Advice: Best merlin compatible router for adaptive QoS but not using Wi-fi

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Boffinboy

Occasional Visitor
Hi All

I am moving to a new property where I plan to use TP Link omada access points. I need to add a router (which doesn’t need to provide Wi-fi). I am looking for a router that can minimise bufferbloat without much tinkering - and it looks like Merlin firmware with adaptive QoS can provide this. I don’t think the tplink omada routers have something similar. I will have cable 600ish down and 30 up - so the upload is my main concern. Does anyone have any recommendations on the most cost effective Merlin compatible choice, particularly given I will not be using the Wi-fi?

Thank you for your help
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The RT-AC86U is the model I suggest for the highest routing performance at the least cost.
 

Boffinboy

Occasional Visitor
The RT-AC86U is the model I suggest for the highest routing performance at the least cost.
Do you know if there is likely to be a significant performance hit when using the QoS with 600/40 internet? And if so, would one of the other router models be a better choice? I could go with a custom pfsense box but that’s a lot of complication I’d rather avoid!
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
There will be a hit, depending on the QoS used.

But this model still has the same CPU as much more expensive ones.
 

Wistuplu

Regular Contributor
Fyi, If you want to use the cake flavour, it has been reported to be cpu limited to approx. 350Mbps on asus routers, depending on model. I have seen it reach 400 on my ac86u. (my line is limited to 400 anyway). Depending on your workload and needs, you might possibly have a better experience with cake despite less downstream throughput. And there are other options besides cake anyway.
 

gattaca

Senior Member
If you want to step up from the RT-AC86U (which I own) the next step would be the RT-AX86U (which I own) which has 4 pCPUs vs the AC86U with 2. Depending on what you are running and how well written it is, those extra pCPUs could be helpful. Radio-wise, they feel equal with the devices I have. YMMV. A worthy read -> https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wir...roughput-can-your-wi-fi-router-really-provide Stay safe, stay alive. Peace.
 

Boffinboy

Occasional Visitor
Thanks both. Very helpful. Does anyone know if the dynamic QoS implementations on the router can take advantage of those extra CPU horsepower?
 

Wistuplu

Regular Contributor
Not sure what you mean with "dynamic QoS implementations".
Cake supposedly uses only one "core".
 

Boffinboy

Occasional Visitor
Sorry, meant adaptive - ie cake and Flex. Sounds like the AC86 may be the better cost then as cost is lower.
 

Wade Coxon

Senior Member
The extra cores won't help. Just the core type and clock speed, and the ac86u is just as fast in that regard as any of the others.

Since you aren't going to use the WiFi, the only other differences would be the 2.5Gb LAN port and the extra RAM on the ax86u.
 

gattaca

Senior Member
My gut says our RT-AC86U (2 pCORES) will perform very well for most workloads. I've used this model for several years with the default Merlin (or stock) firmware and settings. The RT-AX86U (4 pCORES) has more pCPU capacity and headroom to handle more concurrent jobs. It is when we start adding our AMTM "goodies" that things get interesting. I cannot speak for what is truly multi-threaded vs single-threaded in the router or our many AMTM helpful add-ons but that's splitting hairs. A good analogy is, "When the OS scheduler has more balls to juggle, having more hands (pCPUS) helps...." I watched these on/off for a while and when I enabled many of the AMTM goodies, I've seen spikes of 3-7+ seconds similar to this... The load averages remain very low which means the router is overall not struggling for pCPU resources. You cannot go wrong with either the RT-AC86U or RT-AX86U... but if you intent to run lots of AMTM toys, I went for the extra headroom b/c who knows what our AMTM team will create next? Stay safe, stay alive. YMMV!
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