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Topic: What Atheros-based router(s) would you recommend

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I would appreciate your advise on selecting good model of Atheros-based router for running OpenWrt.
Preferably - 802.11n, having external detachable antenna is a plus.

I volunteered recently to install Wi-Fi network in my child's school.
I found in the school that room where they have Ethernet cable with Internet connection has enormously thick concrete walls - about 80cm!
Signal from my ASUS-WL500G (standard antenna) which I used for testing degrades significantly after that wall, and 10m after it comes almost to zero.
Notebook which I used has built-in Ralink (RT2500) adapter, with driver dated year 2004, so part of weakness can be this adapter itself.

Ok, I would install antenna with extra gain on central router (my guess is Linksys WRT-160NL so far) which would be connected to wired Ethernet.

There are some sticks which have 4dBi antenna.
I just bought TP-Link TL-WN722N (150Mbit, 11n) Wireless USB stick with External 4dBi antenna … =TL-WN722N

Test at home (via not very thick 2 concrete walls, from hall to kitchen) confirmed that wireless signal significantly improved, if I compare this USB stick to built-in Ralink RT2500.

Than I installed on ASUS WL-500G (54Mbit 11g) external antenna - TP-Link TL-ANT2406A 6dBi … L-ANT2406A
Built-in Ralink adapter on notebook is now capable to work from kitchen at 48Mbps-54Mbps (via 2 concrete walls).
And of course connection via TL-WN722N just flies.
So far, client-side solution seems to work fine.
Now I plan to re-test and see if it works in the school.

In addition to central router I would probably need 2-3 more which should not cost a lot.
As signal still can be too weak in some remote classes, possibility to change antenna to more powerful is certainly a plus.
Those routers would work as "range extenders" (wireless client) or in WDS, and with computer(s) connected to LAN ports.

Your suggestions?..

tp-link router definitely.
the model depends on your budget.
I would recommend in the following order:
maybe that budget will allow you to change the stock antennas with 5 or 8dBi antennas - TL-ANT2405CL or TL-ANT2408CL
be sure to check if the hw rev you buy is compatible with openwrt (or dd-wrt if you preffer)

(Last edited by maurer on 20 Sep 2010, 12:31)

Thank you, maurer!

I indeed became interested in TP-Link routers, after the purchase of Wi-Fi USB stick and 6dBi antenna TL-ANT2406A.
As it was just yesterday, I have to get used to this brand, absolutely new to me.

When I was asking question "which router to buy" about 3 years ago
selection was just between Linksys and ASUS
I am very happy that we have better choice today, with more vendors/models available.

Which model from your list do you own?
How stable it is?
I have seem info in forums that USB doesn't not work.
Another function which I need is WDS.
I have as of today Linksys WRT-54GL and ASUS WL-500G.  For some reason WDS works on one unit (tested with 3Com routers/Access Points) and doesn't work on another.

In terms of budget, Linksys WRT160NL costs here about $110.
Most expensive of TP-Link routers, TL-WN1043ND, has lower price.

Netgear's WNDR3700 would be a great choice as well, but the antennas aren't detachable.

Bought TP-Link WR841ND v5 Router and WA801ND v1 Access Point few days ago.
They are working together very well - tested AP, Client, Repeater modes. WDS also works.
So far I am running both units with native firmware.

Successfully flashed TP-Link WR-841ND v5 with OpenWrt Backfire

# uname -a
Linux OpenWrt-WR841ND #1 Wed Aug 25 15:20:15 PDT 2010 mips GNU/Linux

Looking forward to do more testing.

I'm really happy with the DIR-825 rev 2.  I've now got four of them running OpenWRT 10.3.

It can do simultaneous dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz, or you can use both radios in the 2.4GHz band.

Do you use them in WDS setup, or separately?
Have you tried 802.11 mesh?

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