What's your favourite cheap LEDE/OpenWrt device?

Dlink has a web recovery so you can’t really brick it unless you overwrite the boot loader, but if you do that you’re rekt, uart or not.

which router is this?

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not the dap-x1860-ax1800 that has the same casing for AP and PSU.

But the wnr3500lv2, which has 5V at the electronics + a separate PSU.

Cudy WR3000 for about 50€. MTK Filogic 820, based on OpenWRT.

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Support so new, device wiki page does not exist yet. Does it still need a serial cable, to flash OpenWRT?

Moving to OpenWRT is actually supported by Cudy, just a sysupgrade:

Cudy Software Download (cudytech.com)

Not sure if you can use a vanilla OpenWRT (snapshot or 25.03.0) sysupgrade image from stock. Just to be on the safe side, I did the following:

Upgrade to latest official firmware (1.16.2) → Cudy OpenWRT sysupgrade → 25.03.0-rc3 sysupgrade.

There's a thread in the forums: Support for Cudy WR3000 - For Developers - OpenWrt Forum

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In Europe the Zyxel Multy M1 is almost unbeatable. 3-Pack Available in finland less than 85 Euros delivered. Zyxel Multy M1 WiFi 6 Whole Home WiFi System 3-Pack (WSM20-EU0301F) | Dustin.fi

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79.90€ from Zyxel store, for French and italians :
https://store.zyxel.com/mobile-broadband/wifi-system/wsm20-eu0301f.html

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Confirm, instead of using powerful-signal big AP in my school building I diverted to more cheap Multy's every 2 rooms. Cons- not native POE - pros: price, easy install, price...price!
Regards

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This is such a good example of how to work a real deployment. Many cheap APs spread client load better, and are more resilient to failure with fewer users affected. Also replacing faulty units is easy, you can even keep a local stock of spares without a huge capital investment.

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Belkin AX3200 WiFi 6 Dual Band Router (RT3200) ]. $40 US free shipping. I've purchased 3 from these folks. Appeared brand new. Flashed easily.

Not affiliated with them.

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How's the USB on those? I've moved to a situation where I'm using USB tethering for upstream data. USB is abysmal on most of the lower end hardware I've used in the past.

So how fast you are expecting? Even USB 2.0 has a 480Mbps speed which should fit most use cases? I remember in the old day I used Linksys WRT1900ACv2 with Android USB tethering which works great.

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I'd be happy with 100Mbit if possible. What I've run into is the USB interface on a lot of these cheap things is basically bit-banged together. I might see 40 depending on the OpenWRT device, with the best so far with my limited budget being a handful of ancient WNDR3x00s despite what the tethered device is capable of.

Is the GL.iNET GL-MT300N-V2 good enough as a home router ? i have a 20/1 internet, and i am mainly buying it for sqm, i have trouble gaming when anyone does anything doesn't even have to a heavy load just anyone opening google to search something and I have 500 ms and i get kicked from the game it sucks.
Will the GL.iNET GL-MT300N-V2 or GL.iNet AR300M16 help or do u have better suggestions ? ( max 50 usd preferably a lot less)

There is also the GL.iNet GL-SFT1200 but idk if it has sqm or not i think i read somewhere that it doesn't ?

not sure but it's not much more expensive and seems to have better wifi which is good ( not for me since i use Ethernet but everyone else is on wifi)

SFT1200 I think there is no official OpenWrt support?

How about the Slate Plus (AC750S Plus)? Those MT300N (Mango) are very very slow, I have first gen Mango, looking at GUI loading speed I doubt it can do much on SQM

do you mean the gl AR750S ?

Yes, or Linksys E5480?