I would like to ask people here for an opinion on and a recommendation for a professionally supported OpenWRT based router. I am getting less and less time to compile my own firmware, look for different tweaks to improve my router’s performance, and so on. Custom builds here are somewhat solving this problem, but can be discontinued at any time.
I am hoping to find a good enough off the shelf router that provides most of the benefits of OpenWRT out of the box with firmware already optimized for the hardware it is running on, which is professionally maintained, regularly updated, kept relatively up to date with OpenWRT, and has an easy to use UI for basic router tasks.
If I get recommendations I will keep a list of them all in the first post.
Here is what I got so far, but I expect my list to be way incomplete.
I used their Omnia, but it was very unstable in my environment. There’s also a new one MOX, which I never tried.
I own their GL-AR750, but running a plain vanilla OpenWRT on it for now.
They do not seem to manufacture their own, but use a TP-Link unit, I think.
I realize that I didn't do a good job wording my question. I know anyone can find a router that is compatible and can run OpenWrt, but then one realizes that they come with quirks here and there like this one for instance for Linksys or that their wireless is not very good after all. Other platforms have their own quirks, like a R7800 has limited bandwidth with SQM. These just few examples.
I will try to answer all of your questions with a use case. If a friend/relative is asking for a router advice, I would like to tell them to look at these brands and pick the router they can afford and the one the suits their needs. The router would come with a dumb-down user interface with all expected functionality and then there is also access to LuCI/ssh when needed (most of the time it would not be required). The router would come from a company that manufactures the routers and provides regular firmware upgrades. So in a way, yes a paid service: I am buying a router with support and clearly stated max throughput.
I do not want to be the one choosing the router or installing OpenWrt on it or configuring it (i.e. configuring a Guest WiFi with LuCi is an exercise of patience). I am willing to answer my friend/relative's questions once in a while, but even picking a router for them and flushing with OpenWrt is an implicit commitment; let alone a full initial setup, which makes me a support for them.
So far only GL.iNet (that I know) fits the bill: they manufacture a range of routers for different purposes and at different price points. Their firmware is OpenWrt based and they provide firmware upgrades; they seem to be running relatively up to date OpenWrt. Their routers come with a simple to use web interface and even with automatic upgrades. I hear that access to LuCi is also there. They submit patches upstream, which implies they want to stay current with OpenWrt.
Turris has a single router, but it is very expensive for most. I know Turris tries to stay as close to plain vanilla OpenWrt as possible and provide regular updates.
The likes of Netgear/ASUS are not an option as I think they fork OpenWrt for their purposes and change it a lot; they also stay on old versions forever. But there must be other manufactures besides GL.iNet that just put an easy to use interface on top a vanilla (or slightly customized version of) OpenWrt.
P.S. I will happily change the subject: off the shelf might not be exactly what I am looking for, but I cannot come up with a better wording than that.
Just another vote for GL.iNET. Their stock firmware is usually OpenWRT (some models have proprietary SDK builds to get better WiFi performance, but in general they try to stick close to OpenWRT). As in, they put their own GUI on an OpenWRT release, and provide all sources/etc for their builds too. So you always have the option of compiling packages, or switching over to Vanilla OpenWRT directly if you ever change your mind in the future.
From your description they are the only ones I'm aware of that come even close to ticking all your boxes (their commitment and relationship to OpenWRT as a platform in general is one of the things that makes them stand out and deserve your hard earned cash IMO).