[Solved] Router recommendation? Linksys WRT3200ACM

Hi all. I'm new to using openwrt and other firmwares. I've always used my trusty archer c7, but i'm having rather big trust issues with it (lets just leave it at that, doesn't matter for my question anyway). Anyway, i'm currently able to afford a decent router (150-200 euroish) but I can't see the wood for the trees.

I was thinking about the WRT 3200ACM, but i'm reading conflicting things about this device and it's support for other firmwares (something about a wifi driver being inavailable). An other thing concering me is the launchdate and the fact that i've seen these particular routers since I was a teenager. Makes me wonder if there are more recent routers with better hardware and support for openwrt and/or dd-wrt

My current setup is a modem for my ISP that I can set to bridge-mode, router, 1-2 devices connected though ethernet, at least 2 phones connected through wifi and several wireless connected IoT devices. Max bandwith of 200 mbit/s

Some functions that are an absolute must: ddns, router VPN (and adblock?), guest wlan and decent throughput.

I'm not normally one for creating topics like this, I like to check out things myself, but I really need some reassurance on this. I'd hate to buy something that's 200 euros and end up finding out that I have to tweak the hell out of it to make it work.

Super grateful for peopols helping me! :slight_smile:

The WRT3200ACM/WRT32X is a very good device, 2.4Ghz is a bit wonky but 5Ghz works very good. It does go on sale for much less than 200 EUR btw

An option would be to repurpose the C7 as an AP and get something like an edgerouter x or an espressobin, but as stated above the wireless on the rango is not that bad (or at least it WorksForMe).

If you're coming from an archer c7 (and the WAN speeds it can handle), the ipq806x (e.g. Netgear r7800 or ZyXEL NBG6817) or ipq40xx platforms (e.g. AVM Fritz!Box 4040 or ZyXEL NBG6617) could also be very decent alternatives - but it really depends on what you need or want (respectively why the archer c7 doesn't fit the task anymore).

Well the reason I want to replace the C7 is that it was previously connected to an network that's known to house some big-shot underground people. I've seen some pretty questionable activity on that network and i'm almost certain that the network was target of some targeted malware. I recently moved to my own place and all was well when I used the modem/router supplied by the ISP, but I immediatly felt (call it BS but i'm not taking the risk lol) someone watching when i connected everything to the C7 with the modem in bridgemode. This combined with the fact that almost every device connected to the router began to behave somewhat differently (slower, weird google results, etc) led me to the idea that it's just better and safer to buy a different router.

So the main needs are better security, being able to set up a router vpn and dynamic dns, maintaining the possibilty to stream 4K or download with at least a huge portion of the 200mbits i'm paying for, without having to tweak the hell out of it and having to annoy you guys with questions to why i'm not getting my new router/wifi/vpn to work with firmware-x.

So basically the best supported, high-end(well atleast for me, never thought i would pay 200 for a router) openwrt router. As stated, my guess would be the WRT3200 (if the wifi/flashing problems from the past are solved)

Thanks for the suggestions so far though :slight_smile:

For 200 MBit/s, all of the suggestion would work - so in the case of ipq40xx (it will be around its limit at those speeds though), you could get away with ~65 EUR, instead of almost 200 EUR.

mvebu, as used in the wrt3200acm, has very good wired routing performance (up to ~1 GBit/s), ipq40xx and ipq806x rate significantly below that. For WLAN the situation is a bit more diverse, mwlwifi doesn't quite match up with ath10k{,-ct} (so basically the same driver you've already been using the c7, just a newer and faster (wave2) generation thereof) in that regard - but it should be good enough for most users. 802.11ac support in general is a bit quirky, so there isn't really a perfect choice here (ath10k{,-ct}, mt76 and mwlwifi all have their own kind of quirks and interoperability issues with certain clients).

Regarding your c7, aside from the wlan calibration data (ART), you can reflash its complete flash chip with a 'clean' uboot extracted from the vendor OEM firmware (warning: ubootenv with the MAC addresses is at the back of the on-flash u-boot partition, you need to retain it/ add it to the 'clean' OEM u-boot manually) and a new OpenWrt image (using an external spi-no flasher, if you want to be extra careful), that shouldn't leave much opportunity for malicious code to survive; be aware that the c7 might be fighting a bit beyond its abilities on a 200 MBit/s line though.

1 Like

It kinda boils down to much you want to tinker, another option that's highly worth considering would be something like the https://up-shop.org/home/270-up-squared.html (basic version) with pfsense and use the C7 as others suggested as AP.

1 Like

Interesting. I had seen the term pfsense before but never looked into it. It does seem as a really secure solution. Might be a bit overkill, but I like to be safe rather than sorry.

Thanks all for your input! This is exactly what I needed to know!

I've only read the pfsense site and the page of Up, but using an router as AP is the way to go? I reckon that a board+wlan antenna would be either really pricey or would give shitty coverage/speeds.

Simplicity wise I think the WRT32X is your best bet. The current release version has a good enough wifi driver.

If you want a little less simplicity you could go with Espressobin or x86 running whatever you like, and a separate AP.

Given the history, If you plan to power on the C7 for any reason at all, you should just flash a release version of OpenWrt first thing, and that's probably enough. reflashing the Uboot is maybe more trouble than it's worth, if you feel that it's necessary you could go that route if you have time and risk of bricking it, but I'd just recycle it and get something I trust if I thought maybe the Uboot had really been compromised.

Have you tried the Linksys EA7300? I have been thinking about buying it and there seems to be plenty of good reviews on it. If you have any experience with it then feel free to let me know how it actually performs.

@Peanuthead95 If your problem is solved, please consider marking this topic as [Solved]. (Click the pencil behind the topic...)

Would also be nice to hear what you finally chose to buy (if you have already).

Careful with the EA7300, first of all there are two completely different hardware revisions (v1: ipq8064+qca9982 vs v2: mt7621at+mt7615n) then neither of them is currently supported in OpenWrt at all (both should be supportable, but they'll need significant porting efforts - and especially the mt7615n wlan support is only upcoming and not actually present yet).

I ultimately went with the Netgear 7800 and flashed it with hnyman's build. Bought a new pc which i'm going to use as a server/router with vm's and opnsense, once I find a cheap & good dual or quad port intel NIC.
I'll be using the 7800 as an AP once i've set that up :slight_smile:

Not quite sure how to flag this as solved though


This topic was automatically closed 10 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.