Router Suggestion

Can someone suggest me a router model that will work please? I have already purchased a standalone modem. I have been spending days looking at routers only to find upon research that each model I look at has some unsupported feature. Can someone just point me in the direction of a "safe bet" router? Thanks

EDIT: Just saw the suggestions for what info to include when asking this question. Here it is:

  • How fast is your internet connection?
  • Not super fast. I just need this for home use. About 50mbps down. I don't want it to go much slower than that
  • Do you need Wi-Fi? Need both 2.4GHz and 5GHz wifi

  • Do you need Gigabit Ethernet? yes

  • Do you need USB ports? How many? USB 2.0 or 3.0? no

  • How many family members/devices must the router support? Not that many, it's just for home use. Maybe 5 tops

  • What other services do you want? (Do you need VPN, media server, web server, etc.?) It would be nice

  • Finally, *please define your price range.

  • Willing to spend a bit more in order to make one purchase that will last me a long time. Under $200 ish

Do you expect a suggestion based on any specific criteria? I mean, budget comes to mind. As does your internet service speed (now and in the forseeable future). Maybe the number of client devices and how many of them are wired vs wireless? Or details about the wireless coverage you expect?

If asked "how long is a piece of string" I'd probably answer with the one I have in front of me, not the one you need.

Sorry I just saw those suggestions and edited the original post to contain that information

All modern routers can support this easily.

And all modern routers should have this, too.

What would be nice? VPN? media server? web server? It's not clear what you're answering here. And if VPN, would that be an inbound (road-warrior type) or outbound (i.e. connecting to a commercial VPN provider, usually a paid subscription)?

Tons of options under this price point.

What about your home? What is the area of your home? open floor plan or lots of seperate rooms? multiple floors or just one? building materials (wood framing + drywall? cinderblock/brick/concrete? etc)? Could you hardwire additional access points if you need them, or would that be difficult/impossible?

To answer your first question, the purpose of installing openWRT is to have options for future experimentation so yes, I would like to be able to have the option to set up all of these (inbound and outbound vpn, media server, and web server).

As far as wifi range, that should not be an issue, I have no problem reaching my existing wifi signal to all corners of my small, 1 bedroom apartment. I could easily hardwire additional APs but I don't think that will present much of a problem.

To give you an idea of the functionality problems I have been coming across, I have been searching the OpenWRT table of hardware, selecting a make and model that I can find to purchase and then looking further. Here are some of the problems I have come across:
Initially ordered and returned a TP-Link Archer a9 (no support for 2.4ghz)
Other models I have looked at: asus RT models (5ghz not supported)
Linksys MR8300 - can't find a product listing that contains the version number so I can't figure out what version I'm buying, vlan support is broken as per some forum posts I saw (maybe I don't need vlan, but like I said, I'm here for options for future experimentation so I don't want to buy something I know is partly broken)
TP-LINK TL-MR6400 - only v5 is supported and I can only buy version 5.2. Don't know if this breaks compatibility

For these, you'll almost certainly need extra storage. Therefore, a device with USB would be important (or other means of attaching storage devices like SATA/eSATA, NVME slots, etc.).

There are bunch of threads in this section that may be able to help you select a device with all the necessary support. I think that the linksys VLAN support has been fixed with 23.05. There are a few devices that don't have proper wifi support due to the chipset selections, but many are okay. And yes, when it comes to version specific questions, it really depends on the model - sometimes they rev the model for trivially small things (like changing the internal power circuitry), other times it can be bigger and more consequential. So it depends.

Have you read through the existing threads in the hardware section of this forum?

From a security point of view, I'd always recommend against overloading your router -your border gateway- with 'server tasks' (fileserver, media streaming etc.). On the one hand routers aren't designed for this (performance suffers, so much faster hardware required, which would be better spent on more suitable hardware (NAS, small server, etc.)), on the other hand you really want to keep the attack surface of your router and the potential for misconfiguration small.

Looking at ~50-100 MBit/s WAN throughput, mt7621a+mt7915DBDC comes to mind as entry level and budget friendly option, VPN via wireguard might even keep up with that. Beyond that, the sky is the limit (e.g. mt7622bv, filogic 820/ 830, ipq807x).

I think the mr8300 will work.
It appears there is only one version, so that heads off the multiple versions problem...
I read one very derogative forum post about this model but it seems to be focused mainly on vlan which won't be my primary usage for it.
I have been reading through the hardware forum posts but there is a lot of material to sift through so it has been an ongoing process, hence, I was hoping to get a "magic bullet" answer (ie. here n00b, buy this thing!) but it seems like my trial and error and research strategy is really the only way to go about finding a model.
Anyway thanks for all your help.

There really is no such thing given that everyone's needs are a bit different. For example, an RPi4 + managed switch + dedicated AP is an excellent option for those who like to have a component system, while the mr8300 might be good for those seeking an all-in-one solution. Someone who needs high bandwidth VPN connectivity might want something different still. Or someone who needs a rack mount system vs someone looking for a unit that is stylish and sits on a shelf looking like it 'belongs' there as decoration..

It's not really trial and error, but rather defining the things that are important to you -- requirements, nice-to-have, don't need, don't want... etc. and using that to narrow down the list of options.

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VLAN issues with ipq40xx should be sorted since OpenWrt 23.05.0. The device itself should be solid and capable for your primary requirements (server, well, see above), it will need a little attention for the initial flashing (start with an older version, fix bootloader settings, sysupgrade).

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