Shopping for home router

Hello. I am currently shopping for a home router and I would like to hear some opinions as to what's available at the moment.

These are my needs:

  • Home WiFi. Typical usage:
    • Usual: 2 devices, one browsing, one streaming (eg: Netflix).
    • Peak: 4 devices, two browsing, two streaming.
  • I already have a separate WAN (PPPoE) device that I'll connect via Ethernet to this router.
    • Although I guess I could drop that if my new router happens to support PPPoE.
  • Good OpenWRT support. Upgradable.
    • I may try play with the software a bit, but not too much.
  • No intention to mod the hardware.
  • I am based in the UK.
  • Under £100.

Thank you!

I recently bought a FritzBox 4040 for about 80 EUR.

OpenWRT support is "good enough", meaning that both radio bands work with good performance using only the open drivers. PPPoE is of course supported by OpenWRT regardless of the device (I'm using this setup myself).

Unless you have special needs with respect to VLANs, you should be good to go with this one.
If you need to have separate main and guest "wired" networks on the switch, at the moment this is not easily possible.


No brainer, go for it at that price (34£)
https://wikidevi.com/wiki/Linksys_EA6350_v3

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The ISP speed is a primary concern, this determines how much CPU you need in the router.

Any OpenWrt install can interact directly with a pppoe modem.

I agree that at under £40 the Linksys EA6350 (v3) is a great option.

For those not familiar with it, some of the reasons it is attractive for up through moderate-bandwidth requirements are

  • Multi-core ARM processor (not MIPS)
  • Recent, well-supported chip set (IPQ4019)
  • Sufficient flash (128 MB, NAND) and RAM (256 MB)
  • Fail-over, dual-firmware

While, by now, they all should be v3 units, as the v1 and v2 units are very different and are not supported, confirm on receipt and use right of return if not a v3 unit (would be old, stale stock, if v2 or earlier).

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ZyXel NBG6617 is an option too. A little slimmer than EA6350 (v3), but it has one version. So it is easier to buy.

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You also forgot to add that it's about twice as expensive for more or less the same hardware except for flash storage which is much less on the Zyxel :wink:

Which is more expensive? Here in Russia they are sold almost for the same price. Zyxel is a bit cheaper. Both ~ 80 Euro.
I see no reason for Linksys be so cheap on Amazon UK. Most likely it is some older revision.

Aha, yeah, forget the PPPoE thing; just came to show how little I know. I should have said ADSL. I have a separate ADSL modem, and I connect to it via PPPoE. Therefore if a router happened to provide ADSL, even better, but not a requirement.

As for the provider/speed, it's Zen, and here are some results of broadband speed tests I just ran:

broadbandtest.which.co.uk/
Response time (latency): 29 ms
Download speed: 15.6 Mbps
Upload speed: 1.2 Mbps

www.broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk/
Ping: 32 ms
Download: 15.65 Mb/s
Upload: 1.12 Mb/s

www broadband co uk/broadband-speed-test
(Only allowed to post two links as I'm new)
15.53 Mb Download speed
0.98Mb upload
93 ms ping time

(I connected my laptop directly to the modem to run these.)

Thank you all for those responses! Let me know if my new information changes anything.

Better to keep that separate.

This is very low ISP speed. Literally any device can handle this.

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Well it is, and if you read the first post " * I am based in the UK." and there are multiple reports of getting v3 (for example) Add support for Linksys EA6350 v3.
It's also been sold for similar price here in Sweden so please avoid speculations unless clearly stating so.

Nowadays it doesn't matter much where you are based. The same devices are sold everywhere for almost same prices. So I suspect a wrong revision there. Maybe I am wrong and this EA6350 is a great choice.

I am not afraid to bring up the BT Home Hub 5A. It's cheap as chips in the UK (used on ebay) and does everything you want it to do in a small package ... if you feel up to go through the installation procedure.

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It's also magnitutes slower (also MIPS instead of ARM), less RAM, rather old wifi radios too.

With a 16 MBit/s line, that hardly makes a difference - considering that the BT Home Hub 5 Type A is a <10 GBP purchase (the initial flashing is a bigger burden).

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Well, since it says multiple clients will stream you can't immediately assume that it's all online since it's not stated? So generation of radio hardware can make quite a bit of a difference here not to forget that the CPU is most likely also going to be a bottleneck in that regard.

To be clear, the BT Home Hub might be okay(ish) but I find it really misleading since TS doesn't appear to very technical to omit up- or downsides with suggested hardware.

The BTHub5 has basically the same wlan cards as the archer c7, the CPU is indeed slower which has 'some' impact of wireless throughput as well.

Is that enough to be a problem?

  • 4 devices at most
  • 1-2 streaming (Netflix, so the traffic somehow has to pass through the 16 MBit/s WAN), that effectively means FullHD data rates at most.

The BTHub5 can cover that easily, it would even cope with VPN at (those-) lines speeds.

Would it be the primary choice for a modern high performance wireless AP, no (and neither would the archer c7) - but for a tenner (keep in mind, only national shipping costs apply there) and with the prospect of replacing the ISP router in the same go, it's worth a try (difficulties regarding the initial flash apply).

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So to break it down for the TS,

You can either go or a BT Hub 5 which would potentially replace your DSL modem with some potential performance limitations if you decide to upgrade your connection VDSL2 as there's no stable firmware that can do vectoring as far as I can tell.

  • Flashing the device is a bit of a pain, https://openwrt.org/toh/bt/homehub_v5a#installation and requires modding the hardware (which you mentioned that you don't want to do in the first post)
  • It is sufficient to handle your current connection however PPPoE adds overhead so keep that in mind.
  • As mentioned it can do VPN at those speed but given the slow CPU (SoC) you will see noticable performance regressions (including wireless) if you max out your connection over VPN.
  • Wifi performance will be limited even with zero load.
  • Estimated guess based on Archer C7 v4 5Ghz slow you'll probably get about 300mbit at best over wireless to LAN/WAN in total.
  • USB 2.0 (if you want to use it for storage, WWAN (3G/LTE modem) should be fine)
  • Since you mentioned that you might play around with software keep in mind that more or less everything will run slow.

Comparing it a IPQ4xxx device such as the EA6350(v3)

  • Multiple times faster CPU (SoC)
  • Uses ARM architecture instead of MIPS which pretty much every vendor is moving away from in favour of ARM.
  • Twice as much RAM, improves overall stability specially when using 11ac (5Ghz)
  • USB 3.0, multiple times faster than USB 2.0 and more suitable for storage and LTE modems.
  • Newer radios (better performance)
  • ARM recieves much more attention by developers and contributors than MIPS these days in terms of code and fixes
  • Given the rather powerful hardware you can use it as a NAS or such (home usage) without issues, that also includes VPN etc.
  • Lacks modem, you're stuck with your ISPs modem/gateway or getting a standalone that preferably is capable of bridging your connection. Needs a bit more storage space as you need two devices instead of one. Keep in mind that most supported DSL hardware by OpenWrt is quite dated.now. The software isn't usually open source depending how much that matters to you.

I agree with @Borromini that you probably want to keep these separated as it gives you much more flexibility but that's up to you.

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Not completely correct on two levels: The VRX200 can do vectoring (with a fitting firmware blob, up to 17a and 30a) but not supervectoring (35b). And it's not a firmware thing, rather a limitation of the chipset.

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