ZYXEL NBG6817 or Netgear R7800

I've read a bit about both these routers on the forums here and other places. I understand that they are almost identical except for a few minor details. That being said, if you could get either for the same price, which would you choose and why?

Netgear R7800 PRO's:
E-Sata port vs none
2xUSB 3 ports vs 1xUSB 3 and 1xUSB 2
large heat-sink (from what I've read - not sure if this resulted in real world lower temps though)

Dual Boot
4GB flash vs 128MB flash

All that being said...
If you don't need the ports, they are moot point.
Dual Boot is less important especially with TFTP recovery on both.
Larger flash is nice, but again - moot point if you don't need more than 128MB.
The last item of the heat sink difference is just an unknown for me... for anyone's experience, does it matter?

Thanks for reading, and I appreciate anyone's feedback and input. I will very likely be buying one but currently I can find both priced very closely... hard to choose when they are so similar!


.... and just for fun... EdgeRouter X + UAP-AC-Lite/PRO.... would definitely be more $ (unless there's a great deal on the AP out there)... but all three options are overkill for my house I bet :slight_smile: .

In case anyone was wanting details... I use Wireguard, SQM, VLAN's, on top of the basics. Some smart home switches, lights, etc. and a few POE and WIFI camera's.

The huge majority in this forum here is using R7800. So overall disussion and knowledge about this unit is more available then for the NBG6817. And I think there are no recent, well trimmed community builds available. If that is important for you I would recommend R7800.

The hardware differences you have already mentioned. So go along with your preference.

Personally I have opted for NBG6817 because of the dualboot feature. I don't need/want USB or SATA on a router. In fact root flash size is smaller on NBG6817 because its splitted into 2x64 MB. But that is not really a matter. The 4GB are missleading a bit. They are not really used and actually not available to use for root partition. At the moment there is no need for that and nobody did the work to make it available as far as I know.

This is kind of orthogonal to the question, but the eMMC is GPT partitioned - those can be resized as necessary, OpenWrt just cares about the partition numbering (that must remain identical, the sizes don't matter).

Disclaimer: nbg6817 user here, who really likes the dual-firmware setup. But both devices are very similar, both in (potential-) bugs and features, so I'd choose based on pricing and availability.

and yes, I realize that resizing a mounted block device is not quite the most refreshing thing to attempt.

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Yes, that is true. I just wanted mention it and to make clear that is not really a matter. Because everybody comparing this devices is thinking wow 4GB against 128MB. 4GB is true but it has to be done by yourself. I should have written this also.

That's the problem... currently I think I can pick up both for ~$100 (USD).
So all things are nearly equal... the point about the R7800 having more users could be influencial... I know @hnyman has very popular builds for the R7800 - so would that give it a very slight edge over the NBG6817 - or are there similar builds for it or (again) is it something that can be done similarly on the NBG6817 (I'm newb and probably can't :slight_smile: ).

TBH this is probably a good problem... choosing between two great options, lol.

Thanks for the input!

If the price is sorted out as a creteria, then there is not much left beside that what already said and you worked out.

I have two NBG6817s, I'm doing my own builds and I'm happy with dual boot for this purpose.

For NBG6817 there are builds from @escalade

I forgot already about them and was wrong that there are no community builds available for NBG6817.

I have a side question on this. Beside your remounting approach. What do I have to do to achive that (just want to know). :smiley:

Just make the changes with a script or live edit, reboot and flash firmware via tftp or starting an image from usb (don't know if this is possible e.g. with an ext4 image) making changes and copy over the firmware to newly created partitions.

But is it really that "simple"? I don't know much about the boot process and if there are hardcode startpoints/-sectors expected? If I look at boot I doubt that it is simple like I think so far.

[    0.000000] Kernel command line: rootfstype=squashfs,ext4 rootwait noinitrd root=/dev/mmcblk0p5
[    0.000000] Bootloader command line (ignored): board=NBG6817 root=/dev/mmcblk0p5 rootwait zld_ver=2.05 console=ttyHSL1,115200n8 mtdparts=m25p80:0xC0000(SBL)ro,0x40000(TZ)ro,0x40000(RPM)ro,0x80000(u-boot)ro,0x10000(env)ro,0x10000(ART)ro,0x10000(dualflag),0x210000(reserved)

I have no experience with those embedded bootloaders. But I know how to search/edit within partitions with hexeditor and howto use gedit/fdisk etc. And I know that I can nuke those things if I make mistakes. :smiley:
Beside that I'm wondering if I could setup a lvm? Probably a noob question for an embedded system.

But overall I assume it's easier to split the last 3.2GiB partition and use it as an extroot.

The partition names/ numbers are hardcoded (e.g. /dev/mmcblk0p5), that's all.

Thx, maybe I'll give it a try if I have spare time.

I checked @escalade post you linked.
The title has the Zyxel Armor Z2, but his google drive with current bin files does not have it (only the R7800). I assumed that they were not interchangeable (due to flash sizes).

Hmm ... You have two options then. Ask kindly within the thread if he is willing to make a build for NBG6817 or make your own build. I saw that he has linked his own repo on github. So you could just clone it. Very easy and usefull for beginners IMO. I guess he is just not making it anymore because there is no demand for it.
But all depends of what your goal is: Always latest builds from master or "just" official releases. If you want just official releases and not update frequently you would not need a community build at all. With thoses builds you would "just" save time if the build meets your needs in terms of package selection and configuration.

They are NOT interchangeable. Even if the size would be the same!

Thanks everyone for the feedback!
A forum member who had a spare R7800 he was willing to part ways with offered it to me - so that's the direction I'm going.
I like both, but this gave me a reason to go this way (plus I have a DOA R7800 on my desk that if it ever comes to it I can cannibalize if needed - but I highly doubt that will ever happen).

Looks like my old TEW-673GRU will finally be retired... that thing is still rock solid though... just showing its age. Working from home, I watched the CPU during a conference call and it was bouncing between 85% and 95% the whole time... couldn't believe that the whole network was running smoothly even though the router was pegging out, lol.

I also had to find a unique image that I didn't know existed ("FAT" squashfs) that allowed it to have enough space for packages. I'll be keeping the TEW-673gru at least for a while to make sure everything is stable with the R7800 - then I might keep it still just for nostalgia, lol.


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No experience with Zyxel.

Got a pair of R7800s last fall. Had to install OpenWRT via TFTP. Not sure what I was doing wrong or if that's just what you have to do initially.

Performance is great. OpenWRT is great.

My setup: cable modem -> r7800 downstairs -> r7800 upstairs. The routers are connected via ethernet over power adapters. The router upstairs had an uptime of almost 60 days when I upgraded OpenWRT the other day.

But the router downstairs was like 4 days. For whatever reason, it reboots every few days. It has way more devices connected, both wirelessly and wiredfuly plus it's hooked directly to the cable modem. So it's constantly under more stress. And I rarely notice downtime. Maybe it's just a cache filling up or a memory leak.

But, it could be something physically wrong w this one of two r7800s I got. I should swap them and see what happens. But I haven't.

I know you said you're getting an r7800 free and that's tough to beat. But if I could pick either at the same cost, I would pick the Zyxel and see how it did.

That's just my particular experience with two R7800s bought simultaneously in November 2019. Back when things were normaler.

I didn't get one free - well I bought one that was DOA and they said keep it - but I haven't been able to identify what is wrong - it won't even power on.

I bought another working (new out of box) from a forum member. Got it yesterday - everything looks perfect. TFTP hynman's build onto it first try.

The reason you use TFTP is because in June 2018 the flash layout changed to allow a larger kernel partition (70MB larger), so that kernel 4.14 and flow offloading is possible. The only way to do this is through TFTP (resize the partitions).

Anyway, I have configured the new router - nice thing about going from OpenWrt to OpenWrt routers... I can do a full configuration looking at both, and then just swap them! Almost zero downtime (if nothing breaks, lol).


I'm interested in your non-working R7800. I have a broken R7800 with has a dead CPU, I want to (try to) replace the dead CPU in mine with the tools I have at home, should be an interesting experiment. If the experiment fails it will be at least an interesting learning experience :slight_smile:. The hw design on the R7800 is weird, for some reason the CPU is always powered on, regardless if the power button is pressed or not. In my dead R7800 the internal power supply for the CPU Vcore failed (maybe some power surge at the wall socket) and it sent 12v (what the external power brick supplies) straight through the CPU. The CPU failed dead short and it always triggered the overcurrent protection of the external power brick.

Cheers !

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