Should I get D-Link EXO AC3000 DIR-3060 for $36?

It's currently on sale for ~$36 USD (converted from local current) and I already have an Archer C2 router which is working okay, but I'm not quite getting the range I want.

There were ongoing complaint about MT7615 Wifi issues for the last 2 years. Since that time, I custom-set DTIM interval 1 on my 1960, but very different workarounds (or none) helped other users. Search the forum if needed.

The offer is cheap and has 3 radios, but the CPU is kind of not that performant outside of acess point usage and it has old AC-Wifi. You may find the one or another Wifi AX bargain at not that much higher price with way more bang. I would do a quick check on the AX Wifi device list, if any of the Filogic (MT79xx) devices or Dynalink WR-36 is a) cheap in your area b) available in your area c) fits your needs. https://openwrt.org/toh/views/toh_available_16128_ax-wifi.

The dir-3060 CPU will likely have around 450mbit routing power without SQM. It does support Mediatek hardware accelleration to go higher, but I personally would not want a device anymore that only fits my expectations by enabling MT76 hardware accelleration - there is the one or another forum threads with the one or another issue about HW acc. And as of now in 2023 there is sufficient alternatives with more real CPU power. And many AX devices with more powerful CPU are surprisingly cheap compared to these older Mediatek AC devices.

Pro side:

  • 36$ is a nice deal for 5 ports, USB, 3 radios (2 AC) and 6 antennas (from German market perspective) and wallmounting holes and full OpenWRT support. In Germany its around 100€ and that is not worth buying. But I would still check the AX offerings before buying it.
  • If you particularly want a repeater with 3 radios, it might be hard to find alternatives at that price.
  • The D-Link recovery boot mode is very easy to handle, if flashing goes horribly wrong.

I guess your archer is Wifi AC wave 1 (~2015?), the dir-3060 is Wifi ac wave 2 (~2019).
It should be a bit Wifi range improvement, but probably not that much.
As the 3060 had already a bit outdated MT7621 tech for a 3-radio, when it was introduced. It just looks so brandnew, as it was only recently added to OpenWRT.

if you want better Wifi, a modern AX device with more CPU power would help even more, even on AC-clients:
see Adding support for Mercusys MR90X - #48 by Pico

At least I would favor a 2-radio-AX-device over a 3-radio-AC-era device. But in the end, price and availability will be a relevant factor as well.

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Thanks for your detailed feedback!

I found 2 seemingly good AX routers in a similar price range:

  1. ASUS RT-AX53U (~$67)
  2. TP-Link Archer AX23 (~$48)

Would you recommend getting of these instead? Do these have any significant pros and cons compared to the DIR-3060?

P.S The sale for it has ended and it is currently available for purchase at ~$128, but I already placed an order last night so I'd still get it at the same price. If this is a bad deal compared to the other AX routers I can still cancel the order.

Another thing I should mention is that I might have a spare Raspberry Pi 4 soon (I'm planning to get the 5 once it is released), so can I use that with a dumb WiFi to make a cheap but good routing solution?