Suggestion for a new middle-class wifi router (500 mbit line)

xiaomi 3g, with custom fileserver on it, openvpn, wireguard, ads block as well.

@vitaliy-kuzmich the keywords here are "500/50 MBit/s" and "a bunch of gaming systems", which implies QoS/ SQM to be at least a potential concern.

mt7621, as on your mir3g, has hardware acceleration for up to 1 GBit/s linespeed, but the mt7621 CPU is weak - everything that can't be dealt with in hardware (hint, QoS/ SQM can't) suffers greatly. So no, mt7621 is not suitable to serve "a bunch of gaming systems" at "500/50 MBit/s". It would be fine doing that for an office environment (where latencies are less of a concern, as long as VoIP/ SIP remains usable), but certainly not for multiple gaming systems.

The fact remains, everything above ~200 MBit/s, ~300 MBit/s at most, goes beyond the means of most contemporary consumer devices - and a gaming focus (low- and stable latencies) worsens the situation even more. Your experiences from the <=150 MBit/s range don't really extrapolate.

What's left are near-enterprise solutions:

  • mvebu (difficult wireless)
  • x86_64
  • mt7621, if all you care about is routing and simple firewalling+NAT, it will not be competitive for VPN uses, nor in the low-latency domain.
    given that most users these days do have some additional features beyond the hardware accelerated base line on their list of requirements, I don't really consider this as a recommendation aside from being a budget option or for ~up to 100 MBit/s home setups.

Your probably thinking about the ea6350 v3 ? v1 and v2 are broadcom based and are horrible devices with broken cfe. ea6350 v4 is mediatek based.

Indeed, I have 2 of these puppies (v3) was hoping to get more will need to be very careful about what version they are I guess.

Indeed, i worked on ea6350 v1. Gave me almost a nervous breakdown. Those things are rubbish! Cant believe linksys sold devices with cfe's that crap out. That entire ea**** broadcom series is horrible. In the end, i just threw my ea6350 v1 in the garbage (after planting my size eleven a couple of times on it :wink: ).

Hokay, seems like I can get a used WRT3200ACM for 70-100 bux on ebay.
(If I'm lucky, a WRT32x, but those are super rare, it seems)
Any objections to that one, then?

I the wifi really DOES become a problem, I could always get a separate AP, right?

wrt3200acm and wrt32x are basically the same hardware, aside from the flash partitioning (which requires different firmware images) and the colour of the case. Just get whatever is cheaper or easier to obtain - there is no functional difference between them while running OpenWrt.

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then again your requirement reads to me as "i want a router that can properly handle downloading/torrenting @500mbps and give low latency to other applications simultaneously"
this implies some sort of qos/sqm, which is cpu intense, at a datarate that is well beyond of "middle class".

anything embedded/all-in-one running openwrt will only maybe be able to do that in a reduced set of circumstances.
whereas a used enterprise desktop (eg. optiplex) with a second network card should be available for ~100bucks and will do what you want with reserves for handling a full gbit.

The TP Link WDR4300 is very good and fits in your price range.

@eehmke, please do read the actual requirements, while the TL-WDR4300 has indeed been a very decent device for its time - it's still a single-core mips74Kc SOC (AR9344/ ath79) running at 560 MHz, which drops out around 120-140 MBit/s before QoS/ SQM, aside from no longer being in production. This device is not suitable for the given purpose (see the very first post of this thread) at all, pretty much all other alternatives (aside from x86_64 or mvebu) raised before would run circles around it, despite not being able to cope with the given requirements either.


I managed to get a WRT3200ACM for 75 bux. Should arrive today or tomorrow!

Buuuuuut, they're selling off old hardware at my workplace right now, so I could also get something to build an x86_64 solution for super cheap.

Like a Dell Optiplex 380 with 4GB RAM and Intel Core 2 duo E7500 2,93GHz for 10 bux. That's probably enough, right?

Or hell, an Optiplex 7010 with 4GB RAM, Intel Core i3-3220 3,30GHz and 500GB HDD for 25. Although that would probably be overkill.

I would try to figure out the steady state power consumption of these units and take this into account. By gut feeling I would take the i3 though newer cpu core design, newer process, lower TDP and overall less ancient...


Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. I'm gonna get one just to mess around with. I mean hell, can't really go wrong with that price.

Energy efficiency was improved considerably with the Haswell microarchitecture (Intel Core 4th generation). I can't comment on the 3rd generation mentioned by the OP, but the Core 2 duo's power consumption is indeed much higher. I cannot present measurements, but for a machine with unfavourable air flow, I had to add case fans to get rid of the excessive heat.

thats the spirit :smiley:
perfer newer cpu for lower power consumption.
remove/disconnect hdd and run with openwrt on usb stick makes it quiet and easy to maintain.

the wrt32000 will make a nice "dumb ap"

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The raspberry pi 4 looks to be a good candidate for routing and SQM in this range. You would want a separate AP and a smart switch, the TL-sg108e is the low end switch choice. All put together that should be around $200 maybe.

Well, it only has one ethernet port, so an Optiplex 7010 might be better, assuming it is one of the models with a PCIe slot to ad a second ethernet port...

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yes but it has USB 3 so an additional $20 adapter is sufficient. Of course it only really becomes an issue if you have more than a 500/500 symmetric connection, and it might not have the horsepower to handle that load anyway.


Well, if I had the choice between a dual-core i3-3220 3,30GHz and a raspberry pi for a router, I would opt for the i3, since even the pi 4 is not really specced out for this kind of work (and all USB ethernet adapters so far have relative bufferbloat behavior, but hey, I am biased here, so this is probably subjective :wink: ).
That said the pi4 is an attractive package..

Yes, except that the i3-3220 is probably going to use several times as much power. Let's guess say 5 watts for the Pi and 25 watts for the x86... 365 days a year continuously, and $0.12/kWh ... that's $5 for the Pi, and $25 for the x86. I guess it's not a dramatic difference.

For less than a 500/500 Mbps connection the single ethernet port and vlans is sufficient. Many of the consumer routers are designed that way anyway.

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