Looking for a router around $50 to share blu ray etc. over wifi to laptop from raspberry pi

Basically I have 8TB hard drive which I connected to my laptop using a USB enclosure. This was bad because the USB cable got damaged because my laptop is on my lap. So the next step it seems is to try to connect the USB enclosure to my router in a fixed position. I currently have a Huawei HG8245a which is ONT + 802.11n from my ISP. I think this is not a very interesting device, so I'm going to switch it to bridge mode and get a separate wifi router.

I bought to Archer C7s in 2014 (they are with my ex-wife), and they worked well. It seems a little odd to me to be buying the same hardware (more-or-less) in 2021.

I've read that connecting USB HDD to a router is not a good idea and I'll probably get better performance using either my RaspPi 3B+ or my second laptop (thinkpad x230). The laptop is maybe slightly better in that I use SabNZBD with par2, rar, etc., and I tried this on the Pi, and the performance was very bad to not really functioning, so I can either configure the Pi as a NAS and connect from my main laptop over wifi 5GHZ (distance is only 4m) for the download, or use my second laptop for downloads and then stream from that to the first laptop over wifi 5ghz.

I've looked at devices on sale here (Indonesia), I found an Archer C7 1.1 used for like $20 and a D7 (I think difficult to flash?) new for $40. Some of the other tp-link devices here are not very interesting.

There is then Xiaomi Ac2100 and Mi router 4a, which seem similar and seem to hae stronger hardware than the C7? The price is only $20-30

(There are other Xiaomi devices like AX5 but I think no openwrt support.)

Tenda is somewhat popular here but doesn't seem to be very good for openwrt either.

MT7621 units like the Xiaomis and Netgear R6350 (and its similar brothers) have taken over what the A7 used to do. Don't buy an A7 V1, it has the early 5 GHz chip. A V2 or later for $20 is a decent deal.

If you had a Pi 4 you could add a USB3 Ethernet adapter to make a main router / file server and then possibly add a separate WiFi AP-- though the internal wifi might be sufficient for a single laptop at close range. The Pi3 has no USB3 ports so speed of USB Ethernet adapters (including the built in one) is limited.

Yeah I don't have a Pi 4, I bought the Pi 3 deliberately to do 3d LibreElec, they haven't added that to LibreElec for Pi 4 yet, so.

Netgear is expensive here so I'll guess I'll get some form of Xiaomi.

I had a look at the full list for ac/ac Xiaomi here:

4A Gigabit Edition (3G V2) - $20 MT7621/MT7612E, 16/128MB 3 x gigabit, 0 USB
3g Original Edition - $40 MT7621/MT7612E, 128/128MB 3 x gigabit 1 USB3
AC2100 $28 MT7621/MT7615 128/128MB 3x gigabit, 0 usb
AX5/AX1800 $40/$45 IPQ6000 128MB/256MB 3x gigabit, 0 usb
AX6 $70 IPQ8071A 128MB/512MB 3x gigabit 0 usb
AX3600 $93 IPQ8071A 256MB/512MB 3x gigabit 0 usb

It seems like AX5 or Ax6 is nice but looks like trouble till there is (maybe) openwrt support. Ac2100 is cheap and works with openwrt with not too much trouble

I definitely prefer Qualcomm to Mediatek, but I don't like Chinese firmware....

Although it is not the question you asked...

You might want to take a look at Plex, it can run on a very basic media PC and has a Netflix like interface, it goes and gets all the media and review data and gives you than interface on your TV via Plex client or on Laptop, Mobile etc.

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