New powerful router in 2018

Recently I wanted to add a couple entries to ports forwarding configuration to my old TP-LINK WR741NDV4 router, but I got an error “You reach the maximum of entries” 🙁 I thought that the time for a new router has come. But which one should I choose?

Criteria of choice

The most important features:

  • Powerful CPU and RAM – why? I have a small server at home, so many connections at the same time should be handled. Add some custom WRT settings and a large traffic from NAS server and it will come out that CPU and RAM should be consider
  • WiFi A/C – it should support new wireless network standards
  • 1 Gbit ethernet – nowadays it is standard but I think better to check it
  • DD-WRT/OpenWRT support – an open source operating system for the router might be the great idea that will increase the capabilities of the router

Nice to have:

  • ability to connect solid drive (e.g. via esata socket)

I did some research on the internet and I noticed that many reviews attach great importance to WiFi range. I have a small flat so in my case this isn’t important issue for me.

Comparison

The following table compare general information for 11 devices that I chose.

ModelModelAsus RT-AC66UAsus RT-AC68ULinksys WRT1200ACNETGEAR R7000NETGEAR R7800Linksys WRT1900ACS-EUD-LINK DIR-882 EXO AC2600TP Link Archer C9ZyXEL Armor Z2Linksys EA6900Asus RT-AC87U
CPU / MHzCPU / MHzBroadcom BCM4706 / 600Broadcom BCM4708A0 / 800Marvell 88F6820 / 1332Broadcom BCM4709A0 / 1000Qualcomm IPQ8065 / 1700Marvell 88F6820 / 1600MediaTek MT7621AT / 880Broadcom BCM4709 / 1000? / 1700Broadcom BCM4708A0 / 800Broadcom BCM4709A0 / 1000
RAM (MB)RAM (MB)256256256/512256512512128128512256128
Flash (MB)Flash (MB)12812812812812812812816128128128
WiFiWiFiAC1750AC1900AC1200AC1900AC2600AC1900AC2600AC1900AC2600AC1900AC2400
LANLANGbitGbitGbitGbitGbitGbitGbitGbitGbitGbitGbit
USB and other portsUSB and other ports2×2.02×2.0/3.02.0, 3.0, esata2.0, 3.02×3.0, esata2.0, 3.0, esata2.0, 3.02.0, 3.02.0, 3.02.0, 3.02.0, 3.0
YearYear2013201320152013201620152017~2015~20162013~2014
Approx. price (EUR)Approx. price (EUR)111121137139195181109104186139189
Rating at Amazon.comRating at Amazon.com3,83,63,843,73,83,83,83,73,63,7
ddwrt/openwrt supportddwrt/openwrt support+/?+/++/++/++/++/++/?+/??/++/?+/+
other advantages/ disadvantagesother advantages/ disadvantages+ lots of positive reviews– compared with the rest it has more negative opinions– some users report ram issues in V2 version– it is bigger than rest+ echo/alexa compatibility– poor case quality

Different WiFI class of devices have different maximum speed – comparing in following table:

Type2.4 GHz band (Mbit/s) 5 GHz band (Mbit/s)
AC1200300867
AC17504501300
AC19006001300
AC22004501733
AC23006001625
AC23506001733
AC26008001733

Decision

From 11 devices I selected 3 finalists: Linksys WRT1200AC, Netgear R7800 and Linksys WRT1900ACS-EU. All of them has good reviews, powerful processors and lots of ram. First linksys has the lowest price, but also has a worse WiFi class than rest. Since WiFi speed is not a big issue for me I finally chose Linksys WRT1200AC.

Comparison of size of the old TP-Link and the new Linksys
Comparison size of the old TP-Link and the new Linksys

Software

Installation of OpenWRT is very easy. Just login to Linksys WebUI (Default IP: 192.168.1.1; default password: admin), go to Connectivity → Manual Update and select an img file downloaded from here. That’s it!

You might notice that I put ‘256/512’ in RAM row for Linksys WRT1200AC. According to an information on the box it should have 256 RAM. However, when you check it via shell you will see that it has 512 MB.

[email protected]:~# grep "MemTotal" /proc/meminfo
MemTotal:         513600 kB
Linksys' box information
Linksys’ box information

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