The biggest limitation I have with OpenWrt is the number of switch port available. Adding more devices downstream for more ports is the only solution, but it causes VLAN management a nightmare. I have to manually cascade the changes to VLAN configuration on all switches.
With an additional 5-port device only provides an additional 3 usable ports (because we sacrifice 1 port of the upstream device, and another 1 port on the downstream device), the number of my devices grows rapidly, which is very inconvenient to manage.
The D in DSA stands for Distributed, because the subsystem has been designed with the ability to configure and manage cascaded switches on top of each other using upstream and downstream Ethernet links between switches. These specific ports are referred to as “dsa” ports in DSA terminology and code. A collection of multiple switches connected to each other is called a “switch tree”.
Can we stack multiple DSA switches with OpenWrt yet?
As far as I know, stacking in DSA is meant for the cases where you have multiple daisy-chained switches on a board, so a SERDES port of one switch goes to another as its uplink.
So, this is all inside of a single device.
Not quite stacking in that sense but, I guess, a higher-level configuration/management system like OpenWISP or OpenWISP2 could be used to automate more advanced such multi-device configuration. However, I have never played with any such as of yet so can't give you any concrete guidance, sorry.
The devices supported by the realtek target (rl838x) will give you 8-28 ports in a single device (proof of concept code for rtl839x with up to 48 ports exists and is supposed to be submitted 'soon'), but this is an L2+ managed switch not capable of (reasonably fast) routing. Stacking in the sense of one central OpenWrt 'controller' managing a fleet of infrastructure devices under one GUI doesn't really exist though.
Yes, OpenWISP/ OpenWISP2 and workarounds like ansible recipes exist, but are probably not quite home-user compatible.
An 8 port managed switch costs like 50% more and gives you another 3 ports, so given your scenario that's essentially another 5 port managed switch for half the price.
So instead of buying countless 5 port switches you might want to think about getting a switch with more ports.
And looking at devices with even more ports you can get a 16 port switch for roughly 250% the price of a 8 port switch, which gives you 2 more ports compared to just two 8 port switches.
The 24 port switch goes for 300% while giving you 4 more ports compared to three 8 port switches.
So from a cost perspective daisy chaining countless 5 port switches together doesn't make sense.
You can of course argue that you need multiple switches distributed throughout a building. But even then I don't see the major upside of configuring all of them at a central location.
I run 4 8-port smart switches at our location. Having to set up the upstream and downstream vlan trunks on each device doesn't really go away since you need to set that up somewhere be it on each device or at your central location. And after that configuring each port wouldn't be so different in either case.
Sure, you don't have one big overview of your whole network, but if it's getting that big then there surely are enterprise solutions out there with central managing servers.
Ubiquiti “white” switches family (forgot their names) have mobile app cloud setup and overwatch.
But I think you first need to sit down and really plan your entire network and probably draw a vlan map, then buy the equipment you really need and then set it up with the vlans your earlier planning resolved.
That will be the cheapest solution.
That is pretty much it. Switches and access points aren’t really network devices that you look into and adjust every day just for fun. If that is the case you need seriously some other fun to do.
The only thing you do with these network devices is kind of upgrade the firmware in them from time to time but the setup remains pretty static “forever” if you did a good planning to begin with.