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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
Not according to this thread
... in which some report three months of uptime with vectoring? I agree that it might be wonky to set up but the capability is there.
Expect that he's not even using the device?
Anyway, TS clearly stated no hardware modding...
That is not exactly true, there are a number of different vectoring capable firmwares that work reasonably well on the BT HH5a (e.g.: https://forum.openwrt.org/t/bt-home-hub-5a-bthomehubv5a-vdsl-vectoring-connection-problems/37856/8), although I happily admit that quite a number of modem firmwares are pretty error prone. But is any ISP in the UK actually using vectoring, I believe not?
I do agree with the rest of your points though, the BT HH5a is a nice device for what it does, but it is easy to run out of CPU cycles... (I happen to use one as bridged VDSL2-vectoring modem, when I tried to also operate it as my main router I was hitting CPU limits even with a 50/10 Mbps link, since the OP already has a modem, this will only be an alternative if he can find a hh5a for free or maybe even already flashed with openwrt).
That is not a goo argument IMHO, unlike MIPS arm has not yet proven itself as a decent network CPU, or rather those CPUs used in SOCs are not necessarily optimal for a router (or not optimally configured, see R7800 issues with frequency scaling for example).
USB3 also often interfere with 2.4GHz wifi, so IMHO not a clear cut must-have for a router; but that is subjective opinion...
But keep in mind that centralizing such services on your main access server has some security implications (if the router gets hacked you are fully exposed, unlike if the NAS operates on its own hardware).
I use that linked firmware blob on a BT HH5a and it works pretty well and stable.
Ebay comes to the rescue:
already modded HH5a for 22 pounds.
But I tend to agree with a modem that allows bridge mode in his posession, the EA6350 looks like the better bargain.
IPQ8 isn't the topic at all?
Anyhow, in general Marvell is very popular, reliable and performs a lot better than MIPS counterparts and most ARM solutions (within the same price range).
Do you have any real life evidence of that (I do know that Intel published a document outlining potential issues)? Most of it is resolved by shielding and you can disable USB if you're overly concerned about it.
OP here, I just marked the problem as solved. Use the right firmware and it flies.
Thank you all who contributed to this thread. I went for the Linksys EA5350, and I'm pretty happy with it so far.
The one thing I was unsure about was the v3 vs v1/v2 issue, with OpenWRT only supporting the former. Online stores don't tell which version they are selling, and neither does the box. Doing online research, I found this page https://www.linksys.com/gb/support-article?articleNum=141033 It says that only v3 has "Dual-Band Guest Network" (question 8 under "Hardware Information"). The online retailer I used listed "guest access" as a feature, so I thought this might be the clue that revealed this to be a v3 device.
My question now is: did I interpret this correctly? Could it be that "dual-band guest network" is not the same as simply "guest network", and I could have ended up with a v1/v2 device?
I'm curious about this, as it may help other people in the future to clear this doubt if indeed I was right.
I wouldn't rely on this as a distinguishing fact, while it might be that Linksys changed the phrasing between those revisions accordingly - it's still a marketing term and not based on technical differences (and at least sellers are likely to use both marketing blurbs interchangeably, without looking at the h/w revision). On a dual-band device, one would usually expect a potentially existing guest network to cover all available bands and not to be restricted to a single one (the later might exist in the older or low-end sector).
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