Looking for performant, easy-to-maintain wired router

Hi, am new here in regards to anything beyond simple configurations via luci in openwrt. I'm looking to move some existing routers I have in this house to another house, so am looking for new hardware. I currently have a U6-LR on the way to provide wireless access, and given that the existing R6220 router (functioning as an AP) downstairs in a central area can cover the house (and in most cases, even better upstairs than the primary router in the upstairs closet).

I'm looking for a router/managed switch with plenty of cpu power for the future. I currently have a 300/300 connection, though this may change if I decide to switch to a different provider. I currently have a 2 vlan setup for IOT/guest devices, planning to add a third for cameras. (I've currently just been using the switch ports for vlans so I don't have to deal with tagging.) I may re-enable SQM in the future, and I also want to eventually setup some sort of firewall logging/inspection too. I've seen recommendations on doing x86 with a raspberry pi, but I was wondering if there's any pre-made switch/router that has the performance I'm seeking (and so I don't have to worry about building openwrt from source or other maintenance and such). As aforementioned, I don't need wireless, and no budget to worry about (currently at the "what's out there that performs well and is supported" phase)

Switches are usually bad at routing.

Have a look at

This one is actually wrong, it got a mix of photos of a CR35Wing (6 ports) and CR25Wing (4 ports).

ah ok, not sure what the correct term is, since "router" is often conflated with wifi ap and other such components.

Maybe select from the following:

  • Wired router: Ethernet ports only, no on board wifi.
    • port count varies, port speeds vary, too.
    • Some have a built-in switch
    • others have independently routed ports (i.e. no switch chip).
  • All-in-one wifi router: Typically at the consumer level for home use, it will be a 5-port device operating as 1 wan +4 lan, wifi integrated.
    • port counts vary, as do speeds and wifi capabilities.
  • Switch: Usually designed for switching only. Managed switches are VLAN aware and can properly switch VLANs through the fabric, but routing performance (while technically possible when running OpenWrt) would be incredibly slow (think ~25Mbps or less).
  • AP: purpose built wifi access point. Typically only 1 or 2 ethernet ports, but designed specifically as an access point and not really for routing. Many can route pretty well when running OpenWrt, as they often use the same SoC as all-in-one router device, but this is not universally true.

So... of those, what do you need?

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Ok, I think it'd be a wired router. This device would be replacing the existing router, providing vlans, routing, firewall, sqm, sitting right behind my ISP router (cannot bypass as it's used for authentication with ONT). Basically would be similar to all-in-one, but without wifi capabilities. (Maybe this assumes I'm expecting a WAN interface?)

How many ports do you need on the router itself? If you have a managed switch with enough ports already, you may be good with just a 2 port (1 wan, 1 lan) device, but if you need other ethernet ports on the router itself, obviously that should be factored in.

You mention a 300/300 connection but that it might change... if so, what would be the next upgrade?

I'm currently using all 5 ports (1 WAN 4 LAN) on my MR8300, and given I want to add a third vlan, I probably will need a minimum of that.

I personally was happy with a 30/30 connection, aside from occasional downloads from another machine slowing my downloads to less than 5mbps (with sqm enabled), but ISP raised prices on existing plans so much that switching to 300/300 was cheaper... so may switch ISP if this sort of price raising continues, and it's been oddly flaking out on some nights for random intervals, so not sure what next upgrade would be at the moment. I am seeking to future-proof a little bit, as I'd prefer to stick with reliable hardware over a few years vs. spending time configuring newer devices as needed.

Your MR8300 is an all-in-one wifi router device. Do you use the on-board wifi? If so, what is your plan once you replace this unit? Are you going to make it into a dumb AP? Or get other APs? or do you want your new device to also include wifi?

EDIT: Also worth asking, why do you want to replace that unit? Is it falling short on performance? It should be good for 300x300 routing, so seems like a fine unit to keep in service.

I suspect with SQM at those speeds it might fall a little short. I'm not even sure my RB5009UG+S+IN could handle that without issues.

might be worth reading (more the later specimens, than the old apu series with ancient AMD Jaguar cores); e.g. a baytrail-d Atom j1900 can do ~830 MBit/s max. with sqm/cake and all bells and whistles (or the full nine yards (easily) without sqm).

New 4-port (up to 2.5 GBit/s) n95/ n100 mini PCs start around 130-250 EUR when ordered directly from China, OpenWrt should do (does) a pretty good job on those.

How about getting a NanoPi R4S? It can even go up to 1G without problem.

Would I have to build openwrt from source or are there published builds for those setups? And I'm curious how I'd manage to do vlans - I presume I'd need to do tagged vlans to a vlan-aware switch, or attach multiple ethernet dongles or whatever to the pi?

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I'm taking my current setup to another household with older equipment and increase coverage at said household.

I'll be using just one wifi ap, the incoming U6-LR. I used to have the dumb AP positioned on the opposite side of the house from the MR8300 and as such I currently do have wifi radios enabled on both, but ever since moving the dumb AP to the middle and doing testing around the house with iperf, the dumb AP does better or identical to the MR8300's position (all wiring goes to upstairs bedroom closet, so that can't be changed, there will be some form of a router there). Hence, I plan to just stick with the single AP downstairs for wifi.

Take a look here https://openwrt.org/toh/friendlyarm/nanopi_r4s_v1
(no need to compile from source or attach Ethernet dongles)

For vlan related info look into NanoPi R4S-RK3399 is a great new OpenWrt device

If you have physically separated NICs for different subnets then why do you need VLAN?
And how to do VLAN with OpenWrt is another topic, you can create a new one when you have that problem.

As far as I'm aware, I already have setup VLANs with openwrt so I don't have any issue doing that; and as far as I'm aware, I have to use the "VLANs on Switch" section to tag which vlans on which switch ports I want available. (Are the switch ports of my router physically separated NICs?) I don't "trunk" any vlans outside of the router; right now it's just one port from the router to another router for the guest network, the remaining three ports go to different wired PCs in the house and the camera system (which I plan to move to its own vlan).

I presume I'd need to pair this with a vlan-aware switch or other hardware?

Yes, since you want to continue connecting wired PC's you would need to pair a NanoPi R4S with an inexpensive managed (vlan aware) switch to have extra ports for connecting them. Alternatively, you could use any inexpensive all-in-one device with Gig ports supported by OpenWrt (so you can turn the all-in-one into a managed switch) as a managed switch.

It's hard to go wrong with a NanoPi R4S if you want a performant, easy-to-maintain wired router supported by OpenWrt that is good for "whatever" for up to Gigabit ISP service. It comes with a great metal case and two Gbps ports, 4 GB of memory, six CPU cores (and will handle Gigabit SQM on one of them), plus USB3 ports if you want to hang storage off those.

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Cool, thank you for the info! Would you have any recommendations on the switch, or is performance there of no concern? Also curious, if I were to not go the NanoPi route, what sort of cpu would I be looking for?

For a managed switch
When you have PoE devices you can look into Netgear GS308EP or ZyXEL GS1200-8HP
When you don't have PoE devices you can check i.e ZyXEL GS1200-8 or GS1900-8