Replace netgear r7800

Hello, at the moment I'm using a Netgear R-7800 as my main router in my network. I have expanded memory with a 8GB USB stick because I'm using:
4G backup internet using my smartphone

I'm thinking of replacing it with a newer, faster and more memory device.
Is there a better alternative for this device?

Thank you

keep the R7800, repurposed as AP, put a raspberry pi (+ additional ethernet port via USB) as main router.

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What problem will replacing it solve? Faster? Why? What can't you do with it?

I think the OP has is a legit question.
I too have a R7800 and can see myself contemplating replacing it with a Wifi 6E device that could have the potential to be running OpenWrt in the future (assuming the hardware lineage is OpenWrt preferred). This would be a longterm project in my opinion though.
That being said, I also see value in de-coupling wired and wireless (where again R7800 is getting to the point of being somewhat dated). I would be happy with being able to push gigabit wired and offload the wifi6 to an AP (not necessarily OpenWrt).
As it stands, R7800 running either master or 21.02 will not do gigabit WAN to LAN without Software offload (which for me, breaks port-forwarding as I am then completely unable to transfer files from my NAS (LAN) from when I am outside my house (traveling). Plex (and WAN-LAN file transfer) stops working due to this. I have raised this in the past. Now, maybe I am doing something wrong, but I don't see how enabling simple port forwards while software offloading is enabled should break such things.
Yes I understand that there is the option to go the NSS build route but it has its own set of problem which completely disappear once i switch back to 19.07. Wifi is consistently stable and consitsent with speeds on 19.07. NSS starts of lightning fast, but by the end of a week of usage, I would be lucky if I could pull half the same speed on my android device (restart fixes it).

Today, I am unaware of a WiFi 6E OW supported device.

The switch to DTS and a new switch driver. I hope this will make the r7800 faster.

Hello, thank you all for your replies.
My main concern about the R-7800 is the internal RAM. As I stated in my initial message, I added a 8GB USB stick to expand (extroot) the main memory.
Since then, I had to re-install the software on the router twice, because the USB wasn't mounted anymore. Indeed, speed isn't such an issue and I'm not going to change to Wifi-6.
I asked my question also because some friends want a configured router also but they can't configure it themselves and with an external USB stick..... It would not be very handy.
After a few months 'hey look, there's an USB stick sticking out of my router. Let's see what's on it....'

greetings tom

Let's be frank, the r7800 is still a top-end device with plenty of flash (~100 MB usable space) and RAM (512 MB). There are very few use-cases where this gets tight or insufficient (massively huge adblock blocklists could be a RAM sink, but aside from that…). If that isn't sufficient for your needs, you really ought to consider splitting functionality to different devices, as overloading a router with non-routing functionality is a recipe for glaring security issues.
Yes, WiFi is only 802.11ac/ wave2 - for WiFi6/ 802.11ax you need to look for different hardware.
Yes, routing performance is limited to ~500-650 MBit/s (without sqm or software flow-offloading/ proprietary NSS) or just under ~200 MBit/s with sqm.

If your routing needs exceed the above, you will need faster hardware - and in practice will end up splitting functionality into dedicated devices for the topics routing, (managed-)switches and (multiple-) WiFi APs, So you have 500Mbps-1Gbps fiber and need a router READ THIS FIRST provides some insight.
NAS and server features don't belong on a router (that is used as such).

According to your needs, you will inevitably end up in the RPi4+ or x86_64 camp, in combination with a managed switch and multiple dedicated APs, but even in an evironment like this, you really want to offload the non-routing features to different devices.


RockPro64 + Dual Port NIC (I've only used Intel NICs) and use the r7800 as AP, that said I haven't recently tried running OpenWrt on such a setup as I primary use another distro (FreeBSD) but it should work fine on OpenWrt if that's your cup of tea.

I think people need to relax a bit regarding "enterprise" security at home. I can fully understand why people don't want 3+ boxes at home and running Samba/ksmbd/NFS on internal NIC isn't the end of the world. In that case I would worry more about the complete lack of IDS/IPS.

The r7800 still has 4+96 MB usable flash size, you won't fill that up with samba4 (and performance of that is questionable on basically any plastic router) - it needs a lot more than that.

Edit: Looking at modern "traditional" wifi6/ wifi6e routers, both supported (mt7622bv+mt7615e), potentially supportable (ipq807x) and unsupportable (Broadcom, Ex-lantiq/ Ex-Intel/ now Maxlinear, Realtek) ones reaffirms this situation. Yes, the CPU/ routing performance sees some improvements (also limited 2.5GBASE-T/ 5GBASE-T availability), flash usually remains in the 128-256 MB range (usually the lower end, most of the time employing dual-boot - so effectively halving the usable space) and RAM between 256-1024 MB.

Disclaimer: I'm scratching at the upper performance limits of ipq806x - still sufficient, but with (too-) little headroom for my comfort zone (not enough for sqm, even though I have no acute need for that), so I'm idly looking for an alternative myself - but that still doesn't mean overloading a router with blatantly non-routing tasks.


While I can't say anything about ipq806x performance apart from what people are reporting you're most likely spot on especially when trying to cope with Gbit WAN traffic at the same time.

I had to extroot the R-7800 with an USB stick to make it possible to install:
/overlay is 125MB
I'm NOT using the router as a NAS/SMB shares because I do have a QNAP NAS.

Nah, not for WireGuard, including tools and everything that still only weighs in at a hundred kilobytes or so.

You needed your extroot only for AdGuardHome. Understandably so, it needs to work with rather large lists and I would guess it isn't optimized for space-restricted devices.

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(Disclaimer: I work at Netgear, but am not speaking for them - these are my personal opinions only).

It's... complicated. Today, Qualcomm still bases its SDK on OpenWRT v15, and supplies its 'secret source' as black boxes pre-compiled for v15. Trying to use those black boxes on anything but the OpenWRT and toolchain they were built for is painful and probably ultimately unfruitful. There will be problems, and Qualcomm won't put effort into 'unsupported configurations' without a very powerful business reason. While this is not a static state of affairs, I can't comment about how it might change.

As a general rule, the Netgear Orbi product line uses Qualcomm silicon, and Nighthawk uses Broadcomm silicon. The R7800 is one of the few Nighthawk routers that's based on Qualcomm silicon. Because the Orbi products use mesh networking, there are more Qualcomm 'black boxes' in their firmware than before. That makes it harder to provide contemporary versions of OpenWRT on recent Qualcomm-based, mesh-enabled hardware.

In terms of memory, some Orbi models have more, but usually lack a USB port, so there's no way to supplement it. The reliability issues you're having with consumer thumb drives are because they're not rated for continuous use as a filesystem. You'll see the same problems if you use a 'normal' SD card on a Raspberry Pi or a security camera - a usage pattern much higher than they were designed for will eventually cause them to fail 'prematurely'. Try to find 'high endurance' flash products, they'll work much better in for that use. Either a 'high endurance' SD card and a USB SD card reader, or perhaps a thumb drive marketed as an 'SSD'. Yes, they're more expensive, but there's good reason for that.

Since WiFi standards continue to evolve apace, I personally prefer to separate my AP from my router, rather than using a combo unit. The same way I prefer to have a separate cable modem than have my router integrated with it.

Personally, I use an access point from Netgear's business range, because
a) it's much less expensive to be swapping just that out when the next WiFi standards roll around,
b) the ceiling mount & PoE support means I can put it in an optimum location, on the ceiling, central in the house, without my router having to be placed there too, and
c) many of the business APs have nice features like multiple SSIDs on separate VLANs you don't see often on non-business oriented products. I like to segregate IoT traffic for example, and being able to dedicate an SSID/VLAN to that makes it so much easier to do.

Anyhow, hope that helps,

  • Paul

FWIW i bought a core 2 duo for ~ 30 euro (~35 USD, includes 4 gig ram and 500 gb hd) about 4 yr ago , put ubuntu on it, nextcloud, strongswan vpn, and did a DIY router with SQM based off prior experience with openwrt. I converted my openwrt r7500v2 to be an AP.

I am very happy with this (it's a hobby).

My internet connection is slow but I bet the core 2 duo could still handle a giga bit connection (I'm not sure if nextcloud/strongswan would be usable if the box was handling giga bit speeds, even for home use, but if that where the case i doubt i'd need sqm so maybe).

You don't have to do a DIY linux router. As others have mentioned openwrt x86 is available and there is always pfsense. However, I agree with the sentiment that you are trying to provide too much "non router" services with a router.