That's also a viable strategy when using OpenWrt APs, for the simple reason that the typical wireless 'plastic router' isn't fast enough for high-end WAN connections (roughly speaking >>300-500 MBit/s), while the fast platforms (x86_64, RPi4, rockchip, mvebu) tend to not lend themselves to add semi-decent wireless cards (even less for reasonable money).
Sadly, where I just moved to 300Mbit isn't going to happen any time soon, so stability is much more important to me than performance.
I am using a turris omnia as well, and am quite happy with it. Sure turris OS lags a bit behind (stable turris OS recently switched to an OpenWrt 21 base) but for me the automatic update feature from a source I personally trust is more valuable than getting the most recent OpenWrt sooner.
There have been some glitches in the past (to be expected realistically) but team rurris always did a good job at fixing these once they were known.
The dual arm a9 SoC used is a pretty decent performer, which will allow things like sqm probably up to around 500/500 Mbps (depending on circumstances).
I can definitely recommend Luxul which is commercial/high end residential grade. It runs their own customized OpenWrt but you can easily flash.
The hardware is rock solid with oversized caps and a beefy power supply you don't get with the retail routers.
Anything OpenWrt support related that made you recommend "Luxul" devices? Othan than a beefy power supply and oversized caps. As the kernel is not that interested in those details.
What does stability mean to you? I've had an EA7300 with OpenWRT powered on for hundreds of days in a row with daily streaming on it and using it as a client on 2.4 and AP on 5GHZ. I have an EA 6900 in the exact setup with DDWRT on and modified CFE running for more than a year. I keep making fun of my son who works for a large enterprise that my consumer routers have longer uptimes than his enterprise grade Cisco trash. What do you mean by stability, do they crash often?
Yes. my R8000s crash regularly. They require power cycling at intervals between hours and days. And when they crash, they crash hard, not just radios, but wired connectivity, too.
And it's not just one router going duff, I have 4 of them and they all exhibit the same stability problems.
Love the R8000 functionality and performance, but stability is pretty terrible.
My ancient modified (for more RAM) WRT54GS routers often clocked uptimes in years.
Long-term stability is about attention to detail. For instance, I worked for an "enterprise" software firm, found lots of customers had crashes after 6-9 months. In all cases root partition had filled; looked into it, turns out HTTP log wasn't getting rotated. Took huge personal effort and 2-3 release cycles (6-9 months) to get it enabled by default. If nobody looks into the less common crashes and drives the fix they don't get fixed.
Hmmm, interesting. Try an R7000 I have one of those also and it's rock solid with DWRT on it. Here's a screenshot with the uptime. Maybe you have a weird config, VLANs, VPNs, try a different version of OpenWRT or get another device or set the syslog to a separate server maybe you can see better before it crashes.
That's just it, my setup is completely standard, the only thing I changed from default settings is the AP names and passwords.
For what it's worth, most of the time when the radios crash out, this is what I see in the logs:
brcmf_msgbuf_tx_ioctl: Failed to reserve space in commonring
And no, I'm not running out of memory, it's showing about half of the 256MB of RAM free at the time.
I am running @ACwifidude build on my R7800 and it's rock solid and don't have any stability issues. Couple of days ago, got Linksys MR8300, which is a tri-band quad core router and am running snapshot build on it. It has a little bit better wifi coverage than R7800 and can't say about stability as I had it only for couple of days but from what I see, it has lots of potential and is on par with R7800, if not better!
Same amount of RAM as R7800 but is tri-band and is a quad core processor as opposed to dual core in R7800, so MR8300 might be marginally batter!
Be careful mixing CPU apples and oranges.
Using a router as a dumb AP doesn't require much of its CPU. The MR8300 may very well have slightly better WiFi range in your use case and the extra radio for back-haul (if you have another device with an extra radio to use it with) is undeniably a great feature.
But that doesn't say very much about the CPU's.
The MR8300 has a quad A7 core ipq4019 CPU, that runs at only 717 MHz. The R7800 has a dual A15 core ipq8065 CPU running at 1.7 GHz.
The Cortex A15 core is roughly twice as efficient as the A7. In other words, running at the same clock rate, the A15 is still roughly twice as fast. Now factor in the clock rate too: each ipq8065 core is roughly 2*1700/717 or 4.74 times faster than each ipq4019 core.
An R7800 will run rings around an MR8300 used as a router, an OpenVPN client, or for CAKE SQM QoS. Having only two cores instead of four is not very consequential for these uses either, because they run on single cores for the most part.
Even for tasks that can take some advantage of more cores, like Wireguard or fq_codel QoS, the ipq8065 is going to be much faster.
My opinion is based on the performance between MR8300 and R7800 with the same set of devices on my network. The WiFi coverage is definitely better with MR8300. I don't use QOS as my speeds are at 500/500. With the extra band, the dedicated back-haul is a huge plus.
What you say about CPU is true but quad core will be an advantage in some cases.
MR8300 doesn't get as warm as R7800 even when I download several files over torrent. And, MR8300 is a dual boot/slot system and when something goes wrong, it boots on the other slot or you can manually switch it. To me, it feels that there are so many advantages over R7800 although it may be marginal for some users.
Btw, did I mention I snagged MR8300 as a refurbed device for $44 and it is practically a NEW device. Maybe, Linksys is trying to get rid of the inventory and sending NEW units as refurbs. OTOH, I paid two times more for R7800. Overall, I am quite happy with both R7800 and MR8300 but if I have to buy one today, it will be MR8300 without a doubt as the cost/performance is unbelievable!
OK, so I decided to get a HP T620 Plus thin client, with a quad-gigabit NIC and an Intel WiFi module. And the WiFi module is easily replaceable.
That gives me pretty much full modularity to replace any component that proves problematic. I'm staying away from Broadcom (because that is what my current R8000 uses) and Marvell (what this thread suggested is poorly supported and not upstreamed) WiFi modules, so I'm going to start with an Intel WiFi module and take it from there. Maybe switch to an Atheros if Intel also proves problematic.
Thanks for all the advice.
The MR8300 is a fantastic device for your use case - no argument from me on that point. If I needed wireless back haul (I don't - my home has wired Ethernet back haul), I'd definitely consider them - especially for $44 each! An ipq8065 device is nonetheless a much better choice for high CPU demand roles.
Intel wifi as AP (STA) is worst than your broadcom or marvell. For openwrt 5ghz you basically have only 2 options Qualcomm (atheros) wifi5 (ac) or mediatek (both ac and ax supported)
In my experience, the time and money you will spend trying to get WiFi on an x86 platform working in AP mode with satisfactory performance and range will be much better spent on acquiring a dedicated wireless access point.
Given that I only get one radio and some of my devices don't support 5GHz, 2.4GHz-only is my only option anyway.
As long as it doesn't crash randomly and require power cycling to wake up, I'm totally OK with that.
And if it turns out I need to get a Qualcom module to replace the Intel, I can do that easily when it is on a mini-pcie card.
I have an x86 based router with a Compex Ath10k wifi card, and it works just perfectly (performance + coverage). Maybe you had a bad experience.
Nevertheless it's a single band wifi, so I have to choose between 2.4 and 5GHz, while a classical router/AP have both bands. That may be an argument for using a dedicated AP anyway.
And last not least ... I finally unclip the wifi card and only use the AP. It's only a choice of energy saving. The wifi card was heating 24/7 while rarely used. So I only power on the AP when I need it.