Seeking advice between 3 different routers

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:

Router Pros Cons
Linksys EA8500 Inexpensive
Decent Clock Speed
require serial port for replacing stock firmware
Zyxel Armor Z2 Fast Clock
Large Storage
eMMC storage
GL.iNet Flint WiFi 6
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?

ipq60xx will take a long time to get OpenWrt support.

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If you're in US, take a look at the Archer C2600.

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 :wink: ).

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.

Or a instead of the Pi.
If you settle for the SW301DA , they're below $30, only difference appears
to be USB2 vs USB3 ports.


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?

Mine's got 21MB free, but like I said, I run them as APs, but it's using the router image,
I haven't stripped them, SW/package wise.

Note this is for 19.07, there will be less free space using 21.02, probably around 19MB,
but I'm only guessing.

You can always use exroot via USB, if 32 MB isn't enough for you.

depends on the size of the package, but the official bare minimum for 21.02 is 8MB flash.

Probably because of what you just said, manpower / time, up porting is probably a PITA in the 1st place.

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?

Oh wait. The C2600 is an IPQ80xx, not IPQ40xx. My bad

It's the standard image, it comes with the same set of packages as all the other routers (device hw specific packages excluded)
The sysupgrade is ~7MB, the 21.02.0 is 7.7MB.

Haven't played with it, have a 4th device on a separate LAN, for guests, but it should be doable.


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.