New Home advice

I'm not (yet) an OpenWrt user but I'm considering it for a number of reasons:

  1. I currently have a single wifi router (Huawei HS8247W from my ISP) that does not cover the full house
  2. I have several home automation wifi devices. Ideally they need a separate VLAN
  3. In terms of firewall I would like to have something more robust

This house is cabled with CAT6 and CAT5e and has several floors & annexes. I would like to have my own router, probably a Netgear r7800, connect to the Huawey router (that unfortunately has no bridged ports, so I will be in a double NAT situation), with at least 3 SSID's (home, domotic, public), and several cable connected AP's (preferrably smaller routers in AP mode) with the same SSID's, 2.4GHz and 5GHz, preferrably using a mesh network.

Probably I could do it with Ubiquiti equipment (1xUSG and 3xUAP-AC-Lite) for +/-370ā‚¬, I'm trying to understand if a OpenWrt alternative is cheaper and as solid as the Ubiquiti one. Some of the AP's are going to be connected to the main router through Tp-Link TL-SG108E switches.

What do you recommend ?

Thanks in advance.

I have a couple of UAP-AC-Lites to cover my house. As a router I use the RPi4 with OpenWrt and the same switches you consider buying.
The USG is way more expensive than the RPi4 and not as powerful.
You can still use he UAPs without the USG or the Unifi switches.

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First Iā€™d figure out what problem you are trying to solve.

  1. Post a speed test of your throughput and latency (Both are important, use the high resolution bufferbloat setting):

  2. What are the RSSI values for your poorly covered areas. Is it a distance or obstacle problem? Would putting a hardwired access point solve the issue?

OpenWRT works on a great number of consumer grade products and adds great features normally found in commercial grade products. Adding one or two hardwired r7800 access points would be cost effective compared to commercial grade products and greatly improves your wifi coverage.


Thank you very much for your answers. Being my first post here I was not aware that answers could come so fast.

@trendy I was not aware that the RPi4 could be used as a router. Does it has 2x rj45 interfaces so that the firewall can provide a proper isolation ? I really like the packet inspection that the USG provides, and that I think OpenWrt also provides, but for this 2x ethernet ports are needed.

@ACwifidude For the time being I only have the ISP dual band router in the ground floor. Its wifi signal allows me to use Zoom conferencing in the living room and kitchen. In the ground floor I also have my wife's office but the wifi signal is too weak. It's 10 meters away but the pellet stove is a metallic barrier. There are ethernet ports there but my wife wants wifi. And I plan to install a wifi domotic device that requires wifi 2.4GHz. So definitely I need an AP in the office. Currenty I use a wifi extender in that office and it's ok, but I have other requirements and need something different. The switch I have in the office only has 8 ports and is not enough for all the cables I prefer to have a 5-port router in AP mode, that would solve me two problems (wifi and number of ports). Probably the r7800 is overkill for that, a cheaper device would be preferrable.

All the bedrooms are in the 1st floor. I don't want wifi there. Bedrooms are cabled, so if/when I decide to install smart TV's this can be done. Wifi signal is weak but enough for the domotic equipments in the first floor. Therefore I don't need an AP for the 1st floor.

In the atic I have my own office. There's one ethernet port but no wifi signal at all. I need a router in AP mode, probably equal to the one to be installed in wife's office.

There's a separate building with garage and basement. It has one ethernet port. I also need a router in AP mode.

In summary, I would need one powerfull router for the living room (powerfull because I want a firewall with packet inspection + DHCP service for the 3 vlans) and 3x cheaper wifi routers. The same 3 LAN's in each of them, one SSID (and some phisical rj45 ports) per VLAN. I really want to isolate domotic devices in a separate VLAN, and also have separate vlan's for family and guests. I already have OpenVPN server installed in another machine so I don't need this in the main router.

My doubts are:

  1. Is OpenWrt able to do the job ?
  2. What main router shall I select for the living room ? The Netgear r7800 ?
  3. What small router shall I select for the other places ? A TP-Link Archer C5 ?

It doesn't, but you can add a USB3 gigabit Ethernet which will do the job. Such a setup has been tested by others on here and works fine.

With regards to APs I would consider whether OpenWRT is the best option. It can provide more functionality but at the cost of performance. If Ubiquiti is a little more than you're looking to spend then the TP EAP225 or EAP245 may be more wallet friendly.


Thanks. What would be the recommended RAM for the RPi4b ?

Due to a promo at the moment of writing, UAP-AC-Lite's are cheaper than EAP225 or EAP245. But Archer C5's are even cheaper. Are they a viable option to be used with several SSID's and VLAN's ?

Best performance bang for buck is any 4x4 (4 streams) 802.11ac "wave 2" AP/router that supports beamforming and ALL six 80 MHz 5 GHz channels (42, 58, 106, 122, 138, 155).

I have two r7800s as access points. Got them on sale. Works great because two 2x2 clients can get near max speed simultaneously.

Broadcom based routers will generally have limited open source support (Qualcomm routers are popular here on this forum). Here is a long list of 3x3 and 4x4 routers, anything wireless ~AC2600 is probably the sweet spot for performance for the money, smallnetbuilder gives solid reviews:

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I have added a usb3 to gigabit ethernet adapter. Costs around 15ā‚¬.
Otherwise with a managed switch you can implement vlans and isolate wan from lan, until the wan speed is 500Mbps.

I got the 4GB model, because it was only 20ā‚¬ more expensive compared to the 2GB. Nevertheless I always have 3,5GB free ram, so any model will do. (running OpenVPN, Wireguard, banip, mwan3 and a few QoS rules).

Thank you very much. Two more questions:

  1. Is it advisable to buy a cooler for the RPi4 ?
  2. Which firmware do you use in the UAPs ? Ubiquiti ? OpenWrt ?
  1. For 14ā‚¬ I bought a heatsink case.
  2. The ubiquity stock.

I've decided to use UAP-AC's (for AP's) and TL-SG108E (for switches), both with stock fw.

Regarding router, as my QNAP NAS supports VM's and has 2 NIC's my first attempt will be to use pfSense. If not successfull I will try OpenWrt with a PI4b.

Thanks a lot.

If your problem is solved, please consider marking this topic as [Solved]. See How to mark a topic as [Solved] for a short how-to.

Router != NAT. Just because you have a router doesn't mean it needs to perform NAT.

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