Looking for router recommendations in the UK


My internet speeds are 200/20, and probably won't bother with anything more until it becomes almost necessary.

I am with Virgin Media in the UK, and I want to set the "SuperHub" to modem mode and attach a router flashed with OpenWRT to handle the networking side of things.

My house is mostly wireless, however, I do have ethernet devices currently connected (PiHole, NAS, Office PC) via powerline adapters (meh)

I find the SuperHub to be pretty inconsistent with wireless, and I find it frustrating to have so little control over the network. For example, trying to forward DNS requests to Pi has just been a frustrating affair (I discovered smart devices such as Google Home & CCWGTV bypass LAN DNS internally, which is frustrating!)

I also just like playing around with networking and trying new things.

I'm currently looking at the TP-Link C7 1750 for £30 on eBay, which seems a fairly good deal - but there seems to be a significant mix of opinion on here on that particular device. I have a budget of £50, but open to spending more on a router that is "future proof" (or as much as it can be).

Are there any better options to the C7 for around £50? It seems the chip shortage doesn't help at all.

I'm looking for an off the shelf all in one solution as I have limited room, rent (thus unable to drill holes and route cables) and the ISP supplied modem is in an awkward spot in the house.

Any recommendations would be appreciated

200 MBit/s is a bit much for the c7, which tops out around 175-200 MBit/s (very, sawtooth-like, choppy towards the upper end), you'd have to rely on software flow-offloading from the get go (which is not exactly the most reliable option and not really recommended).

ipq40xx can do up to 300 MBit/s, ipq806x up to 400-500 MBit/s (~650 MBit/s tops, but I wouldn't really recommend going that far), at least around here, you can find some bargains on the used markets from time to time. mt7621a can cope with that in plain routing, but won't offer much beyond that (sqm/ vpn), but can be found in that general price range in new condition.

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You are running into the usual issues people have with ISP routers. Bluntly they suck for user configurability. I had BT routers and they would NOT let you set your own DNS. I believe Virgin are the same regarding that. I ended up reflashing mine with OpenWrt and abusing them that way till i got it replaced with an R4S.

What you require is a router you control with ISP router set to modem or bridge mode.

Then you can configure the router to do DNS interception to redirect sneaky hard coded DNS into your pihole (or even just run AdGuard Home on your router instead and free up the pihole. I used to run a pihole but now run AGH on my router instead. See here for how if you interested.)

I'd also recommend a dedicated AP that you can put centrally in the house with a single Lan cable running to it for better coverage. Then your router and modem can stay wherever it comes into the house along with your nas and pihole. Plus then your router doesn't have the extra load of wifi on it nor the "compromise" of placement due to cabling. Wifi 6 is coming and even Wifi 7 is now being looked at. Using a separate AP means you can upgrade it without replacing your router at a later date instead of having to replace the All in One router just to upgrade to wifi 6. Also dedicated APs generally tend to have much better aerials than AIOs.

My internet comes into the front room but for better signal coverage i have the wifi point on the ceiling in hallway. (bonus is that it looks like a smoke alarm but for the cable running up the wall. Landlord hasnt noticed it yet anyway). The cable just snakes around corner into the front room and behind the sofa. Under the sofa is the POE injector which provides the AC-Lite with power so just single lan cable needed. I picked my AC-Lite up 2nd hand from ebay for 60 inc postage iirc but i've seen them go lately for 30ish.

If you had VDSL i'd offer you one of my BT hub5s with OpenWrt on, but they top out at 200mb with software flow offloading on.

Check out https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/325210818105 , you can get one for less, if you already have a spare NIC lying around somewhere.

The CPU should be able to deliver somewhere around 400-500/mbit, perhaps more, if the NIC it comes with, have offloading.

Or https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/284401530787, using an Atom CPU, and intel 211s.
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/203894705853, if you think you've got a fitting power adapter.
These should easily route 1gbit, read about it here.

The HP T610 is another candidate, add a USB3 NIC for the thin version, or a pcie card for the Plus model.

then an AP as @mercygroundabyss recommended.

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