OpenWrt on a switch

OpenWRT users and developers:

I am considering to purchase a managed switch that can support the installation of OpenWRT thereupon. I have not really seen much documentation and certainly no YouTube videos about such a use case. Can anyone provide a short disquisition as to what functionality and capabilities can be expected in such a use case?

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration regarding the instant matter.


Hey there.

Could you provide us with the vendor and model description of the device you're up to?

I guess depending on CPU and memory you might be able to use it as router and maybe add VPN and some services to it. But I guess the horse power you get won't be that much, so I'd not expect too much in terms of actually usable scenarios.

Given the fact that switches usually only have to deal with ARP tables, I wouldn't be supprised if even with OpenWrt on it the things you can do with it were pretty much limited to using the OpenWrt web ui for setting up vlans. I just suspect vendors not to put more hardware into devices than acutally needed to perform the tasks the product is sold for.


Have a look at the following thread:
and the related site/wiki?:


Switch support hardware that supports OpenWrt:

A current forum thread re Support on RTL838x based managed switches:

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With OpenWrt installed, rtl838x devices look and behave like any other OpenWrt device/ router, giving you access to the switch features via DSA. Yes, technically it 'could' be used as router, but its power lies within the switch fabric, not the companion CPU that's merely meant to drive the management interface, so it wouldn't be fast enough for anything but the slowest ADSL WAN speeds (and sqm/ VPN is way beyond its abilities). It's still a switch, not a router.



No, I can't, and the reason is that I am interested in understanding what hardware can be my best choice based on OpenWRT support. I was looking at a Netgear GS108Tv3. To be clear, someone commented on routing and I am not interested in that, just having an open source managed switch for VLANs.

I have a router, it is based on pfsense (it runs on an HP T620), I have access points that run OpenWRT and are configured to use 802.11k/r/v/w for roaming. I was recently told that the chip sets in most APs (such as my WRT1900AC and my WRT3200acm) are not really wired to be real switches and are more like hubs electrically. I have not really configured VLANs on those switches, though that would be the easiest thing to do if it is a practicable choice. For example, I'd like to configure OpenWRT to have a second wireless network on a different VLAN for testing new hardware. I'd also like to have a guest network that is on a different VLAN than my main wireless network I use.

My main switch is a Cisco 3560G, which works well. The problem is that it eventually became unsupported (about the same time it became affordable to purchase for me) and I am using a device that no longer has security updates or bug fixes. The switch itself and its software are actually Linux based, so my most desirable answer would be to see OpenWRT be able to function on older Cisco hardware as the hardware is of high quality and using open source continually updated software would be best of all worlds. Worthy of notation is the fact that this (and many other Cisco switches) actually boot Linux in order to run IOS. IOS is not open source (as it just runs on Linux as any closed source program can), the precise Linux kernel used to build the Linux that boots on a Cisco device should be open source and obtainable.

I do not see any bugs in my IOS version that are of issue and my network is well defended by pfsense, but I'd prefer to run open source software on my Cisco hardware (I also have Cisco 819 APs I'd love to see OpenWRT working on), and other Cisco hardware too.

At any rate, I appreciate everyone's hard work and I know its easy to ask other people to do work for free for me, but, there are people that enjoy doing the programming and are happy to improve the direction of OpenWRT and so it is on that basis that I make these comments.

Everyone have a safe and healthy day in these challenging times.