Recommended x86 router


I am currently using some PCEngines APU2 devices. However, they are becoming increasingly hard to find and the CPU is starting to be a bit outdated.

I am looking for a router with the following characteristics:

  1. Supported by OpenWRT
  2. x86_64 (I need to run a custom application that essentially works only on x86)
  3. at least 2 gigabit NIC
  4. at least 2 miniPCI
  5. passive cooling (not mandatory but preferred)

Any ideas?



Keep in mind that you'll need to patch sources and build your own firmware to make use of "new" hardware features in most packages

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There are quite a few reasonably priced mini PCs with (typically) four 1000BASE-T network cards offered on amazon or aliexpress, for cheap used offers look at Tips for getting cheap used x86-based firewall with full Gbit NAT (a PC Engines APU) if you are in the US.

The only real obstacle would be your requirement for two mini-PCIe slots, that is basically not on offer - unless you either go very expensive, or large (µATX); one of the few exceptions to this would be the roqos core rc10. On the other hand, using a classic 802.11ax 'plastic' router running OpenWrt to outsource the AP functionality is both (considerably-) cheaper and usually better performance (better antennas, better placement, away from the 'big' metal case of your PC and its interference).


You could use adapter cards for mini-PCIe

Not really for mini-ITX or smaller. At best you get one normal PCIe slot (needed for the second ethernet card) and one mini-PCIe slot for the wireless card (2.4 GHz), without an option to add a second (5 GHz) or third (6 GHz) one. And 5/ 6 GHz 802.11ax mini-PCIe cards (even 802.11ac) tend to be expensive, more expensive (per card+pigtails+antennas) than an OpenWrt supported mt7622bv+mt7915 or ipq807x (support pending) router.

Yes, devices with two onboard ethernet cards exists, as do (typically-) xeon atom boards with two mini-PCIe slots, but those are typically unreasonably expensive and rare to find.

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Not officially supported, but at least the Velocloud 520 have two slots.
Same goes for the 510, but there's a problem with the network chip, I think the
issue's described in the thread @slh mentioned earlier.

I would also agree on the Roqos RC10, it's a great box, and perhaps the Cyberoam CR25iNG/CR25wiNG, but I don't know if it actually have two slots, or just one.

I'm using a Qotom miniPC: 4x Gigabit NICs; msata slot for SSD, miniPCIe for wifi card, passive cooling. It works very well on OpenWrt. I don't know if it fits your "2 miniPCI" wish. As @slh said, you a good offer of 4 NICs miniPC.

This one on aliexpress linked by shdf looks interesting: N5105 Firewall Appliance

Here's my process for choosing x86_64 networking hardware:

  1. Decide cpu performance specs required (single & multi-core threaded benchmarks), aligned with socket type choice for MB and desired price/performance metrics.
  2. Find supported socket MB with necessary onboard NIC quantity and desired number of PCIe slots
  3. Buy PCIe slot adapter(s) for LTE and/or 5G modem(s)
  4. Find right size case (usually rack mount) for MB with necessary slot count and PSU
  5. Purchase the above parts, build system, install OS
  6. Move on with life

I standardize on Supermicro boards with an IPMI interface for all x86_64 builds, because that's just a hard requirement for remote management in my environments. I'm not driving on-site to do shi.. err, anything, unless it's comp'd double hourly rate, so OOB access to the boot process and bios are critical.

Usually this means low to midrange xeons, sometimes using 1-3 generations older than current... bc there are a lot of great deals on new-old-stock and grade-A used parts out on the grey market.

Problem is, those are big, and most people don't want a itx/matx/atx sized case for the router.

Although, I have to admit, I'm doing exactly the same, matx, intel 1150 gen 4 Xeon :slight_smile:

It's older than the ones you use, and I'm actually working on an upgrade, but it'll take another
month or so, before I do the migration.

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Noise and power consumption are typically the big hurdles for this in a home setting.

Yeah, it was assumed, but not mentioned...

The Roqos RC10 seems a good product. I see there is also a more powerful RC100 box but OpenWRT does not support it. The RC10 already comes with two miniPCI wifi cards which seem to be Atheros (the type of cards we used in our current pcengines-based deployments).

@frollic Indeed I forgot to mention that I need a sort of compact box. I do not really care about noise to be honest nor power consumption, but it must be a box that can be easily mounted on walls or poles.

Thanks to the forum I found the Roqos RC10 (and possibly the RC100). Searching the table of supported hard hardware I also found the Sophos line. It seems interesting but I need the check them out.

Thanks a lot for the support.

If it's x86, it's going to be supported, unless it's locked down in some way.
But no one had the opportunity to try one.

Check if someone installed pfsense on it, if so, openwrt will work too.

Trustwave TS-25 is another option, but it's pretty expensive, compared to the other devices, and I don't know what it looks like on the inside.

The RC10 is an excellent product though, I own one myself, using it as a test device, since it's easy to have several openwrt versions installed in parallell.

Get a Dell Wyse Single Board PC from Ebay.

I currently use a 5060 No7D with a separate Dumb Wifi unit.

The Dell unit has 1 Nr. M2 slot which I fitted a NIC expansion board (also available on ebay). Result is a very fast and robust setup with 2 NIC's. Obviously I use a gigabyte switch for all of my connections and the dumb Wifi unit for Wifi and other wired connections.

Hope this helps?

Google all of the above and checkout (