RPi 4 + wifi adapters or router ~ 100$

Hey All,

I’m looking for a router that can perform gigabit, with budget of 100$. USB port would be nice, would appreciate support for years too + good wifi(5 and 2.4ghz)

Would it be viable to use a RPi 4 + wifi adapters to get a better router? That’d also come out to around 100$


Your requirements (routing + NAT at 1 GBit/s WAN speed) and budget make this kind of difficult. Yes, the figures provided by @dlakelan and others suggest the RPi4 to cope with that kind of routing throughput, but its wireless capabilities are non-existent (don't count its SDIO based WLAN module. It can only handle a single channel - and at draft-n (read slow) wireless speeds/ low range (due to the inadequate antenna)), so you will have to include a decent 50-80 USD AP (router in AP configuration) into your calculation (ipq40xx comes to mind, maybe mt7621 or ar71xx if you're willing to makes sacrifices for lower device prices).

You might still end up with a RPi4 to deal with your requirements, but in order to service your WLAN clients, you will have to extend your budget for the cost of APs as well (which gets you closer to 150 USD). In theory, mvebu devices like the Linksys WRT3200ACM/ WRT32x would fit this niche pretty well (it's supposed to handle routing at 1 GBit/s linespeed), but sadly its wireless driver development has been discontinued (due to Marvell selling their wireless division to NXP), despite it still being pretty buggy and uncooperative with common IoT/ smarthome devices and without functional WPA3 support.


The thing I've been looking at is to shift the WiFi component to EAP 225 devices from TP-Link. As long as you're willing to run stock firmware on an AP, that seems reasonable and somewhat cheaper than Ubiquiti gear. The other option might be to use Gl-inet devices as APs if you really want OpenWrt on your wifi APs.

But by all means the RPi4 as the router component is excellent.


I think, considering that the APs are supposed to be just APs, the PI should be able to handle all required services, there is little point of insisting on having OpenWrt on the AP, particularly considering the fact that it often comes with some sacrifice in WLAN speed due to drivers availability (and then there is the thing with limiti g your options to supported devices to begin with). So I think it makes sense to just get any device with decent wireless speed.

1 Like

Thanks to all of you for the reply, I somehow missed this thread... @slh @dlakelan @Hegabo
If I would've increase my budget, I could technically get the BPI R64, and get a PCIe wifi card for it, though that'd put me into the 1300$ range , but it seems like that board is pretty decent in terms of future proofing. Especially when comparing it to a Linksys wrt3200 with the unsupported wireless driver.

But in the end it'd boils down to preferences, RPI probably has more support than the BPI board, and in terms of budget, I could probably achieve the same on both, by buying an AP + Pi. Advantages are the PCIe slots, (and a SATA interface, if i were to use it for some odd reason.)

What do you think?

Separating the access point physically from the router is absolutely the way to go. You want to place access points physically where they have good line of site to important access locations. You also want an antenna that's physically large. The "all in one" device has had its day and it's dead outside the smallest apartments in my opinion.


For the EAP225, isn't that only with 100mb ports?

online it says 1x gigabit port: https://www.tp-link.com/us/business-networking/ceiling-mount-access-point/eap225/ with active or passive PoE.

Yeah I was looking at the wrong one.
So with this being said, suggestion would be to use this + RPi4+ Ethernet adapter = ?? = Profit?

This would put me around the 130$ range, but would allow scaleability for a long time.
Side question, RPI4 2gb would be plenty, right? No way in hell a router would use 4gigs of ram, 3 smart lights, laptop, AppleTV, phone, tablet, maybe 3 more devices in the future.

Exactly. I think it's an ideal combination at the moment given the current market situation.

And yes a 2GB RAM version of the Pi would be plenty for most people. I do have a 4GB version in play at the moment just because it was originally for a different project. I run a squid proxy and freeradius server on the router. It shows 880MB of RAM in use at the moment. I wouldn't recommend the 1GB version just because the 2GB version is basically the same price.

(in fact, on Amazon at the moment, it quotes $50 for 1GB and $41 for 2GB, $62 for 4GB so obviously the 2GB is the sweet spot)

I have 2 RPI4's laying around tbh, but they're for different use.

They have discontinued the 1gb I believe, hence why they lowered the 2gb price also. I might repurpose one of them until my rpi with 2gigs arrive.

Appreciate your help, I'm buying the UE300 and EAP225 now(unless you found a better adapter :slight_smile: )!

Go for it. don't forget case, power supply, and SD card

Yeah, I usually use the active cooling metal case with the 2 fans.
Do you have a preference?

I'm no fan of "Amazonizing" the market Jeff Bezos is already too rich. When direct purchase from a decent seller is possible, that's better in my opinion.

Back to the point, the official price for both the 1 GB and the 2 GB is the same, which should be around $35 at the authorized re-sellers.

According to raspberrypi.org, the 1 GB isn't discontinued; they are keeping supplying it to businesses

The NanoPi R2S also seem reasonable. Not as powerful as the RPi 4, but good enough for most uses. If only it had a USB 3.0 port!!

Except that it currently doesn't have any kind of OpenWrt support, the whole SOC isn't supported yet.

Yes, it shouldn't be too hard to actually add support for this SOC and the device in question, compared to the efforts needed to port traditional router platforms, but as long as no one has done it, it won't be an option for OpenWrt.

1 Like

Ah, it seems like I can't get any here, official local store says it's discontinued..hmm.
I was also eyeing with the R2S, but given the support.. I opted not to go with that.

I'll have both the AP and the adapter shipped by tomorrow 8PM into a package box nearby! What a nice surprise.

I appreciate all of your time! :slight_smile: Thanks once again!

Well, according to the manufacturer, they are providing an image "based on OpenWrt and Linux-5.4.12 Kernel".
Though, I'm not sure when they forked that out (particularity that in the product page on the main site, there are referring to LEDE), or if they are welling to commit that back.

Most routers from most manufacturers are somehow "based on OpenWrt" to some extent (basically all QCA or MediaTek devices have some kind of OpenWrt derived firmware underneath), but that does not mean that vanilla OpenWrt would have any kind of support for them (and the chipset/ vendor SDKs are often heavily butchered up).

The good news, Rockchip (the used RK3328 SOC) is supported via mainline linux, so the number of custom patches should be relatively low (and upstream backports in most cases) - and with removable storage it shouldn't be too difficult to get a grasp.

The bad news, someone will still have to get started with working on this SOC for OpenWrt (and its actual networking performance is still unknown, especially with the second ethernet port being backed by a USB chipset). As long as this hasn't been done, you're stuck on a binary vendor firmware (based on OpenWrt or not), without much hope for updates or bugfixes.


They are providing the source, so I think it can be useful if someone gets their hand on the device.