I'm looking to get a WiFi router that has OpenWRT support, is fairly future-proof, and is not too expensive (ideally sub $100 used). I plan to run a couple of different VLANs on the router and separate wireless networks to separate my devices, IOT devices, and guest's devices. I have spent some time looking around, and I think I have narrowed it down to three different routers:
Inexpensive Decent Clock Speed
require serial port for replacing stock firmware
Zyxel Armor Z2
Fast Clock Large Storage eMMC storage
Brand-New Non-Standard OpenWRT
Currently, I am leaning towards either the Flint. The fact that it offers WiFi 6 is a big bonus to future-proofing. The biggest downside to it is that it currently requires a non standard OpenWRT build, but GL.iNet seems to do a decent job at putting their source code on GitHub, so maybe I could compile my own OpenWRT image using their non-free components (I don't know how hard this would be, please let me know if this is not really possible).
What are your thoughts on these routers, or is there a different one you would recommend?
Can be bought used for $40 or less on eBay, and is easily flashed using TFTP.
I've got three of them running as APs, rock stable with an uptime of 300+ days (got the
power meter replaced, so they were restarted ).
32MB flash / 512MB RAM.
Or use it as an AP, and get a Raspberry Pi as router .
The RPi would need an additional USB ethernet port though, since it
only got one, but it should still fit your $100 budget.
I guess don't have a really good gauge on how much flash memory is a good amount of flash for OpenWRT. I see a lot of routers with 128MB of flash, and then I see some with smaller amounts, like the C2600. How much flash does the Archer have to spare? What would be a minimum cutoff for a router if I wanted to install a few packages (three I personally have some interest in are htop, mosquitto, or tcpdump)
That looks really interesting. Will check it out. Thanks
Pardon my ignorance on this, but why? If Qualcomm already has a SDK based on an older version of OpenWRT, why can't the hardware-specific parts of that SDK be dropped into a more recent version of OpenWRT? Is it a technical issue, a manpower issue, or something else?
Wait. How small is the OS image if there is 21.8 out of 32 MB free? Does that sacrifice features on OpenWRT?
With them running as APs, are you able to have multiple VLANs and networks from the same Archer at once? For example, a Home and Guest netowork each a different VLAN, but coming from the same AP?
I have also heard some mixed things about the CPU series that the C2600 uses, with people saying it is slower for VPN use. I assume that if I was using a separate device (such as a Pi or APU2) as the router, this does not matter?
Don’t get distracted by the total size of flash chips. Always check the actual firmware partition size on a device-specific page, to be really sure. Most routers reserve lots of space for internal purposes and/or two firmware partitions, often leaving around 25-50 MB usable size for OpenWRT. From that subtract 7-10MB image size and what is left over can be used for installing custom packages.