Need router advice

Hello been using Openwrt for years but its that time again to replace the current one and i fear the selection procces so i am hoping someone can just tell me what to buy (yes yes tricky question on a forum)
What i whant/have

router: c7 (i have one of those but i read mixed revieuws ? slow speeds ? )
So what i need: 1gbps internet there wil be a switch between the router and devices.
2.4 and 5hz wifi (2.4 for smarthome stuf) (wifi is not a must if its crap i rather just have a router)
I like power.
Easy enough right. Nope i want to spend no more then 50. (2th hand wil do so older divces are welkom)

But let me be as specific possible:
Option 1:
Need good speeds 1gbps or atleast very close.
prefer lots ram/flash
good cpu.

Option 2:
Home build
simple all in one board and go ?
This is my preferred actually sinc i see board with dual 1ghz cores So I am thinking that wil handle everything.

If you feel i am still to generic by all means dump a questionnaire and i wil answer it.

my philosophy for "power home user" networks is dual device all the way. mini-x64 on the edge and whatever other device has the best radio/support/price point... ( generally atheros )... in ap mode for wireless.... ( two of the latter would also be close to adequate )....

triple that ( US ) and your in the ballpark of obtainable solutions in order to achieve your goals... ( i.e. new pc and re-use or second hand ap's or vice versa )...


x86_64 is the only platform that can achieve gigabit rates with CPU involvement (such as SQM). There are benefits to SQM even with gigabit consumer lines.


I understand buyt 150 just seems wel to much.
I get quality wil cost ya And i am going with a temp sollution now (archer c7 and ens202ext)
But I tried to dive into the matter to understand what is the exact problem or costs.
Some say its not cpu or memory but hardware ? OR cpu ?
So i got lost somewhere.
SO what is exactly the bottleneck ?
Why can a pc (atx itx dnm) with dual core 3.2 ghz
and 16gb memory not manage those speeds ?

I am absolute idiot when it comes to networking unfortunately i look at the specs of the c7 for example and think this is twice that ?
So i thought get j1800 or j1900 mobo with 2 nic or slam and extra nic in it done ?
Its not that simple apparently. I hope some could give me a basic 3 line course in what the bottlenecks are :sweat_smile: :relaxed: :kissing_closed_eyes:

Three lines, eh?

  • Routing a packet requires the NIC to interrupt the kernel with new data, the packet to be read from the NIC into memory, firewall rules to be run, routing determination to be made, firewall rules to be run, NAT, which requires more lookups and often creating a new packet header and checksum, firewall rules to be run, pushing the (modified) packet out to the NIC
  • Consumer-router SoCs and switches handle much of this in very custom "ASIC" hardware in the switch that can only do that in one way -- the way that gets good benchmarks from reviewers at the lowest price
  • Adding in SQM or other desirable features that require CPU intervention basically means that ASIC can't be used

So the bottlenecks are primarily

  • CPU for interrupt servicing
  • CPU for packet processing
  • On some routers, bandwidth between the switch and the CPU (a single, "GigE" pathway can't support symmetric gigabit rates)

(Memory and bus bandwidth may be issues with slower clock rates)

An x86_64 board in the mid- or upper-range likely can handle gigabit symmetric routing.

The J1900 probably isn't a good choice today as there are better options available at comparable prices. I've run them in the past, and that SoC/mobo, in particular, has some significant issues. I would consider an ODROID H2 (and have one on the bench and on my list to retire my last J1900).

The Archer C7v2 was great in its day, but like most/all single-core, MIPS-based devices, isn't up to gigabit rates. You can probably get 300 Mbps through it without SQM, no wireless, on the bench. Adding in SQM and you're down around 150 Mbps. Enabling "flow offload" pushes those up a bit, but nowhere near gigabit rates, even in one direction. Using wireless is going to drag those numbers back down.


The recently released Raspberry Pi 4 offers a possible low power low cost option for routing. I don't know if it'll do gigabit rates with SQM, but I'd suspect it'd do gigabit rates without it. With SQM I would expect it to do maybe 500 Mbps or more as I've had some similar luck with an espressobin which is a little less powerful I think.

To make the Pi 4 work you'll want to get a USB3 gigabit NIC. It won't be as good a system as an x86 but it will cost less. You'll want a gigabit smart switch either way.

I think jeff's suggestion of the Odroid H2 is probably the best bet though.

When considering the cost involved, consider that you'll be running it every day all day long for probably 5 years or more. Even if you spend $300 it's less than a couple pennies a day compared to the internet service itself, which is what several dollars a day?

Don't spend $3/day on a gigabit internet service and then put a router on it that only gives you 150Mbps throughput because you were too cheap to add $0.10/day to get a router than can handle full gigabit.

Another way to look at it is wait an extra month or two before signing up for the gigabit service, and use the money you save to buy a proper router for that speed.

a second hand x64 device can be obtained cheaper... but it's likely to cost you double every year in power... ( unless you spend alot of time / effort to track down a very good low power bargain... but depending on your hourly pay rate... this also has a cost attached to it... )...

If you're a student and your time is cheap.... maybe hunting around will pay off for you... anything else is likely to cost you more.... or perform less.

Most people's expectation of "1Gbps" while understandable... is both unrealistic and impractical.... In the real world 350-600Mb/s is a more realistic "obtainable" rate to theorize around...

There are few uses above that speed apart from saying that you can do it and the artificial comfort you get from feeling your not being ripped off.

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Perfect explanation.
As far as I am concerned a good answer to very generic question.
Thank you to make it perfect could you elaborate a bit more on why a older j1900 that has the cpu speeds is still bad choice ?

I agree not buying 1gbps the isp is simply upgrading its network to provide it.:slight_smile: atm i am already at 500. I am just getting fed up with the shit performance of the default modem/router.
But yes cheap buy is expensive. Its a dutch saying. But turning every dime is also one :sweat_smile: so am looking for a balance.

True true and true.
There is no doubt that paying at least 200 is no overkill and a good investment (how many routers have i replaced past 4 years ?) But you need to have 200 to spend it.

So to summarize:
expressobin looks nice unavailable locally so +shipping etc it would come to 70 then still need case etc.
Rassbery pi 4 looks nice indeed but to mess about with usb nics no no thanks.
Any ways in short I agree with every one. So i am trowing the rulebook out and decided to just get something basic for the time being as cheap as humanly possible.
Found several hp t610 with gx 217ga or GX-415GA they seem to be ok and do the 500mbit speed for now. For average price of 20$ I'll settle for that while i am going to save for the flagship and pimp it with extra stuff if i am going to do it good then might as wel do it good.

Ps. if any one can think of old sff pc's that might be better i am open for suggestions.
so long and thanks for all the fish

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No AES-NI, so unsuitable for WireGuard or OpenVPN, compared to newer offerings.

The J1900 benchmarks at about half the single-thread performance of the J4105 at roughly the same price. Pick your benchmark, but one is

Various boards using the J1900 have known problems; at least the ASRock and SuperMicro boards have been reported.

The ODROID H2 is a lot smaller than an iTX build.

Nothing "magic" about the J4105, there are similar class processors available in various form factors. Some motherboard/SoC combos I saw on a US-based, mail-order supplier included (no evaluation of performance or suitability, just what I found):

  • J5005
  • J4005, J4105, J4205
  • J3355, J3455

My notes show some suppliers of "tiny" SBCs include (I have not done more than look at their website):


I bought one of these $150 "china-board" J1900 FullUEFI 4xNICs 2GB RAM 32GB m.2 SSD, put pfsense on it, has been working great, no significant issues. Lack of AES-NI doesn't matter, just forward VPN to another box that has it. Still I do run OpenWRT on wireless routers

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