Picking a good router as AC-Wireless client

Hey there,

I've been using OpenWRT for a couple of years now and was really excited to find LEDE being it's successor.

So for my case at home:
For my needs I have been working on a wireless solution with an TP-Link WDR4300, connecting it to our ISP's router/modem via 5GHz and relayd. It's working quite well but I am having random connection losses from time to time and the bandwidth caps at around 100/25 Mbit Up/Down while the maximum is 400/25 Mbit Up/Down.

I am getting the full bandwitdh over a ASUS PCE-AC88 which is an AC-WiFi card that doesn't run on Linux sadly thus I am trying to "outsource" this issue by using an ethernet port + client router.

After reading lots of forum threads and articles in the old OpenWRT forum I am interested in buying either the TP-Link Archer C7 v.2 or the D-Link Dir-860L v.B1. I am looking for a good wireless range in that case in hope to get rid of the irregular connection losses while bumping my connection speed using AC-Wireless.

Any suggestions which of these two would perform better?

Hi Karmek! Luckily for you there is a thread comparing the two of them based on real life expirement:

If you have a 400/25 link, then the Archer C7 v2 will definitively not suffice since it cannot do more than 120-200, without hardware NAT, because LEDE doesn't support it.

Unfortunately, there is a crashing bug with the DIR-860L (same thread) that will prevent you from using SQM, but other than that, CPU power matters and maybe DIR-860L will deliver the results you expect.

On a personal note, I do own an Archer C7 v2, and very satisfied with it (WiFi range/speed, SQM and everything), but my link speed is 30/10, so way below what will overwhelm the Archer.

He wants to use the router as a AC-Wireless client, to bridge the device connected to the ethernet port of the router to the rest of the network. This means that NAT performance does not matter. @Karmek I have used both the Archer C7, but upgraded to the DIR-860L rev B1 due to having to route a 500/500 mbit connection. The Archer's 5ghz wifi was faster for me, so I would recommend the Archer in this situation.

Thanks for the response guys!

Sad to hear that both routers have issues to deal with. It sounds like I would have to order both and check for my specific envrironment.

@Mushoz, how did it turn out with your 500/500 Mbit connection? How much could you get?

Without SQM I am getting the full 500 mbit download. The upload oscillates between 430 and 500 mbit. But the router CPU during both tests has idle % left over, so it should be able to go even faster should I get a faster connection. Not sure why the upload oscillates like that.

I tested the NAT performance with a client connected to the WAN port running an iperf3 server, while another client was connected to the LAN port and ran a iperf3 client connected to the server. I was getting gigabit speeds (930 mbit+ in both directions) during those tests.

Real world performance seems to be a bit lower (higher CPU usage at a given speed) due to the extra overhead of PPPoE and perhaps IPv6 that my ISP uses. I am not sure how big that overhead actually is, so I am trying to find that out in this thread: Routing Bottleneck

That sounds promising. After reading the linked thread (the router comparison) I was first assuming it will only have little improvement over the WDR4300 I am using at the moment. Now I am really curious.

Say, I have flashed LEDE 17.01.1 on my current router. Does it have SQM activated automatically or does it require extra packages like in OpenWRT? At least I haven't seen any menuswhen navigating through luci.

You will have to download and install the package "luci-app-sqm" to add SQM functionality to the firmware. SQM can then be configured from within Luci. Without SQM (Or with SQM, but leaving it disabled) my DIR-860L rev B1 is rock solid stable. Once this issue has been fixed, I think this router has one of the best price/performance ratios.

Step-by-step instructions along with detailed information for SQM:

The DIR-660L's 5GHz band has a maximum bandwidth of 867 Mbit compared to 1300 Mbit on Archer C7. The average link I am having between my WiFi card and the ISP's router in the living room is between 877,5 - 975 Mbit.

So theoretically the DIR-860L would suffice but is this also the case in an actual test? Would the 1300 Mbit on the C7 provide better range and higher minimum bandwidth or does it solely come down to signal strength vs noise?

Will read into that. Thank you, guys!

It shouldn't influence the range. But it will influence the bandwidth. Of course, the client will also have to support 3 spatial streams in order to benefit for Archer's support for 3 streams. But since the link is showing up to 975 mbit for you, the client obviously supports 3 spatial streams as it would else be limited to 867 mbit max.

I'm a bit confused right now.
Did they or did they not fixed the issue with SQM on DIR-860L? I mean the issue with kernel panics/reboots.

They didn't. It is still an issue. You can vote on the issue in flyspray to bring it to the attention of the devs here:https://bugs.lede-project.org/index.php?do=details&task_id=764

I should have mentioned that, I am sorry. Yes, the ISP's router is capable of 3 spatial streams. If coverage remains the same and I can get rid of the random connection drops I will be more than happy with 867 Mbit. And I guess if the coverage ends up worse than expected there is also the way of hard-modding some decent external antennas onto it. :smiley:

Sooner or later I will move anyway and then the PC will get a properly wired connection.

Good to see it has been reported already. Will vote for it, right away.