

If you're looking for one single device ipq401*-devices are probably your best bet (for now) in terms of price and performance ratio however support upstream (mainline) doesn't seem to be that good so longterm might be an issue.

You should also be aware of that aarch64/arm64 is where most focus goes these days and very few consumer models uses such a SoC but I would expect those to last longer than the older ARMv7 32-bit SoCs even though they will most likely be supported for years.

You can go the x86 route and add separate wifi cards and antennas but this usually exceeds the cost of getting a router and only using it as an access point.

Personally I'd go for separate units as I find it much more convenient for a number of reasons and doesn't necessarily cost much more. Your firewall can more or less be "anything" and run whatever you prefer. Running a complete distro which may offer more capabilities that you find useful and require less time porting and testing software (if needed). Get a cheap switch/VLAN capable switch and a device to use as AP such as the Linksys EA6350v3 running OpenWrt.

@jeff can probably chime in on this more


Thank you very much. I'm not really aware of architecture and drivers when it comes to routers.

I wouldn't mind building my own but I'm not even sure where to start. If I want 2.4 and 5GHz and be compatible with openwrt etc.
aarch64 would be great, but finding 2.4/5 ghz hardware, implementation etc would be time consuming I suspect.

I was already planning on using a Pi 4 with 2 or 4G of RAM for IDS/IPS/Firewall/DNS server between my router and my modem. Still in the thinking phase.

Marvell driver update from Marvell is lacking
Qualcomm driver update might be an issue in a year or so

WRT32X finicky on 2.4GHz sometimes, otherwise stable. This is armv7 arch? Where can I find such information please?

PC world is simpler - Intel, AMD, x86, x86_64, the others :laughing:


I could, I think, get EnGenius EAP1300 for the AP, TP-Link SG108E for the switch and a raspberry pi with openwrt for the router. No idea yet how I can make this work, I never used a switch XD but it would be less expensive and more fun for sure! The raspberry would run aarch64 :smiley: but the AP would face the same dilemma as before hahaha.

I creates another thread about some software question and hardware configuration if I do use individual components. Just in case I decide to ditch the wrt32x.

Based on availability on Amazon US drying up, it might be that the WRT32X is being discontinued. That is a guess without other supporting evidence.

Marvell was recently bought by NXP. It is unclear what the level of support for wireless drivers will be going forward. It could be better, or ... As far as I know, the Marvell wireless doesn't support 802.11s. See https://github.com/kaloz/mwlwifi/issues?utf8=✓&q=is%3Aissue+802.11s

If you're looking for a "going forward" solution, the idea of a managed switch, powerful router, and separate AP(s) is a good one.

Personally, I wouldn't even consider the Raspberry Pi (even the 4) as a router. I'd go with the ODROID H2 if you have budget for it. If on a more restricted budget, you might consider something like the EdgeRouter X (~US$60) if you didn't need more than around 200 Mbps with SQM (I do not own this device, nor have I tested it myself). The GL.iNet "BRUME" is an interesting mid-range option as well, but I personally haven't tested any "mvebu" (Marvell) devices. Based on reports of thermal issues and stability issues of the EspressoBin devices on Amazon (US) and elsewhere, I can't recommend them.

I personally use the EA8300 units (IPQ4019/QCA9888) as APs, selected primarily because they are three-radio units and I need to run backhaul over 802.11ac as I can't pull cable where I'd like to (or use power-line modems). I've still got a couple Archer C7v2 units in service. The EA8300 wireless is better, but when you've got hardware on the bench that works sufficiently well with current, secure firmware at "zero cost", it was hard to justify additional expenditure for a remote garage. Right now, I wouldn't spend a ton on an AP, as I expect next-generation chip sets, modulation schemes, and client support to become more affordable over the next 2-3 years.

The architecture can be found on the various wiki pages for the devices. Here's one view of devices by architecture https://openwrt.org/toh/views/toh_dev_arch-target-cpu and a "magic decoder ring" https://openwrt.org/docs/techref/targets/start


Raspberry Pi(4) shouldn't be that bad however you'll be limited to ~500mbit since you'd need to use VLAN on a single interface unless you're looking at using an ethernet to USB-adapter which isn't something I would recommend. I'm not sure about the current support for RPI4 (still 32-bit only?) if you'd go for anything else than Raspbian if you want to use a relatively up to date distro.

As far as Espressobin goes I think mostly of boils down to and the fact that it ships without any decent cooling and people are using old and/or outdated software. I do however find 1G a bit sparse as far as RAM is concerned if you want it to be at least somewhat self-hosting.


Yes, I looked into Espressobin and I wasn't impressed to be honest.
For the Pi 4, right now there is only the kernel that can be 64 bits (using raspbian). So yea maybe it would be good to start but it might increase pain and frustration in a short to medium term.

Thanks for your inputs, I really appreciate it.

Thanks for the link to the GL.iNet BRUME. I've been pleased with there previous offerings and this looks like a good alternative to the EspressoBin.

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It's pretty much the same thing except the for EMMC memory?

From discussions I've had with GL.iNet and what I've read, it has meaningful thermal design and apparently USB-C support. I'm impressed with how they handled the heat sink in the GL-AR750S (full custom, not stick-on junk) and am looking forward to trying out one of these myself.

The thermal design of the Espressobin with the plastic case is pretty bad. I'm wondering if the metal case available if ordering direct from GlobalScale would be an improvement. When ordering from GlobalScale you can order with 4GB eMMC or 2GB RAM as options also. GlobalScale have always had thermal issues with their designs, the original GuruPlug/SheevaPlugs had reported cases of actual fires.

The thermal issue isn't anything special, pretty much any board gives without a heatsink including RPIs and I don't see people making much noise about it. I'll pass on hardware that has less than 2G of RAM for now however.

Why dont you take a look at the tp-link ac2600 (ipq8064)? You can get them second hand dirt cheap these days, since a lot of folks jump in the mesh-network train and get rid of their "old" router. Bought them myself for around 40 bucks. Cant get anything more fancy than that for that pricepoint. Just look at your local ads, fleamarkets, 2nd hand stores etc.

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