I'm looking for the most future proof and, if possible, open source firmware router possible for a small apartment with very few users. I need something that costs up to $100 USD on Amazon (willing to buy used) and that supports Wi-Fi 6 & WPA-3 on OpenWrt. According to WunderTech, the Netgear WAX206 may support these features and fits the budget.
Can someone confirm that Wi-Fi 6 and WPA-3 will continue working on this router if running OpenWrt?
Does anyone have any better recommendations from Amazon?
OpenWrt still doesn't support any Wi-Fi 6e-capable routers, right?
Some manufacturers lock out WPA3 in their software/drivers/firmware as they want you to pay for software features, but yeah No issues using WPA3 on OpenWRT, and AX is working fine for me on the WAX206, so no worries with this model on OpenwWRT.
You should know that the MT7915 AX wireless controller of Netgear WAX206 and other devices currently is affected by a severe upload speed degradation in AX mode with AX compatible Apple iOS or iPadOS devices:
If you would like to use AX compatible Apple iPhones or iPads in your OpenWrt WAX206 wireless network I would limit the 5 GHz wireless mode to AC. Then you get full speed.
So, with Apple wireless devices this is a stable and well supported AC router.
I would still buy my comparable Linksys E8450 again, but I can’t use it with OpenWrt as intended because I want to use Apple AX compatible iOS devices with it. It’s a nice AC router for me.
Thanks for the heads up! Fortunately, no one in my household uses Apple products anymore. Only FOSS OS' By the way, which router has better hardware and/or future support, the Linksys E8450 or the Netgear WAX206? I found the two linked pages for specs but the only difference I could tell was that the Linksys offers an additional Ethernet LAN port.
Both MT7622 based devices are well supported. I hope they will continue to receive good OpenWrt support in the future.
The Linksys E8450 and Belkin RT3200 have the ubifs conversion installer: https://github.com/dangowrt/owrt-ubi-installer , 1000BaseT Mediatek ethernet uplink and PCB antennae. The heat sinks of these models look more sophisticated to me than the ones of the WAX206.
The Netgear WAX206 is compatible with nmrpflash https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/installation/recovery_methods/nmrpflash , has a Realtek 2.5 Gbps uplink and bent metal sheet antennae which could get a little more wireless range compared to PCB type antennae. The heat sinks of the WAX206 look basic to me. Could be that this device is not built to be under constant high SoC load because it is sold as an access point, not as a router.
The E8450/RT3200 availability is currently low in several markets while the WAX206 availability is good in other markets. This could be more important then UBI advantages or heat sink differences.
Both models are available on Amazon for under $100 so I started doing some digging around. I forgot to mention that I plan on using the device in access point mode behind a pfSense firewall and hosting a Tor bridge that will host a large amount of connections and was advised to get a device with a large NAT table. The WAX206 mentions that it supports up to 126 devices whereas the E8450 has no mention of device amount capability.
The heat sinks of the E8450 look more sophisticated to me than the basic heat sinks of the WAX206. But: I have not made temperature measurements of both devices under high SoC load in the same environment.
WAX206 is built as access point, E8450/RT3200 as router.
For Linksys WRT series, I was told that because of driver issue so WPA3 never works on them, or this is the only exception? (Because in 21.02 every time I turn on WPA3 my WRT1900ACv2 will stop working)
I purchased a brand new WAX206 from Japan Amazon (equivalent to USD35) last week, couldn't be happier because it has 2.5G WAN port, I am already using it as AP and of course with WPA3, no trouble at all (currently on 23.05 RC1), when it's sitting next to my laptop I can get ~1.3Gbps WiFi througput which is great! And I live in 3-level house, placing the router at 2/F I am still able to get some 5GHz signal on G/F!
No, this is not an exception as noted by this comment. This and the lack of Wi-Fi 6 are the reasons I'm upgrading
Nice specs and price! Although to avoid damaging your WAX206, use the correct power converter for the device’s voltage specifications. The Americas' standard differs from the rest of the world. USA uses 120 V/60 Hz and Japan uses 100 V 50 Hz/60 Hz. Source.
In old days I was living in another country with 220V, so I am more cautious on all those things.
BTW the power adaptor I got is rated for 100-120V so it shouldn't have much issue if I want to use it in JP/TW/US.