WAX202 as router or AP

Hi folks,

New user here. I've flashed OpenWRT onto my new Netgear WAX202, and I'm trying to decide whether I should use it as a router or as a dumb AP.

I'm currently using my Telus Actiontec T3200m modem as my router, with an aging Netgear Orbi router (in AP mode) providing WiFi and a Pi-Hole server blocking ads. My network has somewhere around 40-50 devices, most of which are IoT stuff that I control with a Raspberry Pi running openHAB.

The easiest path is to swap out the Orbi for the WAX202 in AP mode, but the more interesting path is to turn routing over to the WAX202. I feel like that would enable me to learn more about OpenWRT since all of the features will be available. But this also seems like it might be a bad idea.

From what I've read in the forum, it sounds like most people are using the WAX202 to augment their networks as a dumb AP (in line with its original design/purpose). Whenever it's mentioned, the key selling point is its low cost, not its capability. So, I suspect that routing may overwhelm the WAX202. Even if it does work, I'm guessing that I'd have to run a lightweight build and not install extra packages.

So...is there any value in running it as a router, or should I follow my instincts and stick with my original plan? I'd appreciate any insight/advice the community has to offer, as I'm kind of going around in circles.


That suggests to me that your WAN is at most VDSL2/ vectoring (not super-vectoring) based, up to around 100/40 MBit/s. MT7621A+MT7915D (DBDC) with 128/512 can handle that easily, unless you have very demanding additional needs to add, the WAX202 should do fine as router as well.

Good guess. I have a dual DSL line and get 140/40. I'm not a heavy Internet streamer (up or down), so I have no demanding needs.

Is this to say that the stress on a router comes more from the WAN side? Or are you just not concerned about that due to the number of devices I have?


First of all, a router needs to be able to keep up with the WAN speed. Modern internet connections (cable or ftth in particular) regularly exceed ~300 MBit/s, which (especially in combination with a need for PPPoE) is beyond the ability of many -even modern- routers (~150 MBit/s for ath79, for older 400 MHz chipsets and PPPoE easily below 100 MBit/s). In comparison, the (CPU-) requirements of a device used as AP are considerably lower. While the number of connected (wireless more so than wired-) clients does matter (conventional wisdom for 802.11n/ 2.4 GHz was a maximum of ~30-34 connected STAs, before airtime ran out on background traffic alone), 802.11ax has gotten considerably better on that front (efforts on dealing with more IoT devices started in later 802.11ac/wave2 wireless chipsets), although DBDC does prevent it from shining to some extent (two dedicated 4x4 radios, one per band, would help MIMO and beamforming considerably, 2x2 with the single DBDC radio reduces the options in that regard).

Another open question would be how you're going to cover the VDSL modem (and at what level combining the two VDSL lines needs to happen)/ phone/ MoCA features, respectively which of those remain necessary. The WAX202 is a wireless router, it doesn't contain a VDSL modem (nor any phone features, nor MoCA).

While your description is rather light on details, I don't see any reason not to try using the WAX202 as router (as long as you have a VDSL modem) - after all the orbi won't mysteriously disappear, should the WAX202 not suffice to service your home's footprint or the number of connected clients.

The T3200m is a combo VSDL modem/router, so I'll need to keep it in place for that purpose. Telus allows users to enable bridging on Port 1 in order to use another router. I considered doing that years ago when I added the Orbi, but took the path of least resistance.

Thanks again. My main concern was that I'd miss seeing a technical reason that it shouldn't do it (purely because I don't know what I'm looking for). It doesn't sound like that's the case.

To keep the background traffic down on the WAX202, I could repurpose the Orbi as a 2.4GHz AP for my IoT switches/plugs/sensors. That would be about 30 devices, and leave about 15-20 on the WAX202.

I have been using my WAX202 as a router (with wifi) as well, and have my ISP (100/100Mb) with PPPoE working without drawbacks. I even have Wireguard running on it as well. Keep in mind it has reasonable hardware. It is the same CPU as is used in e.g. Edgerouter X and even has more memory to use.
I started with a seperate router (NanoPi R5S) but that was an unnecessary overkill.
PS I use the full standard image, no need to hold back on that

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That's great to know. How many devices do you have connected?

Using 3 vlans (lan/guest/iot) with 10 wired and 12 wireless devices

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