Router recommendation for 3-bedroom townhouse. Is Netgear R7800 a good pick?

I live in a 2-story townhouse where the wifi router has to be in the upper corner, square footage wise, as that is where my office is. I've been using a Netgear AC1600 for about 3 years now, and in my previous 2-bedroom apartment, the coverage was great. In this new house, however, I've noticed that this is really pushing the limits of my router's range. And me, not knowing much at the time, thought switching to OpenWRT could be a way to 1. Run up-to-date firmware on an outdated router, and 2. Extend the wifi's range a little. 2 weeks in, and clearly I did not realize that OpenWRT often shrinks a router's range, but I still really like the benefit of having an updated firmware and more granular control over my router. That being said, I could really use a new one that has some more powerful antennas, and works great with OpenWRT. I have heard good things about the Netgear R7800, and it does seem like that would fit my needs better. The only thing I'm unsure of is coverage distance. Here's some specs for my use case to help with any recommendations you might have. If you leave a recommendation, thank you very much for helping me out, even if I don't pick it :slight_smile: . I'm pretty new to the world of OpenWRT, and I like what you guys are going for, and hopefully I can keep using it for the foreseeable future.

Router specs request:

  • ISP speed: 500Mbps/20Mbps down/up, although I have gotten 545/22 from wired speedtests, but I consider 500/20 to be the safe zone. Connection is not PPPoE.
  • Price: 100-150 USD. 150 is a hard limit right now, but if there is an option just outside this, feel free to let me know so I can keep an eye on it or maybe find a used version for cheaper.


  • Ethernet: Yes, just 1-2 laptops being plugged in directly to the router.
  • Wi-Fi: Yes, 2.4G and 5G.
  • Guest network: Yes, just 2.4G.
  • Distance: router needs to easily reach ~15-20 meters away. Nintendo Switch is stuck at the edge of current wifi's range, and is unable to keep a steady connection.
  • Device count: For ethernet, just 2, maybe 3 in the future if I get a home server setup. For wifi, support at least 6 simultaneous devices, but ideally 10+ for when we have company over.
  • Ability to run NextDNS CLI client on the router.


  • Tri-band: It would be nice to have a separate band for each wifi network (2.4g/5g/guest) to help prevent clogging the 2.4g band, but it's not a requirement as there will very rarely be a lot of high traffic happening all at the same time in my circumstances.
  • SQM QoS: I know this requires a lot of CPU power to run properly, so I'm not expecting this to work on both up and down, but this would be a nice bonus if I can have SQM and still get 300-400 down. I am definitely okay not having it as I know it would drive the price up a lot just to get a router that's powerful enough for it.
  • I hope to setup a homeserver with things like files backup, password vault, potentially a media server in the future. I'm not very knowledgeable on the full requirements for this as I haven't really dived into actually building one yet, but if there's any network related things that help this to work well, those would be nice.

The r7800 is right at the limits of what it can do - or probably just can't do anymore, with PPPoE entering the picture; if ~500 MBit/s is your current need (with more potential in the wires), ipq806x is beyond its abilities. Also consider if there is a way to split off routing (wired-only) and AP (on a wired/ cat-6 backhaul) into two devices, each of them placed in more adequate locations.

In terms of maximum range, don't expect that much of a difference between devices - that is limited by regulations and physics (wall penetration). Yes, 4x4 has a bit more of a margin to find the optimum connection, yes 802.11ac and 802.11ax might push a bit more throughput over the range, but you can't expect more fundamental range improvements by replacing your router (unless the old router is really on the low-end side). Wired backhauls between (multiple-) APs/ extenders (satellites) are always preferred over wireless backhauls, if you can accomodate the former, you open your selection to much cheaper (dual-radio) devices (instead of tri-radio ones, which you're not going to find among the currently supported devices with the expected routing performance).

With SQM at >500 MBit/s, you're firmly in x86_64 or highend ARMv8 territory, both of which tend not to have (usable) wireless support in the same device.

Your border gateway should not be considered a general purpose server, keep the attack surface low, don't overload it with non-routing tasks - even if it would have the performance to do that. Security and ongoing maintenance becomes a nightmare on that road.

might be worth looking at, maybe or (don't go below ipq8072a, ipq8071a will not meet your current performance requirements). If you 'just' need APs to extend a more capable wired router, a lot more devices from cheaper sectors enter the picture.

Rockchip, RPi4 or x86_64 would be worth looking at, the options (especially the later ones, not the AMD Jaguar based ones it starts out with) from Tips for getting cheap used x86-based firewall with full Gbit NAT (a PC Engines APU) if you are in the US are always worth a look.

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I appreciate this reply, and you bring up a good point about multiple APs. The more I think about it, the more this idea makes the most sense since I already have 1 router. My main concern is having a CAT cable just on the floor or on the wall leading to the next router, which I am really hesitant about as I will have a little one moving around soon. Are there OpenWrt-viable options of connecting a secondary router to a primary router wirelessly with decent connection? I feel like probably not, given the state of 5G in newer releases, but it's worth a shot if it means less wire strewn about my house.

Just get the R7800. You can’t go wrong with it. It’s still mostly my top pick considering everything.

Just don’t use SQM. With a 500/20 line, you’re mostly limited by your wifi speed anyways. (Although if you are in the same room as the router, it can easily max this) And it does seem bufferbloat is the least of your worries when it comes to your wired devices. (1-2 laptops).

The R7800 will do just fine until Wifi 7 is mainstream and we get the spiritual successor to an OpenWrt supported R7800 with quad radios🙂

ipq8065 is not fast enough for over 500 MBit/s with PPPoE.

That’s surprising. I thought even a MT7621 will give you 500mbs, and ipq8065 is quite a bit faster.
But I stand corrected if I’m wrong.