What’s your favorite "Back To School" OpenWrt device?

This would fall somewhere between the

[What’s your favorite enthusiast LEDE/OpenWrt device?]
(What's your favorite enthusiast LEDE/OpenWrt device?)
[What’s your favorite cheap LEDE/OpenWrt device?]
(What's your favourite cheap LEDE/OpenWrt device?)

I want something I can find at either Walmart or NewEgg. Ideally, it would be $30-50, but realistically, I'm hoping to keep it at or under $100.


  • Support 4 cell phones (3 iphone, 1 android)
  • Support 2 Xboxes (wifi games on 1, wired Netflix mostly on older one)
  • Support 2 computers (1 wired, 1 wifi)
  • Support 1, maybe 2 Neverware Chromium laptops
  • Support 2 ipads for school work


  • Netgear WNR2000v5
  • (attempted OpenWrt on a Buffalo and bricked it)


  • Would like ability to log the heck out of everything, to see what the kids are up to.
  • Would like good security.
  • Would like a VPN (open source?)
  • Would like good communications to all above equipment.
  • Want 1 device in center of house (basic Dutch Colonial) to serve all interior and nearby exterior, which ancient Netgear is doing. If it can (and it better) do it better, then all the better.
  • Want DHCP for most devices.
  • Want foolproof way to get back in if any problems.
  • Want ability to work with Arris cable modem on Charter/Spectrum cable TV network.
  • Want ability to power down to save power when not being accessed.
  • Want something with a future of several years.
  • Want something that can either stand alone or be wall mounted.

With the whole back to school thing being iffy, want to get this in place and ready to go.


I really don't understand what's special about "Back to School", respectively different from enthusiast or cheap devices.

This basically reduces your options to mt7621 or ipq40xx (not necessarily a bad thing), but it depends a lot on your WAN speed as well (you don't state that, but if a WNR2000v5 can handle it, both of those options will as well (I wouldn't really look into ath79 anymore, unless you explicitly want the cheapest option).

Nothing really special here (aside from maybe wanting SQM and good WLAN support/ good interoperability, which would rule out mvebu/ mwlwifi and the Linksys WRT1200AC, which would almost meet your price range).

Buffalo routers should be almost 'unbrickable', check its device page in the wiki again, they should allow unbricking via push-button tftp (client).

Not going to work, thanks to https-everywhere (and the performance impact of advanced logging facilities shouldn't be underestimated).

Incoming/ road-warrior VPNs:

  • wireguard
  • OpenVPN
  • IPsec/ strongswan
  • pick your poison

Outgoing router-side VPN sessions are a different question, yes, they generally use the same software underneath, but there you depend on the VPN service provider. Keep in mind that VPN at full speed does increase your system requirements, considerably with higher WAN speeds (you easily leave your price range here).

You will have to check the individual device pages for the details here, the Linksys EA6350v3/ EA8300/ EA8500/ WRT1200AC/ WRT1900AC(S)/ WRT3200ACM/ WRT32xx -if you include push-button tftp recovery also ZyXEL NBG6817 or Netgear r7800- devices would do a good job here, but those are (considerably) above your budget - that shouldn't imply other vendors and cheaper devices wouldn't be similarly good.

You won't find this anywhere (yes, ARM and x86_64 do frequency scaling, but the effect at the power plug is not that significant; ethernet port connected/ disconnected or 100BASE-T/ 1000BASE-T probably make a bigger difference, but if the hardware/ driver actually switch to different power modes there isn't documented for any device).

I would suggest >= 32MB flash/ >=256 MB RAM (so significantly above the bare minimum, this doesn't need to be more expensive, but it will be above your favoured budget bracket) and multi-core in this case, personally I'd favour ARM over MIPS, but that's not really significant under this point of view. Concurrent dual-band with two 802.11ac radios should go without saying.

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Mainly it is a mid-level system, would like the multi-device (the old Netgear did OK), and greater capability for lots of potential Zoom meetings, etc.

100 Meg service through Charter Communications/Spectrum.

I haven't tossed it yet (almost did). It is a WHR-HP-G300N. Got a link? I'm pretty new to this site.

That's a bummer. Would just like to see what sites the kids are visiting, and when, and for how long. The Xbox One isn't very helpful there.

Again, I'm coming from a $30-35 Netgear, which actually wasn't bad, but I am seeing outside traffic trying to hit it, and seeing the performance suffer. If an argument can be made to go to $120 to open more doors, I'm all ears.

I'm frankly surprised this doesn't exist. Figured I'd ask. Thanks for answering.

32/256. Thanks. I wish the grid/matrix thing would let you choose multiple filters. Instead, you are stuck with either 256 or 512, for example, instead of both.

Oh, and the other thing is, I'm not specifically looking for either cheap, or high-end customisable, but more looking for "available" (Walmart, NewEgg) and easy to find/configure. I will be suggesting any potential winners to others. I wish the matrix thingie had links to those models at these two vendors.

That makes it easily manageable by all contemporary ath79, ipq40xx, ipq806x, mt7621, mvebu SOCs (for sqm ath79 would be beyond its abilities, for VPN (outgoing) at those speeds mt7621 might meet its limits).

https://openwrt.org/toh/buffalo/whr-hp-g300n#tftp_recovery (not that this device would be a good option for running OpenWrt).

This is harder to answer (wrong continent), as regional availability (and pricing) differs a lot.

The ipq8018 based Linksys EA6350v3 could have been a nice option, but that has been replaced with the EA6350v4 (and you don't want that one).

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I'm not really sure what these are. Are those the processors in different devices?

Thanks, I will check it out. I'm not hugely worried about if it is a "good option". I want something to learn on. If I can get it back, I can always stick the stock firmware back on it, right?

How would one tell the difference when ordering? Is there a more specific model number? Again, look at what I'm using now, and that opens a LOT of options as "better", right?

Yes, the SOC type.

That's the problem, you don't - Linksys hides the difference (rarely visible on the packaging, only on the id plate on the device itself), but in the north american market v2 (even worse) seems to have been more prevalent than the v3 - and by now v4 (you neither want that) seems to be the only one in production, with a wide spread market penetration (you'd have to look for used devices or hope for new old stock).

Don't know what this is.

So, where does this leave us? Still don't have any decent choices popping up. Maybe it takes a couple of days for people to respond here. I belong to forums where you start getting answers before you can check back.

And that's okay, but a quick Google search could have helped you out.

You've had multiple suggestions (some of which you didn't understand because of a lack of understanding of a word you could have googled) within 5 hours. This is a forum, not a helpdesk. Please be a little more realistic in your expectations.

As for suggestions, availability differs from country to country. Your best bet is to look up the SOCs that were suggested to you in OpenWRT's TOH (Table of Hardware) and see if the devices that match your criteria are available in your area within your specified budget.

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try ebay for EA6350 v3 - and make sure you have pictures that reference the v3 like this

An ebay EA6350v3 shipped for ~$25 is quite good. I use one as a wired AP and switch to cover the first floor of our home. Just be aware the radio calibration file that comes with OpenWrt stable and master builds is not so good. It's worth the trouble to grab a better calibration file from one of NoTengoBattery's recent builds (e.g., pwr.bin), especially if you use 2.4 GHz wifi.

If you want something more speedy and capable for twice the price, consider an ebay EA8500 for $50 shipped like this. You'll need to open the case and employ a USB to serial adapter (available for ~$5) the first time you flash OpenWrt, but its worth the trouble in my opinion. This would be my pick to cover an entire home for not a lot of $.

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"System On Chip". It would have been quicker to just type that than your insulting reply. Still, not of much use to me, as I do not see that in any marketing material of any devices.

I have seen some tables, but they are not all that useful, and I'm not even sure I recall seeing "SOC" on there. Listen, if you don't want to answer, that is perfectly fine.

Thank you. This was useful. I will check on Amazon. I don't do ebay.

I am hardly insulting you, I am trying to help. It's just that I don't find it fair that multiple people gave you useful information, but due to not understanding a term you could have easily googled you dismiss their answers are useless. Not only that, you make a remark about not having gotten any useful answers, despite it only being 5 hours, because you are used to getting answers really quickly on other forums (despite already given useful answers as explained before!). These people helping you are spending their spare time to help a stranger on the internet, so I don't think it's too much to ask that you are willing to google some terms so that information already given to you is meaningful and useful.

You're again dismissing useful information. Here is the Table I am talking about: https://openwrt.org/toh/views/toh_extended_all

The CPU column denotes the SOC that is used in that particular model. You can filter on the suggestions given to you, and see if they are available in your area by searching your favorite webshop.


A few numbers, from a few of them thar SoCs.

OK, I just searched. I'm not sure why it says CPU instead of SOC, but that's life.

The only one that comes back with anything is mt7621. There are quite a few routers which look like they should work for me there. I will look around to see what I can find. Thank you.

This does not really help steer me anywhere, but thanks anyhow.

Yep, no value to be had in knowing the relative performance of devices when checking pricing.

If only there were an easy way to determine "relative performance".

This is a super helpful link though. You can see what router is fast enough to handle your internet connection (plus maybe your future internet connection if you want to future proof) with the desired features enabled/disabled.

Equus africanus asinus to water, or some such.

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