[Newbie] Buying a new router — WiFi 6E with potential support down the road v.s. Currently supported WiFi 6 model?

Hi all,

I am completely new to OpenWRT. I’ve been running DD-WRT on good-old Netgear R7000/R6300v2 for years though. Considering jumping to the OpenWRT side.

I’d like to get a new router this end-of-year season. AFAICT, [WiFi 6E support is still very limited] (Wifi 6E Router with OpenWrt) — similar here in OpenWRT as in DD-WRT anyway.

My setup nowadays is based on 2 APs linked to a x86/x64 OPNsense firewall. So I don’t really need the routing capability on consumer ‘routers’. But I’d still like a 3rd party, Linux based firmware that I could setup/tinker I few things on my APs.

Is there any WiFi 6E device worth buying, that could get OpenWRT supported soon? Or am I better off to just go with a more supported WiFi 6 device for now?

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As of this writing there appears to be only two supported 6E devices. Adding support for more 6E devices is dependent on volunteers buying such devices and poking around bootloaders and device tree files, so I would not expect the situation to change significantly before the end of the year.

If you absolutely insist on 6E, there is the Acer Predator W6. Support for that device has been merged into OpenWrt and stable builds are available on the firmware selector. I have no idea how well OpenWrt works on it.

If you don't mind the gamer aesthetic and the 300 USD price tag, that is one of the two 6E options as of this writing. The other one appears to be a ZyXEL device with ISP branding, so availability is far less.

Honestly though, I would stick to WiFi 6 for now. There's lots more supported WiFi 6 devices, almost all of which are much less expensive. Also, WiFi 7 is already around the corner. If I had $300+ and lots of time to spare on WiFi I'd rather spend it on a WiFi 7 device and try getting OpenWrt running on it instead. :grin:

Yep, wait for mediatek filogic wifi 7 stuff.

Thank you @elbertmai, @M10. I forgot about WiFI 7. Given that, WiFi 6E really has a very low return on investment compared to WiFi 6 devices.

In this case, would you (or anyone) have recommendation for well supported WiFI 6 devices, that are:

  • wall-mountable (with holes on the bottom kind of like Netgear’s R7xxx series), preferably relatively flat against the wall
  • at least 2 5GHz bands
  • good range & throughput

Thanks in advance!