Suggestions for separate router and AP

Normally picking a router is finding a device that ticks the right boxes, but

The problem is that the internet enters my new apartment through a metal box in the back of the closet in the bedroom. As a result, in the living room (where I need Wifi much more), the signal shows up as "poor" and sometimes even too weak to connect. At the same time, this metal box in the closet in the bedroom also happens to contain the end-points for cables that go through the walls to the other rooms. There's one Ethernet cable per outlet and adding another one would not be possible. So the router has no option but to go there.

So based on that, I conclude that I need a router without Wifi and a separate Access Point. (The router I'm currently using is from my ISP, and I'll return it once I buy my own.)

The other constraint is, the apartment came with a couple of Things which connect through Wifi. I'd like to have them isolated in such a way I can access them but they can't get into my internal network, and to have their internet access filtered. I have no idea how that could be done, but I'm guessing the AP should be able to provide multiple SSIDs? I suppose if I have OpenWRT on both ends there should be some way to set up the filtering/isolation.

So what I'm looking for is:

  • A reliable, future-proof router with no Wifi that can handle gigabit speeds. My apartment has gigabit fiber, although I don't need that much and am on a 100Mbit plan.
  • A decent access point that can do the above. I don't use Wifi heavily so it doesn't need to be fast.
  • Some other option I didn't consider

For the router, I found EdgeRouter X as a decent option. It's $55 and has very decent specs. The only thing is that while 256MB is a lot for a router, I wish it had some external storage.

For the AP, I'm not really sure what to look for.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

puts you squarely out of most home all-in-one routers and into x86 with at least two, discrete phys (not just switch ports, but real interfaces) or maybe mvebu, especially if you're talking gigabit symmetric (mvebu can probably handle gigabit rates in one direction, but not both).

Gigabit speeds aren't easy, and were (and still are) enterprise rates.

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Mikrotik RB750Gr3 is the same SoC as the Edgerouter X. It has only 16 MB flash but adds a USB2 port.

The MT7621 isn't enough CPU for Gb ISP but it would be fine for 100 Mb. Going 10x faster would require spending more.

There are two ways to deal with IoTs, either NAT and firewall them locally within each AP, so they can only see the Internet, or have a separate IoT network back to the main router using VLANs on the Ethernet cables.

+1 for EdgeRouter. Or, in case more power requested, then to use APU2. I have it connected to a WD storage box via USB.

Hmm, unless I'm misunderstanding, in the thread linked in the wiki above, it says the ER-X can handle gigabit reasonably:

  1. SQM works with software flow offload, allowing throughput of up to 200mbps with +3ms bufferbloat. Any thing faster maxes the CPU.
  2. HW flow offload resulting in 900mbps but the +200ms bufferbloat hurts
  3. NO HW flow offload, NO SQM, resulting in 550+ mbps with +80ms bufferbloat

So if it's using hardware offload, it can do 900Mbps with a 200ms latency overhead (when the link is saturated I assume?). If that's correct, then it sounds fine to me.

Thanks for the tip on RB750Gr3.

VLAN sounds like what I want. Basically, I'd like to have one Ethernet cable onto which I can put the AP and a PC, and through the wireless connect a laptop to the main network as well as IoTs to a separate one.

200 ms of additional latency kills interactive use, VOIP, FaceTime, and can bring a browser to a crawl.

Yes, VLANs are typically how multiple subnets are managed with a single cable. Most current devices support at least a dozen VLANs under OpenWrt.

Here is my current setup.

  GATEWAY   <-----> VIRTUALBOXvpn(inside HTPC/NUC)

Cheap and efficient. Sometimes playing to the strengths of multiple devices can provide an easy, cheap and efficient option.

What is lost on power consumption is gained in flexibility + ease of troubleshooting. Further changes in network needs are easily adapted to due to the segmentation.