New Router/AP replacing RT-N66U

Hi everyone,

I want to replace my current RT-N66U in favor of an AC device. Here are the things I need from the router/ap:

  • Must support VLANs
  • Should have the same/better range than the current RT-N66U (which was at time of buying one of the best n-router as far as I remember)
  • Must not cost more than 200€

I will use the router solely as a (dumb) AP as the routing and firewalling is done by an OPNsense box. The current router is running shibby, but tomato seems to be slowly dying so I want to replace it and upgrade to AC wifi.

To be future proof I would like to get an OpenWRT compatible model. Unfortunately this sorts out all current ASUS devices as they all seem to have broadcom chips.
Currently I am looking at a Linksys WRT1900ACS which seems to be quite well supported by OpenWRT and looks promising in terms of wifi performance (at least in the smallnetbuilder charts).

I read a little bit on the forums here before creating this topic. It seems that there were a few problems with the WRT models about half a year ago, so I am curious if they are resolved now. Based on other threads I am also considering the Netgear R7800 or the Zyxel NBG6817. Are there any noteable differences in terms of openwrt support for those two models (e.g. I couldn't find a wiki page for either of them)?

The prices I could get those models for are:

  • WRT1900ACS - 166€
  • R7800 - 183€
  • NBG6817 - 199€

So the big difference is between the WRT and the other two. So my question would be, is it worth buying one of the more expensive ones?

Just to add, I looked at buying an AP first (namely the Ubiquity AC Pro) but the performance of such a device seems much slower than of any router in the same price range (AP costs about 120€) and much slower compared to the models listed above.

Best regards,

At least here, I can pick up a used TP-Link Archer C7 for US$30-40 (€25-30) without too much effort. For a "dumb AP" they work quite well up to around 300-400 Mbps, as I recall (testing with netperf, the CPU stalls out trying to handle the interrupts).

I've heard good things about the TP-Link C2600 as well, but they aren't readily available on the used market.

In the same shoes as you are with running "everything else" off the APs, or I'd be drawn in by the NBG6817, primarily for its CPU power. There have been several threads about unexplained delay spikes on the R7800. I don't know if that is because there are so many more of them than the NBG6817, or if the NBG6817 isn't impacted.

Thanks for the suggestions, can you tell me if the archer is on par with the RT-N66U in terms of coverage, that is important for me because it will be the only router/ap for a 2 story house and the RT-N66U did cover it quite well?

I find the Archer C7 to be significantly better than the WDR4300 and WDR4900 (802.11n-era units). I can't comment on the RT-N66U as I've never owned one, nor have I owned one of the high-end units you're considering. In a two-story, Victorian-era, lath-and-plaster home, I never found a single unit to be able to provide reliable coverage. Though in a different home now, I presently use multiple units with wireless backhaul.

Compared to the tl-wdr4300, the nbg6817 is significantly better in coverage and range (aside from the obvious throughput improvement).

The house is quite small and I don't have coverage everywhere but everywhere it needs to be (across floors) :wink: For example the streaming client is basically under the router and is able to stream FHD and 7.1 with high bitrate just fine with the current setup.

I was hoping to be able to stream 4K with the proper AC device and comparing the "5GHz Downlink Profile" on smallnetbuilder (across test revisions) it seems that the R7800 is currently one of the best in terms of throughput even with higher attenuation. The C7 seems to be quite low in these tests.
So currently I am leaning towards either the R7800 or the NBG6817 because of basically the same hardware. Maybe I will wait a few weeks to see if the NBG6817 is also impacted by the latency issues of the R7800. Also I would prefer to see support of these in stable builds.

With an uninterrupted 10-15 Mbps required for some 4K formats, you're probably better off with the NBG6817. There are days I wish I had a good "excuse" to buy one myself :wink:

As for "stable" builds, I run self-built snapshots after making sure that they are stable on a test unit. It's my understanding that there will be a new "stable" branch being cut in the next month or so.

Thanks for the link!
I guess I will treat myself to a NBG6817 then :smiley: . I am not in a hurry to get the new device so I guess I will wait until the new version is released.
Thanks everyone for the help.