Reliable AP-Router recommendation for global disaster relief team


I'm a member of a NGO focused on deploying medical care around the world when a natural disaster happens. And now I'm tasking on provide wireless connectivity for the base camp (around 30 people)

So, yeah, I don't need the best Wireless router for a gigabyte home connection, instead what we need is reliable hardware can connect wireless to different uplinks (satcom, 3g/4g dongles, ...) and then provide a common wireless network to the mission command staff.

What I think I need it's very close to a travel router but "bigger" so it can come more flexible and more reliable.

Minimum requirements.

  1. Offer a secure (WPA2 PSK) network to the base camp
  2. Connect to uplinks wirelessly (WWAN, WISP, ...)
  3. Be able to connect to an uplink by wire (RJ45 WAN port)
  4. Detachable antennas so we can add specific antennas like for example long range Wireless connection to another camp with better connection capabilities)
  5. Simple management visual interface for basic settings (Wireless uplink parameters, on/off SSIDs) as IT members may not be available on the field. Basic IT support may be do (if possible) by voice call through satcoms (5 minutes voice call if we are lucky enough)

Desired requirements

  1. Single device is preferred rather than a set of wired specific hardware.
  2. Be able to provide an additional "guest" network heavily limited so deployed members can be in touch with their relatives from time to time (satcom datalink is a 400kbps L-Band modem)
  3. Reliability over budget (We have an sponsor is able to give us the $$ so we need reliable hardware on top of all)
  4. Web content filtering. We would like to block tipical smartphone/windows/mac background tasks are bandwith consuming from the router side rather than from each device (remember, our regular uplink is a single 400kbps modem)

Low priority requirements

  1. Power consumption (electricity usually comes from small diesel generators)
  2. OpenWRT capable and regular firmware updates
  3. Cybersecurity hardening and up to date patches
  4. Hardware with enough capabilities thinking in the long term
  5. USB ports for shared network harddrives
  6. USB ports for shared network printer

After take a look to the ToH the following devices seems to fit with the requirements.

  • Linksys WRT3200ACM looks and all terrain device but people complain with the 2.4Ghz network which for us is very important (we preffer cover more range rather than bandwith)
  • Netgear R6800. 2 radios, good recovery options
  • MikroTik HaP AC3. Looks more reliable but OpenWRT does not have an stable version for it (yet)

So we would like to hear your thoughts and remmendations. Thank you a lot.

PD: If anyone could put us in contact with Starlink we would be very happy. We would like to have a productive talk with them and upgrade our 400kbps satcom :slight_smile: