I'm looking for upgrade suggestions. We currently use a TP-Link WDR4300 and it has worked ok for years. (Our house is not huge but the range of the WDR4300 seems a little limited.) But over the past week or so, it started randomly rebooting and with me and my wife both working from home and the kids doing distance learning, random reboots are not going to work. I'm not sure if the problem is that the WDR4300 isn't up to the increased load or that it's past its prime.
So I'm looking for a reliable replacement. Suggestions? It would be great if it is capable of running Pi-hole if and when it is ported to Openwrt.
You aren't really specifying your requirements (WAN speed in particular, but additional services (VPN, adblock, etc.) and your rough location/ country also matter). Considering that the tl-wdr4300, while it was in working order, apparently was sufficient for your needs, suggests that you might be well served with a contemporary ipq4018 based router (make sure to get one with at least 256 MB RAM).
luci-app-adblock exists today.
I am using this device as a secondary router, with two people working from home plus a kid streaming films constantly, and it works flawlessly. I would not discard the device so quickly, perhaps there is another reason for your issues.
We are in Maryland in the US and use Comcast.
I like the idea of Pi-hole for selective filtering (e.g., blocking social media for the kids).
A common cause of random crashing and rebooting is unsteady power from the AC adapter. Try swapping it out. Almost any 12 volt adapter will work.
@eduperez I could try to clean it to see if that is causing it to overheat but besides that, it's hard to see what else could be causing these problems.
@mk24 I could try that as well.
At ~30/10 MBit/s, basically any remotely recent/ decent (supported) router (make sure to look for 16 MB flash and ideally >=256 MB RAM, if you can, and it will serve you for a long time to come) would do. In regards to good wireless interoperability/ performance and keeping some headroom for the future in mind, my recommendation would still favour ipq40xx based devices (for these >=256 MB RAM is a hard requirement) - but you could also stay one step cheaper (modern ath79 or mt7621 - except that you'll notice that those won't actually be that much cheaper).
For devices this age, and in particular for TP-Link devices, the PSUs are indeed always suspect of giving up. If you have a compatible PSU, replacing it for testing does make sense.
First swap out the PSU. Then make shure you are on latest build of openwrt 19.07.2. Set it up with SQM and addblock or pyhole. Then If still not doing what you want go and buy a r7800.
The r7800 is a great device, but considering the requirements (~30/10 MBit/s) and where he's coming from (TL-WDR4300, a single core AR9344/ MIPS 74Kc running at 560 MHz, 8/128, 802.11n), it's just not necessary. If you're willing to pay for it, you'll be rewarded by a great and well supported device, but decent ipq4018 based devices (4*717 MHz Cortex A7, >=256 MB RAM, >=16 MB flash) will do the job just fine (with quite some margin left for the future) and sell for less than half the price of ipq8065 based ones like the r7800.
My advice would be to get something affordable now, something that will easily cope with the requirements of the next 3-5 years - and to bother about higher performance devices when (if!) the need arises. That will be both cheaper and better suited to the needs of the time.
Many thanks for all the responses! I found a suitable power supply and we'll see how it works out. Will report back.
So far so good -- no random reboots today!
I admire cost efficiency and one readily available device in the states is the Linksys E2500 - the new one with the external antennae. It is available at Walmart for $29.00. It is hardware similiar to a Totolink which is already in the database. A collaborative build for the Linksys can be found on the forums and it is reported to be fully functional. It is missing someone to package up the commits and submit
If you have, or are willing to spend an extra $5 on a USB to serial dongle and open the case to flash it to OpenWrt the first time, a used Linksys EA8500 can be had from ebay for ~$55 shipped in the US. These are ipq8064 devices - only a little slower than an ipq8065 R7800, so still a very capable fast device. With 128MB flash, 512MB memory, a 1.4 GHz dual core CPU that runs cool and fantastic wireless range - this is a tough to beat upgrade if purchased used for the right price.
Couldn't agree more with @slh that an R7800 (or the EA8500) is so not necessary for your use case, but don't over look the used market before buying new if you do decide to upgrade. If you aren't paying extra for it, a little over-kill never hurts
Ugh. Just rebooted again. I guess I am in the market for a new router.
Would the EA6350 be a reliable choice in the ipc4018 family or is there another, more preferred model?
My EA6350V3 had been reliable. It has good wired routing capability. Within its range, WiFi is fast. I find its WiFi range to be average however. I would not choose it to cover a two story home from the top floor, for example. It's been a good AP for the first floor of our home, which has a relatively open floor plan. Make sure you get the V3. The other hardware versions are not supported by OpenWrt. Mine was ~$25 shipped (used) on ebay.
The EA8300 is ipq4019 - more expensive, but reviews indicate it has better wifi range. IF you are willing to spend a bit more, I think that would be a better choice.