Newb with a few questions for those in the know

I think I found one, but I want to check with you guys and make sure it's actually on the list of supported devices. This is because the model number in the link is slightly longer than the one on the device list. So would I be able to install OpenWRT on this router?

It's supported, but also rather old by now - and a rather exotic chipset (for OpenWrt). I would not buy this device in 2021, not for that price, nor at all.

Well how about these?

Basically the same device, same story.

Dang. Can I get your recommendation?

Same device, different brands.

The Belkin has been as low as $80, but it was in Jan.
There's an additional $10 off with code WLC2BELKIN, if you buy from Belkin.

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So it's definitely not worth the $229 that it's being sold for as a new netgear. So which one is? Can I get a recommendation please? I have around $250 to spend, want to get the best router for my money.

you got one (two actually) yesterday.

That didn't really come across as a recommendation. The other guy said he wouldn't buy it because it's old and the chip is "exotic", and then you basically said "here's two of the same thing but cheaper". I don't see where anyone gave an actual recommendation.

So to clarify, are you saying that both of those you linked are great routers with good wifi performance, and that you yourself would have no problems buying them?

They're great routers, and I'd buy them (esp the Belkin, at $90), but I can't say anything about the wifi performance.

You'd have to read the device specific threads, like

Note, the device is still in openwrt beta.

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Would you say that to OpenWRT development runs a few years behind the latest router designs? Or do they have something out for the new hot thing pretty quickly? I realize software development can take quite some time in some instances, so it wouldn't surprise me if they run a couple years behind the router releases.

I ask this because I'm considering the TP Link AX-6000, but it's not on the list. It won awards for customer satisfaction (jd power)

Problem is if there're no open source drivers published for the radios, and to some extent CPUs, there's no way for the open source community to support the hardware (not only openwrt, but Linux in general).

Different companies have different approaches, Broadcom for instance doesn't share much with the Linux world, while Qualcomm do, Realtek does too, but RTs drivers are garbage, and their HW should be avoided.

So when a new device comes out, the community have to figure out if

  • there's a person willing to take the device apart, and in worst case, do some PCB soldering.
    This usually voids warranty, so you will most probably not find anyone willing to tinker with a $500 device.
  • the CPU's supported (if not, it's a dead end)
  • the radio's supported (if not, wifi won't work, or be crippled)
  • how to get a 3rd party FW onto the device (figure out boot loader, sw checks, signing, etc)

Once those are answered, you still need to figure out the device specific details, usually by trial and error.

So yes, the open source community will always run behind the manufacturers.

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What are you guys' thoughts on the Linksys WRT3200 ACM? Apparently there were some driver issues in the beginning and people would lose wifi functionality. Anyone know if this has been fixed?

5 year old device, with possible wifi issues.

Will be overpriced due to high age & low stock.

Lowest have been around $100, on Amazon, according to CCC, now it's $230ish.

I wouldn't buy it.

Grab , while you wait for the AX3200 devices to reach stable.
(they're not going to be a lot faster than the C2600 though).

Is that one known for having the same (or better) wifi range as the WRT3200 ACM?

That's the main thing that made me want it, other than the fact that it meets all my requirements. Everyone seemed real impressed with the range. Which has been a small problem for me, with my old Linksys EA-6500

Don't know about the WRT3200, but I own three C2600s, and I'm very happy with them.

If you want better range/coverage, get a mesh, like the Asus Lyra AC2200, it can run openwrt.

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Thanks for all the help, I bought the one you linked. There's a lot to selecting a router, much more than I thought. There's also a boatload more products on the market than I thought.

I remember the days of the old WRT54GS when selecting a router was easy - you picked that one. It would be cool if there was another legendary wifi router like that for modern times, that everyone loved.

Installation instructions

You might want to skip the most recent stable releases, since there have been reports of freezes and random reboots, but also working workarounds. While my 19.07.3 have an uptime of almost 200 days,

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Is that something common when using OpenWRT or other third party firmware? Frequently troubleshooting my router is not my idea of a good time, although I know I'm probably in the minority here.

Another newb question that I have to ask is: Is the "web GUI" (as opposed to CLI) usable when the internet is down? When I hear that it's web based, I think about typing the old into the browser's address bar. And that gets you into the router. This works even if you don't have an internet connection.

Is that the same way OpenWRT's GUI works? Or do you really need some form of internet connectivity?

Since 3rd party FWs don't maintain and control the code within the fw, bugs can be introduced through the source of the code, used by the fw.

On the other hand, firmware is updated more frequently than stock, bugs get fixed once there's a solution provided by the maintainer.

Frequent updates should give you higher security, since new exploits are actually patched.

webui is always available, unless you install a snapshot image, where it have to be added manually.

Keep in mind, vendor FWs are far from bug free.

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