Replacing my provider router (recommendations)

So my current setup is this:
DrayTek Vigor2132FVn connected through SFP to officially 750Mbit fiber (in practice probably Gbit capped by hardware to 800-900Mbit)
I use it both for phone and Ethernet but not it's practically useless wifi.

I want to replace it with my own hardware as it crashes about every 1-2 weeks and has not had any updates in the last 4 years. Performance wise, I am fine with the performance it provides, though a bit better would not hurt.

What would be a sensible setup, I don't have a fixed budget in mind.
So to sum op my needs:
Go from SFP to either a router or some adapter to Ethernet.
A device with at least 8 Ethernet ports is a plus as it saves me on a network switches. Below that I really don't care if it's 1 or 7 as I would need to expand anyway.
Have a separate cheap device connect my provider's SIP account to the phones in my home. Suggestions for OpenWrt capable ones are welcome, though I probably don't care too much, as it's really only to connect one sip account to a few phones that are barely used.

I have seen the Raspberry Pi 4 option pass by a few times, while that could definitely work, it would also maximize the number of devices I would need to be running at the same time. So I would prefer something limits the device bloat a bit. However, if the other options are either way under powered or way overpriced, I can live with it.

As for my skill level, I know my way around hardware / Linux well enough.

As a footnote my current access point is a TL-WDR4900 (v1) but since that will stay the same I'll leave it out.

I am aware of this post, yes. As things moved on I am more looking at a pi4 as it should be sufficient. Especially since regional prices means the x86 would be € 300+ on the machine alone. Sadly indeed, looking at even more expensive routers their performance is rather lackluster.

Another option is RockPro64 and a dual port Intel (preferably) PCIe NIC

Definitely an option, performance wise, how does it stack up to a pi4 + ethernet adapter?
As it does seem a bit more expensive than the former. (shipping to europe). Is also a bit less mainstream, and I would have to print my own case / probably add a heatsink. Not at all dealbreakers but drawbacks nontheless.

Pi has 4 larger cores, pine has 2 large and 4 smaller ones. I assume I can oc the pi as well. with a decent case.

As it stands, I came to the following setup:
tp-link MC220L to go from sfp to ethernet
pi 4 4gb + case + power supply
TP-link EU300 ethernet adapter
Tp-Link Tl-Sg108Pe (8 port managed switch with poe)
Grandstream HandyTone HT801 to connect to my existing analog phones

I guess it depends on how you look at it, in general performance is favouring the RK3399 SoC however I would imagine that if you start overclocking it's similar but I don't see why that would be of interest. The RK3399 SoC is probably more popular than you think especially due to Panfrost development (not really useful for a router however), it also offers ARMv8 crypto instructions which the RPi4 SoC lacks. Neither SoC runs well without a heatsink, and the large one is like 3-4$ from Pine64 and works fine without active cooling (at least for me (tm)). I would personally take a PCIe NIC over USB any day because of proven reliability, hardware capatibilities etc but some users are reporting that USB NICs works fine so that's up to you to decide in the end. Another potential option would be to get a NIC that does SPF directly.

To be honest I haven't tried OpenWrt as of late but I know people are using it and if you want to verify SoC support the NanoPi R4S thread is probably a good idea (keep in mind however that R4S isn't supported upstream in current version of mainline Linux that OpenWrt uses or u-boot which may make a few things a bit yanky while the RockPro64 is). I personally run FreeBSD on my boards (for months now) and I'm very happy with the overall performance and I know at least one other user that does the same on this forum (using Intel PCIe NIC).

As for the switch you might want to have a look at Zyxel GS1900-8HP as it gives a bit better overall impression and if you want can even run OpenWrt if you'd want to do that (I personally have no idea how well it works etc).

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These TP link switches are good and cheap, but they do have a security issue. You can connect to their management interface from any port on any VLAN. What this means is you should absolutely give them a static IP in your LAN range, and change the password to a cryptographically secure one (like 10 character random password from keepass2 or similar). With those precautions in place I have used them even on WAN side, but the SG1900 zyxel switches don't have this stupid security issue, and higher end TP link switches for small businesses don't either.

I personally do not like the idea of a Pi4 with an adapter and prefer a WRT32X/WRT3200ACM for a border gateway with wireless disabled. It can easily shape 1Gbps and not that much more expensive than some alternatives. Fewer moving pieces, connectors and power adapters; hw built for a specific purpose with good OpenWrt support. And even though wifi on these is not awesome, it could be a wifi backup if the main one fails.
I am running an WRT3200ACM with an OPTCORE SFP media converter myself.

While I understand the sentiment, the conclusion is a bit far fetched.

  • Linksys WRT3200ACM: >180 EUR (no offers for the wrt32x)
  • RaspberryPi 4B, 2 GB RAM (which is plenty for OpenWrt): 40 EUR
    yes you need to account for a case, PSU, cooling, a USB3 ethernet card, but for 80-100 EUR you can get the full set easily (probably even the 4 GB RAM variant).
    a managed switch might be advisable, but is still optional.

In comparison the RPi4 is a significantly faster (routing, NAT, PPPoE, SQM and additional uses like e.g. VPN) option than the wrt3200acm and costs you less than half the price of it.

There are more traditional routers that might be able to compete (Belkin rt3200/ Linksys e8450 or the ipq807x family of devices, >=ipq8072a in particular), pending further confirmation of users with high-end WAN connection, but the wrt3200acm doesn't really fit into the picture anymore.

Other options to consider, the RPi4 compute module with the two-port extension, NanoPi r4s, Marvell Armada 7040/8040 (maybe 3720) - [EDIT] and x86_64, of course.

Speed isn't everything, I would say WRT3200ACM isn't a bad deal simply because it's a very proven platform. I agree that 150EUR+ isn't a great deal given the hardware but it's not bad if you can grab a used one around 100 EUR or so. It should be able to push ~750Mbit fine although you might not have that much of a headroom left. I'd favor that over anything that relies on USB and/or crab NICs but that's my personal opinion. Maybe I've grown old and tired of thinkering with * that works somewhat and just want something that's proven and just works :wink:
Newer Mediatek SoCs/chipsets and IPQ seems to be at alpha stage at best? I'd be a bit vary getting bleeding edge because it may end up being a dud.

The problem with the wrt3200acm is its wifi side, but for a(n effectively) wired-only router that price is out of line.

mt7622bv+mt7915e is early days (master), but not alpha state and available for just under 100 EUR (new, delivered) - ipq807x certainly is, though.

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5Ghz works fine for me at least, that being said given the previous discussion regarding hardware I'd assume that we could ignore the wifi capability.

hello i have 3 belkin rt3200 and this wifi work very well

if you see any test with the belkin rt3200 :slight_smile:

Okay to respond to some things here. I said on paper my connection was 750mbit but in practice I am pretty sure I could reach gbit, so going with a 100-150 router that cannot handle the full gbit really should not be an option. As for wifi, it would be placed in the worst spot in the house so really not a positive whatsoever.

For the switches I am aware that they talk on every vlan, really no big deal as I throw in a 20-40 character random password anyway.

As for the rockpro I think usb should be performant enough, usb has a decent bit of bandwidth overhead and I don't think it's latency will be that problematic. If anything I prefer a r4s over a pine64 as pci-e cards and supporting them would cost me extra time to design a proper case. Granted I would be dealing with software support a bit. Should not be too big a deal from what I have seen.

Still the raspberry pi is less expensive when ordering locally which is a big benefit.

As for sfp nic's I am un sure how well they are supported, they are either expensive or are old mostly server models from what I have seen.

The exact model media converter I mostly chose because it was inexpensive and came recommended from my provider.

In the end I am still leaning towards the pi, sure usb is suboptimal but I am pretty sure as a platform it will / has some good support. If for some reason openwrt won't be it, running it on debian would also be possible.

Don't forget the power consumption: RPi4 about 3 W, WRT32.. about 8-9 W. The difference of 5 W makes about 13€/year (based on 0.30 €/kWh).

In terms of power consumption, the RPi4 will lose in practice - as you need switches and access points in addition to the mere RPi4 for a feature complete solution. Admittedly, you may need either of those anyways - and the difference isn't that big either (don't expect modern wifi6 routers to contend with 8-9 watts, those easily chug twice that out of the wall).

You're right. I just looked at the mere devices.

I don't really care that much about the power, I am not the one paying for it as long as it's not excessive. As for a switch, I probably need one near the router either way as 8 port ones are somewhat uncommon. At least factoring in something like openwrt support.

You always need more ports on your switch than you think :wink: I think I've got close to 70 ports throughout my house, though at least half of them are available for expansion

Ok i'll chime in.

For 1Gbps connections with SQM there's virtually no OpenWRT hardware capable to deal with it. Simply put, all modern capable hardware have this Broadcom Chip Inside (a.k.a. True Evil Inside) that doesn't support linux as a proper open project. So no linux->no OpenWRT support.

That said, the RPI4 good support as long you don't need it's wifi capabilities (Thanks for nothing Broadcom!), and is pretty capable of deal with 1Gbps speeds with SQM without taking a sweat. I've tested both the PI4 and RockPro64 and definitively you'll want the PI4 (No point in the RockPro64 having better cores if their Linux support mostly sucks, but that's what i got from it before i sold it).

The only problem is the cost. If you live in the UK or close to it, no problem, it will be cheaper, but if not, there's shipping/handling and taxes to be paid. (For reference, my RPI4 2GB sets me back US$95 dollars (Power supply included), plus a US$25 usb to ethernet adapter), so probably you'll want (or need) to give up the OS freedom and just use a cheaper Router capable of 1Gbps and 802.11AC or AX out there.

As a reference, my setup: RPI4 2GB, no fan, no case, just a base and copper dissipators (Up to 59°C temperature measured in summer) + a cheap U336 USB3 to ethernet adapter (mine is a triplite brand, gets quite hot, but not that bad), plus an older Archer C7 with its factory firmware to provide 1750AC wifi, and 3 ehternet connections). Install and forget. Since October 2020.