Which Router in 2021 to Buy for OpenWrt (SQM)

Hello OpenWrt Community,

I'm looking to purchase a new router that I can install OpenWrt onto easily and have access to Lumi. The main purpose is to use SQM because whenever I have heavy load like downloading/gaming/streaming everyone else lags on my network. Someone uses Facetime? There is lag. My bufferbloat score was an F last I checked.

My speeds are 100Mbps from Xfinity.

Does anyone know any routers that they can recommend that I can buy from Amazon or in-store? I would prefer to buy a stock router rather then create a DIY solution with a Rasberry Pi etc.

(It would also be nice if there was a USB port for a Network Drives)

Thank You!

Edit: Spelling

Here is the "I want to buy a device" filtered table of hardware: https://openwrt.org/toh/views/toh_available_16128

The GL-B1300 seems like a solid choice at your speeds. You can install the stock OpenWrt no problem.

I'm concerned about the range of connectivity with this model. And it uses a Mesh system which means I would need to buy another one to have a mesh network right? (Does OpenWrt support Mesh?) But on paper this router does seem like a good choice.

ipq8065 is supposed to do SQM at around 170 MBit/s (and could route up to 500-650 MBit/s without SQM), leaving sufficient headroom to deal with ~100 MBit/s, so Netgear r7800 or ZyXEL NBG6817; Askey RAC2V1K / RT4230W REV6 Support would be a cheap alternative in the US.

Belkin rt3200/ Linksys e8450 could be an interesting alternative, faster than your current requirements - but still a bit more on the adventurous side.

mt7621a+mt7615 might be another alternative, but I can't really provide personal experience in regards to its SQM performance for this.

I personally would skip ipq40xx for this purpose, on the one hand its performance might be a bit marginal for SQM - on the other hand VLANs are needlessly difficult, so not an ideal match with @2JayCee's gs308t managed switch in mind.

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wrt 3200acm / 32x can do nearly 1000 mb/s with sqm. openwrt works great. wireless may be ok but i think the best architecture at these speeds separates the (edge) router from the access points.

with piece of cake / fq_codel:
consistently 780 mb/s up, 940 mb/s down.

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Correct, but the wireless hardware is hopelessly broken (no 802.11w, no wpa3, very bad interoperability with IoT devices/ Espressif esp8266/ esp32, EOLed by the vendor), this hardware really can't be recommended at its price point if its wireless support is at least somewhere on the bucket list (and if it isn't, there are cheaper alternatives, RPi4, NanoPi r4s, etc.).

ipq806x is one of the options that is fully supported now and can deliver the required performance (we're talking about 100 MBit/s with SQM, it can do SQM up to around 170 MBit/s) combined with good wireless (and easy VLAN support) for ~15% less of the wrt3200acm prices. The rt3200 sells for half of the wrt3200acm price, while its support is still rather fresh, it should come close to its wired performance and has active wifi6 support.


Interesting. I think I will have to research availability options then. In the U.S. some routers are OOS since they came out awhile ago and have since been replaced with newer Wi-Fi 6 counterparts.

There is always the second hand market, and especially the second hand Askey RAC2V1K is very cheap over there (~20 USD, read its device page beforehand, it's a tad more complex to do the initial flashing of OpenWrt).

all good poiints about wrt32xxx. i got my wrt's for $50 but these prices are rare. i also have askey RAC2V1K and can recommend a great device for radios. i have not pushed to be combined router and AP.

Are you sure?

So a bit on the pricy side and somewhat of a pain to run with stock OpenWrt, but the turris omnia is a really nice router with a responsive development team and an OS that is based on OpenWrt and developers that actually contribute back. Also automatic updates (if you trust team turris, otherwise this feature can be easily disabled)... But again, it is a bit pricy...
In my tests it did unidirection traffic shaping (SQM, cake, layer_cake) at close to 1 Gbps, and bidirectional traffic shaping (with MTU1492 sized packets) at 500/500 Mbps.
They are available on amazon.com...

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I am using Linksys E8450 (Belkin RT3200) and it can do SQM on a 100mbps line with just 15% cpu power. The Wi-Fi is also stable. No complaints at all. Only draw back is that it is still on snapshot build.

For what it's worth, my wrt1200ac gets me >900 Mbps/s with sqm, so the claims about wrt3200 seem plausible to me.

I don't know why, but I can't get anywhere close to that performance level on my r7800 - with this one I get about 500 Mbps/s down (no sqm in that direction) and about 200 Mbps/s up - even though on paper the r7800 has more CPU power and should have every reason to perform better.... ???

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Seems I wasn't clear enough.

There is a slight difference between

  • one thousand GIGAbit per second (1 Tbit/s) -> highly unlikely to find that in a consumer grade router these days, IMHO
  • one thousand MEGAbit per second (1 Gbit/s)

Haha, you are obviously right, didn't catch the units issue :slight_smile:

thank you for gently pointing out the error in units of measure. should have been 1000 mb/s.
.i re-ran tests with some competing load on my network and got consistent up/down speeds of > 780/940 mbs.
I corrected the post.

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Yes, and it has features that are very useful on lines like yours. It is the IQrouter, and several of my friends have one and they love it. The DSL user is particularly happy.

I helped install one of them, and it has the easiest to use setup I've seen in a while, I literally did nothing but watch my friend go through the simple steps, and after 10 minutes, 2 of which were watching it auto-tune the QoS, it was up and running on his cable modem line.

It continuously adapts to the line once deployed, so the QoS is dynamic. This used to be mostly a DSL thing, but since the pandemic, cable lines are also varying their capacity through the day, and the IQrouter will dynamically adapt the settings to match.

It also has pretty good line stats reports that my friend with the DSL line uses regularly in fights with his ISP.

But the thing I like the best is that the full power of OpenWRT is there if your want to leverage it.
You can even install packages if you need something special.
It's fairly current as well, I believe the most recent is on 19.07.6, at least the one I touched two months ago was.

The downside is the WiFi is typical MT76, and fairly weak signal-wise, but has all the airtime fairness goodies. I recommend pairing this with some robust access points, my fave being the $70 TP-Link EAP225v3
Other downside is CPU capacity, it will shape up to 200Mbps or so, or if you have DOCSIS 3.1, it will handle a gigibit down and only shape on upload (as that's where BufferBloat is bad).

So for your situation, it should be a plug-and-play answer.


Hopelessly broken wifi lol what? I use WiFi 5GHz every day on 2 laptops and 2 phones with no issue. The rest of my network is wired and DSA works great. Irqbalance is installed to move mwlwifi to CPU1. Maxes out my cable modem rated for 500Mbit down / 35Mbit up using SQM cake (A+ bufferbloat and A+ quality ratings), USB 3.0 at 120MB/s samba4 usb3 external, and adblock on my WRT32X. Yes true, mwlwifi driver is abandoned, but what's there works fine if you don't need mesh, mu-mimu, or wpa3. OpenWrt is rock solid on 21.02-rc3.

RT3200 would be interesting, but I use an external drive for Kodi shares and thus appreciate having USB3 at >100MB/s read/write and wouldn't take anything less at ths point. That only has USB2.


I have WRT32X running 19.07.7 without SQM, I haven’t chance to try but I will. Recently upgrade to 1 Gigabit service got around 900/900 Mbps with wired and AC wireless 2-3ft from router I got pretty good 820/910Mbps.If you search for SQM, you should some decent performance with WRT32X or WRT3200ACM.
I wish to have a maintained mwlwifi driver but it will work with WPA2. 5Ghz band with DFS (the 100s channel) might keep switching to lower if radar is detected and you need to reconnect to the access point. Other than those issue I am pretty happy with performance, i can’t get Belkin RT3200 AX, running openwrt Snapshot, to reach 800/900Mbps, I could get around 690/700 Mbps.

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