Best OpenWrt Router 2021 – Reviews and Comparison
Do you have a Wi-Fi router and would like to utilize it to its optimal capacity? Then, what you need is an OpenWrt router. Indeed, this incredible device can offer ready to install packages on your open VPN client, file server, Wi-Fi router, and more.
An OpenWrt is an alternative firmware that’s based on the Linux operating system. It’s made for routers, modems, and other devices. And it’s a secure software that aims to replace the manufacturer’s firmware o OEM firmware.
There are many devices on the market and it’s not easy deciding on the best openwrt routers. In our best OpenWrt router 2020 review, we’ve assembled some products on the market to help you choose.
Benefits of a Quality OpenWrt Router
6 Best OpenWrt Router Reviews
In choosing the best OpenWrt system, there are several things to keep in mind. Luckily we have top picks to help you decide. Read on.
1. Linksys-WRT1900ACS Wireless Router
Simply put, an OpenWrt system is a device that is compatible with the manufacturer’s software. Of course, getting started isn’t easy; however, you get a wonderful reward if a lean and modern system. If you’re looking for such a router, Linksys-WRT1900ACS is the best deal for the money. Here is why!
For starters, as an OpenWrt recommended router, it’s loaded with features that will boost your overall experience. It has components or parts that enhance the performance of your current system.
It’s the best choice if you’re looking to upgrade your current router at home and business locations. You’ll get everything you need in the package including a quick-start manual, CD ROM, power cord, adapter, and Ethernet cable. A good router with a good range might not be able to give you the versatility of Linux distribution you are getting with this router.
The wireless AC is 4.3 times faster when you compare it with N technology. It offers incredible internet speeds of 600 Mbps at 2.4 GHz and 1300 Mbps at 5GHz. You can do large file transfer from your connected device very easily with this kind of file transfer speeds.
Therefore, it’s suitable for intensive and high-stake media applications. Another feature is the four highly-efficient external antennas that boost dual-band communication. Even better, you can adjust the antenna for better Wi-Fi reception for your home and office. This dual band router has the advanced management system that allows multiple devices run with maximum efficiency.
It has a super-powerful CPU which guarantees incredible computing power for processing data which most routers might not able to handle with more devices. What this means is that many connected users can stream at the same time.
Also, you can play intensive games, watch movies, and transfer files. Here the two USB ports and the one eSATA port will be very useful. Along with these you also have four gigabit ethernet ports. Advanced users can also take the opportunity of the open source software. But you already have the parental controls in the management settings. This is set in the default configuration of the default firmware.
With this router, you can share any content through external media and be assured of reliable speed. You can do a lot of other things such as prioritizing websites and devices while restricting users through passwords. The device is open-source ready and thus you can customize your router depending on your preference.
2. Linksys-WRT3200ACM Router
Would you like to upgrade your Wi-Fi network? We highly recommend Linksys, a wireless firmware that offers WIFI coverage in your home and small office. This amazing device comes loaded with the superior Tri-Stream 160 to deliver a remarkable Wi-Fi performance.
Thus, it expands your existing router’s speeds and lets you achieve high-speed internet as well as responsive performance.
Here, you have a router compatible with your modem which makes it one of the best router for OpenWrt on the market. This router is open-source and hence you can customize it to suit your needs.
It uses certified operating system which makes it compatible with Windows 7, 8.1,10, macOS, and more. Due to the Tri-stream 160 technology, there is a chance of doubling the bandwidth from 80 to 160 MHz
You get to enjoy live online games, 4k HD streaming, movies, and more without lags. Besides, the quality of transmission is superior and, this boosts your overall experience.
Accordingly, it provides dual-band speeds of up to 2.6Gbps or 2.4GHz/600Mbps and 5GHz/2600Mbps. It works at an optimal temperature of between 0 to 40 degrees Centigrade.
This device is MM MIMO enabled and, this means that it offers Wi-Fi coverage to many users via several devices. The speed is high and reliable. Linksys router has a wide variety of ports. Therefore, you can connect multiple devices such as printers, USB, eSATA, flash drives, and more.
Even if you have all these devices connected at the same time. the combined speed won't drop that much. Same goes for the one eSATA port it has. Moreover, you have MU MIMO technology with great performance.
Finally, it features a sleek design and is lightweight. Thus, it can fit in a small space and matches with your internal decor.
3. TP-Link AC1900 Router
TP-Link is a renowned brand with high scores in delivering the best experience to their customers. Indeed, it has won accolades the world over including the JD-Power Award 2017/2019. For this reason, we present to you TP-Link AC1900 Router for all your WI-FI needs.
The first thing to note about this router is that it offers a speed of 1300Mbps on 5GHz and 600Mbps on 2.4GHz. Also, it’s a versatile device that’s compatible with Alexa. Unlike the Linksys routers that cost an arm and a leg, TP-Link comes at an affordable price tag. Yet, you get the value of priced models.
As an MU-MIMO router, you can stream several devices at the same time and achieve the best performance. Even so, the communication is efficient and reliable. For better coverage, this router boasts of beam-forming technology that also offers a superior connection. The stock firmware also supports a tether app which can connect to your storage devices.
TP-Link router offers the best security that prevents third-party interference. You can activate parental control and restrict Wi-Fi access to unauthorized persons. Other security features include a VPN server, access control, and WPA3.
With smart-connect technology, the device allows users to access free bands thereby without lags or congestion. You can enjoy maximum usage of the wireless network, play online games, and stream live.
Another useful feature is the TP-Link app that you can download on your android or iOS device. The set-up is easy and, you can control your network remotely.
4. Zyxel Z2 AC2600 Wireless Router
Zyxel router is a second-generation chipset that offers a speed of 2600Mbps. It provides larger Wi-Fi coverage of 2500sq feet and therefore can serve a large area. ZYXEL is a leader in innovation and provides networking services and devices to homeowners and businesses.
If you’re a heavy internet user, you’ll be impressed by ZYXEL wireless routers. It’s made for individuals who require high-speed internet or Wi-Fi connectivity.
The best part is that it works for multiple devices and hence a great choice for homes and businesses. Additionally, it’s an OpenWrt recommended router for intensive online gaming and high-stake video streaming.
This router has a storage capacity of 4GB of eMMC and is powered by a 1.7 GHz processor. It also uses the most advanced 802.11ac technology as well as MU-MIMO.
For this reason, you have a guarantee of better speed than regular routers. Accordingly, the superior beam-forming technology ensures better signal, connectivity, and reliable speed.
Further, the stream-boost technologies that amplifies the speed for intense gaming and live to stream. You can stream UHD-4K videos and games without worrying about lags.
Plus, with Quad-stream, this router exceeds expectations, and therefore, you can stream HD movies, transfer large files, and playing online games effortlessly.
Old routers could scatter signals and, users could struggle with getting clear connectivity. Fortunately, this model focuses on each device through the beam-forming technology and, this ensures a reliable connection.
Finally, it features a sleek and thermally-enhanced design. Hence, it allows ample airflow and this prevents overheating.
5. NETGEAR Nighthawk Router
If you’re looking for network stability and real-time network management, you’ll need superior wireless routers. You can consider the Netgear router which comes from a reputable networking company. The Nighthawk is a top-rated OpenWrt and rates highly on the market with routers like netgear nighthawk x4s.
The main reason why this device is our top pick is that it’s made for stellar performance. Nightgear delivers the best power thanks to the 1.7 GHz dual core processor.
Moreover, this device boasts of quad-stream technology, MU-MIMO, and 160MHz that work together to deliver reliable and powerful Wi-Fi signals to various devices.
This gadget is multi-use and can support a maximum of 45 devices. Also, it enables you to access the internet, connect to smart devices, stream videos, and play online games.
You’ll get satisfactory data transfer speeds of up to 2600 Mbps. Also, it offers wide coverage of 2500sq feet, and, thus, users can access Wi-Fi over a large area.
Multiple Ethernet ports can support several OpenWrt supported devices. For instance, computers, printers, streaming players, and game consoles. Netgear comes packed with superior technology that also features Alexa controls.
Additionally, four antennas ensure the best connectivity, regardless of where you set up the device. Besides, it provides security and allows users to manage access through features such as parental control. Most users don't realize that other routers won't have all the features including the advanced monitoring options Openwrt packages provide.
Other notable features are the numerous USB connections including USB 3.0 ports that allow you to share a storage device. To conclude, this device features a compact design and, therefore, you can place it in a convenient place. It also looks good on any surface and blends perfectly with other devices.
6. Turris Omnia Wi-Fi router
If you’re experiencing dropouts on your network, then you’ll need to upgrade your firmware version. The Turris Omnia Openwrt router router comes in a lightweight design that weighs only 2.6 pounds and with a dimension of 7.09x7.48x5.71 inches.
Also, to note, the edgy design is appealing to users and a perfect choice if you’re looking for speed and reliability. It’s a useful device that offers powerful signal strength across all the bands.
Firstly, it comes packed with many valuable features to give you awesome internet connectivity. Despite this, the set-up is easy and user friendly. You can troubleshoot and tweak if you get stuck. Also, the firmware upgrade process is simple and painless.
We like the fact that this router is compatible with OpenWrt. It’s open-source and hence lets you customize your options depending on your needs. Advanced features like these are not seen in many routers claiming to have advanced security features. There is much more you can do with this device. For instance, you can do complex routing, shaping, tunneling, filtration, WAN backup, and NAT.
A top feature of this router is that it secures your network and prevents external interference. You’ll have constant security updates, and the interface is easy and straightforward. With this router, you can run 5.0GHz or 2.4GHz or both, depending on your requirements.
Also, you get to pick between 802.11ac or 802.11n and heavy bandwidth tasks such as beaming technology, which boosts the speeds. Thus this allows you to stream live games and movies.
How to Choose the Best One?
When shopping for an OpenWrt, there are several things to keep in mind. Below here, we highlight the essential factors to consider. Read on.
Wi-Fi Range and Reliable Speed
If you’re looking for OpenWrt supported routers to use at home or a small office, you’ll need a device that can transmit Wi-Fi signals in a long-range. In this way, everyone at home can have access to the internet without experiencing lags.
Likewise, this should eliminate the issue of dead zones where some areas lack internet connectivity. Also, if you’re into online games or live streaming, the WiFi router should offer incredible speed. The same applies if you’re transferring large files or connecting many devices.
By versatility, we mean the ability of the router to support several devices and multiple users. First of all, consider a device with many ports connecting to external devices such as computers, printers, and game consoles. Additionally, it should be a powerful device with superior connectivity to support many users.
Moreover, the internet connects many users, and, there is a likelihood of your private information falling into the wrong hand. The advantage of OpenWrt routers is that they are loaded with firewalls and are secure.
Hence, they offer ample protection to your network from hackers or potential malware. Some allow you to activate the parental control system. Also, it should provide regular security updates as an assurance that your Wi-Fi system is well protected.
Modern OpenWrt systems have advanced and have some of the best features to boost the overall user experience. For instance, you may want to check if the device has beam-forming. It’s an advanced technology that lets users access the internet directly.
Other things such as heavy bandwidth and 802.11ac or 802.11n work in collaboration to boost the speed and, this accords you with the opportunity to stream live and play online games.
The best OpenWrt should be open-source and, this allows for customization. What this means is that you can do a lot of stuff, depending on your needs. Some of the tasks you can do include tunneling, filtration, and complex routing.
An OpenWrt router should be easy to install or configure. Most options aren’t complicated and come with a quick set-up menu. Therefore everything should be simple and straightforward. Additionally, any program that you download on your phone or device should be easy to run.
A Powerful Processor
In our review, most devices run on 1.7GHz dual-core processors with superior RAM. Therefore these are reliable, powerful, can support many devices, and offer better speeds.
OpenWrt routers are not ordinary routers due to their capability; most options come with a high price tag. In most cases, a highly-priced router offers some of the most superior functions and is a high performer.
If you’re on a budget, you can consider reasonably valued routers that will deliver the best value. These should be a durable and good value for money. Also, check for compatibility of OpenWrt supported routers.
Sleek Compact and Lightweight
A sleek router will look good in your space and doesn’t overcrowd other devices in the house. Also, it should match your interior decor.
OpenWrt vs. DD-WRT
Optimal Use of Wi-Fi
Both OpenWrt and DD-WRT are custom firmware that enhances your Wi-Fi and lets you utilize it to your full potential. Of course, when this happens, you get reliable speeds and can use several devices.
OpenWrt is more stable and offers a better and long-lasting Wi-Fi connection. It reduces lag or latency and boosts the network through buffer-float control algorithms.
Intergrates Well with Existing Firmware
An OpenWrt is an upgrade of your current firmware for seamless integration with the manufacturer’s system. In this regard, it’s Linux-based and hence is compatible with most Linux devices. The same applies to DD-WRT, it’s Linux based and improves the performance of your routers.
As a downside, installing a DD-WRT exposes your Wi-Fi to potential risks and can void your router’s warranty.
Suitable for Home Users
On the other hand, DD-WRT is a sub-type of OpenWrt and most suitable for home-based users. It’s easier to install than most users. However, it’s small scale and may not support complex functions.
If you’re looking for custom firmware, an OpenWrt is a suitable option as it’s the most advanced and uses the latest technology.
When it comes to security concerns, OpenWrt is more reliable and prevents attacks from hackers and malware. Although DD-WRT has internal nightly-builds, it doesn’t have changelog or the most-advanced firmware.
How to Set Up & Configure Your OpenWrt Router
Setting up your OpenWrt router is a simple and easy process. You have to get into advanced settings for a decent performance. The following steps will guide you.
Using a Wi-Fi Access Point
The first method is using a Wi-Fi access point. It requires establishing a WLAN connection via the access point on the router. Also, you’ll need to scan and search the Wi-Fi networks available.
Take note of the device’s model. You’ll need it during installation. You should have this kind of information for all your devices to use the router effectively.
Ensure you have the right documentation on flashing a new firmware in your device. Also, make sure the internet is offline for a least a few minutes. Alternatively, you can have some backup access when the internet is off.
Then download the OpenWrt for your router and set up the hardware. Next, plug-in and power the router. Enter the IP address of your router into the web browser and enter.
Using an Ethernet Port
You can also install OpenWrt via an Ethernet port or Bootloader. It’s not as easy as the previous method and is not suitable for first-time users. It works if you have a filter box or ADSL, and the router has a WAN port.
In this case, connect one of your LAN ports of the ADSL to your router’s WAN port using an Ethernet cable.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long does it take to install an OpenWrt?
The process of installation depends on your router’s model. For some models, it can take less than five minutes. However, for others, it’s a little complicated. It requires several set-up steps and can take up to fifteen minutes.
2. What is an OpenWrt?
It’s an Open-source device that is embedded on a Linux system for routing network traffic. The embedded linux distribution helps in boosting the capability of your existing routers as well as improving efficiency and performance.
3. How do I hard factory reset my OpenWrt?
First, power the router and wait for the LED button to stop flashing. Then, press the reset button by holding for a few seconds. Lastly, release the button and reboot. This method is manual and doesn’t take much time. Although it can be slow for quite several devices, give it some time before it reconnects.
4. What type of devices does OpenWrt support?
It supports several devices and, before you buy, it’s essential to check for compatibility. Examples of OpenWrt supported devices include 3Com, 7Links, ADI engineering, ADB, ADI engineering, and more.
5. What can users do with an OpenWrt router?
With an OpenWrt system, you can use your router to enable a VPN, run Bit Torrent client, activate a guest on your Wi-Fi network, carry out traffic shaping, analyze the network traffic and apply QoS-rules or dynamic QoS on packets. Additionally, you can run multiple servers such as SSH tunneling, HTTP, IRC, and FTP.
6. Is OpenWrt secure?
Yes! OpenWrt is one of the most secure systems that protect your network against third party malware and attacks. It has adequate security features by default, which is good news for inexperienced users.
These are sufficient in keeping hackers away and protecting your online privacy. Also, some routers allow users to activate parental control features.
7. Which is the best option, DD-WRT or OpenWrt?
DD-WRT is based on the OpenWrt; therefore, obviously, the latter is more advanced. Other than that, it’s easier to install, operate, and manage. DD-WRT supports fewer devices that OpenWrt; hence not suitable for large scale applications.
Therefore DD-WRT is recommended for home use where there are fewer users.
8. What does open-source mean in OpenWrt?
OpenWrt is open-sourced and, this means that you can customize it depending on your specific needs. Therefore, this lets you carry out various functions, such as shaping, tunneling, and more. It’s a flexible, reliable, and efficient router that lets you utilize your Wi-Fi network to its full potential.
7. Can I reset my root password?
Yes, your root password and default admin username can be reset.
As we conclude our review of the best OpenWrt router 2020, it’s evident that this is a useful device that upgrades your Wi-Fi system. However, there are various factors to consider when shopping for this device. Other than quality, it should offer the best speed so that you can perform various functions without lags. Hopefully, you can now pick the best option in our selection list.