I recently moved into a larger, multi-story home and need better coverage. I currently have (2) Asus RT-AC66U's - one acting as a router/AP and the other as an AP only. While this works, hand-offs are not as quick as I'd like. With this in mind, I am looking for recommendations for "budget" 802.11ac devices that support OpenWRT and 802.11s and 802.11r. I will likely go with 802.11s and wired backhaul, however I would also like to mess around with 802.11r. I am open to going with something like an RPi, however I'm not even clear how well the built-in Broadcom Wifi is supported. I intend for this system to be made up of (3) identical nodes so I would like to keep each node under $120, however the cheaper the better.
Thank you for your time. Hopefully I can come up with a good number of recommendations to choose from.
Broadcom wifi is unsupported afaik.
When it comes to wifi you have basically two options
mediatek based and qualcom based wifi.
Both have some bugs/issues, but ath10k-ct working more bug free atm i think.
Qualcom stuff uses the ath10k-ct driver
Mediatek uses the mt76 open source drivers. Right now I'm not sure how often the two below linked issues appear in practical use.
But they don't read that well when it comes to reliability
If you have a wired backhaul then you need 802.11r, not .11s. For the money you have available you can go with something like the EAP245 (or 225 if you want even cheaper). There is a current thread detailing (successful I believe) efforts to add support for the EAP245 for OpenWRT, although I just run mine with the stock firmware.
From a working solution, I think the EAP225/245 suggestion is probably the cheapest fit for my needs. However, while half of the equation is wanting a working solution, the other half is having something that I can use to learn more about 802.11s. It sounds like Openwrt provides a great platform for doing so - with the right hardware. I'm going to do some more research on the Unifi gear. It appears to support everything I want. Thank you all for the input!
I took your advice and just ordered (3) EAP245's - POE injector included for $90/each. I'd been looking at soho gear and had no idea business class stuff had become so affordable. I was browsing the TP-Link forums and also discovered that TP-Link just added mesh support for the EAP245 in a firmware release earlier this month. Being a managed device, I definitely think 802.11r/k/v will be the best option (or whatever TP-Link uses) over the mesh since I do have cabling where I need it.
I'm sure my wife and kids will be happier with our "production" wifi on the EAPs, since I won't really be messing with them after the initial setup. However I would still like to find a few devices that I can install openwrt on for lab/learning purposes. The TP-Link RE450 Extender appears to be supported by openwrt and it's my understanding has a Qualcomm chip. Can anyone recommend this device as something that supports openwrt and 802.11s?