OpenWrt vs. EdgeOS @ Edgerouter X


I've still a Edgerouter X laying around since a while. I never used it so far in any way. I bought it just as a replacement for a 5 port switch running in a corner. So I opted for this device instead for a 8 port switch. "Just" 15 bucks difference.

I've read some threads here on the forum and watched some youtube videos to get an impression about EdgeOS.

Since WRT54G times I never used any default OS of any router I've bought anymore. I even never used the default OS of my Zyxel NBG6817 (which is the "newest" device I own).

So I'm asking here if it is worth to give it a try and "waste time" playing aorund with this device or just replace it with OpenWrt? Or do I lose features which are nice to have?

So far I saw that CLI has it's own syntax. Which is almost a nogo for me and the main reason why I'm using Linux based OSes since decades. But the GUI looks "fancy" (from what I've seen) and I wonder if I would need commandline at all on this device?

How good are they with keeping their OS updated ?

I would opt for an OS I already know and is updated regularly with features and security patches.

Doesn't that sound like OpenWRT ?

Researched ER X, seems decent device/OS/price.

How about you kick the OEM tires and review for our benefit ?

The ERX has DPI, can't find anything comparable in OpenWRT, am I mistaken ?

That feature alone would make OEM firmware worthwhile.

I have used the ER-X with the EdgeOS, so I can speak to that a bit... I use OpenWrt on different devices, never used it on the ER-X.

This is true, but just for the record, it is a linux based OS at the core, but the router parts are based on the Vyatta OS.

EdgeOS is generally updated reasonably frequently although it has been a while since the last update was released (mid March 2020, so it's been 6 months as of this writing). Version 1.10.11 is believed to be the last update to the 1.x range. Version 2.x is the future path.

1.10.x was rock solid. 2.0.x < 2.0.8 was extremely buggy and had massive regressions over the 1.10.x versions, but 2.0.8+ has been pretty good. There are some specific/obscure features which may not work as expected on v2 firmware at the moment, and some people who have very complex/obscure configurations have had some stability issues. I personally never had an issue with v2.0.8.

Generally, the performance of the device on EdgeOS is very good. You can get gigabit routing with the hardware offload engine enabled. That said, QoS and Netflow are not compatible with hardware offloading, will silently disable the HW offload engine causing speeds to be capped ~250Mbps.
A known issue of 2.0.x is that there is a minor performance regression relative to 1.x firmware. This affects the maximum routing speeds, but is only really an issue if you are running gigabit service... it is a few percent drop in peak performance.

Configuration and UX/UI
The Edgerouter line is generally designed for use as an enterprise level system. The capabilities are pretty impressive and the configuration is very flexible. It natively handles features like multi-WAN load balancing or failover and multiple public IP addresses, among other things. The firewall is extremely flexible and can be configured with a high degree of granularity.

A key thing to know is that some of the operational models are very different or even opposite those in OpenWrt. For example, take the firewall. It is not a zone based firewall (although you can use ZBF but not in the web UI)... the model is essentially accept all except where explicitly prohibited. So inter-VLAN routing is open and works by default until you create rules to limit/restrict it. OpenWrt is the opposite using ZBF and you must specifically allow inter-VLAN routing.

The interface isn't particularly attractive, but it is not that bad. It is much harder to navigate than OpenWrt. It is not mobile friendly (at all). The command line configuration requires a lot more knowledge than OpenWrt's UCI system.

The default state of the EdgeOS has all the core features you'd need/expect. VPN support is there, but it is limited. EdgeOS can be extended using Debian packages. It isn't well supported, and you're kinda on your own, and most things you might add would require separate under-the-hood (CLI) configurations. The web interface is not as extensible as OpenWrt's LuCI environment.

OpenWrt's package options and management system is really good... way better than EdgeOS. And you can often install LuCI support for various packages in OpenWRT, making the UI so much more flexible than EdgeOS.

I like EdgeOS and I have used it comfortably for years. I also love OpenWrt and I use it on different devices. I cannot speak to the performance of the EdgeRouter using OpenWrt...

If you're using the device as a pure router with few or no added packages, I'd suggest giving EdgeOS a try -- it is actually very good once you learn how to use it, and it is nice to know another router 'language.' But if you want to do more stuff with packages, try out OpenWrt on the device and see how it performs. I'm guessing you already know OpenWrt, so that part should not be a mystery.

P.S. Hopefully others who are using OpenWrt on the ER-X can comment on the performance aspects.


Thank you very much for your detailed reply @psherman. I much appreciate it! Thx at @Bobcat also.

I didn't know that. I just bought this device because it got hyped all over the internet. But this explains the complex CLI syntax what I've seen on youtube videos and the firewall setting you've mentioned.

That sounds not so attractive to me. But I will give EdgeOS a try for sure after your review. :slight_smile:

Debian sounds good. So there should be a package for wireguard out there. I will see.

One question: Is it possible to work with iptables only? If there is no standard configuration in place (it sounds like there is nothing) I would guess it is possible. Or is it not recommended due to side-effects I'm not aware yet.

Nice review, gives a very good impression of OEM capabilities.

Does it have dual boot partitions, like the Linksys EA8300 and MR8300 ? This feature has saved me more than once and always allows me to revert to stock OEM, when I put myself in trouble. I just "bricked" an MR9000 with EA8300 19.07.3 and.4 and failover back to the stock to unbrick. Dual failover partitions is almost a deal breaker for me at this point.

It does not have such a feature. You can see this on wiki device page due to the partition layout:

But it has a serial connector pinout. And the bootloader is offering a bunch of recovery possibilities:

1: Load system code to SDRAM via TFTP.
2: Load system code then write to Flash via TFTP.
3: Boot system code via Flash (default).
4: Entr boot command line interface.
7: Load Boot Loader code then write to Flash via Serial.
9: Load Boot Loader code then write to Flash via TFTP.

Yeah, the ER-X is the lowest power (both electrical power consumption and compute power/capabilities) and lowest cost EdgeRouter line. It runs the same OS as its big siblings, so it is every bit as capable in terms of configuration options. This particular unit is often used as CPEs for small ISPs, especially WISPs since it has the 24V Passive PoE in and thru (many WISP radios are 24V). And, of course, it is popular with home networking enthusiasts, too.

Keep a paperclip handy -- you might be resetting a lot :laughing:. And head over to the Ubiquiti community forums for info/help with EdgeOS. I am active there, too.

Yup - Wireguard is available. I haven't ever tried installing it on an ER device (I use it on my OpenWrt VPN endpoints).

I know that there are a number of options for how to work with the firewall, but I'm only knowledgable about the standard firewall configuration method. If you use other methods (such as iptables or ZBF or whatever else is available), you will have to work with the CLI to configure it. If you use the standard method, you can use CLI and/or web UI.

Also, to correct your assumption above -- there is a standard firewall configuration that can be used. Make sure you're up-to-date on the firmware and then use the configuration wizard (I like the WAN+2LAN2 path), which will setup a WAN with masquerading and the default firewall, as well as the DHCP server and DNS listener.
Like OpenWrt, EdgeOS's default firewall is considered to be a good firewall starting point -- totally safe if you are a normal user/environment, and ready for customization if you have additional needs.

1 Like

I've opened the device already and connected to serial console in order to explore the path getting OpenWrt on this device and getting back. I have a setup progress now. :smiley:

Ah, O. K. Thought it is set like "allow all" and the user has to set it up from scratch.

Actually I'm trying to configure the device. I have to figure out how to get IPv6 prefix into the next subnet.

Hi everyone, I've had an ER-X for about a year and have used it with both OpenWRT and EdgeOS. I prefer using OpenWRT, but in the last few months I migrated back to EdgeOS as my internet connection was upgraded to 1000Mbps down and 50Mbps up. To get gigabit down on the ER-X requires hardware offloading, but getting 50Mbps up requires SQM otherwise the throughput is reduced to about 38Mbps. EdgeOS is great in that it allows me to enable hardware offloading for download traffic only, while simultaneously having SQM for upload traffic only. At the time I couldn't find a way to get OpenWRT to behave like this. After a few months of using EdgeOS I would really like to go back to OpenWRT and I hope I missed something in my previous attempts. Is it possible to have this functionality in OpenWRT?

This topic was automatically closed 10 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.