What 4-port and 6-port Switch to buy for OpenWrt router?

AFAIK the Realtek SoCs OpenWrt supports only come with 8 port switches, no smaller sizes (only bigger :wink: ).

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I'm not clear on the advantages of OpenWRT on a switch; other than the basic "it's securable, publicly audited and you can control exactly what's on it". But is there a clear win feature-wise? I have a GS1900-8HP that I rely on heavily. Tempted to put OpenWRT on it, but should I?


To be honest I'd keep vendor firmware until it's very outdated, I don't see the point in switching when it's maintained by vendor.


Look at the Linux kernel version used by your vendor firmware and then tell me again that it's maintained!

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Why would kernel version matter (which might not even work due to hardware restrictions)?

2 posts were split to a new topic: 16 port switch with OpenWrt support

What can you do that the default firmware can't ? Better VLAN management ?
At home I just have a basic switch that fit my need. At work we have managable switches, but I'm not the one who managed them.


I would ask myself these questions to get little closer to the answer.

  1. Rack mounted or free standing?
  2. For long time environment support, choose managed. It will be cheaper and expandeble in the long run.
  3. PoE demands? Now and future!
  4. Noice! How is it cooled?

The big question here is: will you need a smart/managed/configurable switch (to handle VLANs, for example), or a dumb/unmanaged switch (no configuration at all)?

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Power consumption for such device is very low, whatever you put Openwrt or not on it.
A switch without CPU and RAM ? Try to imagine a human without brain and heart ...

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is this a dumb switch?

Netgear GS105GE

explain me why it need CPU and RAM. I not get it. Sorry

The basic logic operations needed to fulfill its duty as an Ethernet switching device require computation, timekeeping, and some other low-level duties.

All of those can be implemented in Hardware, but then it becomes (more) difficult to build/ship enhanced versions, so instead the manufacturers include a small CPU (some small 8051 e.g.), some flash (or mask rom) and some memory to make the switching logic (at least to some degree) "software".

At least, that's my (probably incomplete, maybe even wrong) take on the question.

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unmanaged means dumb, and GS105GE is unmanaged.

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A switch is a nanocomputer specialized in network traffic: as any computer it requires a CPU (or a micro controler) and some RAM to work.

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It may help to look at this video taken by electron microscopy of the switch internals at work:



Have a look at the tp-link TL-SG105E (5 port) and TL-SG108E (8 port) "Easy Smart" switches. Here in the US they can easily be found new for $25 and $30, respectively. Out of the box, they're set up as a dumb switch, though you'll want to set an appropriate password and IP address on the management interface. For an extra $5 -$10 compared with a the plain TL-SG105 or TL-SG108 unmanaged switches, you get VLANs, QoS, traffic logging, and even a TDR cable test feature, which came in handy for testing our existing house wiring when we upgraded all our jacks and devices to gigabit a couple years ago. Solidly built with a nice metal housing.

These have been around for a few years, and are now on hardware v6. Avoid versions prior to v3 which had some baked-in limitations on VLAN settings. A known minor bug in v3, which I've got, is that with VLANs enabled the RxBadPacket hardware counters give false positives. Don't know if this was addressed in subsequent hardware versions.

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You don't have to look for openwrt switches. All you need is a simple, managed switch e.g. TP-link of the "e" series.
These are 5 or 8 port devices.

Sure. But the only downside to buying a switch which can run OpenWrt is that it might cost a little more than the absolute lowend part of this market.

Of course, if the budget is tight then by all means buy the cheapest one. But if you don't have to save those 20 euros or whatever it is, then I'd recommend buying the OpenWrt compatible hardware even if you won't be running OpenWrt on it. The hardware is more capable (more RAM and flash) than the cheapest ones, and you have can at least play with OpenWrt if you want to at some point. If you get one of the ZyXELs (are there others?) with a pre-soldered console header, then it is possible to boot OpenWrt without flashing or opening the case.

Just my .02 €.

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The selection should be based on the intended use. In the case of TP-Link 105e, it is possible, among others:
creating vlan 802.1Q, trunk, QoS, port mirror etc.