Which modem is best


I live in the UK and am moving from a house with Virgin Media Fibre (FFTP) to one with PlusNet Broadband (phone line). Previously I have had OpenWrt running on a wireless router and the router supplied by Virgin switched to modem mode.

I wanted to do the same in the new house but I'm finding it difficult to fine a either a standalone DLS (VDSL) modem or a modem router that is supported by OpenWrt and still in production!!!

What does everyone else do? Or which modem do you use?



So I got me a used BT HomeHub5A with OpenWrt pre-installed (to save me the hassle involved in switching to OpenWrt). I configured that as bridge-modem (using OpenWrt just as a fancy console) and hooked up my primary router (turris omnia, still on turros OS, an OpenWrt derivative). That works pretty well. Before I tried to use the BT HH5A as primary DSL router, but that was not powerful enough for my 50/10 Mbps link at the time with all the bells and whistles I desired.

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first of all?

find out what your upstream hub is and specifically what chipset they use. Matching chipsets to line cards tends to get best results. It does depend on the equipment and modems.

the kitz dsl checker no longer works. use openreach's one.

https://www.broadbandchecker.btwholesale.com/#/ADSL If you dont have a phone number then use this one instead https://www.broadbandchecker.btwholesale.com/#/ADSL/AddressHome

I got lucky and bought a 2 for one deal and got both an ECI and Huawei chipset bt modem that i use standalone to replace my bt hub5 i used to use. I have the ECI and a pair of bt hub5's preflashed with OpenWrt spare for sale if you want?

more info in that thread too.

Thanks for the info so far, I'll do a little more investigation over the weekend.

Does anyone know if the Plusnet router can accept OpenWRT?

Also so far everyone seems to be using a fairly limited pool of hardware which is getting a little old now...
Are people worried we might run out of modems to run on?



Not sure about the UK, but here in Germany (and Spain, France, Italy?, Portugal) the decision has mostly been made to switch to all fiber-optic access networks, so DSL is sort of a legacy technology only required to bridge the time required for the FTTH roll-out (which can easily be > 10 years). Given that, I do not expect big new developments in DSL technology, so not having the newest and "baddest" modem supported by OpenWrt seems OK to me. That said, there are people getting OpenWrt to work on relative recent AVM AnnexQ (~34MHz of bandwidth compared to the customary 17 MHz, resulting in sync rates up to ~300/50 Mbps) devices (7530, 7590 IIRC) so not sure whether the "getting a little old now..." part is strictly true... (also there should be a glut of HH5A Fritzbox 7490 devices in the market so I do not expect access to second/third hand devices will be all that problematic for the next few years). But this is just my subjective opinion on this matter...

I believe the current Plusnet hub 2 router is reported to be the same as the BT smart hub 2 and both are Broadcom based and not supported by Openwrt.

Their previous model, the Plusnet Hub One is the same as the BT hub 5 type A, and is supported.



Good point, I am hoping to get fiber in the next year.

What do people with a fiber connection do just out of interest.

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Good question :wink: As far as I can tell for GPON people either use ISP supplied fiber to copper ethernet converting ONTs (like Deutsche Telekom's Glasfasermodem2) or occasionally GPON SFP modules which can be used with OpenWrt routers sporting an SFP cage. (However compatibility in SFP land are far away from what we are used to from PCI and PCIe, often some combination of OS, SFP-cage and SFP-module will simply not work, as far as I understand the discussions on different forums).
For active fiber links (AON), I would guess that is should mostly suffice to get the right optics.

In Germany there has been some AON roll-out, but the bulk will be PON (currently GPON, with some small ISPs starting to introduce XGS-PON). Personally I am totally fine with an external ONT. (Why I hear no one asking? Because the way GPON was designed it will essentially give the OLT-operator root access to the ONT, and I, while I generally trust my ISP, I would not give them my router's root password*).

*) Not clear that having root access to an SFP-ONT can easily be escalated into root on the device the SFP module is plugged into, but why risk it?

as mjs said. depends which router they give you. However you might be better served by having a backup router you have with openwrt as if u have issues they prefer you plug in "their" router for diagnostics. I ended up getting a 2nd bt hub5 and i flashed the 2nd one to use openwrt on and kept the first for if i needed to call bt for line troubles.

Another route is just to get one of the old openreach modem only ones and plug it into your existing router you used with your virgin router set to modem. Plus that way you can then just switch from VDSL to a fibre ONT easily.

Find out what your upstream hub is and that way you can pick a modem to match it for best results. That being said, the firmwares are now stable enough you should be able to use either.

I do have a pair of bt hub5's i can update to latest Openwrt if you want one preflashed so you dont have to pop it open and mess with a serial connection (It is somewhat fiddly)

GPON ftth deployment from Deutsche Glasfaser here, 400/200 MBit/s (1000/500 MBit/s possible with a phone call (and a higher fee), 10 GBit/s with 'prices on request'):

  • ISP owned GPON ONT (Nokia G-010G-P), converting the incoming fibre to 1000BASE-T/ copper
  • ivy-bridge/ celeron 1037u based mini-pc with two Intel 82574L (e1000e) onboard network cards, running OpenWrt/ x86_64 as router
  • OpenWrt supported ZyXEL GS1900-24E managed switch
  • OpenWrt supported AP(s)

applies, even below those figures, if you want sqm or similar demanding features (e.g. VPN).

Hi All

Thanks very much for all the information. I have already read the "So you have a 500Mbps-1Gbps fiber and need a router", which is very interesting, but I didn't want this thread to cover the same ground.

I now realise my question was more:

Should I be worried that I seem to have to used obsolete hardware to either run a separate DLS modem or use OpenWRT on a modem router?

The answer seems to be "DLS is a obsolete technology, viva la fibre revolution!"

My second question was:
"when I get fibre will I be able to run a separate modem?"

The answer seems to be "Yes, just use whatever your ISP sends you and put your own router after it", but I must admit there were a lot of acronyms I am very unfamiliar with!

As for my current problem:
I have cracked open the Plusnet Hub One I already have. Heated up the soldering iron and flashed it with OpenWRT. I'm going to try it as my full router, if it's underpowered I can make it a modem bridge.

Thanks again



ATTENTION please, if your ISP uses vectoring or if your built exposes both CPU cores (SMP) on the router you should run with recent fixes by @janh see https://forum.openwrt.org/t/vectoring-on-lantiq-vrx200-vr9-missing-callback-for-sending-error-samples/104046/314

These are in current snapshots as well as in 22.03 master so should end up in stable 22.03 at one point in time. The SMP issue shows as arbitrary resyncs of the DSL link, the vectoring issue mostly shows as incrementally decreasing SNR over time (as the modem fails to send error samples to the DSLAM that the DSLAM needs to "track" and adjust for changing cross-talk over time).

The only real difference for GPON deployments (compared to passive networks, where a generic media converter or matching sfp module suffices), is the need for an ISP blessed ONT, which can indeed be described as 'modem' (although this would technically incorrect). It's not a router, nor terminating your WAN IP though (functionally it's transparent, just like a modem); all-in-one devices combining ONT, router and phone features do exist, but aren't that common (the physical parameters for the fibre differ too much, so covering 'everything' in a generic device is more expensive).

Maybe "active" instead of "passive"?

E.g. Fritzbox 5530 with SFP for ~180 EUR modules for both GPON and AON (as far as I can tell there is no OpenWrt for that box). But now the challenge is that the ISP needs to play ball for that GPON to work (or AVM needs to "dress" up its GPON identifiers such that they copy the respective ISP ONT). While a "Glasfasermodem2-ONT" that still requires a router retails for ~50EUR.

The aforemention Nokia ONT seems to sell for roundabout 5-10 bucks per device on ali*.

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