Non-wifi router for home use

I currently have a dying Buffalo WSR-1166DHP ( in my house that needs to be replaced. I no longer have a need for the wifi radio since at the beginning of the pandemic, I ran cabling throughout my house and added APs to avoid dead spots. The WSR-1166DHP is a pretty low spec router (880 MHz 16/128), but apart from dying, meets my needs (router, firewall, and VPN server).

My budget tops out at $200 (USD). I was thinking about the Ubiquti Edgerouter er-x ( It costs $50 and is a dual core 880 MHz 256/256, so should meet my needs. There is also the er-4 ( that costs $200 and is a quad core 1 GHz 4GB/1GB so probably way more than I need.

As for my questions:

  1. For a standard home setup plus a VPN server for remote access will I notice the difference between the er-x and the er-4?
  2. It looks like non-wifi routers for home use are a dying breed, should I just be considering a wifi router and disable the radio?

I'm happy with my EdgeRouter 4, but I'm on a VDSL2 line (100/30 marketed speeds) and my VPN is WireGuard. The VPN doesn't see heavy use (it's mainly to be able to tunnel in when needed to; not to e.g. stream stuff remotely from my home library and whatnot).

If the MediaTek MT7621 satisfies your needs now, and you can get another one for 50 USD, then I would not bother shelling out for the more exotic ER-4 (MIPS64 Octeon). Unless you want to splurge and get 'something different' (which MIPS64 certainly is with 32 bit MIPS serving the lower end of the market and ARM serving the higher end nowadays).

I have the ER-X and the ERLite-3 - both were great gear in their day, but EdgeMAX is pretty much dead as a product line and the acceleration they offer has been greatly overshadowed by sheer horsepower these days. To be fair, for a wired-only pure router/firewall/VPN solution, it's pretty hard to beat the Pi 4 doing near line-rate Wireguard. It's my primary home edge router now, and more stable than Ubiquiti despite running a snapshot.


MIPS64 is a dead end, there's pretty no support on any operating system going forward so at best it's in maintaince mode however being rather rare don't be surprised if you see breakage further down the road.

While MT7621 offered a good performance / price ratio a few years back anything above ~30$ isn't a great value and MIPS is also slowly dying (there's pretty much nothing new released using MIPS arch) however support will most likely last longer than MIPS64 given the sheer amount of devices around.

ARMv7 isn't going away anytime soon but it's starting to show its age (performance and being 32-bit) however it can be perfectly adequte for a residential setup however depending on SoC support can vary quite a bit.

ARM64 is probably what you want to go for however there aren't that many cheap platforms out there. If you want one it's usually DIY-land except for the Marvell based ones such as GL-MV1000 by GL.inet . Other solutions would be Rasperby PIs, Rockchip RK3399-based SBCs etc. I personally wouldn't recommend RPIs as they are poor choices from a hardware perspective as a network appliance, lack hardware crypto acceleration and pretty much all support is provided by the RPi foundation (applies more to RPi4 than older variants) as there is little to no documentation available which may result in limited support unless the foundation offers help. Allwinner and Rockchip both have SoCs with much better support in that regard however be aware that there's more work and parts involved (memory card for storage, a case (if needed), PSU, additional cooling etc). That being said, not all supported SoCs are "great" for networking. Depending on how much time and thinkering you want to spend this may/may not be a solution.

If you want something well supported that just works, has a case and doesn't break the bank the WRT1900ACS/WRT3200 by Linksys are a good tradeoff at around 100$ or below used. Downside is that they're based on 32-bit ARMv7 but the are workhorses and when it's time to replace you haven't spent a fortune anyway. They do however have wirelss radios but if you're paranoid just compile your own firmware and remove the drivers.

IPQ4/IPQ8 are also nice but ethernet support and overall support isn't all that great, you mainly get these because of well supported wireless radio(s) however still 32-bit.


Ditto what rhester72 said. Even with gigabit fibre and several internal routed subnets, a Pi 4 is handling all my requirements without even breathing hard. At $35USD plus perhaps another $15 or 20 for the PS and one or more USB3 ethernet adapters it's proven to be solid and stable -- so much so that I confidently downsized from my way overspec'd Intel x86 system using i340 NICs and have never looked back.

For very high throughput there are a few tweaks you'll want to make to things like IRQ core affinity and CPU frequency scaling, but they're almost trivial, and below a gigabit it probably isn't even needed.

NanoPi R2S, inexpensive, works well, easy to experiment with because of micro-sd storage, falls within all your requirements, does not rely on finicky usb Ethernet for 22nd port.

actually 2nd gbit port is a connected via internal usb3 see and

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Thanks for all the info. I am looking for a device I can buy off the shelf and just install capable firmware and be done. Are there Pi based systems that come with a case etc. I thought about the MV 1000 also, but would then need a managed switch and I was being lazy. Will consider that again.

I meant usb add-on dongle, which are notoriously unstable.

Many NanoPI R2S kits with metal case are available and you don't have to use notoriously unstable usb dongle.

@Bobcat What is 'notoriously unstable' about a USB Ethernet dongle?

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notoriously by what standards ? there are like dozens of people here on the forums happily using rpi4+usb3 lan.

Meraki MX64/MX65? The latter in particular for its 12 ports and PoE.

Those both show Not supported in red on those web pages?

They are working and will be supported once the DSA/swconfig separation is sorted. See the PR in the wiki.

sigh. A dongle-connected USB3 NIC is exactly as stable as the same chipset in an onboard USB3 NIC. The only conceivable exception, barring a highly improbable faulty connector, is if you're hotplugging it willy-nilly. But in a router, who's going to do that? It's going to be plugged in at boot and left that way.

@clayface The page layout is misleading. Don't forget that red line is the first thing people see. Someone looking for supported hardware will just cross those of their list. If a PR is pending then that should be the first thing that device page says. Not 'unsupported'.

It's not because one is happy using something that it makes it suitable for long term production use without shutdown or reboot.

Dongles are exactly that dongles, a stop gap solution for a notebook portability/expansion issue not meant to be used 24/7/365. They eventually overheat under continuous load and need to take a break ever once in a while, as they are usually not designed for optimal thermal management (read fan/heatsink) under continuous load/use.

I don't dispute many are perfectly happy using dongles, I have 2 Pi4's myself, but would never use them as routers, that's why I got the R2S. It's also fully functional without add-on hardware, which makes for a more stable environment for developers with fully functional firmware out of the box.

I'm also a big fan of Linksys 8300's, with their dual firmware partitions, allowing for non-brickable failover solution.

Rather than hook a thermistor to the chip in my UE300, I'm just going to plainly say that no, it doesn't get hot, and no, there's no issue running it 24/7 any moreso than there is any other peripheral. If you're happy with what you're using, that's fine, but let's keep the 'dongle FUD' to a minimum please.


Fair enough, I just ordered one from Amazon for one of my Pi4, would expect your help if I run into trouble !