A little bit of background:
Recently a family member got a new tablet and has trouble getting wifi in the bedroom. The problem is that the bedroom is in one corner of the house and the router is in the other. The solution would be to move the router towards the middle of the house, but the problem is that all the LAN cables for wired devices and ISP modem terminate in that corner of the house. Although I can get a LAN cable to a good spot in the house, I would then have to route a cable back from it and buy a switch to connect the wired devices. But I do have an old router lying around.
The hardware at my disposal:
- Asus RT-AC58U (IPQ4018 - quad A7 @ 716Mhz,128MB ram, dual band, 2x2 on both) running OpenWrt.
- Asus RT-N18U (BCM47081A0 - single A9 @ 800Mhz, 256MB ram, 2.4Ghz only, 3x3) on stock asus firmware
The RT-N18U uses a wifi chipset not supported by OpenWrt (BCM4360).
So the idea is to turn one of the routers into a dumb AP in the middle of the house and the other into a router and gigabit switch in the corner where all the cables are, with wifi turned off. The question is which should be which.
Internet speed is pretty poor (15/1 Mbit/s with TV off and 10/1 with TV on). Since installing openWRT on the AC58U and trying SQM, I don't want to go back to pre-SQM days.
2.4GHz wifi congestion is not a big problem here, neighboring APs don't even show up in a scan inside the house.
I could flash the N18U with openwrt and use it as the router (in that case the lack of wifi support does not matter). In this setup I get a dual band AP with theoretically less congestion with bluetooth and other 2.4Ghz stuff. But the realty of thick walls is that no more than 3 or 4 devices of the 7-8 devices currently present will get 5GHz coverage anyway (I tested this by moving the AC58U to the new spot temporarily. Also 2.4GHz-5Ghz roaming is a hot mess, 802.11r or not).
The other option is to turn off radios on the AC58U and use the N18U as the dumb AP with stock firmware. The lack of 5GHz/ac doesn't matter much because of the slow internet speed, and there is potential for better coverage because of the extra radio chain of the N18U (and my laptop also has 3x3 wifi).
AC58U uses ath10k so it gets all the fancy makewififast bufferbloat patches (and the wifi chipset is newer), so it could perform better in terms of stability and latency even for 2.4Ghz clients.
Since the N18U doesn't have wifi drivers in openwrt, what happens to the wifi chipset if it is uninitialized? Will it still burn power? Also how will the support for N18U look like longterm? Since wifi doesn't work on it, there is probably less people testing it for regressions. Is openwrt dropping support for it more likely? Is flashing it more risky? Is any of that a reasonable concern?
In the end both options will probably be fine, but I'm looking for opinions from people more experienced than me. Which option would you choose?