Need help deciding: WRT32X or MR8300

Looking around, I have decided on these two devices for OpenWRT:

I need usable Wi-Fi, which may rule out the WRT32X, but hear me out below. My aim is to learn more about networking and security (VLANs, routing, etc) and so these two options should suffice in those areas (assuming nothing is broken software wise)

WRT32X (comparable to the WRT3200ACM)

  • Divested community builds builds seem to get Wi-Fi working to some extent I believe, but someone please confirm.
  • Support resuming from the next OpenWRT release

MR8300

  • Newer but less powerful hardware (quad-core 717MHz Qualcomm CPU)
  • Most things work

I'm keen to get the WRT32X because of the resumption of support and community builds fixing Wi-Fi to some extent. But if I should avoid it completely, please make a case :slight_smile:

Cheers!

Do not buy mwlwifi hardware, if wifi is even remotely a consideration, it's dead and buggy/ broken.

mt7622+mt7915 or filogic 830 based devices might be good (better) alternatives to either of your examples.

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@SkewedZeppelin what would you suggest given your work on the WRT series? What's the state Wi-Fi on your builds?

Do your own research instead of expecting to be spoonfed. The case has been made multiple times, and convincingly so. We cannot prevent you from ignoring the arguments against purchasing mlwifi hardware.

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My research has lead me to some confusion, hence why I'm asking. As you see, I've mentioned about a community build which has been building specifically for these routers with better Wi-Fi support - supposedly, I don't know for sure because I have not tested so myself. And so that's why I asked to make a case.

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Depends on your expectation and your level of nostalgy.
Dont misinterprete keep-the-light-on efforts with progress. The world has moved on since 2017, Linksys WRT Wifi sadly has not moved a single bit. It is the same bad and incomplete closed source WiFi driver from 2017, just fitted with a newer kernel.

the ongoing struggle after OpenWRT 19 was solely about having to deal with new unexpected and varying problems, like additional v21 WiFi instabilities and v22 Linksys WRT VLAN security holes.

Divested community build engagement helped a lot, but more like a talented good doctor working in the intensive care unit, keeping a critical patient stable and preventing it from dying, but not being a magic fairy, able to heal the terminal WiFi illness of the patient.

The CPU definitely was top notch and famous outside of x86 for a long time, which I think still makes some users remain in the denial phase of the Kübler-Ross model. But time moves on slowly, it looks like that is changing now, as now Mediatek Filogic looks like it easily outperforms that (sufficiently opensourced, available on the market, CPU power + affordable + RAM).

Also keep in mind that by now most of the devices have worn out LEDs (the blue LEDs werent made to last very long) and some WRT32 have experienced overheating problems, resulting in HW related instabilities, due to some worn out HW parts (weak capacitors?)

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The Marvel EBU platform is a neat SoC indeed, but the WRT series is not hardware you should buy for the wireless. That's on life support.

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I replaced my wrt3200acm with a netgear r7800. Avoid the wrt3200acm/wrt32x as it simply does not provide usable wifi. At least in my case with a few smart devices and kids that want to game. Completely unusable! I switched to the 7800 and everything works great.

The belkin rt3200/linksys e8450 look like they might be the best right now, but I don't have personal experience.

Enough has been said of the WRT32X. I'd say you've been warned.

If you find it used and real cheap, and you mainly want a platform to learn on, the extra radio in the MR8300 to experiment with mesh has some attraction. But I would not pay new prices for ipq401x, or even ipq806x hardware today. Qualcomm armv7 is not in the same state of life support as Marvell, but it's still beginning to show it's age with each new OpenWrt release on newer linux kernels.

My advice would be to look for an armv8 WiFi6 capable device. The RT3200/E8450 or WAX206 are good options. An filogic target with external antennas would be even better.

Given your goal is to learn about networking (VLAN's and routing) an even better option for that would be to get separate components. For example something like a NanoPi R2S, R4S or, if you are willing to take a chance on now in-progress OpenWrt support coming through (I'd say odds are pretty good there), an R5C or R5S for a gateway; and a WAX206 for an AP. Depends on your budget, but you'll learn a lot more setting up a multiple component network. I can say from personal experience that doing this certainly sent me to school!

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I think I've decided on the Linksys E8450. Its comparable in price but I have to get the US version (fine by me as long as it doesn't blow up on 220V mains :sweat_smile:)

Thanks for the info!